Tuesday, August 24, 2004

One-Day Vacations

One of the (many) great things about living in Portland is that it is possible to take a vacation in one day or less.

B and I first discovered this in April 2002, about five months after moving to PDX. Our first one-day vacation was really only a half-day vacation and the first half of it was spent at the decidedly unresortlike DMV offices on NE 82nd.

We'd waited just about until the last minute to get new driver's licenses and OR plates for the car before we'd start getting socked with penalties so we left early on a weekday, figuring that would minimize the amt. of time we'd have to spend at the DMV. Of course, there were about 100 people ahead of us. After a couple of hours, it was finally our turn to take the "written" test (administered on a computer touch screen), which we'd actually had to study up for! I'm pretty sure the last time I took that was when I first got my driver's license at age 16.

I aced it, getting only one wrong. Then we had to pay a bunch of money for this thing and that thing and for new plates. By the time we got out of there, it was about noon and it had turned into the most gorgeous day we'd seen in Oregon to date. It was sunny and about 70 degrees. The thought of going back to work was totally unappealing. As we drove home, I began formulating the radical idea of taking the rest of the day off (!) since half of it was shot already.

We decided to do it and head out to hike Eagle Creek, a hike I'd heard was really lovely but had never done before. The drive out to the Gorge was glorious and I felt really happy and excited about ditching work to hike! I'm sure we didn't even get to the trailhead until 1:30 or 2:00, but it didn't matter. April is a great time to hike Eagle Creek--lots of wildflowers are in bloom, the ferns are all really green and lush, curtains of water are dripping off the mossy walls of the canyons, and the waterfalls are all at full flow. We only hiked up to Punchbowl Falls that day, which is less than five miles, but I still felt like I was in vacation mode. Probably because I used to have to get on a plane and actually "go on vacation" to do a hike of that quality. Now that we live in Oregon, there are numerous one-day (or less) options. Just one of the many reasons I love living in Oregon.

Once we were done with the hike B and I continued in vacation/tourist mode and drove back on the Old Columbia Highway, stopping off at Tad's Chicken 'n Dumplins, a time-warpish place straight out of the '40s. I'd noted its neon sign several times before and had always been intrigued even though chicken and dumplings is very low on my list of tasty foods.

Well, the place delivered exactly the ambiance I was looking for. It was filled with dark wood, fireplaces, and senior citizens. I ordered the chicken and dumplings, which were bland and library pastish. I remember making liberal use of the salt and pepper to no avail, but this is one of the few places that I didn't go to for the food. I went there to extend my "I'm on vacation" mood and it really filled the bill.

B and I have since taken a number of these one-day vacations, and they are always wonderful.


Post a Comment

<< Home