Last week was The Great Pamela and Allison Frenaissance of 2009. We hope to make this more of a tradition than it has been. 5 years is a really long time.
We love to show off the beauty and uniqueness of our adopted hometown, so visitors make us really excited (hint, hint.) When people come to see us, there are a few places that we always try to take them. The Portland Saturday Market is one. I forgot my camera that day, so I missed out on the opportunity to get a shot of the person in the bunny suit holding a sign that said, "Need money for carrots". They were standing next to a guy in a gorilla suit who, apparently, needed money for bananas. Ah, I love Portland.
We also went to Powell's Books, which is the definitely the coolest, if not the biggest bookstore in the world. While Chris and John wandered among the gardening, religion, history, and political books, we girls set up camp in the children's book section. Pam and I read to each other's kids and wimped out on the opportunity to take a picture of Tiny Edward in front of the Twilight books. There are some things that you can get away with when you're over 30, but we didn't feel like that was one of them.
On Monday we headed up to Mt. St. Helen's, which I'm slightly ashamed to admit we hadn't visited before. When you can practically see it from your house, though, it just isn't a priority, I guess.
On the way we noticed a sign for the town of Kalama, Washington, and decided to make a slight detour, because Tiny E. was eager to relive some high school memories.
Recognize it? If you've seen the movie, you should. At least if you've seen it more than once.
We were spotted by a friendly volleyball player who offered to take us on a brief tour, which, apparently, she and her friends have been doing all summer long for people like us. So we saw the breezeway where Bella and Eric have a conversation on Bella's first day at Forks High, the grassy area where the picnic tables are set up, and the mural (painted specifically for the movie) past which Bella marches, followed closely by Edward, on their way into the green forest which does not actually exist behind the school, where Bella first says the word "vampire" out loud.
Yes, we are pathetic. But we weren't the oldest women stopping by for a tour, either.
On to the volcano.
Unfortunately, it was cloudy, so we didn't get a great view of the famous crater, but we did get some cute pictures anyway.
The middle of the whiter space near the top left in this next one is where the mountain was slightly visible. We thought at first that only the top was covered by clouds, but that doesn't seem to be the case. Pam and John didn't seem all that bothered by it, but, again, it's something I see at least once a week, so I was kind of hoping for more. Oh, well. An hour and a half isn't all that far to drive, so we'll go again soon and hopefully see it all. And they'll just have to come again. Oh, darn.
On Tuesday we celebrated Lexi's birthday by making the drive to one of our favorite places in Oregon: Multnomah Falls. We love the fact that we live within two hours of all this amazing stuff. You should all come see us.
Of course Tiny E came along, brooding as usual.
We enjoyed some ice cream and then drove to my personal favorite waterfall here in the Gorge (we love Multnomah, but you'll see in a minute why this one is better): Latourelle Falls.
The path here takes you alongside the stream flowing out of the falls and down to a bridge that crosses it, with a fabulous view of the entire waterfall. You're near enough to feel the spray.
But if you don't mind a small hike down some slippery rocks, you can get right up to the base of the falls. I mean right. up. This may very well be my favorite picture from the week, and possibly even the year. When they got back to me after this, Lexi said, "Mom, this is the best birthday ever!"
No trip to the Columbia River Gorge waterfalls is complete without a visit to the Vista House at Crown Point. From there you get breathtaking views of the Columbia River in both directions
And Vicki, who didn't want her picture taken.
We also went swimming, ate more ice cream, celebrated a birthday, went to The Grotto, and just hung out, visiting and catching up. Oh, and she gave me a guided tour of Facebook, so I managed to sneakily catch up on a few people from high school (shocking, some of it, when you haven't seen them for nearly 15 years.)
And, of course, we had to watch Twilight together, since I hadn't seen it with the commentary (I swear I am not this bad normally. Get two grown women in love with Edward Cullen together, though, and it's a sad, sad sight.)
It was great to be together again. Pam knew me and loved me back when I thought it looked good to tuck my t-shirt into my jeans and then pull it halfway back out again, and when I tried out for all those high school plays because I thought I could act, and when I wore big, black Doc Marten boots (although they did make me cooler) and listened to Garth Brooks for hours on end. We got each other through our senior year of high school, we were in each other's weddings (picture me as a bridesmaid 7 months pregnant - yes, she loves me that much) and have managed to stay in touch all this time, despite the thousands of miles between us. BFFs indeed.
Do you think this trip highlighted enough virtues of the Pacific Northwest that they'd consider moving out here? :)