Organ Pipe National Park

Organ Pipe National Park

About Me

I purchased "Sadie''s House On Wheels "in late 2007 and loved traveling in a motor home so much that I went on the road full time in late 2008. I started writing this blog to help me remember all the wonder places I have been and it allows me to share those places with my family and friends. Summer of 2013 I decided to hang up the keys for a while and moved back into my stick house. After nearly two years, I am on the road again.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Portland area June 4-11

We were able to get an early start and meandered towards Portland  on Highway 22.   There are several lakes and campgrounds along the way, which warrant more exploring, but we wanted to get to Portland by night fall.  I'm sure we will return to Detroit Lake or Suttle Lake sometime down the road.

Gateway Elks has overnight parking with hookups and is located close to the train and bus.  We settled in and then hopped the train to downtown Portland.  Us "old people" pay only $1.00 for a ticket that has a time limit, but there was plenty of time to head downtown and see some sites before it got too dark.

The Grand Floral Parade takes place every June in downtown Portland and it just happened to be on Saturday.  Joel's daughter agreed to meet us at 8:30 A.M. at the Rose Quarter Square which is where the train stops.  Yikes!  That meant we should be at the train station near Gateway by 7:30 A.M. because we were not sure how crowded the train would be due to the parade.  It turned out extra trains were running and we were just a head of the crowd. Also, because we are considered "old" we qualified for an all day pass for $2.00 each.  What a deal!

The parade didn't start until 10:00 so we had plenty of time to wander around and find a good spot after the train arrived at the square and met up with Jennie.  We found a great viewing spot. For the first time in a very long time I didn't have   anybody standing in front of me and blocking my view. So get ready for lots of pictures.  Just kidding.  I'll just post some of the highlights.

While waiting for Jennie to arrive we saw this little plane buzzing along with the Portland skyline in the background. 

It was pretty early and even the parade participants lined up for Starbucks .
The motorcycle brigade was also getting ready.
As were all the rodeo queens. Look how decked out she and her horse are. Look at all of the flowers!
I was fascinated by the flowers on the hoofs of this horse.
Then there was the Mexican cowboy with his lariat.  He was kind enough to perform for me.
The parade had a lot of beautiful floats.
and lots of international and colorful presence
Below is the "Play It One More Time Again" band.  They are all local volunteers who play instruments, perform as a drill squad and baton squad.  At one time there were over 500 hundred volunteer participants but numbers have dwindled to several hundred. You'll see they got their name as you look at the  four pictures below.

Did you pickup on the ages?  These are not high school students.

Alaskan Airlines was one of the major sponsors and their float was pretty impressive, but
I think the guys were more interested in these participants following the float. We were located near the beginning of the parade which is about 10 miles long.  Can you image walking all that way in heels towing luggage?
There were ponies and other animals
like llamas
Remember the little airplane in the earlier picture.  He was still buzzing along.
The Centennial Float.  This was the centennial of the parade, so there was cause for celebration.
Portland has close ties with Asian communities as evidenced by these colorful participants.
Then there was the Scottish bagpipes (they apparently got enough caffeine from Starbucks earlier)  as well as many other bands.
Did I mention this parade is billed as the cleanest parade on earth?  There were many horses along the route and horses, well,... leave apples, so after every group of horses, the sanitation wagon came along and cleaned up and then spread roses to mark the area.  This was one of the clean up crews.
As a side note,  before the parade started, garbage bags were distributed to the participates and asked to please put all trash in the bags to be picked up at the end of the parade.What I didn't realize is that the garbage bags were to be thrown in the street
and the clean up crew came along immediately behind the last parade participate, but that was not all.
Immediately behind the pickup crew came came the street washers! I barely had time to get out of the way or get a bath!
This parade is definitely a family function.  There were lots of families with small children and between parade exhibits the kids were allowed to go out in the street and play.  Most had chalk and had drawn graffiti on the asphalt...i.e. hopscotch squares and funny faces.   I guess this is one of the reason the street cleaner came through so quickly.  Anyway, it sure makes for clean streets!

We headed over to Pioneer Square and caught a nice concert by the Gay Men's Choir.  Very impressive.
But was more interesting, were these displays to bring awareness to help the hungry.  Different organizations were competing for recognition.  It was hard to read the lettering, but the camera really picked it out.

The day was not over yet, so we headed down to the water front and watched the dragon races.  This was all new to me.  It is really popular and many, many teams sign up to participate.  They race in heats with four boats competing.  The dragon boats are rotated between the teams.  It is really a big deal here, and fun to watch.
One of the dragon boats up close.
Well, it had been a very long day and it was time to catch the train back to the Gateway Elks.  This time we weren't so lucky.  Everyone must have decided to return about the same time so we had to wait a while for a free space,  and then when we got on the it was really packed.  I had flash backs of the "chicken buses" in Guatemala.

Tomorrow is Joel's birthday so we will be returning to the city to pick up Jennie and meet up with Bradley for birthday celebrations. Stay tuned.

1 comment:

  1. You were certainly lucky to hit that parade. It looked like a good one. Love the dragon boats.