Tag Archives: PDX

Spring Break 2018 – West Virginian adventures, Saturday 26-May

Spring Break 2018 – West Virginian adventures, Saturday 26-May

A West Virginia adventure – Spring Break in the New River Gorge, 2018

Saturday, 26-May, through Saturday, 02-June, 2018


Life is old there, older than the trees. Younger than the mountains, blowing like a breeze. Country roads, take me home… to the place, I belong! West Virginia, Mountain momma… take me home, country roads.”

I’m pretty sure that the first real spring break I ever had was with Daniel, years ago, when we drove down to the New River Gorge to climb, and attend the New River Rendezvous. Since that year, we’ve done our best to always link up and go on some glorious climbing trip on or around Memorial Day. This year was a tough one, with Sarah breaking her leg, but she insisted that I go anyways, and let her live vicariously through me as she convalesed at home. I’d already cleared the week as vacation with my boss, even before I was hired for the project, so I was free and clear for a throwback adventure…





Saturday dawned way too early.

I mean, I’ve been getting up early for work for the last few weeks, so I guess I can’t complain too much. But hey, it was still pretty early for a night-owl like me. But it’s for an adventure, and flights wait for nobody, so up I was, and in the Lyft by 6:00.

Thankfully, PDX is a fast airport. I was a bit surprised by a complete TSA search of my carry-on… but I can’t really say I should have been surprised, since it was literally full of climbing gear. I’d chosen to check my clothes bag and carry on my gear bag this time… you know, since the clothes bag is replacable, and worth maybe 10% of what the climbing gear costs. And the whole “climbing gear is safety critical” thing.

Once I get to the gate, it’s a short order before we start boarding. Just enough to get a breakfast hamburger and a cup of coffee, which I’m super thankful for. More fuel for the week of climbing ahead!


The flight passed impressively quickly, for once. I ended up being seated in the middle – normally a horrible sentence, but in this case I ended up chatting with the gentleman seated next to me for literally the entire flight. No exageration – 5 and a half hours straight, discussing everything under the sun. See, he’s a nurse who works for the VA in Providence, and he’s debating moving out to Portland after not one, but two psychics told him that his soul is calling him West, to Portland specifically.

From that starting point, we talked about everything. Coastal cultures, jobs, growing up, life events, dating, and the world as a whole. It was glorious – I don’t have occasion to talk to and bond with people this in-depth very often anymore, after leaving NUHOC, and this was a beautiful breath of fresh air for me, and an amazing start to the week ahead.

Once we’re on the ground though, we head our separate ways – him running to catch a connecting flight, and me zipping off to get a rental car so I could get on the road as quickly as possible. I still had nearly six hours of driving ahead, and darkness would be falling soon…

Thankfully, getting the car was pretty simple – with the exception of my bag being re-classified as “oversized”, which meant I had to pick it up from an unexpected area, and the first car having a broken heads-up screen, everything went smoothly. Soon enough the miles were grinding away under my wheels, with the West Virginia mountains looming ahead.


Sarah kept me sane during the drive. I think that, over the five and a half hour drive, I spent nearly two and a half on the phone with her. With the exception of when I stopped for a quick burger and coffee, and when I started into the cell-reception-blocking mountains, we talked and she kept me awake and focused on the driving as night fell.

Navigating the mountain passes in the dark was… an experience. I was taking a route Daniel and I had actually taken before – Route 60, through the mountains and past a ton of quaint little towns. Or at least, I think this was the route we’d taken before. You’d have to ask Daniel, he honestly has a much better memory for this kind of thing than I do. But point being – it was small, tight, winding roads. In the rain, with only google maps to keep me company.


I did make it though; sometime around 10:00 I pulled up to the cabin that we’d rented through AirBnB, and saw the warm glow seeping out the windows and inviting me in. I saw Daniel’s new BMW sitting in the driveway, and knew that wine and bed were finally mine.


Christmas and New Years break, 2016 into 2017: Flying back home

Christmas and New Years break, 2016 into 2017: Flying back home

Flying back home to the States – The tail of the adventure

Wednesday, 04-Jan-2017


Flying home from an adventure is bittersweet. Home is calling, but the road is calling too… In this case, the plethora of Scottish roads that hadn’t been explored were calling pretty loud.

