Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Urban Camping

For the past four Memorial Day weekends, we've had a standing tradition of camping with my brother Dale and his family at Lake Billy Chinook.  However, this past Memorial Day holiday, we broke that streak.  The weekend's weather forecast called for rain and very cold temps in central Oregon.  The mountains were supposed to get snow down to 4000 feet!  Tent camping in the rain and cold is not my idea of fun, so Roger cancelled our reservation and invited Dale to come visit us.

Max and astronaut JJ

Dale's two boys, Max and JJ, really love to visit OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry).  So after they arrived on Saturday, we went to check it out.

Nancy, Max and JJ trying to use a slide rule

It's been many years since I've been to OMSI.  I'd forgotten what a fun place it is.  Of course, for two young boys it is perfect.  The guys got right to work building earthquake-resistant structures, paper airplanes, and paddlewheel boats.  And it took a long time to get them out of the chemistry and physics labs.

Cody helps JJ with his boat

Cody was still home, and was happy for an excuse to join us at OMSI.  I think he had just as much fun as the younger boys.

Cody and I try to build an arch bridge

I even got in on some of the creative fun.  Cody and I attempted to build an arch bridge.  OMSI had a exhibit that consisted of a bunch of soft, numbered blocks.  Supposedly if you put the blocks together in the right order, they would form an arch bridge that could stand up on its own.  Well, we tried three times to assemble the arch, but the blocks always came tumbling down!

Roger's catch of the day

While the rest of us were having fun at OMSI, Roger was out on the Columbia River salmon fishing.  Luck was with Roger that day, because he came home with two salmon!  It's difficult enough to catch one salmon, let alone two.  So Roger was super-happy with his fishing trip.

Max and JJ show their enthusiasm for salmon

And our group was happy too, because we got to have fresh salmon for dinner!  Roger put the fish on the grill, and we had ourselves a cookout.  It was just like camping - except we had all the comforts of home.

Happy family photo

The next morning, the boys wanted to visit Oaks Amusement Park.  We had a little time to kill before the park opened, so I took everyone to Portland's Rose Garden at Washington Park.  The skies were cloudy, so we missed seeing the iconic view of Mt. Hood.  But the park was green and lush, and the rhodies were blooming.

No roses yet

However, the roses were NOT blooming!  Usually they are in full flower mode by the end of May, but our cold and wet spring has delayed everything.  But the park was still a beautiful place to be, and the boys had fun exploring and performing on the amphitheater stage.

Max and JJ have their ride bracelets and are ready for action!

Then it was off to the place Max and JJ were dying to see - Oaks Park!  Oaks Park is a small amusement park located on the east banks of the Willamette River.  As with OMSI, it had been several years since I'd been here.  It was great to have the excuse to visit again.  Dale got the boys their ride wristbands, and Max immediately headed to the roller coaster.

Max having fun on the roller coaster

Max loves wild rides and jumped right on the "Looping Thunder" roller coaster.  He came off the ride laughing, ready to do it again.  Cody and I followed the boys around and had fun watching them experience the rides.  But it was a really cold day and I was starting to get chilled walking around outside.  It sure didn't feel like Memorial Day weekend weather

Everyone watching Max on another wild ride

Oaks Park also has a very cool old-fashioned roller rink.  It has a original wooden floor, and a beautiful restored organ that sits on a platform above the rink.  The boy's ride wristbands included a free session of skating, so they decided to try it out.  I was more than happy to go inside and escape the cold weather!

Even though I didn't skate, it was fun to sit on the sidelines and watch.  Nancy and the boys donned roller skates and hit the floor.  It took a little bit before Max was able to move without clinging to the side, but JJ enjoyed the security of the wall.  Dale, Cody and I had fun watching the man operating the organ.  He sat in an enclosed booth with a viewing window.  It was amazing to watch this guy!  He was surrounded by three tiers of keys.  Both of his hands (and probably his feet too but we couldn't tell) flew across the keyboards, playing all the old favorites.

The boys ride the "Frog Hopper"

Sadly, time flew by way too fast, and soon it was time for Dale's family to head back home.  But it sure was a fun weekend.  My nephews gave me the excuse to visit a couple of places I haven't been to since my kids were young.  Although we didn't "camp" in the conventional manner, our families got together and had fun in the urban campground of Portland.  Sometimes traditions are meant to be broken!


1 comment:

  1. Looks like an awesome time! I bet those roses just explode the first chance they get :) And what fish!!!


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