Formally dubbed “her city”, San Francisco is my daughter’s favorite destination, becoming hooked from her first visit at age 12. The city’s visitor’s  board proudly bestowed us with various perks upon learning of my travel business. Exploring the city from top to bottom, the time we spent and the memories we made are irreplaceable. Some might say, she liked having mom all to herself, without older siblings in tow.

The time had come to plan another San Francisco getaway 

Upon turning 17 and dealing with the daily stuggles of the teenager years,  it became essitiential to depart for the Gold Coast once again. The cost though, was substantially higher. Due to my new housing situation and the lack of disposable income, the realization had hit as to how unattainable this trip truly was.  Why not vacation in our own hometown? Not wanting to disappoint my youngest, this was the only solution. To my complete and utter surprise, she said yes!

  

 We turned my basement apartment into our “hotel room

Being descended of pioneers, and having never visited before, the obvious choice for our first stop was the End of the Oregon Trail Visitor Center in Oregon City. www.historicoregoncity.org  

Looking for the covered wagons, and pointing the car in that general direction we ventured out. The layout of the center was very impressive indeed. Dressed in period clothing, a docent meets you at the door with a map and gives directions on how to tour the museum.  Enjoy a hands-on experience of what life would have  been like for the pioneers crossing the Oregon Trail. A 3-D movie experience brings to life the history and passion of the pioneers whom were exploding into Oregon and California during the early 1800’s. 

With the many references to San Francisco,  the disappointment blossomed into excitement as our “vacation” turned out to be, not a plane ride, but less than a day’s drive away. 

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Venturing out for a bite to eat, we came across an A&W. Hunger turned into laughter as we our minds filled with the idea of actually being “out of town”. Painted on one of the walls at the A&W, was a mural of cars and people from the 1950’s. Lori’s, with it’s red leather seats and old fashioned soda jerks behind the bar, is a 50’s style diner. A favorite restaurant and a must stop on each visit to her city. With this realization and the numerous references to the city by the bay at the museum, thus began the idea of our faux San Francisco vacation. 

Next on the agenda was the Portland Aquarium. What a special treat. Walking through the various exhibits, laughing at the crazy looking fish, and feeding the stingrays, contentment officially set in. 

A package of Ghiradelli Chocolates for dessert ended our first day. Pondering what to experience the following day, the decision was made to take the hop on/hop off trolley tour. www.graylineofportland.net

  

“I learned things I never knew, and I’ve lived here over 50 years.”

Big pink, is Portland’s Hop on/Hop off bus system. A pink trolley that jaunts through the town showing off the sights and sounds of Portland. Wanting the full experience, we stayed on for the entire tour.  We hopped off at the International Rose Test Garden on the second loop. Sauntering through the historic and iconic gardens,  we literally took the time to stop and smell the roses.  

The following day brought us back to Nob Hill. Exploring the shops and strolling through the eclectic neighborhood, one feels the need for food. What is there to eat you ask? Well, bagels of course, another favorite pastime of San Francisco.

  

Looking back

When we reminisce of our faux San Francisco trip, it always brings smiles and laughter. Hence the time together, was enhanced by the love we share as mother and daughter. It truly does not matter whether you live near or far, or where you choose to travel.  Make the most of what you have, and you will find that sometimes, the best “Vacations” are those taken in your own backyard