A Week in Oregon (Endgame)

Our week in Portland has left me infused with bicycling super powers. Previously, I could ride to work (along a particular route) in 25 minutes, now 22 minutes. I used to be able to ride home in 30 minutes, now 24. I didn't even touch a bike while we there. It was 104 today, I feel awesome.

We had a nice trip. This is an original Charlie!

Thursday, Is this Beaverton?

The very most exciting thing we did on Thursday was we bought six cookies and a caramelita (shaped like a lemon bar, but eats like a caramel chocolate cookie), all for the price of the caramelita. We picked out four cookies and the caramelita, but two cookies broke so she gave us the broken ones and tossed in some intact cookies to compensate. Then I think she punched it in wrong and we got the whole thing for the price of the caramel bar. It was awesome. We were both very excited. Though it occurs to me that now we need to make someone cookies to repair the karma. But who do we know that would possibly want a bunch of cookies?

Our major activity was a trip to Beaverton. Armed only with Julie's vague recollection of a Google map and my uncanny ability to locate pie, we set off on the light rail. An hour later, we thought we'd wandered into a psychological experiment.

Sadly, those were not pie trees.

We got off the train at what Julie had identified as the A1 super duper Beaverton stop. This stop was supposed to be near Nike HQ and a quarter mile from a Cafe Yumm!. We figured, "Dude, we can't miss it." We could.

We started walking around a promising-looking business park. We thought, "Hey, if they work, they've got to eat, right?" No, no they didn't. We saw like three people outside the whole time we were there (during the noon hour!). It was lonely and quiet. For the first two miles, we just thought we'd wandered into some strange infinite business park. At one point, we were walking through a parking lot and I saw inside a nearby building. You know what was there? More cars. The outside was on the inside! We were starting to freak out.

After about a two mile walk, we finally broke out of the business park and found a K-Mart. That led to a gas station which led to a tiny pod which held the Cafe Yumm!. By this point, we had a pretty good idea how to get to Nike, but having seen plenty of offices already, we decided to buy some snacks and head back to the train. It was fun, but very odd. Lots of good beaver ponds there too. But Tuesday's zoo beaver would prove to be our only beaver on this trip.

I think for dinner that night we headed back to our favorite Mexican place and returned to the room for some nice cookies and a Law and Order filled evening. We watch a lot of Law and Order on trips. It's on constantly and only show that can beat it is Iron Chef.

On the way home, we got to see the draw bridges doing their thing.

Friday, Review

Awesome run Friday morning. Now I know where I want to live in Portland. Along the river trail, a bunch of apartments overlook the river. It looked like a prime beaver territory as well. Geese and ducks were abundant. There were lots of huge blackberries along the trail and I almost abandoned my long-standing war with blackberries -- really my beef is with the common rubus fruticosus, the pacific rubus ursinus never did anything to me. But I held true. It was a great last run. I think we went 7.5 miles -ish.

When we got back from the run, I noticed that my computer had contracted a virus. Apparently while we were gone. I don't have a clue how that happened. There was a Microsoft Kinect conference in the same hotel as us and the wireless was unsecured. I'm just saying... Meh, after a few quick attempts to put a tourniquet on it, I restored from my recovery partition -- deleting and resetting everything to the factory original state. We went out for first lunch and my computer was ready to go when we got back. Take that virus. Uninstalling all the trash that comes along with "factory original state" takes much longer, but that's a good airport activity. Pure win.

On Friday we basically walked around revisiting everything we thought was cool. We got lunch at PHO's noodlearium. I used chopsticks. Julie was impressed.

Friday was also the first day of Bite of Oregon. A food fair they have in Portland every year. It was right across the street from our hotel.

Behind the coffee house is the Dessert Pavilion. Not surprisingly, the Lexicon of Pavilions lists the "dessert" type of pavilion as being the best kind.

If you can stay hungry for long enough, Bite of Oregon is cool. You're activities are limited to buying food while you're there, so as you fill up the appeal tapers off. Since we had to pay to get in, I was expecting free stuff. Not so much. It seemed to be about bringing together food kiosks more than it was about showcasing anything. I'll admit, I am a bit bitter about the lack of free munchies. Still, Julie got some high-grade crab cakes and I bagged a slice of cheesecake, so it was a good haul.

Supper that night was at Buffalo Wild Wings. I used the word "diabolical" on our waitress. I wanted two different sauces on my order of eight wings, but she said I had to order twelve to do that. "Why, that seems a bit diabolical!" A bit diabolical? If I was going to toss out the bit D, I should have gone all the way.  For example: "That's diabolical!" I use too many weasel words when I talk. It's something I'm working on. I ordered 12 wings and got my two sauces. Mango habanero, nice.

We went to bed a little early on Friday because the alarm was set for 3:45 a.m.

Saturday, Sunday, Monday...

We hopped aboard our 6:00 flight and made it to Dallas and home without any serious travel adventures. It was great to have another weekend day before the return to work. The dog and cat had both been well cared for. Both had assaulted their handlers in course of the week, but Will and the Millers both seemed forgiving so I feel like that was a win. Though, my cookie giving plans are starting to clarify a bit.

I remember laying in bed Friday night and as soon as I thought about work on Monday I could hear my blood pressure again for the first time all week. I might need to do something about that. I figure if work is inducing stress, that's ultimately not a lot different than working amidst lots of cigarette smoke. Monday was fine though, maybe it was just the idea. Who knows.

Anyway, we're back and it was a lovely trip. I'm very fond of going places where we can get around without renting a car. The weather in Portland was excellent. I would recommend it highly to anyone who wants to run or bike somewhere else for a while (e.g. while the temperature is in triple digits). The best part was the food. The food was awesome.


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