Monday, November 10, 2014

On Vacation in Portland

    I took the train down to Portland this past week to spend some time with family there. The train tuned out to be an adventure in itself. The train hit a deer somewhere between Kelso and Vancouver. The deer got its revenge by taking out an air hose and attached fittings which made both the train's brakes and the restrooms nonfunctional.  Since the fitting were damaged as they were ripped loose, there was no easy fix.  Personally, I am very much in favor of not trying to move a train with no brakes. I'm reminded of several songs about trains without brakes, such as "The Wreck of the Old Ninety-Seven". Those songs never have a happy ending for either the train or its passengers. We sat there on the tracks for about 4 hours until the next southbound Amtrak train came by. They then transferred all of the passengers to that train, after which we had a relatively short ride into Vancouver and Portland.  The train was still a great deal in that as an official senior citizen my ticket only cost $28.90. I would have packed more snacks if I had known the trip was going to take 8 and half hours rather than the scheduled 4 hours.

    Some of the highlights of the Portland trip included the following:

1) A visit to Powell's in Portland (one of my favorite bookstores) with my daughter Rachel and her children. A happy time hanging out with fellow book nerds.
I found this treasure at Powell's to add to my Italian Harry Potter collection

2) Not one, but two lunches at Ochoa's mexican restaurant with the Kangs, featuring their wonderful carne asada tacos,  beef tongue tacos and orzata.
Chilling at Ochoa's with the Kangs

3) Two days of serious family history work with Sarah and Chloe Kang. This included the addition of six new stories to family search pertaining to great grand parents Enos Henry Sinor and Lillie Etta Heiskill.

4)  A serious craft day with Rachel and her friend Heidi preparing nautically themed centerpieces for the upcoming Farmington Elementary Dinner and Auction. This included teaching Rachel how to whip the ends of a rope so they don't unravel. I almost felt like a scoutmaster again, although I only had to teach Rachel once.  Your average eleven year old boy needs to be taught a skill like that five or six times for it to stick.

5) Watching Elise and Hannah Kang play in their final 2014 soccer games. (Sadly, they both lost) It is a lot more fun to watch them win than to watch the games which build character.

6) Two evenings of fine dining with the Arnett's on Chet's wonderful homemade Chile and Jambalaya.

7) A fun afternoon teaching Chloe Kang and her younger sisters how to make pies. We made a pecan pie for the family and an apple pie which was owed to one of their friends.
Chloe Kang with her first apple pie
Chloe's personal touch in decorating the pie crust
Southern Honey Pecan Pie

8)  A fun Friday evening jam session playing with Chet and his friends. Other than the drums, I was the only one without an amplifier attached to his instrument. I was actually pretty happy about that as it allowed me to jam away quietly as I practiced some unfamiliar chords.

9)  Sharing elephant ears with the Arnetts at the Portland Saturday Market. My favorite booth at the market was a fellow who made long bows from a variety of interesting woods, including Osage Orange and Hickory.    

     On Saturday afternoon I met up with Linda at the Marriott Hotel near the Oregon Conference Center. She had driven down with grand daughters Hannah Yaden and Madelynn Veatch to attend the LDS Time Out for Women and Time Out for Girls events with Sarah and her three older girls.  I drove home with Linda and the girls, making much better time than the trip down on the train. I have to give a special thank you to my good friend Quentin who did a return engagement at the Beez Neez, allowing me the luxury of being sick for a few days, then to enjoy a week long vacation with loved ones in Portland.

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