It was the usual day before fleeing town. There is the suitcase, there is the backpack. And then there are all the errands which have to be run.
I actually had packed everything last night. This morning after going upstairs to the studio and finding things that should have been in the suitcase I had to unpack and repack. It is always a challenge to figure out what I might want to wear vs what I will actually wear knowing that I am ignoring all dress up evenings and fancy stuff.
Remember – I wore a uniform for years. I am perfectly happy wearing the same thing every day. Being a civilian doesn’t mean that I can’t essentially create an equivalent of a uniform with a slight bit of style and color variation. So that means leggings plus tops. And socks (Stance and other bright things) and sandals. Slightly heavier weight if it happens to be cold and lighter when it isn’t. Since ships always have A/C running I can plan on cool (for me) which translates to long sleeves and covered legs.
My flight is insanely early in the morning. Now perhaps 0700 doesn’t seem that bad to you, but remember I am headed out of SFO (almost an hour on BART which doesn’t start running till 0425) and the cut off time for baggage drop is 0600. I might try Lyft if any drivers are actually out and willing to go anywhere at that time.
Now, if it was George leaving – I would be offering to drive him to the airport.
Portland has Breweries and Happy Hours like Seattle has coffee shops. Every corner on just about every street and often in the middle of the block. I also saw coffee places. For that matter, I really didn’t see more than one or two of your ordinary cafe. The pubs open at 1100 and serve lunch, pub food most like with a side of lineage for everything that is put on your plate. I am more than appreciative of farm to table but really do not need to know the name of the cow that produced the milk that became the cheese that graced my sandwich. For that matter – since I don’t believe in naming my food anyway – I really don’t need to know the name of the creature who died to provide that steak for the next table’s occupants.
It is also home to a lovely long River Walk, a lot of joggers and bicyclists and a significant cadre of homeless living along that same river under a couple of bridges or hanging in more than the occasional bridge. It gets cool, rains a lot but doesn’t often freeze or snow. The social support seems to be good, the VA by reputation isn’t and the city is really, really white. For that matter – so is Oregon. The editor of the Wiki article on Portland does a good job of describing the whiteness of Portland – it has much more diversity in its gender/gender choice mix than it does in racial balance. The rest I will leave up to you to read as you so choose.
George went on a wine tour and frolic out to the Willamette Valley – I hiked around the city instead. There were interesting buildings, there is Powell’s Books, and there is Pearl Fiber Arts where I had a lovely time fondling yarn, picking out handmade porcelain buttons and chatting with both the owner and a local dyer who was setting up a special box store for the weekend. Needless to say, I broke down and bought a bit of gradient dyed yarn to go along with the above mentioned buttons.
has a lot of claims to fame: the Astor Family, first US Settlement on the West Coast, having been under British Control for a short time in 1812… But most relevant today was the presence of a portion of the 75″ of annual rainfall. Which is not to say that umbrellas and rain jackets don’t help. Except for when the rain is blowing sideways.
We took the ship’s HopOnHopOff around the loop then went back for a coffee. The Maritime Museum (on my list and highly recommended by Kris) was good for several hours of exploration. After that, I just wandered town to see what there was to see. It was raining – I did mention that didn’t I? So didn’t bother to take the camera out from underneath my jacket all that often.
Except for the incredible noise near the old, which turned out to have a most reasonable cause –
After listening to him complain about the lack of fish and adoration it was off to visit Pier 11 where I found a delightful small used book store complete with store dog. From there it was off to Homespun Quilts and Yarns. Moderate selection of yarns, but fabulous selection of fabrics and lovely people working in the shop. That is where George caught up with me as I had managed to lose him back in the Museum.
Heading back to the Paddlewheel now thoroughly soaked it was time to pull out the cross stitch and totally ignore the on-board lecturer.
I am making it an early night…
was another ship in her former life. Go to Wiki if you want to read the background…
What she is at this point is a diesel driven paddlewheel ship owned by the American Queen Steamship Company plying her trade on the Columbia and Snake Rivers ported out of Vancouver Washington. Her full complement of passengers would be 223, but according to the lovely young people at the information desk, she is sailing not completely booked on this last cruise of the season.
We can see her from our hotel window.
I just looked at the website – and it doesn’t look like they are offering this particular cruise again which is roundtrip Vancouver Washington. Next year there are short cruises of five days roundtrip or 9 day one way Vancouver <-> Clarkston. This makes sense as you complete avoid any of the backtracking that otherwise occurs.
We sail this evening at 1800 (and yes, there is the mandatory emergency drill….)
Our stops include Astoria, Portland, The Dalles and Stevenson before disembarkation in Vancouver on the 27th.
From here on in, posts will be done from my phone which will present a bit of a challenge as that will be my source of wifi…
As you walk down Columbus toward the river there is a bright mural on the overpassing railroad bridge. Just to the right is the VFW Memorial. Comprised of three sections, it makes a quiet but clear statement. In picture form, is the history of the US military war experience starting with WWI.
