Sunday, December 21, 2008

A Beautiful Morning in Portland (?): The Big Freeze!

The first day of winter arrived with a vengeance in Portland today. Nancy's brother Jerry came to visit on the 16th and left yesterday morning on the 7:10 to Las Vegas and then on to points east. Turns out, his was one of the last flights to get out of Dodge on time. By 7:30 it was snowing hard and PDX is, shall we say, de-icing-equipment-challenged. By afternoon, most flights were canceled and they remain canceled today.

So the snow was coming down, the winds were blowing (note the doug-fir branchlets on the snow in the pictures below), the roads were closing (I-84 from Troutdale to Hood River and lots and lots of streets with hills in Portland), and all vehicles in the metro area had to be chained. Buses were running on snow routes (that cuts off a lot of NE Portland where we live) and MAX was icing badly--switches froze, power cables coated with ice, tracks full of snow and ice on the city routes.

Amtrak trains sat--the Northbound Coast Starlight for 5 hours just 1/2 mile short of the station while repair crews tried to get the lower deck of the Steel Bridge locked in place. The Southbound Coast Starlight sat in Portland waiting for the same bridge. The Eastbound Empire Builder was canceled due to a derailment of a BNSF train at the Portland Junction.

I drove our 4WD pickup over to 33rd and Killlingsworth to pick up some things at the New Seasons. A quick stop at the Brown Whiskey Store--the most popular store in town, it seemed--turned into an ordeal for some as the line was out the door when I left. I was a little ahead of the crowd.

We had planned on walking over to the Kennedy School to watch Appaloosa, but thought better of the idea and instead trudged down to Karen's at 6416 and made pizzas with her. That dial-a-fire is sure nice on a winter's eve...

This morning broke cold and gray with a crust of ice on the snow and off and on a little freezing drizzle. The cats instinctively know what to do when weather like this hits, but people are not so smart.

I shoveled our walk and our neighbor's, but ours are the only cleared ones in the neighborhood. Why, I remember in Ithaca you got a ticket if you didn't get your walks cleared. Harumph, where are the neighbors? Where are the drunks who used to dig Nancy out for $5? Then I realized that in 99.9% of Portland homes, one thing is missing. And that one thing, which we have hauled dutifully around with us all these years in Oregon because it's really good for picking up sidewalk sweepings, is:


Ronna said...

Ahh winter. Nothing like a trusty shovel eh? We've had 15 cm here on Friday, a few more today and another dump expected on Xmas Eve!!

Karen said...

Thank God you got the brown liquor!