Sunday, November 16, 2008

A Beautiful Afternoon in Portland: A Walk-About Along the Willamette With The New Oregonians

Saturday was a superb fall day in Portland. The sun was out, the sky was blue, and it was warm enough to wear shorts for a walk along the Willamette with our old friends from Ithaca, Anne and Ron, The New Oregonians. Anne has been living/visiting for a while now, staying with her sister and family where she has been Aunt Anne of the Basement, a moniker her nephew coined and we have adopted. Ron has just taken a position with Oregon State and they will be moving to Corvallis (he from Athens, Georgia and she from a) New Jersey, b) Georgia, and c) from the aforementioned basement) in mid-December. Aunt Anne of Sunview Drive, as we now call her, will continue her HR-biz career. Here's a shot of the Steel Bridge with the Broadway Bridge behind it (the red one) and the arch of the Fremont I-405 Bridge in the distance.

Yesterday the four of us headed out on a walk over the Morrison Bridge, down the Esplanade (where down=down stream), across the Steel Bridge, and back to our car. Along the way, we had to back-track on the Morrison, not my favorite activity as my vertigo was raging what with being a hundred feet off the water, with nothing over my head, and with a steel-grating bridge deck. But, Mt. Hood was out, as we say, and that made life better. Back-tracking was caused by the fact that we were on the wrong side of the bridge to get to the river front, so we dodged traffic while skipping to the other side.

The walk on the Esplanade is made very exciting by the presence of combat double strollers, speeding bicycles, skateboards, and roller blades, all moving at speeds beyond our perambulation, and few if any offering warning of passing.

Our timing was perfect from my point of view. First, the Coast Starlight was leaving Union Station so we saw it close up and personal as it crossed the Steel Bridge headed for Albany, Eugene, Klamath Falls, and points south in California before pulling into Los Angeles twenty-some hours after we saw it building speed on the south-bound UP track.

Then, the Global Endeavor, a bulk cargo ship, was taking on wheat from the elevators by the Steel Bridge, which had in turn, taken it on from Shaver and Tidewater grain barges on the Columbia, having taken it on from other river-side elevators, that had taken it on from trucks that had been filled by the combines of eastern Oregon and Washington. Wonder where it's headed and what sort of bread will be baked from it.

Then, for the trifecta, bells started ringing and a disembodied voice announced that the lower deck of the Steel Bridge would lifted to allow some boats to pass to the south. The Steel Bridge is a double-decked vertical lift draw bridge that can lift its decks independently. So, while the bottom railroad deck was lifted for some not-so-huge boats to pass, the upper deck--cars and the MAX--were in place, and traffic rumbled over.

Finally, it was a walk through the plaza in memory of interred Japanese-Americans from Oregon, a swing past Voodoo Doughnuts where Anne and Nancy were briefly tempted by the famous maple-bacon bar, and then home to a grilled salmon dinner. Keta salmon, as they call it at New Seasons. I guess they think more people will buy it if you call it keta versus what anglers call it--chum or dog salmon. It was tasty however, and left us all yelping for more...

No comments: