A Forest Grove Walk

I got up early and headed out to a coffee shop to get some breakfast. On my way, I caught the sun coming up in this reflection.

And here is the sunrise from the other direction.

The coffee shop’s website said it opened at 6 a.m. and when I walked by the previous evening, so did the hours posted on the door. I got there at 6 a.m., though and no one was about. Employees unlocked the door at 7 a.m. While I understand that there might be some barrier to updating a website, I think posting a sign with current hours on the door is something that was doable. At least there was a chair outside for me to sit in while I waited.

However, the breakfast sandwich I ate was delicious (as was the tea) and all was forgiven.

I ate my breakfast in the Magic Flute room, one of my favorite at McMenamins. I also caught up on correspondence.

I’m nearly to the end of this batch of notecards, which is too bad, because I love them so much. They were a very good find at Scrap. It’s fun to see how many things have changed. On the right side of this drawing, you can see the Armory is still painted white. It hadn’t yet been taken over by Portland Center Stage.

9:15 a.m. was my soaking pool time. I had to reserve the time before I arrived. This was a great soaking pool experience, because no other people appeared. My reservation for 8:00 p.m. the night before, I skipped. I went down at my appointed time, but there were much too many people and too many people without masks. Today it was just me. I swam. It was a head-above-water breaststroke, but swimming nonetheless.

The chickens and I chatted for a bit before I went on a walk.

The movie theater is closed, which was to be expected. I took a closer look at the posters.

From the future, I can tell you that Free Guy was really released on August 13, 2021, not July 3, 2020.

Onward probably did play at this theater, because it was one of the last big releases before everything shut down. The Woman in the Window was released on Netflix on May 14, 2021.

I wondered if these two Forest Grove High School graduates knew each other. Were they neighbors who ignored each other or best friends? There’s a YA novel in this photo.

Here’s a Mondrian-style truck and camper. Very cool.

Aside from the fact I forgot to start my activity tracker until after I’d already walked an hour, this was a lovely walk.

I Spend My Stimulus Money

I squished in a mini-vacation to celebrate my new job and used my $600 stimulus check to pay for it.

As you can see, my transportation to McMenamins Grand Lodge in Forest Grove was first class. Two trains and a bus and I was there! This is also my first time on public transportation since September and my third time on public transportation since everything shut down in March last year. That’s three public transportation trips in about a year. I think the last time I had so few public transportation trips was in 1995.

I am wearing official swag from my employer. You can’t really see the logo because my jacket is fuzzy, but the logo is there.

The crocuses were up at Grand Lodge.

I caught some great cloud cover.

Part of spending money was taking advantage of the services at Ruby’s Spa at Grand Lodge. I got a massage and a body wrap. It was my first-ever body wrap. I liked how it left my skin so very soft. If the government keeps sending me money, I might just book another one.

The website said the movie theater was closed, but I smelled movie theater popcorn. It turned out the theater was open. Alas, it was showing Tom & Jerry, a movie I had no desire to see. I stopped by the movie theater bar to get a pint of cider, and while there, I inquired about the popcorn. I decided not to buy, but the bartender sent me off with a pint cup of popcorn. Very fun.

Flying During a Pandemic

Things I haven’t seen in many months: Those fun post-it note illustrations on office windows. Because the kind of offices that have that kind of fun aren’t open right now. However, the airport supplied me with a nice view of Mt Hood, plus an airplane flying around the mountain.

No, thank you, airport, for being so uncrowded.

Aside from the fact that I could have caught a deadly virus and died, flying during a global pandemic was heavenly. It erased the number one thing I hate about traveling by air: feeling like cattle.

The seats in the waiting area had stickers on every other seat to promote social distancing. The plane was mostly empty. I had my entire row to myself, plus the row across the aisle, plus the row behind me. It was glorious. And I got some great pictures of the mountains.

On Your Mark, Get Out of Town, Go!

After several months of quarantining, I wanted a day trip. So Matt and I drove to Long Beach, Washington (I’d never been) for a quick day trip.

On the way, we stopped to take in the view and I found this graffiti. I googled “country bike tour 2009” and came up with this website, which probably has nothing to do with these vandals, but was fun to read about.

Look at that sun! Enjoy it now. Also, do enjoy the lovely Rolling Rock litter.

There’s that bridge that heads over to Washington. I’m not sure if I’ve ever crossed it. Today is not the day, though.

The first of many self portraits. Two pair of sunglasses, one mask.

