Reflections on a Wandering Life.....

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Off to China 

All good things must come to an end. One last coffee with She Who Must Not Be Disturbed, a trip to the airport, and a little something to chew on while we were waiting, then the goodbyes. I had ordered some books from Amazon that were late in coming--mostly stuff a friend in China had requested. I had given up on them, but it turned out that they arrived just before Heather and Jason left for the airport.

Click picture for larger image.
There's one thing I want to say about Portland before I leave. Jason and I went to OMSI one day, and out in back they had a tour of the last diesel class submarine. It was the sub used in the Tom Clancy movie, Hunt for Red October. It was bigger than the one I toured in San Francisco. That one was interesting, because it had actually seen action in World War II, but the tour of that ship was self-guided. The sub at OMSI has a tour guide who is a Navy veteran, and full of information about what life on a sub was like. But what I want to tell you about is what we did after the sub tour. They have these jet boats that take you up the Willamette river to the first falls.

I lived in Oregon for eleven years during my high school and college years. I stretched out my college years, because I took a year off after high school, and because I also did a postbac program, which means that I basically got two bachelor's degrees. But in all that time, I cannot recall a single time that I was on the Willamette River. I don't know why not. I guess I was more fascinated by mountain rivers like the Metolius in those days. Hard to believe that this summer was the first time I was ever on the river. It is definitely a worthwhile experience. Comedy of errors, I had left my camera memory in my laptop, so my camera was unusable. And my cell phone battery was dead, so I could not use that as a backup. I guess maybe it's alright, because you would have had to have a telephoto lens to really get a good shot of the two bald eagles we saw. But we did see them, along with a couple ospreys and a heron. Lots of other interesting stuff, too. There are some very nice houses right on the water, and others right next to the water. If you ever get to Portland, I strongly recommend that tour. But one word of warning: Don't sit in front. I was going to, because I figured the windshield would protect us from water spray. But Jason warned me, so we moved back toward the center of the boat. It was a good thing we did. The skipper would speed up, then come to a rapid full stop, and water would come pouring in over the windshield. The people in front got soaked.

I don't have a big camera, because I would either lose it, or it would never be with me when I needed it. I always use a pocket camera, because then I can carry it as a matter of habit, and have it handy when I need it. But this is one time when it would have been useful to have a camera with a good lens that could bring some of the things we saw up close. It is really worth seeing.

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