goingplaceslivinglife

Travel, Food, and Slices of Life


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Time Off

Thanks to my sister Laura giving me a special gift to celebrate 60 years, Graham and I enjoyed a brunch cruise on the Willamette River in Portland.We’d been on a dinner cruise a few years ago on the Ohio River out of Huntington, West Virginia with our friends Deb and Milt Hankins, so I sort of expected something similar.Willametterivermap

Not being super familiar with Portland yet we drove in early to give ourselves plenty of time to find parking (2 blocks away for $5)  and maneuver around the Rose Festival which had the riverfront area blocked off for concerts and rides and other fun fair activities.DSC_0058

We made it to the dock in time to chat with the captain who, while chomping down a commercial donut, told us how terrific the food is. (And it was pretty good!)  Missed that donut photo for you, though!DSC_0005

DSC_0002DSC_0035aThe cruise headed upriver, which is south from downtown Portland. The gray overcast cleared and we ended up with beautiful blue skies.  Activity on the river shows how much people enjoy having this playground. DSC_0002a

Development along a riverfront can tell you something about the way a City considered its access to a natural resource. While we did see one industrial business, it is only fair to tell you that most of the commercial and industrial development in Portland is along the Columbia River, not the Willamette.This has left the shorelines free for recreational and residential development for much of what we passed.OMSI (Science Museum) includes a submarine built after WWII

OMSI (Science Museum) includes a submarine built after WWII

I particularly enjoyed the floating houses.

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And of course there were plenty of mansions.

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As we returned downstream the number of bridges became apparent, from the aged Sellwood Bridge which is past time getting replacedAll bridges are given a safety rating from 1 to 100. The Sellwood Bridge rating is a 2. Would you drive across it?

All bridges are given a safety rating from 1 to 100. The Sellwood Bridge rating is a 2. Would you drive across it?

to the new Portland-Milwaukie light rail bridge which will provide a river crossing for mass transit, bicycles and pedestrians, but not automobiles.dsc_0014

We caused one lift bridge to disrupt traffic,but turned back south(upriver) before the next one.DSC_0052

Both Graham and I noticed some downtown construction features-a rooftop tree planted plaza and solar arrays over one roof.DSC_0064aDSC_0064  There are a lot of things about Portland that are truly admirable! The respect for the natural resource of the Willamette River that flows through the City is one great example.

 

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Some Places Just Make it Easier

Graham went to a professional seminar this past week and I needed to pick him up from the Portland Airport around 9p.m. on Wednesday.  I had no idea about traffic.

I knew on our other trips to and through Portland it seemed that a bit more than one hour would be a safe estimate for driving from our new home to the airport, but I reminded myself that Portland is a large city and you just never know, so I left with plenty of time. And of course Graham’s plane ended up being a bit late so it really didn’t matter anyway.

Well, it took me about an hour to get there. No traffic. Speed limit driving all the way in, even within the city where the highways go off and merge on hither and thither and I realize in time I will know it well and not have to depend on my GPS.portland at night

When I entered the ramp for the short term parking there was an electronic sign that said there were so many spaces available on level 4 and so many more spaces available on level 6. Wow.

On level 4, as I drove down the lane, there was an electronic sign that told me how many vacant spaces each row had, 11 here, 9 there, 12 here. As I drove down a row I noticed over each space was a light. Red over a parked car. Green over an empty space.airport Octb

WOW.

Some places just make it easier.


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Stop and Go Go Go

I grew up in the New York metropolitan area so I understand about rush hour. When I moved to Nashville in 1975 I laughed at the local complaints. At that time the population was 500,000 and it took me maybe 30 minutes to drive the 15 miles from my house to where I worked downtown. When I returned to Nashville in 1989 the area had a population over 1 million and it typically took me about an hour to drive home in the afternoon, altho the morning commute was still reasonable.  I must have found a good window in the traffic flow.

When I took Sam and one of his buddies to Boston on a college road trip I added an hour to the travel time in order to make our scheduled tour at Boston University. We were late. The traffic was slow and bumper to bumper for 30 miles west of downtown Boston. No construction. No bad weather. That was normal.traffic 30 miles from Boston

After all these experiences, driving in Huntington was sweet. We experienced “rush minutes” when we were second in line at a traffic light. And so, when we considered where to move for this retirement life, we wanted rush minutes and McMinnville so far appears to be similar.car-traffic-light-stop-lg

However, Graham had a workshop to present at a regional meeting of one of the professional forensic organizations. The conference was being held in Vancouver, Washington, which is a northern suburb of Portland, and according to electronic mapping, only 1.5 hours away.I-5_entering_Washington,_Interstate_Bridge

We drove up early afternoon on Monday and sure enough, it only took 1.5 hours. Sweet. We now can estimate that time to the airport, which is about the same distance just east of Portland.

Today, I needed to pick him up. We had planned that I would leave around 8, hoping to miss most of any morning traffic, but we got a call that the new dishwasher will be installed today after noon and so, needed to be back in plenty of time. So, I left at 6:30.

I considered it an experiment to know how access to the airport might be if we ever need to go during peak traffic time. Well, although there was traffic the whole way. it moved well. I arrived at the Vancouver Hilton at 8:10, only 10 minutes more than the original drive in light traffic.  portland_focus_map

Today may have been an anomaly. I will trust my new local friends to provide warnings and advice. But if this is the way things get here, I think we can handle it!!

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McMinnville is located about 35 miles southwest of Portland via State Route 99.