For your reading pleasure, here's a short list of highlights from the trip.
- Since I flew to Portland (PDX) on a buddy pass through Salt Lake City, I got to sit in first class on the second leg of my trip. I got a window seat and while The Help provided some reading pleasure, I could not keep my eyes off the beauty happening outside, as we were flying right into the sunset. As we left SLC, the brilliant red from the sunset was reflecting off the sides of the mountains and the lake. It was so beautiful that I cried.
- When I arrived in Portland, it was so good to see Maura again. She asked me if I had brought a Chick fil A biscuit for her. Apparently she's not a vegetarian anymore.
- Tubing down a river for 5 hours on a lazy sunday. It was fantastic...until the trees started hogging all the sunlight, rendering me freezing cold! It was a fun afternoon nonetheless! Maura and I ate a tasty dinner in Portland with her friend (now mine too!) Ryan. (Ryan also follows the Braves religiously)
- I met up with Ryan on Monday after Maura had gone to work and after my run (PDX is gloriously flat!) at the largest privately owned bookstore in the country (?), Powell's, where I could have stayed all day long. I almost bought a book of sonnets, a book about Caravaggio (rennaisance era artist), and a book about Coco Chanel. But I was good. I only bought what I needed, which was a small collection of books for Trent's birthday. Then Ryan showed me around downtown Portland. It's a gorgeous city and they do public transit so well! I saw more young white homeless people than I've ever seen in my life in downtown PDX.
- That night we met up with Maura at this elementary school in downtown. We went there to watch the swifts, which are birds no larger than the size of your closed fist. They migrate through Oregon during September and will nest in this big chimney at said school every night around sunset. There were thousands of them! It was one of the coolest things I've ever seen! Also, a hawk made an appearance for some dinner. :-)
- After the swifts, Maura and I consumed almost an entire bottle of wine, planned for camping, and exfoliated. We also bought a bag of the biggest marshmallows you've ever seen.
- On Tuesday, I got to hang around on the street where Maura works, Hawthorne. I visited a coffee shop, bookstore, and used/vintage (sometimes 'vintage' just means ugly, I learned) clothing store. I bought a cute dress for Jonathan & Leslee's wedding (this weekend! eee!) for $18!
- That night, Maura and I made last minute preparations for camping.
- Wednesday, we left early that morning for
Burlington Coat FactoryCrater Lake National Park, a 5 hour drive from PDX. It was so beautiful on our drive down. All the trees in Oregon look like Christmas trees.
- When we finally made it to the Park, we reserved our spots on the 2pm boat tour and made our way down (1.1 miles of switchbacks; 700ft drop) to the lake, where we had time to swim (!) and eat our lunch.
- The boat tour was pricey but worth it, as it was 2 hours long and took us all around the lake. The water was fantastically blue.
- After we left the lake, ignorantly heading out the way we came, hoping we'd find our campsite on the road from where we came, we realized quickly that it was dumb to assume that'd we'd have access to our 3g networks. We ended up finding the campsite about an hour later, 30 short minutes before sunset. We set up the tent, enjoyed (I use the term 'enjoyed' here very loosely) some ramen noodles, and went to bed. When we went to sleep, it was overcast, preventing us from seeing stars. But Maura woke me at around 5am when the clouds had cleared. I only dozed after this and peeked out of the tent every now and then to catch glimpses of the sunrise.
- Another thing we found after we got back in the car Wednesday afternoon after hiking back up to the car was that a bag of marshmallows + hot car = bag of white goo.
- Once we awoke Thursday morning, we broke down camp and headed back to Portland, stopping the uberly cute Bend for some brunch and a look around. We arrived back in PDX for Mar to do my hair, eat dinner, and pack for my return home. We also got to hang out with Mar's roommates, Patricia and Dan. They are delightful.
- I was nervous for my flight, as I was flying on a buddy pass and it looked like my chances were slim as far as getting on the flight. But I said a prayer and went to the airport. After the flight was about halfway boarded, I was sitting there nervously waiting to hear my name. The gate agent called me up to the desk and asked me if I wanted a middle seat that reclined. I asked, "So, I'm in?!" She laughed and said "yes!" I exclaimed towards the ceiling "Thank you, Jesus!" I then thanked her and asked for one that reclined. Apparently degree my relief struck a chord with her and she gave me card for a free glass of wine on the flight.
- I'm continually amazed at God's gifts to me. That's all. Next Chapter- Chicago.