Sunday, March 29, 2015

Remembering Mom

Chuck decided he wanted to come up to Vancouver to visit us for Beverly's birthday.  He wanted to go out to dinner in her honor.  He arrived in the late afternoon of her actual birthday.  He and Bill bought some flowers to go put at her grave.  Then we went out to happy hour with Bill's Rotary group for awhile before heading home for dinner.

I took Friday off from work to spend the day with them.  We ended up going to the Columbia River Gorge two days in a row to do some sightseeing.  I was surprised that we had never taken Chuck on what I call my "Gorge Waterfall Tour" before because it is one of my favorite things to do in the gorge.  Several waterfalls are close to the Columbia River Historic Highway so they are easy to get to for viewing.  We started off at Chanticleer Point to take in a view of Crown Point and Beacon Rock.  It is such a fantastic view of the Gorge from that spot.  Then we went to the Vista House at Crown Point to see the displays there.  Then on to the falls.  Being it was spring break in Oregon, Friday was a lot busier there than I had anticipated.  The parking lots at each of the falls were packed but we were able to find parking at Latourell Falls.  I have usually taken the lower trail to get to the falls in the past.  This time we took a trail that took us to the top of the falls and I think if we had hiked further, we would have found the upper falls.  But we weren't sure how far it was and I have a hard time climbing such steep inclines so we turned back. Hopefully it wasn't just a little ways further so that I would be disappointed to learn that I missed it.  We went to Bridal Veil Falls next.  I had not been there in a very long time.  It seems like every time that I had tried before, the trail was closed.  So I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was opened and hiked down to see it.  They had made some improvement to the trail but it was a pretty steep one as well.  We got quite the workout at those first two falls.  My Fitbit tracked it as going up 48 flights of stairs so that was a lot of incline.  We bypassed Wahkeena Falls because we couldn't find parking.  Bill let Chuck and I off at Multnomah Falls and Horsetail Falls long enough so we could take pictures and he just drove around until we were ready for a pickup since there was no parking at either of those places.  Chuck was thrilled to see them so I was pleased that he enjoyed it.  After all that hiking, we went to Hood River to the Cathedral Ridge Winery.  We had never been there before but we were pleasantly surprised at how good the wine was there.

Friday night we headed into Portland to celebrate Beverly's birthday with a nice dinner.  I had been wanting to go to Huber's Cafe for quite awhile now-ever since I heard about it on a program called "Cities of the Underworld".  Huber's is the oldest bar and restaurant in Portland and it has a very interesting history.  It was established in 1879 at a different location but has been at its current site since 1910.  It was owned by a German man by the name of Huber and he had a Chinese cook named Jim Louie.  At that time, there wasn't much seating there and if you bought a drink you got a free turkey sandwich and coleslaw.  Patrons would wander the bar with a drink in one hand and a sandwich in the other.  That was the start of turkey dinner being their specialty.  After Mr. Huber's death, Jim Louie managed the restaurant for the family and eventually the Louie family bought out the restaurant from the Huber family.  So it has been run by a Chinese family for a very long time which is surprising for such a truly traditional American restaurant.

The restaurant doesn't advertise it but it also has a bit of a shady past.  I would have to watch the Portland episode of "Cities of the Underworld" again to really get it totally right.  But it was part of Portland's shady past of Shanghai kidnappings, white slave trade, bootlegging, speakeasy, etc. over the years.  How much of it, it is hard to say.  I can't find any references to it on the internet but I do remember that it played a prominent part of the program where all of that was described as part of Portland's underground.

We spent a very enjoyable evening there.  We got a nice quiet table by the window on the restaurant side.  I did sneak over to the bar side for awhile to see what it was like as it appears to be the more famous portion of the restaurant.  The stained glass ceilings and wood paneling of that long ago era are quite impressive as well as all the old photographs and other memorabilia on the walls.  It bar is probably a more impressive room but it was pretty noisy in there so I think I made the right decision to make our reservation on the restaurant side.  I actually like a good traditional turkey dinner so I took advantage of having that for my dinner.  Bill had a pasta dish and Chuck the beef stroganoff.  Huber's also has a signature drink--Spanish coffee--that they make table side with great flare and flame.  Bill and I each ordered on to get the show.

Saturday was another day traveling out to the Gorge.  This time we headed to Stevenson for lunch at Bill's favorite spot there--the Big River Grill.  And he has found a beer that he is quite taken with at the Walking Man Brewery so we stopped at the brewery to have a bit of a taste and get a couple of growlers of beer.  We wondered out to Lyle hoping to go to a museum there but it wasn't open.  But we got a peek of the Klickitat River and went wine tasting at the Memaloose tasting room in Lyle before heading back home again.

It was a busy weekend but a lot of fun.  And I nice way to remember Beverly on her birthday.

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