I haven’t seen my sister Mary for two years since she last traveled East and we spent 10 days traveling in Maritime Canada. So, my time here is pretty low-key with easy days and relaxing evenings. It’s time to just visit.
My body is still moving with the action of the train and last night when I woke at about 2:30 am, I was certain I was back on the Amtrak. I guess the Amtrak legs effect lasts more than 24 hours. I’ll probably get my land legs around 4:30 Wednesday when I am re-boarding the Empire Builder.
So far my sister and I have made the tour of beautiful downtown Portland including stops at Powell’s Books and Everyday Music. I have restocked reading materials and music for the ride home even though I didn’t really read that much on the train. But as I mentioned earlier, I did not have that much time to install music on my new Zen before leaving home, so I have added two classical and two new age albums to the set. One is George Winston’s “Plains” album. We’ll have to see if that makes North Dakota any more palatable on the return run.
One of the high points in Portland for any visitor is the world renowned International Rose Garden located in Washington Park. I have visited this place before – 23 years ago – but it is still magnificent. The weather on Saturday, the day of our visit, was perfect; temps in the mid 70s and clear blue skies. We packed a picnic lunch and enjoyed it on a bench surrounded by acres of fresh roses. I have included some photos.
I’m not sure if it is the weather, the longitude or just the locale, but the color and clarity seem particularly intense here. Perhaps it’s my polarized sun glasses? Has someone been spiking my food?
On Sunday, we have a lazy day of watching videos and doing laundry. In the evening we visit one of Mary’s friends over on the east side of Portland near where she used to live. Debbie is one of Mary’s oldest friends in Portland and they used to work together at the Oyster Bar downtown. Debbie and her mother Lois are also the head cookie chefs at the annual Christmas Cookie Extravaganza that results in the baking of over 3,000 cookies of all varieties and sizes. If you are on the short list you will get a batch for Christmas. Despite it being early July, I am rewarded with a tin of butterscotch chip cookies – yum!
Debbie’s husband Jeff is the barbeque chef for the evening and we dine in the backyard surrounded by friends and family. We find time and many things to laugh about; a nice relaxed ending to a nice relaxed day.