and, as you probably figured – the train stopped in Sandpoint last evening. It was not just the two of us – it was more like a dozen getting on including a couple of others who also had to buy tickets.
Amtrak was fine. The conductor helped us stow luggage, gave us seats and sold me a ticket. Apparently e-ticketing is coming 1 July – at least to those with smart phones! Since Amtrak relates to government (as Carmen reminded me) it is not surprising that it is more difficult for them to procure QR readers than a normal corporation.
The route took us along the Columbia River from western Washington State, past Pasco and all the way through Vancouver Washington before crossing into Oregon.
I watched the colors change on the bluffs as the sun came up reflecting off the trains on the other side of the river,
saw the vineyards and orchards.
I ignored the McMansions along the river – why would you spend that much money on a house with such a view when your neighbor’s house is less than 10 meters on the other side of the fence.
We arrived in Portland early.
I walked into downtown and investigated various outdoor clothing stores before heading back to the young man patiently waiting with the luggage. We went out to the motel, dropped off luggage and I took MAX (public transportation) back into the city.
The Saturday market is fabulous. Food (everything from Elephant Ears through Falafel and curry to tortillas and teriyaki), junk sales and a section that is true artisans selling their wares. Musicians take turn on a couple of stages as well as attempt mobile busking. Since this week is part of the Rose Festival (Portland is also the City of Roses) a number of the high school marching bands were taking turns entertaining the crowds.
Musicians take turn on a couple of stages as well as attempt mobile busking. Since this week is part of the Rose Festival (Portland is also the City of Roses) a number of the high school marching bands were taking turns entertaining the crowds.
If that seems like a non sequitur just hold on for a second. Given the Festival you should not be surprised to here that a parade was planned. Called the Starlight Parade, it was scheduled to begin at 2030 this evening. Even at 1100 in the morning people were already staking out their viewing positions along the route. Other than one group, I think most were going to have an extremely long day. The one group that I mentioned was organized by a young woman with a group of friends and a clipboard. She was busy assigning everyone to guarding the space time slots of 30 minutes each. That way, she informed them, no one was going to get stuck sitting on the sidewalk all day but they would have a great location.
Smart cookie – she will go far.
What I otherwise found amazing was the generally nice and friendly air. The clerks in two stores sent me to other stores to see if items would suit me better. The rare beggar on the street was polite, not in your face like Berkeley or San Francisco. Young people out raising money for various causes were respectful. Not being a small town in Idaho (where everyone was also extremely helpful and friendly), Portland is multi-cultural. MAX announcements are English and Spanish. Noodle shops are as common as burgers.
About 1800 I hopped back on MAX and rode to the airport where the motel shuttle picked me up having decided that waiting around with the 250k predicted for the parade was not in the cards. Something about needing a bit of sleep.