Go West, Day 0 and Day 1

Go West, Young Man, Go West

Day Zero The trip really started on Saturday. An awkward night of sleeping with a couch pillow between his arm and head left James with that usual crick in the neck. Geordi, the sheltie, wasn't supine like he would be if he was sleeping on the bed, but rather on his side because he was sleeping on the floor. James had been watching the most recent episode of Pushing Daisies over and over, waking up and restarting it, seeing a minute or two, then falling back asleep. But, it was 4:45 am and time to get breakfast. The favorite donut shop, Druber's Donut Shop, was 25 miles to the north and James had promised Alicia some of those hand-made delights. So, into the car and out onto the highway. It was James' own personal highway, because only truckers drove the highways at this hour. A small order of breakfast donuts was obtained and back to home base.

The reason it's said the trip started Saturday was because before the trip would happen, James would get no more than a 2.5 hour nap before trip time. His day was spent "loading" his PlayStation Portable, packing his stuff and watching football, ending at 2:45 am.

Day One "Time to get up", Alicia gently nudged him. Had that second or two of closed-eye time been 2.5 hours? Well, no rest for the weary, time to get going again. James decided to conduct an experiment. In Mr. Purl Goes to Atlanta, we learned that Wichita's airport likes to "randomly" search Mr. Purl every time he departs. Today, Mr. Purl would wear a suit like all the, well, suits wear when they travel. Would the skies be friendlier to him? He would soon find out.

In the line, a casual Russian-looking (or at least Euro) couple wore the proper airport shoes, flip-flops. And then James saw it. There would be no search today, for him, most likely. It was right there in layers of white cloth. An "A-Rab". Complete with turban, and only a few people in front of Boris and Natasha, this young man would definitely get to "hold his arms out like an airplane". As luck would have it, James would follow the TSA prey through the same security line, line 3 (out of three). By the time he removed his overcoat, his suit coat, his dress shoes, his church watch, his backpack from his back and his laptop from its bag, Mr. Random was making a human "T" for the TSA. Gimme a T (errorist looking guy)! Gimme an S(tep to the side)! Gimme an A (rab)! James heard Handel's Hallelujah movement from Messiah as he went right through security. James must really arrange to be a couple people back in line of another brown man, preferably with a turban, when he travels in the future. Ten minutes of dripping-sweat-inducing re-dress time later, James and Alicia rushed past unoccupied and dark gates to the farthest one from them to board directly. It would seem logical, to James at least, that they fill the gates from the inside (and numerically lower numbered) out, but this is Kansas, we don't always use logic! There is probably some reason they used that gate, like the last flight in came in there and their outbound is using the same plane. Wait a minute--they will be coming in on the last inbound from Dallas when they return! Rats! More sweating in the last day of this saga...

Back to our stalwart travellers... The first leg of the trip was undersold such that James and Alicia could stretch out. It was a quick 55-minute up-and-down. Uneventful mostly, but I'll include some details. The Purls both had Apple Juice, and saw the dude in front of them on the right give the dude in front of them in the middle a close up look at his butt as he squeezed out to go sit by himself.

Dallas-Fort Worth airport, please board the TrAAin.. Er, we renamed that to the less corporate-y sounding Skylink.. As James and Alicia sat, they witnessed an older (50's) lady, get on, somehow miss both the map inside the TrAAin and the scrolling marquee outside it that told which terminals it serviced and asked if it only went to Terminal A, and not C where she, and the Purls, were going. James thought about being his usual quiet (mistaken for rude sometimes) self, but answered that it would eventually get to C, with "eventually" being the next stop. The plane from DFW to PDX was oversold, and some quick moving guy got himself a $300 credit for bumping back a couple hours. Since the flight was full, another older lady, different from the trAAin-izen, sat next to James. She had decided to shirk the on-plane meal prices and smuggled in some Wendy's, which she saved for the free drink. Since they were near the back, the Purls got a look at some of the colorful bathroom visitors as they stood around waiting. One guy, oddly also Russian looking, carried a baby. Another had wireless Bose headphones. One looked just like the lady that sat next to James. Wait! It was the lady from 30D. James seized the opportunity and went himself. James overheard the girl in 29D talk about how tired she was cuz she'd been up since 1 am. What a fzn lightweight! James had been up since 4:30 am SATURDAY with 2.5 hours sleep and Alicia had been up since 4:00 pm SATURDAY evening with no sleep. Well, until now. Alicia slept most of this flight. James first played some PSP, then opted to try to nap. He needed to drown out Tired Girl's conversation so he put on his noise (and girl talk) cancelling headphones and listened to the Star Wars movie score, which is actually some good modern classical music.

