Oregon Travelogue

Saturday, the three of us arose early to get ready to leave for the airport. My visiting teacher Sue drove us to DTW bright and early. We ate a quick breakfast at the airport, and got boarding passes without too much trouble. Rosie and I flew towards Portland (flying Northwest via Northwest) and Taylor flew back to Atlanta. This would be my last trip to Portland while my Grandma Watson still lived in Oregon – she moves to SLC on Saturday. Rosie forgot the battery to her portable DVD player (again!) so I handed over my iPod. The 5 hour flight was the longest I’ve been on in years, and has made me second guess the idea of flying with a child overseas.

We arrived around noon and picked up our rental car. Rosie wanted to drive into Washington State, so we crossed the bridge and got lunch. We ate at the Burgerville USA on Mill Plain. Since the last time I ate there in 2002, the chain has taken a more healthy approach – local and sustainable, with many organic ingredients-which is not typical for a burger joint. I got my beloved crispy chicken sandwich with Tillamook cheese, and fell in love with the most delicious sweet potato fries imaginable (yes Liz, even better than the 101 Café!)

I wanted to visit Title Nine’s store in northwest Portland, so we hopped on I-84. After a few miles, we realized we were going the wrong direction (east towards The Dalles). Since we’d already traveled a good portion of the trip, we continued to Multnomah Falls. It was pouring rain, but we didn’t realize that they had courtesy umbrellas until we’d gotten ourselves soaked. We snapped a few pictures, and after about 100 stairs, decided against the hike up to the bridge in the rain. We grabbed a few souvenirs at the lodge, and continued back to Portland. We enjoyed our drive through downtown, over the bridges of the Willamette River, with the friendliest drivers I’ve ever seen. We knew grandma was anxious for us to arrive, so we didn’t stop downtown. I decided to stop by my old house on Makah Street. I parked the car, and saw that a car was pulling out of the driveway across the street. It was Stephanie Siljeg, who’d been my neighbor from 1986-1993. We made eye contact, had a moment of happy recognition, and she pulled over. We made plans to get reacquainted at some other point of the trip.

We arrived at her home in Tualatin around 3:00 pm. We had plans to visit with Alaina and Jillian’s families in Salem Saturday night, but a large snowstorm was forecasted, and we canceled. So we just visited at her home for an hour, and then drove over to Bridgeport Village. We had dinner at Paradise Bakery, and went around looking at the shops. We stopped back over at Best Buy in Tualatin to buy another SD card, so I wasn’t limited on the photos I took on the trip. When we got back from dinner, we visited for a few minutes, and Grandma went to bed early. Rosie and I went over to the Siljegs and visited with Jodie, Kim, and Stephanie. It was so fun to get caught up after so many years. Of any non-family relation I have right now, the Siljegs are the oldest connection I’ve been able to make contact with. It was a lovely visit over hot chocolate and cookies, reminiscing over stories of the last 22 years, and I hope to keep in touch with them in the future. I got back to Grandma’s a little after 10 pm, and retired for the night after 21 busy hours.

Sunday morning we looked out the window to see the first bits of snowfall. By the time we left for church at 8:40 am, there was a decent 2″ accumulation. Church was canceled after sacrament meeting, and we drove back to Grandma’s. We had plans to go to a large extended family get-together at Laurie and Ricks, but their area was impassable in the snow, and chains were required to get there. Eventually, we had about 7 inches of snow. For those not familiar with Oregonians and snow…even with just a dusting, everything shuts down, especially if it gets icy.

Grandma looked through her cupboards for any remaining food items, since she’d been finishing off all her food and packing her dishes. We had a lunch of chicken salad sandwiches, frozen noodle casserole, and steamed veggies. With the snow as it was, we stayed in for the night, with the exception of a snowy walk that Rosie and I took near sunset. We watched Hallmark Channel movies and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas broadcast. Grandma spent some time with me getting set up on the Familysearch.org website – she’s an expert since she’s currently serving an online church service mission for family history. She looks forward to moving to Salt Lake at the end of the week to serve in person.

For Monday, Grandma will be picked up by her realtor to sign all the closing documents for her home. Flight loads look better for Monday night instead of Tuesday morning (unless everything gets messed up from the snow). Rosie and I hope to meet up with Coral and/or Carisa today, both friends from my youth…as long as the weather cooperates and the roads are passable. They’re pretty icy at this point. We’ll hopefully be able to spend some time walking around downtown Portland, before heading to PDX for our flight to SLC.

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