Published: August 15th 2011August 2nd 2011
We are back in the States...for a while, and some serious driving...and no diving!
After Seattle, we are heading to Portland. Bear in mind, before reaching Portland, I had no idea what to expect. This is a great city. Way better than Seattle. Here they have way less homeless people. You can have great food for lunch all over, and for less than 10usd per person. There is no sales tax...meaning, no need to calculate each time what will be the final total ...and it make it slightly easier to get a fair tip for service.
We stay at the Nines. This seems to be THE address in town. Why not, was way more reasonnable than hotels in Seattle. And the best with our upgrade, we have access to the lounge. In the States this means not much most of the time, but here, it's free local wine all day long. We did not go over the top, but it was pretty nice, and save us a fortune for dinner!
What we saw...well, we ride the riverfront for few miles on a funny family bicycle. Best, the next day we had our private family tour of the
Blueback. This is the last diesel submarine of his class....and we had an amazing one hour visit with Steven, for quite a bargain I have to admit. We also walk a lot, as the weather was so nice, and obviously did some shopping....you remember...no sales tax!
Was also nice to have lunch with my friend Norbert. We know each other from the time we were living in Saigon. He left 9 years ago to Portland and never looked back...nice choice!
So the sky was blue, the people were some of the friendliest in the States, the food amazing, and the wine pretty good...what else you are going to ask me.
Well! 90 minutes drive from Portland, there is Mt Hoods. For our second night, we were staying in the East of Portland to have a shorter drive the next morning. Woke up at 5.20am, and we were on top of the slopes at 8am.
You are goign to tell me...ok, summer ski, on the 1st of August...I won't believe you had a great time. No kidding, the slopes are open, and actually crowded with youngsters on summer ski camps. These guys know how to ski pretty
well, no pure beginners here, no marshalls around, it's about the fun of skiing!
The base for summer ski is at 2000 meters at Timberline Lodge, and the top is at 2800 meters...and you can ski from top to the lodge. They had actually a lot of places "reserved" for the ski camps. We had a nice red long slope, followed by an even longer cool blue slope, all this for oursleves. Now I have no idea how long it takes to go down, but the two lifts combined are a good 10 to 15 minutes to reach the top, and in winter, they don't go higher.
So this is no skiing for beginners. Leslie is ok with his ability to go down all reds (Diamond in America!). Mari is safe after her full week of skiing, with instructor, last April, she also goes down most of the reds, easy!
The trick is for Tiffany. She had a week on the baby slopes, 3 years and a half ago....that was long time ago, and that was baby slopes. So for Tiffany, it was pure challenge time! But guess what, she is impressive and now can turn properly
in snow-ploug. Ok, she was dead by 12.30....and ready to get out of that slope!
So I went up to the summit with Leslie once, while Mari went down on the blue slope with Tiffany. Than we exchanged, Mari went to the summit with Leslie, and me with Tiffany on the blue, and like this for a full 4 hours and 30 minutes.
This is not a cheap experience, but it's actually cheaper than skiing in winter in most of Europe. The problem, there is four of us. You remember...single, high purchasing power....family of four...high cuddle power...less purchasing power!
We had a wonderful time...Tiffany was dead but happy...Leslie would have wish for more...as usual....I can only recommend skiing Mt Hoods in summer....but only if you feel at ease skiing. And yes, we had jeans, T-shirts, our sailing jackets, and gloves for safety....all this while taking nice colors under the blue and warm sky of Oregon!
It was time to head East...to the Vineyards and more sun...
Next entry coming soon....without any snow this time!
There are more photos below