Highlights from Oregon
After the incredibly timely and incredibly long Las Vegas live blog, I figured that I would just summarize the Oregon trip in 4 brief highlights inter mingled with 4 interesting facts about Oregon.
Well Day1 pretty much consisted of traveling. We flew out of ORD and arrived in Portland at around midnight just a short 3 hour drive through the mountains and we were there. I guess the highlight would be our new GPS that we got. When you are exhausted and on a road you are not familiar with it is very nice to have an overly helpful navigator always barking out directions. Also fun you can mount to the inside of your airplane window and see where you are and get all sorts of fun info about how fast you are going
Montana is huge… Seriously it is ridiculous. It took half of our trip just to fly over Montana.
Also Oregon is cougar country, so watch out young men.
After sleeping in everyone finally made it up and went to the bouncy house. Basically just a bunch of those inflatable carnival games in a big carpeted warehouse. The Entry is $5 for children, but then adults can bounce for free… FOR FREE. Apparently they thought that the adults would be more interested in watching their children. FOOLS. Anyway after a couple of hours of running through the obstacle course and throwing young children around the bouncy things with reckless abandon for their safety I was kind of tired. Also I got sent to a time out by my niece. The time out consisted of bouncing with them in the bouncy castle the concept may be lost on them.
When you move to Oregon you are given a choice of 2 vehicles. 1) Any kind of Subaru 2) Pickup truck (a big one probably 4x4). There are still some stragglers out there, but it is only a matter of time before the overwhelming peer pressure catches up with them. Volvo’s may be substituted for Subaru’s with a written justification.
In the morning we hiked to the top of pilot butte. It was a good hike and a great view. While we were up there the kids ran around aimlessly and then we hiked back down for nap time... sweet nap time. That night we went to an 80s party. Outfits ranged from elaborate Crocket and Tubs to 80 prom dresses to numerous 80s rock T-shirts Extra Credit was given OEM 80s wear. As a bonus my tight rolling skills were still as honed as ever, even on Caras bellbottom jeans(not meant to be tight rolled).
Oregon does not have any sales tax. So when you got to buy something that is $19.95 at Target your bill is 19.95. It is kind of weird buying stuff.
We went to the park with the nieces and played on all of the playground equipment, and learned to count our way across the monkey bars in several different languages. I think I may have led the children astray on the German counting, but who really needs 11 of anything. Then there was a Sly and the Family Stone cover band in the park. We laid on blankets in the sun and took it all in while a woman on the stage in a white wig twirled and marched around to the music. I think she was with the band, but who knows. We ended the day with a cookout with Cara’s cousin who also lives in bend and her daughter and played “ladderball” “hillbilly golf” “boloball” that we had spent a ridiculous amount of time driving around trying to find earlier that day.
You are not allowed to pump your own gas in Oregon. It is all full serve by law. I don’t really know what the point is and it is kind of frustrating when you do not know what is going on and you just want to get some gas. Maybe it is some sort of job creation thing or maybe it is a safety thing, either way it was all kindof weird. Also do you tip the gas fillers? Should you get out of your car and talk to them? Do you get out of your car at all?
Gas Guy (GG): What do you need?
GG: How much?
Me: All of it… Fill’ er up (I knew that phrase would come in handy eventually)
Me: (giving the gas guy a wad of bills) thanks.
GG: Uhh you have to take this inside with this ticket
I took the ticket inside with the same wad of bills. There was a group of about 4 people standing in the vicinity of the cash register. I asked them if they were in line and they said they were waiting to pay for gas (yet they were not doing anything). A couple of seconds later the cahier said #7. I looked at my ticket and there was a large 7 on it. I exclaimed “That’s me”, probably a little too loudly and w/ more excitement than anyone was used to. I paid and gave them the ticket, and then as I was walking away was informed that I needed to take the now stamped ticket back to the Gas Guy. [sigh] I had already moved my car, so I drove around the station lot a couple of times looking for the guy. All in all I would have rather just gotten my own gas.
The real question is what to the Oregon people do when they come to Illinois. Do they need some special instruction on how to pump gas when they get here. Well at least if I looked marginally retarded trying to deal with their gas system they will look equally retarded when they get here.
We went out to breakfast in the morning and then drove back across the mountains to some wineries. We stumbled on a nice free one right at the beginning with an awesome view of the valley. Then we tried a few more that were not as good or closed. The GPS we got nuvi200w performed admirably for the entire trip, then as we were trying to get to one of the wineries it took us through the parking lot of another winery and then into the vineyard. The roads got smaller and smaller till eventually we were just driving through a field. I am sure that if we kept following it we would have gotten out eventually, but we opted to turn around. We ended up going to a different winery where there was a rather inebriated group from Boston. Nothing like a bunch of drunk asses to make you look like a responsible wine coinsurer.
The Portland airport has FREE wireless, and happy hour specials $2.50 microbrew pints, and $3 gourmet burgers… and happy hour goes from 5 – midnight. It is weird not to be screwed in the airport. But bottled water was still $3 so I guess it is all relative. Also note that if you are trying to check luggage with wine in it United will make you buy some stupid box to put it in.
The Oregon flag has two seperate sides. The back side has a picture of a beaver, much to the shagrin of all Oregon middle school boys.