Portland and the Empire Builder
24 hours in Portland is just enough time to walk most of the lively, downtown area. We spend the evening we arrived dropping our bags at the hotel and heading towards the Williamette River. There's a park along the water where bike messengers feverishly speed by while pedestrians take in the views. Nearby is the shopping district and Pioneer Square which, we learned, became the epicenter of downtown during its revitalization. We enjoyed dinner at one of the best Thai restaurants in the Northwest, Typhoon! Marc and the waitress convinced me to try the lemongrass clam chowder, and it did not disappoint.
We started the following morning enjoying breakfast at a Italian bakery before heading off to our church walking tour. Every block has beautifully constructed Gothic style churches over 100 years old. The next neighborhood we visited was the Pearl District, a hip locale of renovated warehouses, before grabbing our bags and making it back to the station in time to hop on the Empire Builder.
The first couple of hours we rode along the Colorado River Gorge. Pictures to follow as words cannot describe the beauty of the landscape. We woke up this morning to evergreen covered mountains sprinkled with snow. We wove in and out of the ranges, cutbacks and straight through Glacier National Park. Keeping an eye out for animal footprints proved successful because we eventually spotted a herd of about 20-30 golden brown elk less then 20 feet from our tracks.
Lunchtime is coming so we're off to the dining car. Have been enjoying the big picture windows in the lounge are all morning.