Bicycling and hiking in northwest Oregon, page 3

Page 1: Columbia River Gorge and biking to Seaside
Page 2: Biking from Seaside to Cape Meares
Page 3: Museums, Forest Park, and Mount Saint Helens

Thursday, September 7

This was a beautiful day to be by the beach, with clear skies and warm air. We all walked along the beach and I jogged for a while before we drove about 20 miles down to the Oceanside Aquarium in Newport. Newport is where we had originally planned to end our bike tour. The aquarium is focused on animals that live in the rivers and ocean near Oregon, all the way from filter feeders and crustaceans to birds and sea lions. The best part of the aquarium is the "Passages of the Deep" exhibit, where a series of acrylic tubes lets visitors walk through water tanks filled with rockfish, sharks, bat rays and other big creatures. Unfortunately, I was too busy holding Daniel to take pictures of that exhibit.

After another long drive we are back in Hillsboro, and we are not sure how to continue our vacation tomorrow. We might take a tour of Portland.

Sara, Kathy and the kids on the nearly empty Gleneden Beach.

Daniel watching the waves roll in.

Watching sea lions.

Kathy and Daniel looking through a large, cylindrical fish tank.

A thorny, red, caterpillar-like sea creature. He's about a foot long.

Sitting on a dolphin statue in the children's play area.

Friday-Saturday, September 8-9

Kathy and I have spent the last couple days hiking because our bike is still out of service. We took our bike to a good bike shop near Portland on Friday morning, but they couldn't get us riding again. They cleaned out and lubricated our hub but it still wouldn't engage, and replacement parts for our old-model hub weren't in stock at the store.

On Friday we hiked in Portland's Forest Park. The park is more than 5000 acres of forested hills along the west bank of the Willamette River, and it's the biggest natural forest within a U.S. city. It's a very green forest with big, broadleaf trees covered with moss, and the forest floor is covered with ferns and bushes. We saw a lot of what we thought were wild blueberries, but we weren't brave enough to eat them - I've heard that half of all blue-colored berries are poisonous.

Kathy on Forest Park's 30-mile-long Wildwood Trail.

Stopping for lunch in Forest Park.

St. Johns bridge over the Willamette River and Cathedral Park in Portland.

Playing peek-a-boo with Daniel in Cathedral Park.

Today we drove into Washington State and hiked near Mount St. Helens. We didn't have time to hike to the volcano crater, nor the gear - safety goggles and dust masks are recommended. Instead we hiked Lava Canyon, a river canyon with lots of waterfalls because of various lava flows over the years. The volcano itself dominates the views in the area, but the top of Mount St. Helens was in a cloud so we couldn't see its full height.

At the end of the day Daniel fell asleep in my backpack. He is so, so tired even though we put him to sleep in a crib at his normal bedtime each night. Vacations are hard on him, and it will probably take him a week to recover from this trip.

Mount Saint Helens partially obscured by clouds. Looking closely at the front of the mountain, you can see the trench carved out by a mudflow that poured down the mountain and out to where I took this picture.

A small pool in Lava Canyon. The river is named Muddy River, but minerals in the water give it a blue color.

Waterfalls in Lava Canyon.

A suspension bridge crossing Lava Canyon.

Hiking the Lava Canyon trail.

Daniel sleeping at the end of our hike.

Sunday, September 10

For our last day in Oregon we drove to McMinnville, about 35 miles from Hillsboro, to visit the Evergreen Aviation Museum. Kathy has always liked aviation. The centerpiece of the museum is the H-4 Hercules, usually called the "Spruce Goose." For a long time it was the largest aircraft ever flown, and back when it was built it was 6 times larger than the next largest airplane. Because of shortages of aluminum and steel during World War 2, the plane is made of birch wood and glue. It's so big that other planes at the museum are parked beneath its wings, and it was hard to get a good photograph of the Spruce Goose.

Tonight we packed up our car while babysitting Evan so that Randy and Sara could have a night out. We really liked seeing Oregon, though it was disappointing for our bike to breakdown partway through the trip.

Kathy beside a 1950's sport plane. She would love to fly little planes like this one.

The front of the H-4 Hercules "Spruce Goose" seaplane. It has four engines on each wing. The plane was designed to carry tanks, soldiers and supplies across the Atlantic during World War 2 because German submarines were sinking many trans-atlantic cargo ships. The war ended before the plane was finished.

The wings of the Spruce Goose are so high that other aircraft are on display beneath them, including a DC-3 passenger plane.

The top of the tail is more than 79 feet high, making the Spruce Goose the world's tallest airplane.

The Ford Tri-Motor, an early commercial passenger plane. The interior upholstery was very fancy, but this plane gave a rough ride and was so noisy that earplugs were given to the passengers.


Page 1: Columbia River Gorge and biking to Seaside
Page 2: Biking from Seaside to Cape Meares
Page 3: Museums, Forest Park, and Mount Saint Helens