30 August 2010

[liff] The Tom Peterson Watch Takes Seattle, Part 1: MAX To Union Station

Of course, it wasn't all about the watch ... but I get a little bit ahead of meself.

Last week, me and The Wife" and me had a special wedding anniversary. Something special was called for. Trouble was, nobody told my income this.

So The Wife" got creative. Had to you might say. Our budget was (and is) something that was tighter than ... well, something that's very very tight and discouraging. But she hit on a plan: Train up, Greyhound back.

Up and back to where?

Why, New York-Alki, of course ... That City Up North ... Seattle.

As excited as I was about going to Seattle (my lifetime currently doesn't give out much travel) I was even more excited about going by train. I have never, not once in my life, been anywhere on Amtrak, and it always looked like some kind of fun.

We wanted to go train both ways, but the budget didn't stretch that far. Not just that though; taking a bus back allowed us more time to tromp through downtown Seattle - something the two of us experienced marrieds had never shared.

Oh, and just as an impartial observer, we have this dude in tow. He's attentive, always smiling, always has the correct time, and is usually out-of-focus in the pictures to follow. It's this guy:

Yes, it's Tom Peterson.

Let's get started.

The whole thing was an adventure in a certain way: just go with what we had on our backs, our shoulder bag/rucksack, and a minimal amount of toiletries. From where we lived, we struck out on the shoulder of SE 117th Avenue between SE Market and SE Stark, headed for Burnside and 122nd.

700 Block of SE 117th Avenue, looking North.

The walk wasn't as long as I thought it would be. Soon enough, with our homemade latte fortifying us, we arrived at the E 122nd Avenue MAX Station. The Wife" ducked into the Max Mart on the corner to get some more ice for the beverage, and I got the MAX tickets.

The E 122nd Avenue MAX Station. Blue Line Fever!

Tom's happy, And when Tom's happy, we're happy.

The plan at this point was take the Blue line to Gateway, transfer to the Green Line that would take us quite close enough to the front door of Union Station to meet our Amtrak Cascades. Adventure, my friends, is that much closer.

Tom enjoys the comfortable ride of TriMet's MAX. Right
background: the coolest bike-riding eastern European
Granny ever.

I want you all to observe the eastern-European-looking ol' lady there on the right. This is without question the coolest granny ever saw. She was a bike-ridin' granny. She was rocking one of those cheap-ass Magna 10-speeds from Target, and this was one of the older MAX cars, the one without the low floors. And if you know them Magna bikes, they aren't built for connoisseurs or anything even close to that, so they heavy. But his lady, man, when her stop came she just bucked that bike off that bucket, wasn't no thing.

Mad respect. Quintessentially Portland.

Riding in style & Portland Style.

Transferring to the Green line necessitated a wait & not a long one, but I kept communing with Tom as I fretted about the schedule (this is one of my secret superpowers, along with always knowing where North is). A bit hungry, and discovered that the little, bean and cheese burrito sold by the commuter kiosk was exactly what we needed. And we finished them just the moment the inbound Green line pulled in.

We were going the other way, of course. But I love
MAX signposts. Hey, who's that chick with the stripey
socks & looks like my kinda lady &

The day, last Tuesday it will be recalled, was fine in Portland and was on its way into the 90s again, though not quite yet. We were busy razzing the heat & for we would be on the Amtrak Cascades soon enough, and laughing at the heat in comfort (and going north anyway). And so we chatted, my honey and me, enjoying each other's company and loving the Portland scenery.

I've lived in Oregon all my life, and in Portland for (now) the majority of my adult life, and I never get tired of looking out at the window. Every trip anywhere is sightseeing, and just being in Oregon is nourishing. That's why a scene like this:

That boat, she's riding high. And how about that bridge
lineup? Tell you true, got that completely by accident ...
happy accident.

The grain ship was particularly fun to see, as it was riding high because it was starting to be filled, or at least prepping to be starting. Not too visible is the swarm of crewmembers on top making ready. A city with a working harbor is a thing of beauty, and that's a sure thing.

This was near the end of the first stage, as through the window in the distance, our intermediate destination hove into view. A PDX Classic.

Next stop - Union Station. The one and only.

To be continued.

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