Tag Archives: Portland OR

What A Year!

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What A Year!

2021 is drawing to a close. A sigh of relief. Almost through year two of the pandemic. It appears that Covid and all of its mutations are here to stay. I wonder how different 2022 will be.

I was living in Wenatchee when 2021 arrived. It was my first winter in snow since 2009. While it was a relatively mild winter compared with the Canadian ones I’d experienced before, it was winter in a cold climate nonetheless.

This afternoon, seven of us enjoyed lunch together outside on the patio of an Italian restaurant. Now that feels more normal to me. With the exception of last year, outdoor dining in December has been the norm since I first arrived in Mexico in 2010.

In January I moved back to Leavenworth. There was more snow and the temperature was colder than in Wenatchee.

In February I was vaccinated and I began thinking about the future. I wasn’t ready to return to Mexico yet and the USA issued a Level 4 travel advisory against travel to Canada.

In March I retained an attorney and applied for an extended stay. I didn’t receive the confirmation that my stay had been approved until July. So I was in limbo for a while.

In April I had biometrics done at the USCIS Field Office in Yakima. Quite an interesting experience. But one step closer to getting that extended stay.

In May I moved to Dryden. It was peaceful living along the river, away from the hoards of tourists who continuously flock to Leavenworth.

The month of June flew by quickly as Amtrak became my new best friend. I traveled by train along the coast from Seattle to Los Angeles, visiting with friends in Portland and Sacramento along the way.

July and August were tense months. I was trying to figure out a way to get to Canada to see my kids and my granddaughter. Every day the rules changed with regards to travel restrictions. The Canadian airlines were gouging customers and I refused to pay quadruple the airfare I had paid before Covid. PCR tests were not available in small-town Washington.

In September I returned to Mexico for the same airfare I’d paid in years previously. No gouging here. No PCR test required. I was back home in Aguascalientes.

Considering that I’m not teaching or doing any volunteer work, I now find myself at more than halfway through my 180 days. The only traveling I’ve done was to Mazatlan for Thanksgiving and to Culiacan to see my family, as well as a day trip to San Jose de Gracia.

I will be with friends in Mexico City for New Years, and then on to Pechuca, Hidalgo. After that, who knows? What is certain is that the travel bug has returned, and that makes me happy.

Highs and Lows

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Highs and Lows

My amazing train trip has come to an end. It appears that I have brought the Sacramento heat wave with me back to Leavenworth. Yesterday was a balmy 110 and the forecast for Tuesday is 115.

Lots of highs from my trip down the coast. The spectacular ocean view in California…..well, I just can’t come up with the words to describe this. It’s something you have to experience. Even the photos don’t do it justice. I’d love to do it again.

Other highs I’ve written about in previous posts included the gorgeous rose gardens, the beautiful Japanese garden and the Grotto in Portland, as well as the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento.

Two places that I’d still like to visit are Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo. The view from the train was interesting and I’m sure there’s a lot to see in both places. Perhaps next time.

But there were also a couple of lows to this trip. It was quite depressing to see the extent of the homeless camps in every city I visited. They are everywhere and what upset me the most was the children who live here. They are surrounded by alcoholics, drug addicts and people with serious mental health issues. They live out of shopping carts and under tarps, and in tents if they’re among the more fortunate.

The second low was the ever present racial tension. Although this familiar logo was found everywhere, the damaged and boarded up downtown storefronts are reminders that the rioting and unrest are far from over.

My travels in the last three weeks have been memorable, but it is now time to think about traveling to Canada on my next trip now that quarantine restrictions have been eliminated for fully vaccinated Canadians.

Two More Gardens

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Two More Gardens

As promised, I have some amazing photos to share with you of an afternoon in the Japanese Gardens at Washington Park in Portland.

At the entrance is the Bonsai area. Some were over 100 years old.

We meandered on paths and over bridges admiring the beautiful flowers and trees.

On Thursday we headed to Chinatown to see the Lan Su Garden, conveniently located right off the Max line.

We enjoyed a delightful tea break on the patio outside of the teahouse, with this incredible view.

What a week! Two rose gardens, a Japanese garden and a Chinese garden.

I’m In Roseland

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I’m In Roseland

I had no idea what Portland would be like. I guess I expected a mini-Seattle. I did not envision the spectacular rose gardens I’ve seen in the past couple of days.

On Sunday we went to Peninsula Park. Even on a cloudy day we were treated to an awesome display of gorgeous roses.

On Monday we went to Washington Park to view another exceptional rose garden.

We have also visited the Japanese Garden. But you’ll have to wait until the next post to see those pics.

Good Morning From Portland

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Good Morning From Portland

It feels great to travel again. I didn’t even mind the drive from Dryden to Leavenworth at 6 am. Debbie took the scenic route along the North Road through Peshastin and it was quite peaceful.

The train was surprisingly quite full. It appears that everyone is traveling again, at least in this country.

We arrived in Seattle right on time and I immediately went out for a walk.

I then found a restaurant where I absolutely overindulged in coffee along with a delicious breakfast.

The second train from Seattle to Portland was a lot more scenic. Beautiful views of water interspersed with greenery and small towns were quite captivating.

Here is my first shot of Portland upon arrival at Union Station.