Monday, August 31, 2015
Knoxville, Tennessee to Portland, Oregon

We flew out of Knoxville at noon Eastern time, changed planes in Atlanta, and arrived in Portland, Oregon, at 7:00 p.m. Pacific time. The flight was actually pretty interesting for once. It was a clear day, enabling us to see a lot of this vast country. Once we reached Missouri, we flew roughly above the Oregon Trail. Much of the terrain is pretty inhospitable. Those pioneers had to be tough.

On our approach to Portland, the plane flew low over the Columbia River Gorge, and we enjoyed great, clear views north to Mt. Adams and Mount St. Helens. The passengers on the south side of the plane had a really good view of Mt. Hood, but we only caught a glimpse.


Mt. Adams

Once landed, we took a shuttle bus to Budget Rent a Car's “on airport” location, actually several miles away, and picked up a decent looking but low powered black Kia Forte. It had a few scratches on it, but that's okay – We'll return it with a few more. Then we drove to our hotel, Hyatt Place Portland Airport/Cascade Station, located way closer to the airport than the rental car place. It's a very nice hotel with an indoor pool, free WiFi, and free hot breakfast, located less than a quarter mile from Portland's light rail. The rooms are spacious, with king-sized beds. Best of all, I had a free reward night from my Hyatt credit card. Score! The plane tix were also free with our Delta SkyMiles. Double score!

After settling in, it was time for a liquor store run. We quickly found Rose City Liquor Store, two miles from the hotel, past a row of nudie bars, in a not-so-nice part of town. It was a good store, though, with plenty of selection. On a recommendation from a worker there, we selected a 100%-rye whiskey made by Stein Distillery in Joseph, Oregon. It was excellent and flavorful.


A good local rye

For dinner we went to Red Robin, a chain restaurant we weren't familiar with, for some killer gourmet burgers and local brews, Deschutes Mirror Pond Pale Ale, Deschutes Black Butte Porter (best one), and Mac & Jack's African Amber. Tomorrow we start the vacation in earnest!

Continue to September 1, 2015

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