Judy and I have been on the road since shortly after I took this picture Tuesday of her preparing a Secchi wheel to dip into the waters of Neklason Lake, as part of our first monthly round of water quality monitoring for the Mat-Su Borough. Strider is just happy to be out in the sun on a day so glorious, it made it hard to leave Alaska.
After turning in our water samples and equipment, we drove into the soon-to-be renamed Anchorage Airport, caught a plane to Seattle, and got a ride to the Fremont Fine Arts Foundry with our friend Pater Bevis. We spent the night with him, getting up early to catch our first Greyhound bus in decades. We were on our way to Portland, where I'd found a very good deal on a small motor home rental.
Peter is thinking of selling his foundry, and setting up new spaces in Eastern Washington, away from the craziness that Fremont has become as the artists have been forced out by rising rental prices and Yuppification.
Peter Bevis was one of the rebellious artists who helped shape the Fremont District into one of Settle's most vibrant arts communities in the 1980s and 90s. He almost abandoned his brilliant bronze sculpture work between 1994 and 2002, as he pursued the chimera of saving the unsaveable - the Art Deco ferry boat, the Kalakala.
When we got to Portland, we walked seven blocks from the bus station to the new light rail junction in the middle of old downtown. We went from the beginning of the line there, to its terminus at Cleveland Station in Gresham.
The train was quite full. The cars were like nothing I've seen anywhere in the USA, let alone the West Coast. More like the suburban Metro trains in the suburbs and outskirts of Paris. It whisked us from downtown to Gresham's east end far more quickly than we could have driven.
The owner of the motor home we're now traveling in picked us up at the station. He's an LDS Bishop, and a friend of one of our old Alaska friends, Terry Robrecht, who went on from heading Alaska's LDS social services, to head their Pacific Northwest social services organization.
Yesterday, we made it as far as the Klamath River, south of Grant's Pass. We'll head out toward Sacramento in a few minutes, to meet our daughter. She and thirteen other young women from Western Washington University will be defending their national NCAA Division II women's rowing championship tomorrow and Friday. Four of the young athletes are Alaskans.
Judy's part: I'm going to add my observations as we go along so friends can read and keep track of the trip. If you're a reader of this blog, please spread the word (Barb, Gini). I like it that our motor home is the smallest one available and that I was able to take a reasonable shower this morning in the tiniest possible space - a marvel of design. We saw a small deer grazing by the side of the road last night, red tail hawks and other birds, but no other wild life. My final observation before we hit the road is that everywhere we have been in Washington and Oregon, it has been the same temperature inside and outside which rarely happens in Alaska.
Neklason Lake Monitoring
sunrise over the Aurora Bridge from foundry roof
supine Chief Seattle
school kids on Portland light rail
Portland light rail at Cleveland terminus