Hosting a friend

It was a beautiful day as I waited for Jim at the Portland International Airport. So beautiful that I waited outside under the covered approach lanes, instead of inside PDX.

In July I got to meet a friend in person that I have known for years online. Just over two years ago, I spotted a profile photo that I loved, on a dating website. It was of a man with red hair and beard, holding the outstretched paw of a statue of a red dancing bear. The man appeared to be dancing with the bear. Jim, who lives in Minnesota, agreed that we are not a good match for dating, but I couldn’t resist writing to him to tell him how much I loved that photo.

We’ve been writing to each other ever since. We’ve shared our dating woes and successes, our complaints about work, photos from our travels, stupid jokes we found online. We do not see eye to eye on everything, but we do recognize in each other that there is a person somewhere in the world with the same drive to be good to others, to have adventures, to poke irreverent fun at sacred things, and challenge the status quo.

Jim was about to take an Alaskan cruise with his family and they would be leaving from Seattle, two hours north of me. So he flew in to Portland early, and I hosted him until it was time to drive him to Seattle. On one day we explored Portland and on the other we went on a road trip.

One of the stunning views of the Pacific Ocean from Highway 101.
We stopped at Tillamook Country Smoker to buy jerky snacks and pepperoni sticks. Then we stopped at the Tillamook Creamery for ice cream.

For the road trip we went directly to the coast, because – duh, he’s from Minnesota. We left my house for Astoria, then turned south along the coast highway. We stopped for overlooks and we stopped for a train! An honest to goodness steam train parked in Rockaway Beach, Oregon. We snapped photos and asked questions and found out it’s the Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad, a tourist train that runs a 5-mile route between there and Garibaldi, the next town south.

A restored steam train in Rockaway Beach, Oregon.
The conductor takes a break.
The grate is real wood.
The other side. (You know you wanted to see the other side.)

Our goal that day was tidepooling, and I got so many photos that I’ll include them in a separate post, but at at the tidepooling location was the eye-catching Yaquina Head lighthouse that we explored when we were done pestering sea creatures in the tide pools. The lighthouse has a white 1000 watt bulb in its first order Fresnel lens, and the light pattern is 2 seconds on, 2 seconds off, 2 seconds on, 14 seconds off.

I thought I was being very clever: catching the sunlight through the Fresnel lens.
The evening weather was clearly more lovely than it was in the morning, making the tower glow.
View of Yaquina Head Lighthouse as we walked from the parking lot.
Look how happy I get when I see a lighthouse!

Upon leaving Yaquina Head we drove due East, inland, until we reached Interstate 5 and turned north, which took us home for the night.

Our day in Portland was mostly occupied with a tour of the Pittock Mansion. I’ve talked about it before. This is a beautiful old mansion on a hill overlooking the city of Portland that has been turned into a museum. I love this place so much that I go there about once a year.

The outside of the Pittock Mansion.
View from the second floor balcony.
Furnishings in the curved hallway.

Henry Pittock was born in 1834 in England but raised in the United States. He and his wife Georgiana came to Portland at a time when many news publications had been started and it was a competitive business. He worked as a typesetter for The Oregonian but the business was not thriving, and he eventually was offered ownership of the paper in lieu of back pay. Pittock kept the paper alive, and then some. Today, The Oregonian is the largest newspaper in Oregon and the oldest newspaper on the West Coast.

The success of the paper allowed Henry and Georgiana to build a remarkable home when they had reached their later years. The couple was able to occupy the residence in 1914, and sadly died four years later. Family lived there until 1958, when it was put up for sale. It sat empty, got damaged in a storm, and then slowly fell into disrepair until the community rallied and brought it back to life in 1965 as part of the Portland Parks and Recreation system.

Great efforts have been made to fill the house with original furnishings when possible, such as this photo of a Mansion party.
When people in the community discover they are in possession of a piece of Pittock furniture, they will sometimes donate it to the museum.
I really love this kitchen made to look as though it’s in use. I would recommend a remodel to open it up though. Talk about a galley kitchen.
I get a kick out of the bathrooms here. They are truly wonderful.
What the heck do you suppose this was for? Sitting in, I guess. My feet would get cold. I think in this curved tower room I would prefer a tub.
The medicine cabinet is stocked with period items.
Look at the crazy old pipes for this tub and shower.
Array of pipes in the shower.
A direct line to every room.
This is the dumbwaiter, and buttons for each of the four levels of the home.