Descending to Portland provided a very scenic look at some mountains, and over some rivers / lakes. It also closed up and popped the ears of James.

From the airport to the rental car location by way of shuttle bus, was the next order of business after getting the checked luggage. A hispanic gentleman with a military haircut fired up his Garmin widescreen. James was tempted to get his own non-widescreen Garmin out, but didn't. The computer checked the Purls in, charged them for coming early, and sent them into the lot to pick their own car. There were only two types of cars in the Luxury class they rented. A Buick Lucerne and a Cadillac. The bros love dem 'lacs, so that's what they got. It took ten minutes and three employees to find the keys for the thing, then the Purls were on their way. The Garmin did it's job, and took them to the Hotel. First, James didn't do a "keep right" he was told to do three times, then had to go around the hotel twice because it was immediately after a turn and he couldn't get over to the left side of the one-way street in time to park. The valet, a youngster named Tyson, happily collected the luggage and called James "Mr. Purl" without being introduced. This was curious, as there had to be many people checking in today. Alicia later pointed out that Tyson asked where they were coming from, and maybe his list of reservations had origination on it. The Purls were likely the only people from Wichita, KS checking into ANY hotel in Portland today. The lobby oozed fanciness (at least to James and Alicia). Looking up, you could see all the way up the center of the Hotel. Two old men chatted on couches by the fireplace. The room wasn't ready yet (it was before check-in time), so the Purls consulted the concierge about where they could get a spot of lunch while the old men continued talking in the background. The hotel would hold onto the luggage in the meantime. The Purls walked about 3 blocks to the Red Star. It was a brunch menu, and not too bad. There was still time, so the Purls walked around the downtown for a little bit. There was definitely a mixture of all walks and types in the downtown. A guy with blue hair. Teenage girls with sweatshirts and shorts. Homeless and home owners. Theatre people (or gypsy bohemians). Outdoor chess outside of a Starbucks. The proliferation of Starbucks is total and complete. James put "Starbucks" into the Garmin and there were 3 within 0.1 miles, and a handful more within 0.2 miles! They were so close he actually saw one, and they sat there and watched the people coming in and out of Nordstrom's until 3:00.

The Purls were able to check-in. The room was as it appeared on the website, with a large, L-shaped portion of the wall cut in half and replaced with 45-degree angle windows that let you see up into the "stars", hence the name of the type of room, "starlight room". The actual name of the Purls' room was Bishop Creek Cellars. The starlight windows had power shades. At some point, there will be some pictures available. The bellhop brought up the luggage and gave them a quick run-down of the room and hotel amenities. The Purls then grabbed a nap in order to prevent an unplanned one at the Oregon Symphony.

The symphony was within walking distance. The architecture and detail of the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall was beautiful. The performance was wonderful, and longer than expected. The conductor was animated, and the soprano that sang was delightful. The Purls were among the youngest people in their section, by alot.

The Purls found restaurants were closed at 10pm on a Sunday Night, and after a search online yielded nothing, Domino's pizza became the delivered meal of choice. James and Alicia were too tired drive anywhere, so let the pizza place feed them. Fancier meals will be forthcoming, as will more tales of the Purls in Portland.