Saturday, November 30, 2013

Pacific Northwest Trip June 2013 Day 5 Thursday June 20



This is the fifth of a series of posts dealing with my tenth and most recent trip to Seattle as adult, this time also covering Portland. I’ve made minor corrections to these reports.  What few updates there are indicated by NOW in brackets. 

Minor editing to fix typos/incorrect names.

A bit noisy in here last night, including someone’s battery going beep-beep-beep everyone once in a while (with longer gaps as the battery died). This time it rained a bit even as I was leaving the hostel though not for too long. I walked downtown, checking out the square by the courthouse, where at a MAX station I got a daypass. I visited the 7-11 that I’d asked directions at upon arrival, grabbed a free paper, and visited Mills End Park and Salmon Street Springs. It was still very early so I decided to walk across a bridge to the east side, gradually making my way to Sark’s Vacuum Museum (not very big but free; a corridor of vintage vacuum cleaners).

[NOW: The hostel was Northwest Portland Hostel. The square is in fact called Pioneer Courthouse Square. The bridge was Morrison Bridge].

I walked to Everyday Music (E Portland version) but it was still before 9 so I wandered around a bit, getting photos of a giant rotating milk carton (Sunshine Milk), then back to Everyday Music where I got some DVDs. I wandered past Lloyd Center for a Subway breakfast, then at Lloyd visited Barnes & Noble. The mall’s most interesting feature proved to be that it has an ice rink. I bought a couple seasons of Six Million Dollar Man at Suncoat Motion Picture Co, took one more look at the ice rink, then headed out.

I got on an east side Portland Streetcar but soon realized first that it turned the wrong way too soon and that it doesn’t automatically stop at every stop. I finally made it to the library book store Title Wave. Fun place to find esoteric stuff, though despite dealing in sometimes heavy books, their larger bags are paper, not plastic. I had to improvise because the bag started to tear about a block later.

I got on a 44 mistakenly thinking it was an express 4 (all non-Portland Streetcar transportation this day TriMet). Luckily It went north, just not northwest so was able to correct course to Mississippi SE. Black Rose Collective was gone but I visited Bridge City Comics and CD Game Exchange next door (same franchise as the Gresham one; bought more DVDs). The 4 bus I wanted went by and tried to find another route west, fearing a delay between busses. Dodging construction for the umpteenth time trying to find a place to get across, I had a bit of Willamette River, got off at JELD-WEN Field Station, dropped off stuff at the hostel, and ate lunch at the McDonald’s near the hostel.

I went to Pioneer Courthouse Square again, this time getting bus schedules at the Tourist Info place there. Music equipment was being set up at the square. I did one final trip to the east, getting Vanilla Coke at a SE Belmont stop and then getting DVDs at Movie Madness, which I wasn’t as impressed by last trip as the 2008 one. This time I found it more to my liking again. Lots of movie memorabilia there, so I got permission to get photos. In fact I almost forgot my DVDs there!

[NOW: The stop above was at a Walgreen’s.]

More rain luckily mainly while waiting in the bus shelter. Another 15 back downtown. I walked to Powell’s, then took a Portland Streetcar back to the downtown core. I sought out art pieces like the fountains with small animals, a pirate skeleton seen earlier this trip (forgot to mention), a topless hooded woman.

[NOW: The art pieces described above are Animals in Pools fountains, an unofficial art piece in front of Glowing Greens, and Kvinneakt.]

I visited Mill Ends Park once more then rested at the fountain. I then got on a Blue MAX train (really been beating the odds with Blue; for all but three times this trip a Red train had it come first would have worked just as well). I got off at Washington Park MAX Station. I was just going to wander around, but the Oregon Zoo was right there and only cost $11.50. I decided it would be a nice thing to do at the tail end of the trip. I think if anything it does an even better job than Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo at simulating a nature environment. Saw penguins (and later bat) flying, female lions play fighting until they noticed they had an audience, etc.

I went back to the MAX station (accessed by an elevator trip underground) and took a Blue MAX train to JELD-WEN Field MAX Station, in part because I had only got off before heading the other way and wanted to find the other side’s stop for the trip tomorrow morning. I almost had dinner at McDonald’s but reconsidered at the last minute and went to Sbarro at Pioneer Place). I got on a Blue MAX train that said Hillsboro (west), realized it was actually going east, got on a Blue MAX heading in the right direction, and made it to my hostel to pack.

Pacific Northwest Trip June 2013 Day 4 Wednesday June 19



This is the fourth of a series of posts dealing with my tenth and most recent trip to Seattle as adult, this time also covering Portland. I’ve made minor corrections to these reports.  What few updates there are indicated by NOW in brackets. 

Minor editing to fix typos/incorrect names.