After we were done wandering all over the house into every room we were allowed to enter, and that includes the basement, we then walked around the grounds. The old coach house is now the admission and gift shop, and the groundskeepers home has been restored and is open for touring as well. From this magnificent estate on a hill, we gazed out across the city of Portland at the peak of Mt. Hood rising as she does.

View of the valley from the Pittock Mansion.

I then turned the tables on Jim and enlisted his help with my own project. I needed to rent a car because my Jeep was scheduled for some repairs. I don’t often have a second driver in my home, but Jim’s visit was perfect timing. Before we went to the rental office, however, we had time for one more important stop: VooDoo Doughnuts.

The logo for VooDoo Doughnuts, a Portland original that has now spread across the country. A friend of mine posted this summer from VooDoo Doughnuts at Disneyworld in Florida!
The inside of the shop is so wild that you can stay entertained while you wait in line. There is always a line.

We then picked up a rental car, and each drove one of the vehicles to the repair shop. I dropped off the Jeep and Jim drove us both up to Seattle as it got dark. We found his hotel and said goodbye after two super fun days together.

12 thoughts on “Hosting a friend

  1. Your life is never dull, Crystal. 😉 How fun to have someone to come visit and show them the best spots. I love the steam train. I guess I love trains. It would be fun to ride. Going to the beach is a three-day event for me. I can’t make myself leave. Thanks for the tour of Pittock Mansion. I was up there once with my son, his SO and my sister. They were closed. ;( Now I don’t have to make the trek. I can’t believe you made the long drive back from Seattle in the dark. But then, you are young yet. Hugs. M

    1. Also I have my friend Will who likes to pretend he works at OnStar. Anytime I’m making a long trip, he asks if he can call and talk to me during the whole trip, to keep me awake and safe. My phone connects to the Jeep, so I can keep both hands on the wheel, and talk through the stereo speakers. Will has talked me home through many long trips.

      I think a ride on that train would be a blast. Especially since it’s only a 5-mile trip, it wouldn’t require a big commitment. I love trains too. I did my thesis on trains when I was at Brandeis! haha

    1. I know!! That’s why every time a visitor comes to Oregon, I make time to visit them both (and Powell’s bookstore). These two places never fail to please. Jim introduced me to the Tillamook smoked meats this time, and now I’m a fan of that place too, just up the road from the creamery.

  2. so glad they rallied to put it back together in 65 – and funny how things wane – it was likely all the rage in 1918 – and then into the 50s and 60s – could be almost dismissed – maybe it was money related too – but tastes change – and glad this was preserved – enjoyed the photos

    1. Thanks Yvette. You made a good point that I hadn’t thought clearly about: how quickly this home went from being the best construction money could buy, to something no one wanted and it stood empty. I am glad it was preserved too. Apparently there was some discussion in the 1960s of tearing it all down to put up a subdivision. That would have been a tragedy.

      1. wow – just wipe it out and tear it down? yikes – tastes do change.
        and we have a Rockefeller room at our local museum – it is a special permanent Interior Installation = and I love showing students the display because opinions are all over the place.
        the sleigh bed, crystal chandelier – and small fireplace – ae all things we can easily get at Lowes and Home Depot – one time a girl said that she had a room decor item from the mall that had similar jewels – ha! imagine that…
        and I reminded them that the items they see there were for the wealthy – but today we can all go (many of us) and get a sleigh bed easily…
        anyhow, the other thing is that the dark and curved furniture is not in – the minimal look and updated fabrics –
        but have you heard of chronological snobbery?- well just because something is new does not make it superior – (just trendy)_ and just because something is old doe snot make it better or worse… and to infer so is to be off
        oh I dunno
        time to head out – but I enjoyed comment sharing this week and thanks again for letting me share your tulips (soul food pics)

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