Is it really that time already?

Wow, how the time has flown! It’s Halloween already which means one more sleep and I board the first of 3 planes for my trip home. The long haul of 27 hours from Portland, Or, USA to Hobart, Tas, Australia.

My two + weeks have been the most incredible I’ve ever experienced. I’ve seen some of the world’s infamous sights – Grand Canyon, Sedona, Mt St Helens – and some of the most beautiful country side, rugged coastline and I can’t forget the stunning colours as the trees change.

I’ve eaten new foods – or new combinations – driven on the wrong side of the road – quite the strangest experience I’ve had for some time – been called British on several times – not an issue at all – and being drilled about all things Australian – from my friend’s husband mainly – christened myself ‘the gift shop queen’ and amused a new friend with my ‘fancy selfies’

The last three days have been very long, and very busy. Long times in the car, some bad coffee, lots of laughing and the destination becoming the journey. Or was it that the journey became the destination?
Either way, good times with my friend, her husband and sister.

One day I’m on top of a mountain, the next I’m attending my friends wedding.
The next week, I’m in the snow on top of a lava flow, while the following day finds me standing on the beach in front of the Pacific.
And just over a week before I’m wearing shorts and getting a tan in 30C heat in the desert surrounded by cactus.

I have hundreds of photos to go through and if I get time to look at them properly now, I will spam your inbox with numerous posts. If not, then when I get home and find my head space, as I’ll be hitting the ground running.
For now, please enjoy a few shots of my latest little adventures.

Portland, Or

After the Japanese Gardens we headed through the city and down to the Portland Saturday Market on Waterfront Park. Wandering the stalls of this artisan market, there were some wonderful products for sale, but nothing that really stood out for me to buy as a souvenir – or that I was going to risk losing on entry on arrival into Australia. As a local or American resident I would have spent a small fortune collecting items.
Crossing the street I fished out the first US dollars I have touched in the time I’ve been here and bought myself an elephant ear. No, no elephants were hurt in the process. It is a large deep-fried donut like food, only flat and with very little ‘cake’ texture in the middle. A sweet bread almost, covered in cinnamon sugar. Totally bad for you, but it tastes oh so good.
After that we wandered a few blocks of the city. The buildings are a beautiful mix of old and new, and because this is new to me, I just had to get pictures.
We then wandered across Steel Bridge, 1 of 9 (or 12 depending on where you count them from) that cross the Wilamette River before walking back to the car and taking a quick drive through Fort Vancouver.
And just in time too, the wind picked up and it started raining.

It’s now time for a wine (I found a nice ‘import’, read Australian made) and a light meal, chilling at home nice and early (read, before 6pm). I say a light meal because aside from the elephant ear, we started the day with a very American breakfast – a pancake wrapped omelette & bacon, massive hash brown and a side of biscuits and gravy. Huge and oh so much food. See below comment about the elephant ear as to why there is no picture just yet. Neither of us could finish it and so the doggy bag was packed and brought home for her husband.


I have a picture of the elephant ear on my phone, but it was playing silly buggers and wasn’t uploading. I promise it will be posted here for you.
Jen

Japanese Gardens – Portland, Or.

This morning broke with overcast weather, that threatened all sorts of fun, but was thoughtful enough to play nice. It was decided we head over to Portland and see the Japanese Gardens there before doing the Saturday Markets.
There are Japanese Gardens and then there is Portland’s Japanese Gardens. Omg! Even though there were quite a few people there, it was not noisy and very peaceful place to be.
We spent a lovely hours collecting photos and memories.

The local plants that surrounded the feature of the Japanese worked in such a way as to make the Japanese aspect stand out as the point of difference.

Did you say volcano? Yes I did!

Today was another long one, with a trip to see one of America’s and indeed the world’s, famous volcanos.
Mt St Helens.
The drive there took us through some of the most beautiful countryside I’ve seen in a long time, and the changing colours of Autumn made it even more spectacular. The colours here are so much richer and vibrant than we have at home in Australia, or at least where I live, and are just magical to look at.
As we climbed in elevation the scenery changed to that of desolation and devastation but one coming back full of re growth and life.
Each time we stopped for photos the air was a few degrees cooler, and become increasingly sharper as we approached the end of our drive.
We were talking about the valley below, and a waterfall across the valley when I saw peeking through the clouds my first glimpse of the iconic mountain. To say my reaction was excited is putting it mildly. I was like a kid in a candy shop. Check it out, although there is not much to see, it blew my mind. To be right there, to see something so majestic and is the best feeling.
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From that point, around each corner almost was another view, another chance to see the mountain, covered in snow, and looking resplendent.
Right at the end of the road was Windy Ridge Lookout which I climbed while my friends stayed in the car (they had done this before) and it was cold. Like biting winds that went right through you and put colour in your cheeks, freezing your fingers.
By the time I got back to the car park my head was spinning from the altitude (and excitement) and my throat was sore from the cold air, but four layers and a thick scarf meant I was toasty warm otherwise. The wind was strong enough to notice. but not so I had to brace myself against it.
Let me tell you, there is nothing like the biting cold and being in such a place to make you really feel alive. The grin on my face at the top was the result. I was in heaven.
And I got there right in time. As I was finishing taking my pictures, the cloud came in low, smothering the mountain.

So much has happened since Sedona, Az.

It’s been 3 days since I left Arizona and my last post here, but it feels like a lifetime already. We spent a lot of time in Seattle – a beautiful city I could imagine myself living in. After a lovely seafood lunch right on the water, a visit to the Space Needle was a must (actually, that was my idea, I really wanted to visit) and the view was amazing, the city was green and an eclectic mix of old and new.

Monday us girls went and did some retail therapy – you will see the results of that one day when I get home. And today, Tuesday, us girls went on a road trip up the gorge and checked out some of the most amazing scenery and waterfalls ever. Parts of the trip reminded me of home, which is not surprising. Oregon is about the same latitude as Tassie. It’s kind of a same same but different scenario.

Here are a few pictures of what’s been happening, and hopefully I’ll be able to post again soon.