I walked north to the Portland Streetcar station. The streetcar arrived as I was about to get my daypass, so I missed getting photos of a few stops as I got my daypass inside instead (while separate from TriMet they share the same daypass program). I took the streetcar to the Portland Aerial Tram station, which was surprisingly busy on the lower end. Still got some great views of Portland. On the way back down to the lower (hospital) end, there were only two other people.

The next streetcar wasn’t due for another 15 minutes so I ended up walking downtown instead. Realizing I might not have much time to explore Portland proper today, I visited Salmon Street Springs and Mill Ends Park before heading to the near light rail

I took the Blue MAX train (TriMet) to Beaverton Central Station (the stop after Beaverton Transit Center from yesterday, but obviously also in Beaverton). I ate breakfast at McDonald’s. I would have liked to have visited Powell’s Books there, but it didn’t open until 10 and I expected delays towards the middle of the day. I bought a bunch of DVDs at Beaverton’s Everyday Music. My info said Things from Another World opened at 9 but there it said 11.

It was still too early for my next stop, but I still wanted to visit the town it was in. So, I simply took the 52 bus to Aloha and took the 57 bus from there (both are TriMet and you can get on both in Beaverton; I just wanted to say I’ve been to Aloha). On the latter bus there was a young girl screaming for her amusement; her dad didn’t try to stop her. The bus arrived at Hillsboro Transit Center. When I asked at Arcade Book Exchange if they had graphic novels, I got the sense that the woman would never dream of selling those. I also visited Jacobsen’s Books & More.

I went to the westernmost Blue MAX Station, Hayfield Government Center, and took the train on an over hour and a half ride to the easternmost stop, Cleveland Station in Gresham; near the end of the trip a loud crying baby was on the train a few stops. Then I took another train to double back one stop to my actual destination, Gresham Transit Center.

I took a free SAM (Sandy & Area Metro) bus to Sandy. Some Bookstore in Sandy was apparently closed down. I ate lunch at Dairy Queen on my way west to Sandy’s Blockbuster. It started to rain so I put on my coat but knowing I had a long hike ahead of me, stuck with short sleeved pants. At one point a returning SAM bus stopped where I was walking past as it was pouring, but I only got confirmation of no stops at Boring.

It cleared soon enough and after a long walk (hour?) made it the main part of Boring, where I photographed Boring Bark & Landscaping.

[NOW: According to signs in the area the latter is just outside of Boring proper. However, both Google Maps and Boring’s own zone map place this as being within Boring limits. The town was named after William H. Boring, hence the unusual name.]

I passed the Boring Fire District and Boring Post Office, I also got photos of myself at SE Andy. I bought a DVD at Green Food Mart. She wasn’t going to give me a receipt at first but I made sure I got one.  I passed Boring Mini Storage and Boring Square Garden Center, visited a store I can’t recall the name of, passed the Not So Boring Bar & Grill, and visited the Boring Shell Station (the only franchise I could find in this industrial town).

I passed the Boring Middle School, probably the highlight in terms of names. I couldn’t find the Boring Machine Works, but since I got photos of all the above I’m happy.

[NOW: There was also a sign where the Boring Saturday Market is held.]

I think the next walk also took an hour because I was more tired and this part was up and downhill multiple times as I headed north. Not sure if I was in any town when I got the 84 bus (TriMet) to downtown Gresham. Downtown Gresham now really is boring. Every store had the same beige one-story buildings. I bought a pop at a place whose name I can’t recall.

Leaving downtown I visited Just In Video (another hike, more tiring ion part because I put on the slacks waiting for the 84 bus earlier. Another walk took me to CD Game Exchange, where I got some DVDs.

I took the Blue MAX to JELD-WEN Field MAX Station, walked to McDonald’s for dinner, walked to the hostel, did one final short walk, walked back.

[NOW: The hostel was Northwest Portland Hostel]. 

BTW the weather was expected to be better tomorrow, but the per cent change of rain kept on increasing for to tomorrow, hence my chancing the walk in the rain today in Boring. One way or another I was going to get rained on, so might as well get it over with today I figured. This concludes the part of the trip devoted to areas just outside of Portland. Tomorrow all Portland!

Pacific Northwest Trip June 2013 Day 3 Tuesday June 18



This is the third of a series of posts dealing with my tenth and most recent trip to Seattle as adult, this time also covering Portland. I’ve made minor corrections to these reports.  What few updates there are indicated by NOW in brackets. 

Minor editing to fix typos/incorrect names.

Last night one of the people in the room was a young visually impaired woman with dog. The dog greeted me briefly when I woke up around 6 this morning, a lot more refreshed; must have had a deep sleep. Since I was awake pretty early, I opted for my Thursday itinerary, as that’s the only Portland area one other than the day I leave that would otherwise require setting my alarm.

