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Monday morning we drove up to Mt. Hood, Portland's iconic piece of scenery visible from many parts of the city on those few days when it's not obscured by weather. It's not all that far. DW got a two-fer-one deal on a comfy lodge (recessions do have an upside) only 48 miles from home and only about 25 miles short of some nice snowshoeing spots. Couple of towns up there are called Rhododendron and Zigzag.

The first shoeing spot was a big open area with the mountain looming right there in your face. It was bright and sunny. Yesterday we went to a place that is primarily for Xcountry skiing. It's full of groomed trails that will be nice to hike on in the summer. You have to keep your snow shoes off the trails because they mess up the ruts so we shoed in the woods. It was a winter wonderland, looking like it wanted to snow but not quite doing so. Lovely experience only two hours from home. There's a box to put a donation in as you come in. We decided to make ours as we were leaving. That's why we didn't see the "No snow shoes" sign until we were all done snowshoeing. And why we didn't see any others engaged in that activity. Screw 'em if they can't take a joke--we stayed off the ski trails and that's all that matters. Wouldn't want to interfere with an activity that requires a machine to smooth out the snow while cutting little grooves in it so your skis know where they belong.

While we were gone Portland had a lovely winter experience of its own with 3-4" of snow coming down in the afternoon and evening yesterday, utterly destroying rush hour and resulting in abandoned cars everywhere. We passed a bunch of them that still hadn't been retrieved this morning on our way home even though it started warming up later last night and by this morning conditions were just fine. You wouldn't believe how much mileage the local news programs got out of a few hours of snow. You'da thunk a Gitmo releasee had blown the city up.

We were having lunch at 6,000' at the renown Timberline Lodge yesterday when the snow started. It never got heavy enough to require chains. In fact, it hardly affected driving at all. And yet there are always a few who think they have to slow down to 5 mph on the highway at the first sign of flurries. Sheesh. The lodge was built by the WPA, one of those New Deal agencies that got us out of the Depression by creating temporary jobs building things instead of real jobs by doing less kissing of union butt and being nicer to business. Too bad nothing this nice will come out of the Stimulus Bill.

Some of Timberline's claims to fame:

1) The Jack Nicholson film The Shining used aerial shots of Timberline as part of its opening scene. Views of the exterior were also used for some establishing shots of the Overlook Hotel throughout the movie.

2) There is a fair amount of WPA art on the walls of the place. Some of the pieces remind one of blocky Soviet art that glorified the worker as he toiled in his paradise. How fitting. For example:

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