A Week in Portland (First Parts)
Julie and I are in Portland, Oregon for the week. Not counting trips to road races, it's our first "go on a vacation" vacation in over a year -- most recent was our cruise last July. I needed one. I've been increasingly zombie-like for months now. Notice how there was no blogging the last couple days? It just seemed too hard. Happily, the funk is lifting. I'm starting to demand more cookies, walk strange places, chase off the annoying henchmen of sub-par scientists, etc. I even saw a beaver today!
Usually, I try to isolate a few interesting (if we're lucky) things and go into lots of detail. Not today. Today I'm just trying to write down a bunch of stuff so I don't have to sit around later trying to remember what in the world I did on my trip. Did I mention I saw a beaver?
Sunday - Traveling to Portland
What stood out about travel day was the noticeable 6 hour delay in our flight out of Manhattan. We woke up early and showed up at MHK for our 6:30 flight to Dallas. Everybody went through security. After I'd spent about twenty minutes carefully studying a toad that had found its way into the pre-boarding area, an airport official announced that our plane had a "minor maintenance issue." We needed to wait until the airplane mechanic could fix it. They sent us back out of security.
We waited for about an hour and a half, during which time we sat under a TV. The TV was tuned to the brain trust at Fox and Friends. For the last few years, I've been fishing my news out of a combination of Google news and NPR. This format was a little different. I guess they "humanized" it by making it 5% news, 95% how that news made them feel. Groovy. Eventually, the airport staff announced that, "Haha, we got you. The maintenance guy has to fly here from Dallas and he won't arrive until 11:15. We'll be announcing names to have you come up and re-schedule your flights." (not an exact quote, but close)
The name announcing thing didn't last long. Julie's sister, Amy, was there -- on her way to San Francisco for a conference. Amy heroically discovered that after the first couple names, they stopped calling names. No replacement activity was ever identified. Following Amy's lead, we lined up and got a later flight to Portland. Note: One lady repeatedly tested the argument, "That is unacceptable!" It didn't seem very effective.
I'd been kinda hoping we'd have an arrangement where we had to spend the night in Dallas. That way we could have maybe hung out with friends and meet a new puppy. However, the airline took good care of us and just shifted our connection back. New departure time out of Manhattan: 12:30. We drove back to Manhattan and ate Panera souffles.
We landed in Dallas. We landed in Portland. We took a train to near our hotel. Then we checked in. I like trains. Dinner the first night was Subway. Embarrassing, but we were tired.
Monday - Turns out, Charlie is Broken
Monday is the day it really became obvious that I was just trying to get through my days with minimal effort. We ran six, maybe seven miles around the river. Then we hopped on a train and headed to an awesome park. Then we came back and had some Thai food for lunch.
At which point, I returned to the hotel, announced it was nap time, and refused to move.
Between some serious NetFlix and Shark Week (awesome, it's shark week!) therapy, I came around and we had a really nice dinner. (At an outside table!) Everybody went to bed early.
At the really nice dinner. I am going to be in so much trouble for posting this.
Tuesday - I saw a Beaver!!!
Honestly, I don't remember much else. We went to the zoo and I saw a beaver (below). It was eating a carrot and it had a huge big magnificent tail.
I saw exactly this beaver. Beavers are awesome.
To be fair, I do remember seeing some otters and a couple tigers and some elephants... I like zoos.
After our return and another -- much briefer -- nap, we went for an epic walk. It was a really good explore. Julie did some shopping. I even got to poke around in a fossil store. Those are cool because I get to see the awesome (and sometimes very similar) versions of the stuff we collected when I was small (my Dad is a geologist and rock enthusiast).
The highlight was dinner. For possibly the first time ever, we had really awesome Mexican food. It was another sidewalk dinner and it was amazing. Something about pork with pineapple and some other stuff in a burrito. There was also this crazy awesome salsa. Julie had a great fish taco. Dinner was good. It was also the first thing under $10 we've bought on this trip, other than train tickets. Win.
Tomorrow we're planning an epic run and an equally epic cookie buying ("buying", not shopping) trip. We seriously need more cookies in here.