Back in Portland for a Day

Steve & Mairleen

As we feared but expected, Mount St. Helens was a no show. The rain, although light, descended on the mountain the day we got there and we knew we would miss out on the prize. Oh but we tried though. We started off toward the summit under cloudy but dry skies. About 30 miles into the drive to the top, we entered a fog bank that was thick as mud. Visibility was down to maybe 5 ft. and we decided there wasn’t much point in continuing, so we turned back.

So since I was stuck back in camp (Uh, our RV park), I got to know our nearest neighbors a little. I started talking with Steve and Mairleen and learned they have been traveling and living in their 5th wheel for the past 2 years. The difference with them is that they are not retired. Steve decided rather than stay in California where there is no work and lose everything, he would travel to where there was work. As an iron worker and millwright, he has enough skills to fit many needs. But it is a tough life living and working on the road. He had to leave his young daughter at home with his ex-wife. I could see the separation caused him pain. His RV was giving him constant grief and work was not plentiful despite the constant travel. He was doing what he had to in order to provide. He was clearly down, but still upbeat – not willing to give in. I wanted him and Mairleen in the project and he was happy to be a part of it. It is difficult to see people struggle, but important to show what they must do to get by. I have noticed in most RV parks, quite a few folks like this, but have been reluctant to photograph them. Seemed like an intrusion to me. In some parks, the majority of those staying there were working people. It is an aspect I know I need to include more of, so I will have to get past these feelings.

But it was time to get back to Portland. The Newspace Center for Photography show opened on Friday, October 7th, so we left the RV in the park and drove the Rav 50 miles into Portland. A night in a motel and an evening out would make a nice change of pace and getting to actually see a show I’m in would be fun.

Me & my Print at the Newspace Opening.

Newspace Center for Photography.

And it was fun. Overall the show was quite good. It’s got to be tough for the jurors to pick a cohisive show from so many different styles and genre’s of photography. But they did it and it was fun to attend. I got to connect with both Chris Bennett, Executive Director, and Laura Valenti, Program Director. I’ve had portfolio reviews with each of them and both were very supportive of the work I was doing. I was hoping to meet up with Mary Ann and Deborah, two ladies we met at the Lazy Daze get together, but somehow we missed each other in the gallery. A real bummer because they are a fun and lively couple. This was a fund raising event for Newspace as well. There was a raffle and a membership dirve. Mary and I didn’t win any of the raffle prizes, but since we were leaving town the next day, it didn’t really matter. Afterwards, we found dinner at an Italian resutrant called Denicolas. The first clue that this was good traditional Italian was the enormous fellow that was coming out of the resturant as we entered.I could not have squeezed in sideways to get by him. Inside there were probably 8-10 other couples at various booths. With each couple, one or both were also enormous. This tells you the food is not only good, but also plentiful. And it was! After dinner we were asked if we wanted to bring our leftover bread home with us as well as the leftovers. How many restaurants do that? On the way out, I noticed a photo of the owner and his wife – yes, both also enormous.

Mt. Adams from the Larch Mountain lookout.

In the morning, we resisted another visit to Voodoo Doughnuts and settled for a rather mundane Continental breakfast at the Days Inn. It was a beautiful day – the only one for the entire week – and we decided to do a little sightseeing tour before heading back to St. Helens. We were hoping for some fall color along the Columbia River, but it is late here. But the day was so nice, we decided on a drive up to Larch Mountain. We had no expectations, but did hope for color at the higher elevations. What we got was an amazing panoramic view from a viewpoint at the top. It was still somewhat cloudy, but clear enough to see Mt. Adams above the clouds. On a clearer day, we should have also been able to see St. Helens, Rainier, and Jefferson. The clouds obscured the others on this day though.

The Columbia River from Larch Mountain Lookout.

Columbia River from the south side.

After the mountain, we drove the road along the Columbia river down one side, stopping for lunch at Multnomah Falls Lodge, before crossing the river and driving up the other side, then headed back to our RV home at Mount St. Helens.

View of the Columbia from the north side.

The wet weather has finally caught up with us. We wanted to spend a few days around Mt. Rainier, but seeing how the conditions are at St. Helens, and seeing the amount of rain forecast for the next week, we decided to skip Rainier and head to the eastern side of the state. East of the Cascades is more desert than rain forest. We are headed for the Palouse area of southern Washington. This area is all farmland with rolling hills of wheat as far as the eye can see. I’ve seen photos of the area and have been wanting to visit the area for several years.

We headed out on another rainy morning and hoped to get past Rainier before it got too hairy. We managed to stay ahead of the rain most of the way, even having time to stop to photograph at a small lake and park before heading over the mountain. As we approached a pass near Rainier, Mary yelped me to a stop. At a large viewpoint just east of Rainier, we got a glimpse of the mountain before it was enveloped in clouds again. It was something to see, even if it was brief.

Lake view.

A Tree at the Lake.

Mt. Rainier for a moment.

We made it to Colfax by 3 P.M. and searched around for a campground. There wasn’t much. We drove past a camper sign at one point, but it led only to the waste treatment plant. In town, the only RV park we found was a real dump next to an even dumpier motel. Our last choice was at the fairgrounds about five miles back outside of town the way we came. We missed the turnoff on our way in to town, so had to drive back there to find out if it would be suitable. Turns out it’s pretty nice. We are the only one’s here. The water was being turned off for the season while we were there, but the workers said we were welcomed to stay and showed us where to fill our tanks. We do have 30 amp power and a pretty nice location to boot. For $10 bucks a night, how could we go wrong?

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