Trapped in a Moving Vehicle

Saturday, April 10, 2010
Turns out Andy really is allergic to beer. Having spent a week surrounded by the temptation of the Pacific Northwest’s finest microbrews, his sinuses have gotten the best of him and he’s spending the day lying low. This is travel day nine and beer allergies or not, it makes sense to have a quiet day. We’ve been at the guesthouse in Portland since mid-afternoon yesterday. We stayed here last year when we road-tripped out and it truly is a lovely house tucked away along a fairly busy business road in a residential neighborhood. While a continental breakfast is provided, the house has much more open, livable feeling about it than your typical B&B. The kitchen is available for use and there’s a washer and dryer tucked away in the basement where I happily did a load of laundry this morning. We’d been getting to the bottom of the suitcase, so to speak.

Had another travel day yesterday, setting off from Aberdeen to follow winding roads along the coast and down the Columbia River to Portland. Last year when we made the drive out west, we kept crossing paths with Lewis and Clark. Everywhere we turned, there seemed to be another Lewis and Clark historical marker. It only made sense to stop at the Lewis and Clark Interpretative Center at the mouth of the Columbia River, right outside of Ilwaco, WA yesterday. Oddly enough, the place where Lewis and Clark finally spied the Pacific Ocean had been named Cape Disappointment by a British officer who had been searching the coastline for a river and who deduced that the mouth of Columbia was in fact only an ocean bay. No one’s quite sure why he didn’t figure out that it was a river (especially since the current rips through even the widest parts of the Columbia) but nevertheless, the name stuck.

The center is wonderful: just the right mixture of “just the facts, ma’am” placards and hands-on displays. All of this interpretative stuff makes me excited about the summer! The center itself was quickly outshone by a baby seal we spied sunning itself on a rock in the ocean far below us. Just as the park ranger and I zoomed in on him to take a picture, a big wave came over the rock and washed the little seal into the ocean. Oh no! But the little guy proved himself a pretty good swimmer in the rough waters. Still, here’s a picture of the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse instead. Although the mouth of the Columbia River provides some of the most challenging sailing there is – due to moving sand bars -- where the visitor center now stands was long manned by the military, especially during World War II.

The traffic in Portland gave us fits yesterday. For one thing, I’d made no clear plan for how we were going to get to the guesthouse. Since we’d stayed here last year, I figured we’d “wing” it. However, it’s a lot easier to get into Portland from the east on a sleepy Thursday afternoon then it is to come in from the west at 3:00 on Friday when everyone’s “getting off early for the weekend.” We ended up where we needed to be, but promptly hit construction and by the time we got to the guesthouse, I was stressed out, but we needed to turn right around to go pick up a friend. That also proved a directional nightmare. “This isn’t the way we came last time, is it?” I asked Andy as we shot by our turn and ended up heading across the bridge in Portland with the lowest safety rating ever, twice. When we dropped the friend off, we came back to the guesthouse to find nary a parking place in sight. After twenty minutes of backing up and turning around and dead end street after dead end street, I was fit to be tied. In the end, Andy took over driving duties and we parked a couple streets down from the guesthouse. There’s nothing worse than being trapped in a moving vehicle when you just want to go to bed.

In between the driving nightmares (we are such smalltown kids) we had a lovely dinner and picked up beautiful desserts from Pix Patisserie.

Today, besides the laundry, I walked up to a yarn shop and found some beautiful Shetland fingering that will be perfect for some colorwork knitting I’m hoping to get to after I finish up the sweater I’m currently knitting away at. Andy rallied for a to-go lunch at Burgerville. There’s something satisfying about the name Burgerville. I may go scope out some coffee now while Andy snoozes. Outside it’s sunny and a bit breezy. It’s a very contented sort of day for punting around.

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