seeking knowledge and laughter, putting a bullseye on inaccuracy

Travel

Thoughts and reflections on trips I have taken, from across the planet to across the state.

Pac NW 2008 Part I

We'll see how far I get into recounting some of Michelle and I vacation adventures. Photos accompanying this account are available in my gallery.

We visited Mt. St. Helens with Adam, Ildiko, Russ, and Lisa. Once again, we drove to the Johnston Ridge Observatory and started out by learning about the famous boom that formed the modern features. It was cold and foggy. Colder than we expected (several of us in shorts and t-shirts, the high for the day was 55 I think) and way cloudier than expected.

Nonetheless, we persevered, layered all the clothing we had with us, and set out to do some hiking. (Map here, trails list here.) We took the Boundary Trail to a fork where we turned onto the Truman trail.

Previously, we (Adam, Ildiko, and I) had taken the Boundary Trail out to Harry's Ridge Trail for a great view of Spirit Lake and the mountain. However, the fog was thick and we wanted to try something new. So we struck out on the Truman trail, hiking toward the base of a mountain we could not see.

After hiking about 5 miles, we realized we would have to turn back without getting to the point where 207 (on the map) splits to 207A. Nonetheless, we were rewarded with occasional glimpses of parts of the summit through the clouds - which was more than those back at the observatory got. So I was happy with that. It looked way bigger than it appeared previously when we stayed high on the ridges. I definitely plan to go back with a damn tent so I can spend a lot more time on those trails.

We drove back to Portland, did some more grilling at Adam and Ildiko's - great conversations with only a little teasing of my awesome movie tastes.

Monday morning, I took a bus to downtown Portland for a work meeting that went exceptionally well. Michelle and I then wandered a bit downtown, admiring how they mixed trains, streetcars, and buses for public transit. I introduced Michelle to Powell's Books - a insanely huge bookstore that is several stories over a whole city block.

In the afternoon, I spent a few hours working on my laptop and had another meeting with some folks interested in building a community network. Following that, we had another good evening with Russ and Lisa, eating grilled hamburgers and spaghetti (my idea - yumminess and carbs for future climbing) but everyone else thought it an odd combination. So it goes, it is my vacation, I like to try new things.

The next morning, Adam and Ildiko took us to French's Dome, a sweet crag near Mt. Hood in Oregon. If Ellis is still reading this, you are right, the climbing there is wonderful. Unfortunately, it was also crowded - more so than any other time Adam and Ildiko had visited it. But we still did 4 routes and enjoyed each of them. Climbing photos.

The plan was to head into Washington State that night and set up camp in Leavenworth for 2 more days of climbing. But we were rather tired and instead chose to hit up an amazing taqueria in some hipster location of Portland and turn in early to get an early start the next morning for Washington.

That is where I'll leave it for now - having forgotten much, I'm sure, but I will try to continue soon. I'm stuck because I desperately want to finish Stephen Hunter's Point of Impact - the book that Shooter was based upon. It has me hooked.

Coming Home

Hanging at Orf's house, finally beat back a migraine that had disabled me for most of the day. Spent last night at Camano Island State Park, north of Seattle and had an interesting time - but woke up hurting. No idea why. So it goes.

Michelle and I have had a great time out here. Spent 2 days in Leavenworth, a stunningly beautiful mountain area featuring an odd Bavarian town tourist town. Catching a plane back tonight at midnight. Wish we had more time to hang with Orf and the Portland folks but we are looking forward to sleeping in our own bed and hosting Kim in our dramatically lower temperature apartment =)

Goodbye Portland

Michelle and I had a great time in Portland - hanging with friends and seeing a little of the town. I had a couple of biz meetings that went quite well. This morning we are heading out to French's Dome - a climbing area near Mt. Hood. After climbing there for awhile, we'll head up to Washington State to climb at Index and possibly Leavenworth.

Portland Arrival

Orf, Michelle, and I had some great breakfast at the Original Pancake house in Kirkland. Amazing cherry crepes. Came back to the house and after several hours of GTA IV (awesome!) we went for a hike to Poo Poo Point on Tiger Mountain. Took a long time, enjoyed the scenery, and slowly walked off as Orf was slowed by a recent ankle injury.

Indian food for dinner and a little more GTA before heading to bed.

Next morning, Donuts and Orf took us to King's Street Station to take the Amtrak to Portland. A fun, four hour ride later, we arrived in Portland - Michelle's first Amtrak ride will likely lead to more. Though she quickly got a taste for the annoying passengers that seem to appear here and there on the train as a talkative woman behind us used a lot of different words across a variety of subjects to make it obvious that she has no friends. But be warned! The end of times is near because the Bible foresaw rising commodity prices.... or something.

Hanging with Adam, Ildiko, and Lisa now, waiting for Russ to drop by. Will likely spend tomorrow at Mt. St. Helens.

Arrival and TNR

Michelle and I arrived in Seattle last night at 11:00pm local time. I dozed off and on through the flight whereas Michelle mostly flopped around, unsuccessfully seeking some comfortable position. Nary an empty seat on the plane (which they switched at the last second to add more capacity which left Michelle and I in a 3-person row rather than the 2 person row we hoped for).

