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We’ve just finished the first day of our Northwest road trip.

Northwest road trip

It all began very early this morning.  We left the house at 4:50 a.m. in order to get to the airport on time for our 6:50 flight to Portland, Oregon.

While I have traveled to the Northwest twice, this was to be my first time in Oregon and I could hardly wait to explore Portland.

Many of you may know that I am crazy for roses and that my love for them inspired me to go to school to become a horticulturist.

International Rose Test Garden in Portland

So, it should come as no surprise that the International Rose Test Garden in Portland was our first stop.

International Rose Test Garden in Portland

It is not only a beautiful garden open to the public – it also serves an important function to test new roses to see how they do. The pink roses, above, were undergoing testing and as a result, not been named yet.  As far as I’m concerned, they deserve to pass – they were gorgeous and had healthy foliage.

International Rose Test Garden in Portland

I confess to having a preference for roses with multiple shades of color.

International Rose Test Garden in Portland

I loved the unique colors of this ‘Distant Thunder’ rose, don’t you?

International Rose Test Garden in Portland

The garden was large, but not overwhelming in its size. We were able to walk around and see the roses within an hour’s time.

International Rose Test Garden in Portland

There were all sorts of roses growing there from climbing, floribunda, hybrid tea, grandiflora, miniature and old-fashioned.

International Rose Test Garden in Portland

There were a few differences in the rose bushes that is not often seen in drier climates like the desert Southwest.

For one, we don’t see moss growing on rose canes.

International Rose Test Garden in Portland

Also, blackspot is a fungal disease that is prevalent in humid climates and while it is a problem in the humid climate of the Northwest, it isn’t often seen in the Southwest.

International Rose Test Garden in Portland

The peak bloom season for roses in Portland is still a couple of weeks away, but there were still plenty in bloom.

International Rose Test Garden in Portland

Almost as fun as enjoying the roses was seeing all the different types of people who came to visit these gardens, including this little girl who was having fun by the fountain.

International Rose Test Garden in Portland

Not surprisingly, I took over 200 photographs of roses and have more than I will need for upcoming rose articles. Who knows? I may create a rose calendar for my wall next year 🙂

William Shakespeare's sentiments

I happen to share William Shakespeare’s sentiments when it comes to roses.

After a quick lunch, we headed to the Oregon Historical Society Museum, in downtown Portland, to learn more about Oregon’s history.

We then took a stroll along the South Park Blocks, which is a green space that runs through the center of Portland that is made up of 12 squares (or city blocks).  

Theodore Roosevelt

In the middle of each square is a statue or other artwork. Here is one of Theodore Roosevelt.

Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln can also be seen enjoying the beauty of Portland.

Lan Su Chinese Garden.

Okay, when people say that Portland is ‘green’, they aren’t kidding. While it is so beautiful, it can be a little overwhelming to this Southwestern resident.

Our next stop was to the Far East, better known as the Lan Su Chinese Garden.  

Chinese Garden

To be honest, this wasn’t a scheduled stop on our itinerary, but we had some time to kill before we could check into our hotel and so we drove through the downtown and drove past this garden.

Well, as a mother of 3 children from China as well as having visited China myself a few times, I looked forward to looking through the garden.

entrance to the gardens.

Chinese lions guarded the entrance to the gardens.

As we stepped toward the entrance, a kind visitor offered to take me with her, using her 2-person guest pass, saving me the admission fee. (Did I mention that all the people we have met in Portland are exceptionally nice?)

Road Trip: Roses, Presidents and a Trip to the Far East

Upon entering the gardens, I was instantly transported back to China and the gardens that I had visited years ago.

pink blooms.

Rhododendrons are in full bloom everywhere you look and I really liked how the pond reflected their pink blooms.

pink blooms.

The blossoms are huge!

Chinese garden.

Being in Portland, some rain is to be expected and we got sprinkled on at the Chinese garden.

Chinese garden.

Visitors and workers enjoyed each others company. I got a kick out of seeing this garden worker working in the pink taking care of the water lilies.

Road Trip: Roses, Presidents and a Trip to the Far East

Decorative pathways made from pebbles stretched throughout the garden.

Bonsai plants

Bonsai plants were scattered about.

Road Trip: Roses, Presidents and a Trip to the Far East

While I like the look of bonsai, I lack that patience to use the technique.

Road Trip: Roses, Presidents and a Trip to the Far East

Before we left the garden, I stopped by the gift shop to buy a Chinese gift for my daughter, Gracie, who is very proud of her Chinese heritage.

Portland is a great place to visit.  The gardens are beautiful…

Road Trip: Roses, Presidents and a Trip to the Far East

And water is not in short supply as is evident from the drinking fountains that run non-stop…

Road Trip: Roses, Presidents and a Trip to the Far East

Tomorrow, we will visit Portland’s Saturday Market, which is a large arts and crafts market with ver 250 vendors. Then we are off to Tillamook (cheese) and Astoria, Oregon.

Road Trip: Roses, Presidents and a Trip to the Far East

I’ll be sure to post more tomorrow!

Do you like to travel?

I bet you do. But, if you are like me, you don’t like the having to tasks such as packing, finishing up last minute things at work and such.

Since I will be traveling without my husband and kids, I’ll also need to stop by the grocery store so that they don’t starve while I’m gone.

Below, is my kid’s puzzle of the United States and on it, I have placed the states that I have visited – many of them on annual road trips with my mother.

puzzle of the United States

As you can see, there are some empty spaces and our road trips are an ongoing effort to visit all the different regions in the United States.

So before I reveal where we will be going this year, let’s look at the options for the road trip we considered:

Southern and Plains states

Southern and Plains states.

A few Rocky Mountain states.

A few Rocky Mountain states.

Bags Are Packed - Destination ?

New England, including Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine.

world famous rose garden

The Northwest, including British Columbia, Canada.

and

Texas and surrounding states.

Texas and surrounding states.

Before I reveal our destination, I have to confess that it wasn’t our first choice.  We had initially decided to travel to New England and had worked hard on an itinerary filled with fun things to do and see.

But, that was before the harsh winter that they experienced.  We were advised by many New England natives that a trip this year would be difficult due to spring being delayed and numerous road crews repairing damaged streets due to pot holes left from the cold winter.

So, we decided to postpone our New England trip to next year (hopefully).

The destination that we finally decided on for this year is a region that we have both visited, but wanted to explore further…

world famous rose garden

We will be visiting the Northwest and British Columbia, Canada and I can hardly wait!

I have been to Seattle twice, but not by car and I look forward to exploring more of this dynamic city.

I’m ashamed to admit that I have never visited Oregon.  It has always been a state that is flown over on my way to Washington and I have always wanted to explore it further.

Here is a detailed map of where we will be going:

world famous rose garden

Our journey begins in Portland, where we will visit the world famous rose garden. Of course, we will also explore other areas of this fun city.

After leaving Portland, we will drive to Astoria and spend some time before heading up to Seattle.

Later, we will stay in Port Angeles and visit the Olympic National Park.

The next leg of our journey involves a ferry to get us to Victoria, Canada.  I was fortunate to have spent a day in this very English city including Butchart Gardens, which I plan on seeing again.

Another ferry ride will take us from Victoria to Vancouver, which I have always wanted to visit since the Olympics was held there.

The last portion of our trip will bring us back toward Seattle with a stop in Mount Vernon and more gardens to visit.

**If you have any helpful advice on what to do and see in this area, I’d love some advice.

I hope you will join me as our journey begins!  I will be blogging from the road, sharing the sights and experiences along the way.

It all begins on Friday…