Julie and I left our respective homes at about 8:00 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 14. I figured I'd get to Portland before her because my trip was a straight shot down I-5, but she had to go over Mt. Hood and through some podunk towns w/ stoplights. My trip was uneventful, and for the first time I was even driving under the speed limit so that I didn't end up in Portland way before Julie. Lucky for me I was going slow because I saw a lot of State Patrol radar traps along the highway and the last thing I need is to get a ticket in a county far away from my own because that would be next to impossible to fight. Hit a bit of rain when I got to Vancouver but it was only a squall (remember, we have a Vancouver, Washington in addition to Vancouver, BC and Vancouver Island).
Portland is a ginormous city, spanning two huge rivers, the Columbia and the Willamette and sprawling across two counties. It reminds me a lot of Berkeley, CA - a bit gritty, but funky and an extremely liberal college town.
I got to the Portland Inn City Center at about 10:45. As I drove into the parking lot and looked up at this run down building, I said, "you have got to be fucking kidding me". It looks the kind of place that would rent rooms by the hour, you know? But hey, as I said, it is a college town and I wanted to remain open minded, since I'm sure a lot of parents stay there. I checked in and the lobby was quite nice. Our room was ready, #439, so I went up and dumped my crap. Here is a pic of our room. I called Julie to let her know I'd wait for her in the lobby, called Brian to tell him I'd arrived safely, and then headed downstairs to read. Julie showed up at about 11:30 or so and I helped bring her stuff upstairs.
Our room was a bit beat up, and fairly clean, except for......
THE MYSTERY STAIN. (DUN-dun-dun)
I saw it when I first got into our room, had tentatively touched the toe of my shoe to it and I could tell it was sticky. Once Julie arrived, she decided to plant her entire foot on it and when she pulled her foot off, there was the most sickening, "thuk" sound as her shoe came unglued from the carpet. After yelling "EW EW EW EW" at the top of my lungs, I nearly blew chunks right then and there. We, of course, howled with laughter and tried to figure out if we should steal construction cones to put over the stain. We spent the rest of the afternoon jumping over it. Then I took this lovely picture of Julie getting up close and personal with our pet stain. Notice how she wouldn't even kneel on the carpet and is protecting her knees with tissue paper? More hilarity ensued.
Our room faced an office building and I was feeling a bit zany so I lifted up my shirt and bra and flashed it. Don't know if anyone saw, but we got a huge charge out of it.
Next, we headed out to walk around downtown.
The downtown area is a very nice mix of the old........and new. I really liked it a lot and I look forward to going back.
Here's Julie trying to get her hand inside Hunky Open-Shirted Model Man's pants.
Ate lunch here.
Bought beads here.
Got back to the room and looked at her GORGEOUS trip pics from Europe (hint hint, she should blog them), chatted and I called Brian. All the while, there is the annoying din of construction going on outside, below our window. I know at one point I couldn't take it anymore, stood up and yelled out the window, "SHUTUP SHUTUP SHUT UP!" But they couldn't hear me of course. Then at 7:30 they started using a friggin jackhammer. It's like people! Go home to your wives and families for gods sake! By 8:00 pm I'd had about enough so I went down to the desk and inquired, somewhat tersely, if the construction went on all night or what and was told that they work till "after dark". Fortunately, the front desk guy asked if we wanted to change rooms and I said yes. He gave me a key for Room #243 and I went up and got Julie and we checked out the room and it was in a quiet nook of the building. As we exited good ol' Room #439, dragging all our crap down the hall, I sang out, "Bye Stain..." and we settled in to the new room.
Necessity being the mother of invention, this is how we kept our window open.
The hotel was allegedly "non-smoking", but the 2nd floor hallway reaked of smoke. Our room was clearly the "sneak-a-smoke" room as we were treated to this festive view of the ledge below our window. Although the hanger was our fault....one of them fell out of the window.
After we crashed, I slept for about 2 hours, and woke up at 1:00 a.m. with horrible nausea. I went into the bathroom where I promptly semi-passed out on the cold tile floor. I don't know how long I lay there but I finally went back to bed at some point and spent the night tossing and turning. Next morning, I was stunned to find out that Julie was sick too, but was toughing it out in bed and also tossing and turning, and wondering why I was in the bathroom so long. Since we both had the exact same thing for lunch, cheeseburger and fries, that has to be what made us sick. Note to self: Don't eat at the Red Coach Restaurant again.
Next up: Mt. Hood and the Timberline Lodge.