Portland, Oregon

Stepping off the Max and onto the street at Pioneer Square, the scent of freshly brewed coffee perked me up. The Max is the city’s light rail system. It started at the airport and, after after 10 or so miles and several stops, it deposited me downtown. Cost?…$2.05. Try that with a taxi. From there, I had a short uphill, 3-block walk in pleasant 55-degree air to the Heathman Hotel. The combination of a delightful aroma of fresh coffee and the brisk air was just the recipe after a long time cramped in an airplane.

The Heathman Hotel, in Portland, Oregon, is the best hotel I’ve ever experienced. I’ve stayed at more expensive places and places with larger rooms, but the atmosphere and service at the Heathman is a step above anything else I’ve seen. The French Press coffee maker in the room is a nice touch.

So is the evening turn-down service. Note the fancy sheet fold pattern.

Hey, those slippers look comfy.

The hotel is in the midst of the theatre district and near an urban park and college. During a lunch break one day, there was an opportunity for a short walk and to see some nice autumn colors.

The worst part of staying at the Heathman is watching all the cyclists ride by. Portland has been recognized as the most bicycle-friendly city in America. It was tough watching countless bikes spinning up the hill just outside the window.

The photo above was taken looking out the window of the meeting room down to the street, bike lane, and passers-by. Just time for a quick look. Then, it was back to work…

Too Much Travel?

Could too much travel be the excuse for lagging behind? Too much travel has a way of eating into getting things done. It’s like a pick-pocket artist that follows us around. We are plenty busy tending to things, but when we return, we’re farther behind and feel like someone has robbed us of time that was in our possession before we left.

Excuses documented, last weekend, in contrast to so much travel, was time gladly well-spent. Dear friends, David and Lois, from Austin made the trek way-up-here to Denton County to visit a spell. Friday evening was spent in catch-up chitchat and planning the Saturday morning adventure. Despite the potential hurdle of David being a runner and me being a cyclist, we were able to conjure an excellent plan. The plan involved an early morning trip to the Ray Roberts Lake Dam. More specifically, the trailhead at Elm Fork Park.

We arrived before daylight. David took off running down the trail toward Denton and I took off on the bike in the same direction. We agreed to turn around after about 1.5 hours out and meet back at the trailhead. I ran out of trail before 1.5 hours passed and turned around. I met David on my way back. Unbelievably, he looked to be enjoying himself. So I continued on and explored the park and nearby vicinity waiting for his return. It was a beautiful crisp fall morning and a perfect opportunity to get out and enjoy life on the trail.

Here are a few of my favorite shots from the trail.

After returning, we all went into Sanger, met up with another couple of dear friends (Tim and Dorthy) from Argyle for an excellent lunch. Then it was back to our little house on the prairie for birthday cake. Janet…well…reached a birthday milestone.

Later that afternoon, it was tractor time. With the cooler temps, we decided it was time to remove the mower and attach the box blade and try to make to driveway grading improvements. As I handed the control of the tractor over to David, he said, “I guess you are having one of those Tom Sawyer moments”. Indeed. I successfully convinced him that tractor driving is great fun and he proceeded to regrade most of my driveway. He successfully smoothed out the sawtooth pattern I had made with the front end loader weeks ago.

This is David just getting started.

We all went to a Saturday evening Bible class and then to Tim and Dorthy’s home to watch the Aggies get spanked. Oh well, at least we were there together to console one another.

There was church and lunch on Sunday before David and Lois headed back to Austin.

I actually headed to Austin myself for a long work day on Monday. But that kinda takes us back to where we started this post (which, speaking of too much travel, is being typed in Portland, Oregon), so I guess that’s enough for now.