Tuesday, June 29, 2010

nate gets his masters (and other portland happenings)

June 16th, 6:16pm. Tuckered out after a lovely day of PSU graduation stuff, much walking around Portland, and buying of snacks and beer and dinner fixings. Thwarted in an attempt to find a kimchi taco but will persevere in this endeavor tomorrow. Now time for a glass of white wine, some delicious olives and cheese and crackers from Pasta Works, and a good read.*

urban oasis

Emily does not get her bulgogi tacos (sign posted at 3:59pm, as we sat on a
bench outside waiting for them to open at 4pm, as their website claimed...).
But did manage to get some the next day!

June 13th, 3:26pm. Perfect near-summer day in Portland: early morning walk with brother-min
e and Milford the Dog; scrumptious brunch at Screen Door; now listening to Belle & Sebastian, Elliott Smith and Damien Rice while making Paul's Green Stuff. Later wine and grilled salmon on Cousin Ken's deck overlooking the city, and then an early start tomorrow for Harrison, Idaho.

*Italicized bits were Facebook status updates.

Monday, June 28, 2010

travel journals, part VII

Haunted dawn light, moaning train.

June 9th, 6:00am. Following the Columbia River in towards Wenatchee and am not so secretly dreaming of following it all the way to its source.*

June 9th. Woke just before dawn and watched the light grow. Dorothy, our sleeper car attendant, gave me a copy of the Spokesman Review as I stumbled my way down the corridor towards the smell of coffee brewing. One of the nicest things about the train was that there was ALWAYS coffee brewing. Another nice thing was that each morning they gave out copies of the local paper from one of towns we passed through before we all woke up. The Spokesman Review. The Devils Lake Journal. The Sandusky Register. I kind of loved flipping through these small town papers (small town for a Big Apple girl...), at least until reading the first part of an op-ed that seemed to be about Obama's political roots going back to his terrorist days on the streets of Chicago. But seriously, who doesn't want to know that Joe Smith caught his first cougar or that turkeys are harrassing the good citizens of Spokane?

June 10th, 8:53am. Made it to Anacortes yesterday morning. Lovely day with Mom. This morning heading down to Portland for Nate's graduation tomorrow. A couple days in Portland, then off to the cabin on Lake Coeur d'Alene for the first time in six years!

*Italicized bits were Facebook status updates.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

travel journals, part VI

"Badlands, you gotta live it everyday
Let the broken hearts stand
As the price you've gotta pay
We'll keep pushin' till it's understood
and these badlands start treating us good"
(Springsteen, Badlands)

travel journals, part V

Sky. Earth. Water. Power lines. Parallels.

travel journals, part IV

Montana. Big sky, small towns, and not much in between.

One of the things I love about trains is that you get to see the back of the world. Not the anesthetized, prettified fronts of places, and not the mindnumbing sameness that can be highway travel, but rather the inner workings of neighborhoods, towns, cities. The parts that lie beneath.

travel journals, part III

"It's really flat out here..."

June 8th, 5:50am. I think the streetlights at the eastern edge of town in Devil's Lake, North Dakota, sparkling in early morning rain just might be one of the most beautiful things in the world. As Evan said, "They have to begin somewhere." It's just funny to actually see their beginning place.*

Geocacheing up the road from the train in Minot, ND. Anxious that the train might take off without us. Minot might be beautiful, but I wouldn't want to be stranded there.

Sleeping Car 730. Home sweet home.

*Italicized bits were Facebook status updates.

travel journals, part II

June 7th, 7:25am. In Elkhart, Indiana and 110 miles to Chicago. What to do in the Windy City for 4 hours before catching the Empire Builder to points west?* (Suggestions from Facebook friends: deep dish pizza, the Art Institute of Chicago, boozing it up in the open air, walk by the lake front, and pizza & Hot Chocolate. We ended up just wandering around, got an Italian beef and a pizza for lunch at Portillo's, and headed back to the station. And it was gorgeous, despite the ridiculous sunburn I got even though I tried to jump from shadow to shadow.)

June 7th, 5:43pm. Got pretty badly sunburned wandering downtown Chicago today but complementary champagne & chocolates are doing wonders for the pain. Dinner in an hour. I wonder what charming elderly couple will befriend us at this meal. In the meantime a delicious IPA and an hour of reading The Lost Legends of New Jersey as we head out of Columbus, Wisconsin. (It was Dorothy, our sleeper car attendant, who brought us champagne and chocolates. She also offered me aloe for my sunburn and brought me a mini Ciao Bella lemon sorbet at lunch time one day when we decided to eat peanut butter sandwiches in our room rather than a full meal in the dining car. She got a shout-out in this LA Times article about traveling by train -- the very routes we took. She was pretty much awesome.)

*Italicized bits were Facebook status updates.

Friday, June 25, 2010

travel journals, part I

June 4th, 6:51am. Woke up just past six o'clock this morning despite its being the first day of this year's summer vacation, and despite not getting home till past 1:30 last night from an amazing, incredible, gorgeous Dave Rawlings Machine show at the Bowery Ballroom. Now, coffee brewing and thoughts of foul language running through my head.*

(Dave Rawlings Machine, Diamond Joe)

June 5th, 10:47pm. Feeling a little bit like a kid on Christmas Eve. Also, packing. And pretty much ready to head out tomorrow for three days on a train and then strawberry season in the Skagit Valley and Nate's graduation from Portland State University and ice cream in Idaho and barbecues in Anacortes. Oh yes.

June 6th, morning. Brunch with Dan, dear friend and cat-sitter extraordinaire, after stopping by Andrew & Jessica's to drop off their wedding gift and look in on Dusty. (Who apparently is now quite fond of said wedding gift.)

(Picture c/o Jessica C.)

(Hudson River, heading for Albany)

June 6th, 9:39pm: Almost half way to Chicago and feeling fine. Lovely dinner in the dining car with an elderly couple heading back home to Colorado. Gorgeous sunset half an hour out of Schenectady and getting on towards time to sleep. Breakfast at 6 and arrival in Chicago just before 9. (Queries about how far we'd gotten, what and how are people reading (E-book readers, the real thing, etc.), how full is the train and what are our fellow travelers like, and memories of train travel in the '60s)

(Yes, that is a toilet in our wee 'roomette')

(Quirky instructions on how to properly use the bunk bed)

*Italicized bits were Facebook status updates.