Oregon also has roads and mountains that need to be explored too though. Our own bed and Ollie were also calling pretty loudly… or at least barking and wagging at the thought of seeing us. Whether Ollie or us were the ones barking and wagging is still a point of debate.

Flights! Metal birds carrying us home!

Bill and Greta dropped us off at Aberdeen airport mid-morning for our short hop to London. This was our only non-fancy flight of the trip, though honestly it didn’t feel like it. European airlines still beat the pants of US airlines, in terms of comfort and service. That first picture, of the awesome breakfast? Yep. That’s what coach gets in the UK.

London was quick, nothing really of note. We landed, got on a new plane, and then took off again. London airport did have a pretty cool lounge, though. Very excellent butter chicken. Seriously. Everywhere. Everywhere in the UK serves butter chicken. If it’s not the official dish yet, it should be.

Then – a long flight. Like… you don’t understand how long this flight was. London to San Francisco. 13 hours, or something like that.

But we had comfy chairs! And movies! And booze! So much booze! I think we got up to 8 or 10 glasses, by the end of it… and that wasn’t even trying too hard. It reminded me of when I flew back to the States from New Zealand, and they had free drinks. Make the most of it, right?

We did make the most of it. They didn’t have the lobster mac and cheese that I was hoping for (that’s only East Coast to UK, it turns out), but they did have some amazing grilled cheese and tomato soup that I made great use of. And dinner? Ohh man… appetizers, main courses, desserts, wine… yeah. We enjoyed our flight.

An excellent end to an excellent vacation.

20, 21 & 22-May, 2016 – Visiting Sarah and her parents in Bakersfield!


Friday, Saturday & Sunday, 20, 21 & 22-May-2016


Visiting Sarah and her parents in Bakersfield!!

Friday –

I stayed in Portland Thursday night, so flying out of PDX was pretty easy – just a straight shot to LAX… which is really far from Bakersfield!  Sorry! I didn’t know it was so far away from Bakersfield! If I’d known, I would have flown direct, so Sarah and her folks wouldn’t have to drive so long!

The drive is nice though – it gives us time to chat, catch up, and relax a bit as a start of the weekend.  Most importantly, since we’re all stuck in the car for a while it gave me time to cuddle Ollie and Sarah, and for us to grab a bit of food on the way back. Yay Chinese fast food! And mango smoothies!

Getting to the house is a nice chance to unwind after an insane week, and I finally get to meet Leeloo and Loki – Sarah’s (now her parent’s) cockatiels!  We have fun, though they don’t really want to hang out with me, and instead spend the time hanging with Bill or Sarah.

Saturday –

Saturday get’s us up and at em, starting into the day. Breakfast was delicious, and followed up with burning it off by hiking around and looking at the oil fields… all while Ollie trips balls chasing after real and probably imagined gophers. Turns out, there’s tons of them in the area.  Then back to hang out at the house, have a soak in the jacuzzi, and eat an amazing prime rib dinner. Like… seriously.  Sarah’s dad makes an AMAZING prime rib!  I’m hungry typing about it again…

The rest of the night is chill, hanging out, having some drinks, and learning a lot about New Orleans customs, parties, and parades!

Sunday –

A sad day, the last day.  Packing up and figuring out what I should bring back to Portland takes a bit of time, but it’s not too much, and soon enough Sarah’s mom, Sarah and I all head into the Getty, a huge art museum in LA that reminds me more of a Bond fortress than an art museum.  Seriously – we take a tram up to get to the main gate.  Who does that?  Bond villains, that’s who.

The Getty is awesome, though unfortunately Bill can’t come, since he’s watching Ollie and showing the house, since they’re selling it and moving away pretty soon… Hence me bring stuff back to Portland.  There are tons of pretty exhibits, including caves and some awkward “erotic photography”… that honestly wasn’t super good, if we’re discussing it.  Kind of too focused on being fancy.  But hey, it was cool, so that’s nice!

Then dinner of pizza, a sad goodbye, and a flight home!