There is a section with the names of the dead, the missing and those that served which is expanding by both those adding their names or emailing the info to the project maintainers.
There is the symbolic graveyard.
Expanding and updating part of the wall were a couple of diligent artists
Over all, it is such a simple thing – to serve so that all may have their freedom. Even those who don’t have the understanding or respect that our country deserves.
In other comments; on any day but Sunday it seems to be relatively easy to travel between Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Washington. When I had verified transportation options yesterday I was horrrified that it would be almost as fast to hike the 10miles between the cities as to attempt the public option. Cabs were predicted to be double the cost of Lyft.
But we made it, went walking toward the river, around the local square and enjoyed Thai food for an early supper while seeing the last of the fall trees lit up with the sunset.
as in Oregon (not Maine, Indiana or Texas).
We took a completely packed SouthWest flight from Oakland to PDX. Did you know that portland airport has both weather vanes and buskers on the concourse?
Now, how do you clear non-passengers/non-employees through TSA when they obviously have enough of a challenge processing passengers. Especially those few of us who opt out of the body scanner…
Light Rail is only $1.25 for Honored Citizens (read 65+). Our hotel was lovely and the night cool with out rain.
We transfer to Vancouver (Washington not BC Canada on Sunday
we all know that chocolate is not good for dogs. Gwen has been happy, healthy and has maintained her girlish figure. What that means in reality is that she is a golden retriever = always on the hunt for a snack.
Foolish me, I left a jar with a spoon on my nightstand unguarded for maybe five minutes. Returning there was a slurping sound on the far side of the bed.
Well, what fo you know? It is Gwen valiantly attempting to get her head in the container but having to settle for the long tongue of greed. No signs of guilt, just the sad look of caught. Just glad the container was plastic.
That and I had just purchased more this past week.
The early morning sail in was beautiful – no rain, not cold and lights all about us. The moon was full and glowing. The LA Harbor is actually in San Pedro. Primarily an industrial harbor it also has both a cruise terminal and the USS Iowa Battleship Museum.
After breakfast with Jill & Graeme, I hung out for a while. Since I had pre-paid a transfer to LAX, why not wait? And wait. And wait…
The morning turned into a challenge for everyone. First there were local police who decided that until they were done with whatever they were doing, no one was getting on or off the ship. Means the ICE folks can’t review the crew manifest. Then “someone” (meaning ICE) didn’t realize how many non-US citizens were on the ship. The two (2) departure/clearance lines bogged down completely when everyone has to go through the passport/visa check/finger print check etc.
Then a bus or two broke down.
Shall we skip all the upset people who were worried about their flights? Or the nice couple several of us pushed to the front of the line? The pair who missed the “walk off” announcement and were waiting to be able to leave the ship. With less than 90 minutes till their flight?
I made it to LAX by noon (original projected time was 1045) and confirmed that SouthWest strictly adheres to the four hour luggage drop off rule. Terminal 1 was a zoo. No place to hang out. Terminal 2 is the same. But between the two, and across the road (finally found the stoplight and cross walk) sits the Bob Hope USO. They let us old-timers in on a Space-A basis.
There was space. And outlets, and coffee.
I spent time talking with some young Navy guys. An Air Force Tech Sargent on his way to Hawaii fully agreed that he was in the “comfortable service” and there was nothing wrong at all in avoiding both long deployments and tented living conditions…
In not too many minutes, I will be able to drop off luggage and get through security. My flight is just after 2200 and my DH will even pick me up at the Oakland Airport!
I am actually looking forward to being home. Is there a pill I can take for that?
I had dinner tonight with group from Cruise Critic. The dinner had been organized early and there were about 16 signed up. By the time it came to this evening, the numbers were down to six of us. Everyone pretty much was packed and the only remaining thing on anyone’s agenda was turning in their activity cards for prizes.
Yep, kind of like collecting autographs, baseball cards or National Park stamps – NCL hands out little participation slips for each activity. People collect them all up for points and turn them in the last night of the cruise for swag.
I was the only one at the table who didn’t have either a clue or a point.
Seriously? You didn’t pick up your slips from any of the activities?
What activities? Was my rejoiner. I didn’t go to any of the contests or show or auctions or bingo or….
Well, what did you do?
I relaxed and had a great time……
Well, actually it happened but I didn’t bother to get off the ship. We dropped anchor early and the tender announcements started right away. I didn’t bother collecting a tender ticket – loyal program status does have a few perks, once of which is being able to just get in the line without a ticket.
I sort of thought about going ashore but really couldn’t think up a good reason. I didn’t need to find Wifi. I certainly don’t need to shop and the whales aren’t around. I suppose I could have gone to the beach but that would have involved figuring out where I had safely tucked away the sun block. Besides, with the last tender being 1330, it makes for a fairly short day ashore.