Friday, February 4, 2011

Let New Adventures Begin!

As Utah settled into a deep windy freeze, Fam Och and the trusty Explorer loaded to the brim with suitcases drove up and away into the first leg of the journey. First destination:  Hood River, Oregon...not exactly a midway point to say the least, but it seemed a nice little place to settle in after ten hours of road tripping.

The kids were great, complaining only during the last thirty minutes of the trek about stiff legs and boredom.  We checked into the Comfort Suites of Hood River exhausted and relieved. The place was nice enough with two queens and a pull out sofa sleeper, free continental breakfast, and an indoor swimming pool (we were way too tired to even consider that amenity).  Only complaint: bathroom was uber tiny, only one person can stand in it.

Anyway, the next day involved a much shorter drive from Hood River to Seattle and so we decided to do a little sightseeing along the way.  First stop: Multnomah Falls.

Look familiar? What movie was this falls featured in?

From Hood River, driving west, we exited onto the Columbia River Highway, the historic road that runs parallel to I-84. There were three other falls we drove past, one with search and rescue teams and a news crew (umm, we'll stay away from that one), but our main goal was to see Multnomah. We had driven past this place two years ago from a beach vacation on the Oregon coast, but the kids were asleep in the car then so all we could do was pull over at the exit and take pics from the parking lot. We are so glad we went in for a closer look this time.

We didn't realize the first tier of the waterfalls was the only thing visible from the roadway.  From a closer vantage point, we could see not only the first tier and the bridge, but also a lower second tier. It was a chilly chilly morning that day, but the sight was well worth the momentary blue pallor we all acquired from standing out there.

 Next came a short drive into Portland to what is known as the Grotto, or The Sanctuary of the Sorrowful Mother. Story goes a mother lay dying after giving birth to a baby daughter.  Her young son ran off into the woods and tearfully prayed for God to save her, promising to dedicate his life in His service.  The mother survived, the boy became a priest, and built this place to further honor his promise.  The grounds are located on a wooded cliffside with a chapel and a trail with stations of the cross sculptures along it.  Most famous,
though, is the grotto carved into the cliff wall with a replica of Michelangelo's Pieta.  In the summer, Sunday mass is held in this area. Visitors may also purchase elevator tokens to ride to the top of the cliff where an extensive botanical garden sits.

This was an excellent way to further teach Sophia about our faith. She has been expressing her own curiosity, reading her children's Bible out of her own accord, and asking questions. I think she was able to grasp what this place symbolized.

Next up, the 2.5 hr drive to Seattle. We checked into Hyatt Place, two blocks from the Space Needle. We quickly unloaded the luggage in the room, and headed over to...

...where else do you go when you first get to Seattle? The Space Needle, of course! What luck we had! I've been to the O deck several times before...and each and every stinkin' time, all you saw was a dull gray haze AND it was drizzling.  Well, this time, thank goodness, it was a calm, clear sky.  You can even see Mt. Rainier in the back! Miracle of all Seattle miracles!

While the Mister and I loved the view from the outer deck, the kiddos were a little nervous about how high we were. They mostly enjoyed the interactive exhibits in the inner deck, zooming the cameras into the downtown neighborhoods, identifying the big pink elephant car wash near our hotel.

It was definitely a full day. We purchased a CityPass but we can't redeem the rest of the tickets until Friday since Thursday was spent picking up a rental car and driving to Tacoma to process the Explorer for shipment to Alaska.  More to report...coming soon!

1 comment:

  1. What a great adventure. Love reading about it. I wish I would have journeled when we were travling with Och in the Navy. Be Safe and God Bless. Aunt Sharon