I went to JELD-WEN Field MAX Station, bought a TriMet daypass, then took a Blue MAX train to Beaverton Transit Center in Beaverton. There I transferred to a WES train (also TriMet); there was a ticket check just after we left. I got off at Woodinville Station where I transferred to a 1x bus (Cherriots Transit). I didn’t get a window seat so I did the next best thing and sat behind the exit doors and use the windows there to shoot through.

I got off in Salem and had breakfast in McDonald’s near the Capitol. I went to the Capitol right after and got some nice fountain photos there. One fountain defies any attempts to describe; the other is water jets shooting from the ground. I walked to the downtown core and bought a Cherriots Transit daypass from the Transit Mall (I couldn’t get a daypass on the 1x because, as I’d researched in advance, express buses aren’t included. I bought some DVDs at Book Bin. Northwest Comic Gallery wasn’t open yet, but as the gallery name implies, it looked pretty sparse inside. I walked out of the very beautiful downtown core to Paperback Exchange. On the way back I saw an interesting used music/movies store but there was no indication as to when it would open. I tried to visit Tea Party Bookshop back downtown but it was replaced with a bridal shop. Book Habit also wasn’t yet open; given more time I might have checked it out since it opened at 10:30. I went to the Transit Mall but had to move because someone tried to tell me their life story as I was trying to get my notebook out, probably to hit me up for money. I realized I was on the wrong side anyway.

On the correct side, I took the 19 bus (Cherriots Transit) to Bookmart (defunct), then Mr. Video (bought DVDs and blu-rays), then Tony’s Kingdom of Comics (not yet open despite arriving 16 minutes after opening time). It took a while for it to arrive, but I finally another 19 took me back to downtown Salem. I visited Borderland Games before crossing a bridge to West Salem, oddly in a different county. If the weather was as beautiful and sunny as when I arrived, I might have spent more time in downtown Salem, but now the weather was telling me to get a move on.

[NOW: To clarify further, despite being in a different county, West Salem is still part of Salem. However, the former Bookmart, Mr. Video, and Tony’s are in Keizer.]

After buying blu-rays in West Salem’s Blockbuster Video (yes, a few still exist) it started pouring so I put on long sleeved pants over my short sleeved ones and of course put on my coat. There was still time before the next bus but didn’t want to miss it so made a point of walking to it ahead of time. Then, with a bit more time, I tried to find a fast food place. I did see a DQ but the light was taking forever to turn and I didn’t want to get soaked, so doubling back I visited Roth’s (grocery store) and Oasis Games before returning to Glen Creek Transit Center.

I got on an 11 bus (Yamhill County Transit; van-type bus; got daypass) and took it to downtown McMinville. I visited Third Street Books before leaving the downtown area to visit Movietime Video (got a couple more DVDs). There was a Mexican buffet near there for $5, but I wasn’t that hungry and needed to keep an eye on the time, so I grabbed a deal from 7-11 instead.

Returning downtown, Parnassus proved to be closed on Tuesdays. I did a bit more wandering including taking photos of a train passing through but ran out of things to do and returned to the bus area. There it started to pour dramatically. Unfortunately someone also smoked something a bit strong so I started to gag at one point. As it turns out they changed when then next bus arrived, so I had a longer still wait. McMinnville is cute enough but I was pretty bored near the end so I probably wouldn’t return unless there was a shorter wait between buses.

I got on the 44 bus (Yamhill County Transit) which weaved through numerous small communities before finally making it to Tigard Station. I was limited on where I could sit on the bus because it had those screens which makes it hard for people to see in but which is all too visible if you try to take photos. At Tigard I wandered into a convenience store named Roja’s. I wanted to buy a Pepsi bottle, but the woman took her time wandering from the counter to the front and the Pepsi proved $1.95 vs. Coke’s $1.50 so I just left and returned to Tigard Station.

There I took the WES train back to Beaverton Transit Center and the Blue MAX train to downtown Portland. Between Washington Park and Beaverton Transit Center, the MAX view (red or blue) is much better if you sit on the left heading towards Beaverton and right heading the other way.

[NOW: Again, but of those trains are TriMet Transit]

In downtown Portland I briefly revisited Salmon Street Springs and Mill Ends Park before grabbing dinner at the Subway near Pioneer Place. Cameron’s Bookstore had just closed for the day but I’ll get there tomorrow or Thursday. Floating World Comics, which I think was in a different location in 2008; very unique atmosphere for a comic shop; the superheroes seem like an afterthought there. I walked to Watch This DVD! but found a building with lots of businesses, none of the this one. Next door was Countermedia, an alternative book and comic store. Shortly thereafter I passed the main Powell’s but didn’t got in, though I checked their No. 2 store across the street; “number two” was also how interesting I found the content there: car manuals and the like.