We got to the airport super early, fearing that July 3 would be a day with long lines. Nope. At least not at night. So we had lots of time at the gate and I got some reading done.

Staying at Orf's place north of Seattle - he picked us up at the airport last night. Always great to spend the car ride laughing and catching up. He has a great townhouse but the wireless network doesn't like either of my laptops (yeah, I had to bring two cuz I'm working while on vacation - Michelle says I'm a giant dork, but there are people I should see while I am out here).

Now for some magazine followup...

The 9 July, 2008, issue of The New Republic had some stories worth mentioning this week (they always have stories worth reading). Got a kick out of "Terror Firma" by Jonathan Chait, in part because of its nods to Stephen Colbert.

It doesn't matter that Obama never said, or even implied, that legal prosecution should be the sole method of preventing terrorism. The fact that he even mentioned prosecution apparently proves that he has what McCain's campaign called a "September 10th mindset."

Yet some logical flaws with this analysis present themselves. (And yes, I realize that the mere fact that I would intellectualize this issue, rather than understanding it in my gut, proves that I too have a September 10th mindset.) First, terrorists often operate in our country, or in friendly countries, which makes military action against them tricky. McCain (through his campaign blog) assailed Obama for favoring "prosecutors rather than predators." But, when the terrorists are holed up in New York City, as was the case with the 1993 bombers Obama referred to, simply arresting them strikes me as more efficient than leveling their apartment with a drone-fired missile.

From there, I turn next to "Deconstructing Barry" by Andrew Delbanco for a reminder of why I like Obama so much. Despite my frustration with his recent TOTAL SELLOUT to the Telecom companies by supporting retroactive immunity for their subservience to the Bush Administration and its Constitution-what-Constitution? approach to a few chickenfuckers from the Middle East (I suspect i have started to digress) ...

At any rate. Lately I have needed to be reminded why I still think this Obama guy is worth caring about and supporting. Delbanco reminds me that Obama understands the nuances of modern America.

[quoting Obama's Dreams from My Father] - "Most evangelicals are more tolerant than the media would have us believe, most secularists more spiritual" ... "most rich people want the poor to succeed, and most of the poor are more self-critical and hold higher aspirations than the popular culture allows." When he scans the human landscape, Obama tends to notice contradictory individuals more than coherent interest groups. His sentences are alive because they are in tension with themselves:

I imagine the white Southerner who growing up heard his dad talk about niggers this and niggers that but who has struck up a friendship with the black guys at the office and is trying to teach his own son different, who thinks discrimination is wrong but doesn't see why the son of a black doctor should get admitted into law school ahead of his own. Or the former Black Panther who decided to go into real estate, bought a few buildings in the neighborhood, and is just as tired of the drug dealers in front of those buildings as he is of the bankers who won't give a loan to expand his business. There's the middle- aged feminist who still mourns her abortion, and the Christian woman who paid for her teenager's abortion ...

And finally, an article that I will not quote from but which I wanted to point out to my fellow sports lovers. Jason Zengerle writes about a man campaigning against the NCAA for profiting on athletes while doing too little to make sure they get educated. Interesting piece.

Leaving on a Jet Plane

Tonight, Michelle and I are heading out to Seattle for a vacation. I am hoping to get down to Salem to hi to OR-OSHA friends but I'm not sure how long we will be in Oregon. We'll be flying by plane at first and by the seat of our pants for the rest of the trip!

Photos - Texas Style

Lizzie Visits World's 3rd Most Dangerous Golf Course

Lizzie, a friend of mine that moved to Korea, has blogged a stunning read of her trip into North Korea through the Demilitarized Zone. Very interesting - she has a great writing style.

DC Wrap-up

Flew to DC on Tuesday just in time for a dinner as part of a pre-conference discussion at Restaurant Nora - an astoundingly good organic place near Dupont Circle. Good conversations, then a long walk on a rather muggy night.

Rane and Oliverio hosted me in their apartment because I didn't feel up to dropping more than $200 a night for a DC hotel. Plus I got to spend more time with them since the conference ate a lot of my time.

So I sweated up my best clothes that night and was stuck in jeans for the rest of the week. Not a huge deal, but I would have preferred to be a little more formal in my presentation.

Rane was in Honduras saving the world, so Oli and I talked cameras for a bit before turning in. Rane came home the next night around midnight and we caught up until I bored her into falling asleep.

My presentation was on Thurs and was alright - small audience. I was not on my best form, but I think we all got something out of it. That night I met up with Max, having not seen or talked to him for several years, Steff, Tanya, and Rane. Catching up was great but Steff and Max had to leave so Rane, Tanya and I talked for awhile longer.

DC was really great - I think it was my 6th or 7th time there, but it seemed much more welcoming and clean than I remember it. Of course, I was only in NW, so I did not get a full view. I wish I had time to see other friends, but I had to get back to MN!

Took the train, plane, another train, and a bus to get back home. And here I am.

Weekend Travels

Michelle and I are heading up to see her parents this weekend. We'll be taking our bikes to get some trail time in. I'll be back on Monday but I fly out on Tues to head to a conference in DC. Back on Friday. So I'll be posting inconsistently for at least a few more days.

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