And now we’re in Long Beach. The sun disappeared just as we got close to this lovely tourist town.

Two masks, one pair of sunglasses.

We walked down to get a picture of the crowds. I’m guessing this was a small fraction of the usual number of people here on a July Saturday. Then we walked the boardwalk, which I have no pictures of, but which surprised me by being very far away from both the ocean and the main strip.

Matt says hello from the world’s largest pair of chopsticks. One mask, one pair sunglasses.

After we walked the length of the main drag, we bought fish and chips and found a picnic table. One sunglasses, no mask.

Then we walked back across the boardwalk and drove home. But not before taking one more picture. Two masks, one pair of sunglasses.

The Most Delicious Vending Machine in a Crowded Seattle Airport

Airline schedules were such that I had to fly to Seattle before I could fly to Tuscon. Grumble, grumble, grumble. But grumbling was somewhat mitigated by this vending machine full of food that looked very, very good.

Salads! Sandwiches! All from Beecher’s Handmade Cheese!

Look at this though. No seats to be had at the gate.

And I’m back to grumble, grumble, grumble.

On the way back I had a grilled cheese from Beecher’s and I’m all in with them. Now there’s a good reason to fly through Seattle.


Magnets are my current favorite souvenirs. They are inexpensive, they have a task besides being a memory, and they don’t take up a lot of space. Here are the three that I bought on this trip.

I’ve been collecting pressed pennies since 1985. My first one was from the Oregon Coast. Here are four from this trip.

You can see that we had older pennies (pre-1986) for the Ferndale and Face Rock pressings, but had to use newer ones for the Sky Trail.

I should start keeping a stash of older pennies just for this purpose and I should also probably add “pennies” to my packing list.

Sara & Shawn in Northern California!

We had planned to visit northern California before Sara got a job at Humboldt State University, but it was a happy happenstance that she did, because we got to meet up.

We first visited McKinleyville, where Sara and Shawn are living temporarily while they get settled. It is a house full of boxes at this point because the moving company absconded with their stuff for many weeks before finally delivering it.

After picking up Shawn, we met up with Sara in Arcata, had dinner and walked to campus so we could see her new working environment including her office.

Sara told us that HSU, Humboldt’s initials are sometimes translated as, “hills, stairs and umbrellas.” While we had clear skies, we did climb a lot of stairs on those hills while walking around.

Including all the stairs to get to this building, the oldest on campus.

It was great to catch up with Sara and Shawn!

Arcata’s Charms

Post-beach walk, we headed into Arcata’s downtown area. First we stopped for a cupcake.

Downtown is bustling and includes enough bookstores that I could take a picture of two at once. The one on the left, (Northtown Books) plus the light blue building with the red awnings in the middle of the picture. (Tin Can Mailman)

I hung out in the square while Matt job spotted.

Then we took a walk and found a head in a hole.

We used Google Maps for directions on this trip and every time we entered our hotel address in Eureka, Maps always first suggested the same address, but in Arcadia. So we went to find it. It turned out to not actually exist, so I’m not sure what Google Maps was thinking. The closest thing to it was this barber shop.

And then it was time for the Finnish Country Spas and Tubs which was a thing Sara had alerted us about and which I was looking forward to.

Here’s the front entrance. Inside is a small coffee shop.

Through the back door of the coffee shop is this lovely oasis which leads to little cabins with hot tubs or saunas.

Here was our changing room and tub.

The design is very efficient. At your appointment time, you change in the changing room, then soak. When you are done, you go into a different changing room which allows you to change while the tub is being cleaned and reset for the next guest.

It was very relaxing and if I lived in Arcata, I would probably make time for this spa often.

Escape Eureka and Other Eureka Downtown Things

It turns out Eureka has an escape room and you can go there at nine in the morning. We did so!

The owner said that for the early morning slots, he mostly got tourists doing one last thing before they got out of town.

It was just the two of us, which was nice, as doing escape rooms with strangers is awkward. We escaped, and I enjoyed the variety of puzzles. The clues given came at just the right time.

We also happened upon the Wooden Sculpture Garden of Romano Gabriel, which is kept safe inside in a building downtown.

There was a lot to look at.

And I got my fortune told!

Dispatch from six months later: I do not believe I have yet received a letter that has changed the course of my life. Also, I think I’m hardwired already to avoid the flatterers. And I do wonder if I had played again, as the fortune teller commands me to do, would the next fortune have contradicted this one?