Arriving in Portland, by train

9/17/22

I’m back. I’m back in Portland. Wow.

Yesterday actually didn’t feel as weird to me as I had thought it might. I think I’m really getting the hang of this “living in the moment” thing, and that meant that yesterday on the train I just kind of thought, “Oh yeah, I’ve taken this trip many times. There’s that place… there’s that place…” And when we pulled into Portland, everything just looked familiar, in an everyday kind of way.

I liked it.

Meanwhile, I had struck up a conversation with an interesting elder English fellow, Tony, at the Seattle train station. We talked about my rig, and about travel in general, the UK, the US, etc.

When we arrived in Portland, I encouraged him to save some money on cab fare by taking the MAX light rail, since his hotel was a quick and easy jaunt across the river. I walked him over to the light rail station, showed him how to get a ticket (and when he had trouble with his credit card in the machine, a fellow passenger standing nearby pointed out a free one in the machine that somehow someone had left—talk about magic!) and watched him board the yellow line train. He was very appreciative, and I felt really great about having helped a Portland visitor with my local transit knowledge that had remained intact for the previous year.

UNTIL!

I biked over to the nearby REI to replace the now-disgusting bite valve on my hydration pack, then biked back to that MAX stop to catch my own yellow line train. It was only after the train crossed the bridge that I suddenly remembered that the yellow line veers north one stop before the Convention Center, which is where Tony had needed to disembark.

Yikes!!

(Tony, if you’re reading this, I’m so sorry, and I hope you, um, enjoyed your Portland transit adventure! Guess my memory wasn’t as watertight as I had thought…)

I grimaced a moment, then chose to trust that Tony would be fine, and allowed myself to focus on arriving at my friend Sandi’s house.

That had been a last-minute plot twist: about halfway through my train ride, my friend Sarah, who was to have hosted me with her husband for my first night or two in outer SE Portland, messaged me to let me know she had the flu, so they wouldn’t be able to have me after all.

Wow. Last-minute pivot! But I was very glad she had protected her own health as well as mine by letting me know. (Sarah, if you’re reading this, I hope you heal up soon, and I hope to see you and Frank while I’m here!)

But Sandi, whose cat I will be caring for while she’s gone for a little while, was gracious in allowing me to stay at her place last night, even though she was scrambling to clean and do various urgent tasks before leaving for her own travels. (Thank you again, Sandi!)

We got an early dinner at the nearby New Seasons, and then turned in early last night, since we were both a bit short on sleep.

For the next few nights I’ll be staying with my friend Greg in SE, back near my own place. (I’m not sure if I’ll go by my place—it might feel weird to see it when I don’t live there, and someone else does!) Then I’ll be back with Sandi and her cat for a couple of weeks.

I’ve got lots of people to see, several new restaurants to try and old favorites to revisit, a few parks to hang out in, and hopefully some just plain downtime, some Zoom time with people all over who I haven’t been able to schedule time with yet… and various other things to fill my time here in Portland. I probably won’t be blogging every day here, but I’ll plan to check in every few days.

Please enjoy these pics of Seattle transit infrastructure, my Amtrak journey, and the iconic Portland Union Station once again.

I’m glad to be here.

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