We got up extra early this morning to get out of Seattle before the March For Our Lives kicked off and shut down all the streets. We were all down stairs, bags in hand, and I was off to find the nearest National Car Rental. I wasn’t happy when I rented our chariot, that would be whisking us from Seattle down to San Francisco via the 101, because I was told that our rental would be a Toyota Camry. Nothing against a Camry but just not comfortable enough for my 6’4″ frame. And they didn’t offer minivans with unlimited mileage. I promptly arrived at the rental office at 7:45am to pick up my full size Toyota Camry, but was very surprised when he offered me a 2018 Chevy Malibu. At first I wasn’t too sure about this one either, but after inspecting the vehicle to verify that it would hold all of our bags, and that the kids would be comfortable in the back. I said “let’s do it!” I must admit the car rides very very nice and my pops is smiling down on me knowing that I’m driving a Chevy.

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Our chariot and if you look close you might notice crazy.

Driving south on US 5 we were amazed at the site of Mt Rainier. Standing at an amazing 14,411′, it seemed like the mountain was following us due to its sheer size.

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This picture does it no justice. Especially when in a car going 70mph.

We then started seeing signs for Mount St Helens and Briana and I figured, why not…we’re here and it wouldn’t take us too far out of our way. We stopped in to the Mount St Helens Visitor Center and found that because we weren’t driving a 4-wheel drive vehicle that we would only be able to make it half way up the mountain and wouldn’t be able to get a good view. But we decided to give it a try to see what we can see from the road.

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Mount St Helens Visitor Center, which is approx 45 miles away from the mountain.

On our way up the mountain you could see remnants from the pyroclastic flow from the eruption on May 18, 1980. We drove until we hit the snow line and decided to not push it. So we turned around and continued our way to Portland. But not before we saw a coyote running up the mountain side.

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I can’t imagine what May 18, 1980 was like.

Once back on US 5 the rain set in and made for a dreary drive into Portland. But we got our “Entering Oregon” sign.

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Just a little wet.

We were able to check-in early at the Hampton Inn & Suites, which I have to admit, is MONEY! Great room, great service, and even better…a great pool that Kiley and I enjoyed after our day on the town.

While checking in we asked for some advice on where to eat for dinner, they recommended Mama Mia Trattoria. We schlepped our bags up to our room. Grabbed our rain coats and ventured out to see what the Portland Saturday Market was all about. But not before we tried to grab a donut at the famous Voodoo Doughnut.

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However, the line was at least an hour long and the girls weren’t in the mood to wait it out, especially since it was raining. So we continued to the Market and perused for about an hour or so. If you’re into people watching, this is the place for you. We then tried our luck again at Voodoo. But once again we weren’t down for waiting. I jumped on my phone and made a quick reservation at Mama Mia and off we went.

Got seated right away. Sienna ordered her usual, spaghetti and meatballs, Kiley spaghetti with marinara sauce, Briana the minestrone, and I the Seafood Pasta. DELISH!!! And I think the girls agree.

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They do sometimes get along!

The one thing that I truly love about Portland is the art. From the tattoos that you see all over town, to the many galleries, to the sculptures, to the mural’s. It feels like art is a main part of Portlands culture.

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One of many mural’s in Portland.

After dinner we made our way back to visit the famous Powell’s Books. Its the worlds largest independent book store. And its HUGE! Takes up a whole city block. Sienna loved this place and both girls purchased a book. I, not an avid reader, was overwhelmed by the sheer size of the place. But it was cool just walking from room to room. Great people watching here as well.

Tomorrow we hit the Oregon coast and Rt 101.