Roadtrip To Portland – Part 1

Ever since my dilation procedure, I’ve been feeling great.  I decided I was in good enough shape to go on an overnight trip to Portland with a friend. He moved from Salt Lake City to Seattle, and needed a travel companion to keep him safe on the road. Originally my husband was going to go, but he ended up being scheduled on a trip of his own. It would consist of a drive to Portland and a flight back to SLC, all taking  a day and a half.

Because the vehicle would be jammed packed with his stuff, I didn’t have a lot of room to bring what I needed to travel with. I packed a small carryon suitcase, but he said it wouldn’t fit. I told him the only way I could pack lighter was to not bring my CPAP machine, and he said he could handle my snoring. I did pack a back of snacks…an insulated back with some Simply Gogurt, Laughing Cow cheese, shaved parmesean curls, grapes, and some sliced deli turkey.

We left SLC around 3:20 on Saturday with the plan to overnight in Baker City Oregon. After a pit stop in Burley, ID, Chris decided he wanted me to drive. He soon fell asleep, and I got to enjoy rural Idaho through a very gorgeous sunset. We got to our mediocre motel in Baker City around 9:45, having to adjust to Pacific time for a few hours before Daylight Savings hit.

We got back on the road around 7:45 am, and grabbed some breakfast. The motel offered a disappointing continental breakfast, but I couldn’t eat anything there. We went to McDonalds, and I got a sausage burrito. I opened up the tortilla, and ate some egg, cheese, and sausage. Chris was laughing at how little I was able to eat, especially as he downed 4 sausage biscuits. Funny to think that before surgery I could probably have eaten 2 or 3 of those biscuits.

Oregon Trail interpretive center Maybe it was from lack of sleep, or maybe because we were in a silly mood, but this road sign cracked us up. In Mormon culture, CTR stands for “choose the right.” We were joking that choosing the right is up for interpretation, and if you make the wrong choice, you’ll be sent to Hell’s Canyon.

It was an interesting day on the road. We had some light rain for the first hour of the drive, intermixed with partly cloudy sunny skies. When we got past La Grande and into the Blue Mountains, we got hit by a pretty crazy blizzard.

The Blue Mountains are notorious for snowstorms that pick up quickly and dump hard. Roads had not been plowed, and trucks were required to chain up. We slowed down to a crawl and followed the tracks in the snowy slush. There are some pretty steep downgrades, and we slid around a bit, but we made it through the worst of the storm, and it was raining by the time we went down “Cabbage Hill.” We stopped for some lunch outside of Pendleton, and I got a meatball sub at Subway. Of course, what I really only ate was a little sauce, cheese and nibbles of a meatball.

The rest of the drive to Portland was a mix between sunny skies and pouring rain. Driving along the Columbia River Gorge is one of my favorite parts of the drive to Portland. Lots of winding roads, little towns, elevation changes, dams and beautiful views. Right outside of Portland we stopped at the Multnomah Falls viewpoint. When we got into Portland, our first stop was at Voodoo Doughnuts.

To be continued…


  1. Joyce Watson says:

    Hi Nicole,
    I love keeping up with your Beauty & the Bypass blog. I am amazed at how you bounce back after your scary hospital procedures. You are amazing!

    Grandma Joyce Watson

  2. Nicole — went to my second support group meeting last week, and one of the factoids the doctor shared during his presentation was that as many as 20% (1 in 5) patients wind up with an esophagus that tightens up… so it looks like you aren’t the only one! Hope you’re feeling better.

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