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Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Posting from Portland in Powells

So here I sit in the largest independent bookstore, sipping coffee from a comfortably shaped coffee cup, with Portland strolling by outside the window, and a stack of books I'll be purchasing next to me on the counter. It's like a little heaven for Ammys.

Sunday was spent hurtling toward Oregon. We stopped in Ashland around 1pm, walked up and down the main drag, and had a lovely lunch at the Greenleaf. Turkey burgers and Italian Fries (which are much like french fries, but have herbs and parmesan sprinkled over them). We looked into what was playing once again, but found much to our continued disappointment that there was no Shakespeare playing on Sunday. I was really hoping there'd been some mistake, because it seems very wrong somehow to come through Ashland and not see a show. The only shows playing were both modern, and not ones I'd heard of, and so, we passed on our way without partaking of the best Shakespeare festival on the West Coast. Go figure. Instead we treated ourselves to a lovely hike up Ashland Creek. Two hours walking by the water was just the right answer after all those Italian fries. We also handed out a pair of Random Pixel cameras, and moseyed on our merry way.

We called Rick's Aunt Carol, and stopped at her home in Eugene for the night. This was finally a chance to meet Aunt Carol, and she's every bit as nice and down to earth as advertised. She and her husband Phil own a highway contruction company, and they live out on the equipment storage lot in a very nice home surrounded by enormous dump trucks and other equipment. They've recently acquired a golden lab named Joey from Carol's daughter Theresa. Joey thought Rick and I were the best thing he'd seen all day, so he promptly snuggled up to us for all the cuddling he could score. The next morning, Joey and I played tug of war with a rope of his until we were both tired. He's a good puppy, and he'll be a great mellow dog within the next year. He's just on the cusp of mellowing out now.

After a breakfast of zucchini bread, we headed out towards Salem, Oregon, pausing momentarily in Corvalis for a roadside lunch of Skippers Fish and Chips. This was the perfect birthday treat in my mind. The next stop was the Enchanted Forest, a sort of poor man's Disneyland. We rode the log ride, climbed through the witch's mouth, rode some kooky bumber cars that had two levers to steer and accelerate with instead of a steering wheel and gas pedal, slid down the Old Woman and the Shoe slide a bunch of times, spent 20 minutes or so watching a great Rube Goldberg device, and generally really enjoyed ourselves in the least pretentious theme park ever.

Back on the road, we headed towards Portland and tried to find a good place to park for the night. This proved challenging, but finally we decided to go see Shrek 2, and have a quick dinner at Chevy's. Rick asked the waitress about where to park for the night, and the bartender turned out to be a fount of information. After laughing ourselves senseless at the movies, we headed for one of his recommendations, ended up at the other one, and crashed out in the van for the first time. Turns out, the van is pretty darned comfortable. After an oil change this morning, we headed to Washington Park to see the International Rose Test Gardens, and ended up taking the light rail into town from there. We've been at Powell's for a few hours now, and I've limited myself to six books, mostly because I get to carry them back. Next we're headed north again to get closer to Vancouver. Tomorrow is Cirque, and then it's off to Seattle for visiting the Sconyers and the Northwest Folk Life Festival.

Oh, and I'm officially 30 now. Still don't feel different. Definitely had a great time at my party though. Many thanks to my wonderful friends (and my mom!) who came and made it such a great affair. See you all soon!

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