America 2011

Mar 2011 12

Day 29: Portland, Oregon – Tree Museum and Japanese Gardens

So I find myself in Portland; what to do? After some frantic Googling (I planned my day for once) I found worked out how to use the MAX (their light rail system) and where he nearest stop was. I drove down and ended up parking the middle of a construction site, which made for quite a lengthy and complicated walk across the road to the station. Caught the train and sat back for the ride into the city. Nice trains these, very fast, quiet and spacious. A lot of the time they share the road with car; sometimes they have their own grade but still cross the road at intersections, and some times they have their own right-of-way alongside the highway.

I took the train all the way through the city and into Washington Park where we zoomed into a tunnel. There were some interesting passengers on the train; one was a big old lady, and while she looked like she'd suit a park bench just fine, I rather liked the idea that she was secretly very rich and just dressed this way to blend in.</...

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Mar 2011 11

Day 28: Cascade Locks, OR to Portland, OR

Took another look at the Bridge of the Gods in the morning, although it was a fairly gray day.

Looks like a giant Mechano set I think.

I jumped back on the freeway and set the GPS for Springfield, Oregon (not Springfield, Idaho which I had done briefly the day before!) and started heading through the Columbia River Gorge. The scenery here was pretty amazing and I was glad I waited till daylight to complete the journey. The smells reminded me a lot of the West Coast back home; the damp leafy smell and the cool humid air.


Up the road a bit I stopped at the Bonneville Dam and had a look around. Driving in there I crossed several dams and a navigation lock as well, which had HUGE steel doors.

End of the lock / first dam

Second dam / other side of the first dam, I think.

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Mar 2011 11

Day 27: Sandypoint, ID to Cascade Locks, OR

Here is a photo of my room at the Meandering Moose Motel in Sandypoint, Idaho, since it was so pleasantly nice:

Went down to the "beach" here in Sandypoint, only I had a bit of trouble finding it.

I walked down to the logs, checking every so often that I was still walking on the beach; didn't really feel like breaking through the ice. I think I eventually found the lake, but who knows? The lifeguards weren't on duty, which possibly wasn't that surprising!

I trudged back to the car and soon gave up trying to get anywhere interesting with their network of one way streets (who puts two one way roads, both going in the same direction, next to each other!? What is so amazing about that direction that everyone needs to get there?)

Headed off on my quest towards Spokane, Washington. First stop was Athol, just south west of Sandypoint, where the UP mainline crosses the BNSF. Exce...

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Mar 2011 10

Day 26: Kalispell, MT to Sandypoint, ID

Looking for motels in Hungry Horse: While desperately seeking a motel the previous night I passed through the town of Hungry Horse. Cool name huh. I pulled into a nicely lit up & friendly looking motel there and went into the office. "We reserve the right to ..." and "NO REFUNDS!" notices covered every surface in the office. I rang the bell. After a several minutes the proprietor came out looking annoyed. I said I was after a room for the night; he gave me a look like I'd asked if they sold camels or something! He wanted $50, which is ok but not great. I asked to see the room first. "Don't show rooms after dark" was his answer. What?! It was 7:30pm, hardly that late, but hey if you want to turn down a paying customer..?! I gave up at the point and walked out on him. (Reviews on Google usually mention that the guy at the office is grumpy, ha)

Back in the land of Kalispell MT and friendly motels, I woke up and had breakfast while reading the local newspaper. It's intere...

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Mar 2011 9

Day 25: Essex, MT to Kalispell, MT

Good morning Montana! Morning started a bit early when at 5am I woke up shivering… heater had stopped working in the night and things had gotten rather chilly inside. Despite my best attempts the heater was still dead, out of gas or something. So found a spare quilt and put on the puny electric heater, which did the trick.

Compare this to last night and see the difference that having a heater on can make! I could hear the snow sliding off all night.

No fresh snow over night, though my track had filled in a wee bit. Went and had pancakes for breakfast and had to pay in cash as the satellite dish was now hanging on by a single bolt or something and aiming at the opposite hill, so no internet at all. Not even the slightest hope of web.

There was a train grinding its way through the many snow sheds above the Snow Slip Inn when went to hop in the car, so I headed off towards West Glacier to try and catch it. Well "try" isn...

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