I bought a Powerade at the Rite Aid; I didn’t have my card but got the discount by typing my phone number into a screen. I walked to Videorama and bought more DVDs, then returned to the hostel to drop off my stuff and start charging camera batteries and cell phone. I walked to Everyday Music and then Powell’s (this time I did go in) before returning to the hostel.

[NOW: The hostel was Northwest Portland Hostel].

As I was typing this I could hear someone a door down playing his guitar and singing (not much of a problem) and some kid(s) using the main hostel area as their personal running and screaming area (much more annoying but they’ve stopped, guitar guy’s still performing).

Pacific Northwest Trip June 2013 Day 2 Monday June 17



This is the second of a series of posts dealing with my tenth and most recent trip to Seattle as adult, this time also covering Portland. I’ve made minor corrections to these reports.  What few updates there are indicated by NOW in brackets. 

Minor editing to remove a personal detail plus to fix the usual typos, as well as correcting a few names.

Not sure if I got any sleep last night. Very muggy, plus the stress of needing to not sleep in for my 6:30 bus plus the Border nerves.

When I arrived at the hostel yesterday, the only other person in the room was an Asian guy doing homework. He was still doing homework when I got back from my friend Sheila. He was still doing homework when I got back from my friend Luca. He eventually went outside the room to continue doing homework so he could turn off the light, but rather than getting his key and closing the door entirely, he left it slightly ajar so there was a little light coming in. Not much though. When I got up at 5 am he was still outside the room sitting at the table doing homework.

I wandered to the bus/train station (Central Station) I noticed the McDonald’s was closed down. There was another one nearby but I didn’t have the energy to wander over there. So I just had a tea at the station, hoping to grab breakfast along the way.

I got on the BoltBus (express service). After Customs the bus continued to Cordata Station in Bellingham, near the large Belfair Mall. I crossed the street to a coffee
shop called Cruisin Coffee and grabbed breakfast to go there.

At Burlington we detoured due to that recent I-5 accident, getting back on the I-5 after passing through downtown Mt. Vernon. We stopped breakfast in Seattle by the entrance to International District/Chinatown Station. Money fell out of my pocket but the driver was honest enough to return it.

We main good time getting to Portland, though upon arrival it took a bit to get my bearings and I got help at a nearby 7-11. I bought a TriMet daypass just before that, a mistake because my TriMet use of the day could probably have worked on a single fair. I took a Blue MAX train to near my hostel. Ironically, it needed to stop for maintenance where I’d intended to get off at anyway. I headed north to the Northwest Portland Hostel, grabbing lunch at a McDonald’s along the way.

[NOW: The stop in question was JELD-WEN Field MAX Station.]

After checking in at the hostel, I went to a nearby 77 bus stop but didn’t know how often it ran, and walked along my route, finally grabbing an 8 to the same destination, a transfer spot to a C-TRAN bus. At first no one seemed to know which side I needed to get on and I got the sense that TriMet drivers didn’t even know that C-TRAN buses stopped there. I finally found people who could answer. As it turns out, either side was okay, but because it loops around, the side I got off the 8 was best for getting a decent seat.

[NOW: The 77 bus was TriMet.]

I got on the 157 C-TRAN bus (all remaining buses taken this day were C-TRAN) and got a daypass, taking the bus to 99th Avenue Transfer Center in Hazel Dell North, part of Vancouver WA. I liked the symmetry of visiting Vancouver BC and WA on the same day. I transferred to a 32 bus and visited Science Fiction Books and after a bit of a wall, Video Connections, where I bought some DVDs. I changed my mind about a third Hazel Dell store because it looked harder to get to than at first glance. I bought some Gatorade near Video Connection then took a 37 south to Vancouver WA proper. There was a large art piece made of recycled goods. I visited Esther Short Park (more lawn then trees; also has fountain and clock tower). I took a 105 bus back to Portland.

[NOW: Science Fiction Books is in Hazel Dell South, right across the street from the south end of Hazel Dell North].

The driver was early so the driver decided to have a four minute layover away from any stop. A woman asked to get off and when he agreed, I got off too. I just wanted to take photos at that point so any stop was fine for that.  I wandered to Salmon Street Springs, where I started to drink what I thought was a lemon variant of Gatorade but proved to be lime cucumber flavour. Yes, tastes as horrible as it sounds.

I walked to the nearby Mill Ends Park, the world’s smallest park, located inside a crosswalk. This time there was a pretty green small tree inside the park. I walked to Pioneer Place and had dinner at an Italian place in the Food Court (Sbarro).  I walked to Powell’s Books and bought and old Daredevil index from the 1970s or 1980s, the bought some DVDs at Everyday Music before heading back to the hostel. Hope to get some sleep tonight; I’m pretty sure I will.