Monday, April 6, 2015


We're back from our second and last "shakedown cruise", so to speak. This was a 9-day trip to Portland. We stayed in the condo of my high school friend, who lives in New Jersey but keeps the condo for when she visits her grandchildren in Portland (and generously lets her friends use it). The condo was quite luxurious, yet very homey, and in a good location near the Rose Garden and Nob Hill neighborhood. We enjoyed meeting my friend's son, his wife, and young twin boys, all for the very first time.
The tulips were blooming early this year
The only outdoor municipal elevator in the country
connects the upper and lower parts of Oregon City
At the weekly meeting of the Oregon Esperanto group, everybody was
looking up the translation of an obscure word on their various gadgets
There were many wood ducks at the rhododendron garden
Over the years we've probably been to Portland at least a dozen times, but during our seven days we managed to find a lot of places that were new to us: Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden, Reed College campus, Oregon City, Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm in Woodburn, OMSI (science center), Railway Heritage Center, Hoyt Arboretum, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Audubon center, Lan Su Chinese Garden, and Bob's Red Mill factory tour in Milwaukee. We attended the weekly meeting of the Portland Esperanto group. We walked for miles on most days, on both trails and city streets. We went on every mile of the various streetcar lines.
The tour at Bob's Red Mill was very interesting, but photos
of the production line were not permitted
Mill Ends Park is the smallest park in the world,
according to the Guinness Book of Records
We drove to Portland the fast way, stopping at Nisqually Delta and the Discovery Historic Loop Trail in Vancouver. After our week in Portland we spent a night at the Flying L Ranch near Mt. Adams. Coincidentally it was Easter weekend, so we participated in a potluck dinner there Saturday evening. We drove on a wonderful scenic road from Glenwood to Goldendale, up to Yakima, and the back roads around Umtanum Ridge, before heading home.
Our lodge in Glenwood had a view of Mt. Adams
It was a fabulous week. Les wrote to his sister on the fifth day: "Having a fantastic time in Portland. Have lost track of time. Haven't felt so free and independent in my whole life. It's exhilarating!" His two favorite experiences on the trip were: (1) meditating in the Chinese Garden during a rainstorm (see previous blog entry), and (2) being lost on the back roads near Umtanum.

In preparation for the big trip, we experimented with Dropbox for storing our documents and photos in "the cloud". It worked out very well. And since Pandora doesn't work outside the U.S., we tried using YouTube for background music. Once we figure out how to avoid annoying ads and mid-stream interruptions, it might be a reasonable substitute for Pandora. The real problem, though, will be the lack of decent loudspeakers.
Even with one block missing, Les was able to construct an arch bridge at OMSI