We are usually warm weather spring breakers (Florida, that is) but decided to visit our friends the Brooks and the Humphreys way out west in Portland, Oregon instead. We flew out last Thursday and proceeded to have a wonderful experience exploring Portland, the surrounding environs and mucho gaming with our friends.
On Friday, we spent the day in downtown Portland with the Brooks. We visited OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry). OMSI is very hands-on and engaging for all ages. If you are ever in Portland, you need to visit this place, especially if you have kids. Following our visit to OMSI, we parked downtown, walked, had lunch and visited Powell’s — the largest independent book store in the world. I don’t know if it is truly the world’s largest or not, but it is big! They sell new and used books. Our local Half Price Books pales in comparison. In the evening, Chris and I met KC for dinner. Chris ran out to the airport to pick up Jacob who was returning from Space Camp.
Games Played: Roma, Rocketville, Fairy Tale, Mystery Rummy: Jack the Ripper, YINSH
We packed up and headed out to the coast with the Brooks for a long weekend of gaming and sight-seeing. Saturday was mostly games. The kids played a scenario from Descent while Chris and I worked through a play of Rommel in the Desert. In the evening, we played a short game of Duel of Ages. We called it early because the kids were completely exhausted.
Games Played: Loot, Samurai, Rommel in the Desert, Duel of Ages
We intended to hit the tide pools at Yaquina Head, but the weather did not cooperate. We also planned to visit the aquarium in Newport and moved on to that instead. This is the aquarium that was once home to Keiko. Another pleasant facility, the aquarium has hands-on areas and walk-thru tanks with fish swimming above and below you as you walk through the tunnels that pass through the tanks. We had lunch a 50’s style diner called Flashbacks before heading back to the house and more games.
Games Played: Industrial Waste, DVONN, Plunder, Caylus, Time’s Up
After closing up the house, the Brooks headed back to Portland while we went back to Yaquina Head for another go at the tide pools. The weather was more cooperative this time. We spent the late morning exploring the tide pools. There are lots of sea critters to view including starfish, urchins and anemones. After the tide pools, we ventured back into Newport for lunch at a local seafood restaurant and some exploration along the harbor in Newport before driving back to Portland.
Games Played: Dungeonville, Traumfabrik
Jill, the boys and I drove into Washington to see Mt. St. Helens. It is a spectacular sight to behold up close. Even after 26 years, the scars left by the eruption are readily visible. This was the first mountain the boys had seen up close. In the evening, Chris and I went to his group’s game night and met some of his gaming friends. We had a fine time playing Vinci and followed it up with a quick game of High Society where I was creamed when the end condition was suddenly triggered after I bid big in an auction. Rats!
Games Played: Magic, Vinci, High Society
We spent the day closer to Portland. We visited the End of the Oregon Trail museum. We saw a demonstration on how cedar was used for many things (including building shelter) by the Native Americans and the pioneers that settled in the area. We toured the museum and saw a short film about the Oregon Trail before heading northeast into the Columbia River Gorge. We visited Multnomah Falls. Tristan, Logan and I hiked about half the trail to the top of the falls before returning and driving over to the Bonneville Dam and visiting the fish hatchery where the fish (salmon, sturgeon and rainbow trout) population for the Columbia River basin is managed. Jill visited with Rita in the afternoon and we all had some great pizza and games with KC in the evening.
Games Played: Walk the Dogs
Great vacation! It was a nice mix of sight-seeing and just plain relaxing with friends. A special thank you Chris and Julie for opening your home to us — your hospitality was fantastic!