Tomorrow morning I will be making the journey back to Michigan from the lovely west coast. It really is bittersweet – I have loved visiting all of my Oregonian friends, checking out the sites in OR and WA, visiting with my aunt and uncle in Washington, and traveling around with my mom for a bit. On the other hand, upon arriving in MI I will be reunited with my boyfriend, whom I haven’t seen for nearly two months since he has been road tripping the USA. I am sure we both have oodles of stories to share with one another. In addition, arriving back in Michigan means I will be heading up north to work at the summer camp that I have worked at for the past two years.
For my last day on the west coast, my mom and I explored Portland. Since we are both flying out of Portland (on separate flights), it just made sense to stay the night here in order to catch our flights in the morning.
It ended up being quite an exciting day with the Saturday Market, a trip to the Multnomah Falls, and the Starlight Parade in the evening.
We perused the Saturday market. I was able to find a nice burlap backpack (something I have been looking for). My mom found some artwork that she really enjoyed, and after debating how she was going to get it home, she finally decided to get it. I highly recommend the artist – her art work really is phenomenal. After the market we strolled over to the food trucks and then to Pioneer Square to enjoy our delicacies.
Next it was on to see one last bit of Oregon’s natural beauty before heading back to MI.
Along Historic Highway 30 on the way to Multnomah Falls, there are plenty of pull offs for other waterfalls and scenic viewpoints. We stopped at the Latourell Falls; the mere height of the falls was astonishing, and in combination with the roaring water the scene was breath-taking.
Arriving at Mutnomah Falls, I was surprised as to how touristy it is. Parking is very limited and congested. At the base of the falls is a gift shop, lounge, restaurant, and snack shop. It is a beautiful sight to see, but I would suggest also stopping at the less visited falls along the Colombia River for a more personal experience. **Note – there is little (if any) public transportation to Mutnomah Falls. My mom had rented a car while she was here (I would never do this – too expensive for my cheap traveling ways), but keep in mind the lack of public transportation to the falls when planning a trip here.
After the trip to the waterfalls we headed back into the city to see the evening’s Rose Festival events, which included the Starlight Parade. We grabbed drinks and dinner at The Rock Bottom Brewery, and strategically sat outside in order to watch the parade madness begin.
As soon as we finished dinner, we headed down to claim a spot on the parade route, but it was already extremely packed. We wondered around for a while watching the children be children. Finally, we decided it was best to find a spot overlooking the affair in a parking garage. **Hint — if you ever plan on going to the Starlight Parade, find a spot EARLY (this probably goes for any parade in any big city).
A 5k run also takes the course of the parade route, the Starlight Run. This run was actually very entertaining to watch because so many of the runners dress in silly, fun costumes. My favorite was four guys dressed as a 4-pack of beer, which also meant the were running connected to one another.
Finally, it was time for the parade to begin as we watched from our parking garage view three stories above the city. The pictures really don’t capture the energy of the evening. The combination of the lights, the people, and the constant sound of marching band music makes for a very lively scene.
Today was a great way to end an amazing trip. I hope to see the Pacific West Coast again. Hopefully, it won’t be so rainy, but somehow I doubt that. I guess you just have to love it for what it is!!!