Archive for January, 2011

September 23 All the way home

Friday, January 21st, 2011

In true hobbit fashion, I got to have TWO breakfasts this morning, and enjoyed both! I had an early breakfast with my sister first before reconnecting with Bill, and then had a second breakfast with Bill and our friend John! So I was thoroughly stuffed when John dropped us off at the rental car place.

I’d been worried about the fact that we weren’t scheduled to pick up the car till 9 am. Usually when we drive back to the San Francisco Bay Area from Portland, we leave at 6 am or even earlier. I thought that we’d end up getting home in the dark, late at night. But it turned out I need not have been concerned. We had a very uneventful drive home and got there at a reasonable hour. Driving between Portland and San Francisco follows sort of a pattern. First you drive through the beautiful Willamette Valley, with the Cascade Mountains (and PCT!) to the east, then Highway 5 climbs up into the mountains and begins to rollercoaster up and down, finally reaching its highest point at Siskiyou Summit (where the PCT crosses!) Then you’re still in mountains all the way into northern California (crossing over the PCT again at Castle Crags) till finally dropping down into the great Central Valley with its rice paddies, fruit trees and olive trees. A couple of hours later, and you’re into the coastal hills, pass the marshes of the north end of San Francisco Bay, and then the final “turn for home”.

It is wonderful to be back, especially since the last few days on the trail were pretty tough. We are amazed and grateful that we made it all the way. Both of us are skin & bones and we’ll have to do some serious eating and resting to get back to normal, and I have to really “hit the ground running” to get the Awana Club started up ASAP.

But it was totally worth it to do the PCT again. Back before Etna, we were sitting around eating supper with Croatian Sensation and Not a Chance. We were talking about how we all were doing the PCT a second time instead of doing some other trail. Croatian commented, “Well, we’re the PCT Retreads, I guess.” I guess we are! We love the PCT, and when we got home, we started talking about “let’s do it again in 2015!” We learned a lot on this hike, and we want to try to apply it, and see if we can do better next time.

SDG

“The 3rd Monty” Chipman

Sept. 22 The journey home, part 2–on to Portland

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

We had to get up so early this morning in order to have enough time to walk back down to the Amtrak station, that I had figured we wouldn’t be able to get any breakfast.  But no problema!  Even though technically the kitchen at the Green Tortoise was not yet ready with breakfast stuff,  they didn’t care when I stuck my nose in the door and asked if I could get something.  So we ended up with a nice hot breakfast (it being a hostel, of course, you cook it yourself) and headed happily back down First Street for the train station.

Soon we were aboard one of the Amtrak “commuter” trains that runs between Seattle and Portland, and enjoying the scenery and the beautiful morning.  I still feel so tired, even after a relatively restful day yesterday, that I was looking forward to going to my sister’s house in Portland and just “crashing” till we head home via rental car tomorrow.   Amtrak is certainly a fun way to travel, and on this commuter train run, there’s no problem with schedules–the train is ON TIME!  (Not like the long-run Amtrak trains, which are notoriously many hours late). 

Several business people were in seats nearby, all busy on their laptops and cell phones. One of them was commenting that taking Amtrak to Portland was much more efficient than driving, because you can get work done on the train, whereas if you drive, you can’t do much of anything.

The Portland Amtrak station is old and well-restored. It’s right near the Willamette River and right on the edge of downtown Portland.  We had a short, easy walk over to the Max lightrail line.  Bill decided he wanted to go visit a friend of ours whom he hadn’t seen in some time, but I was so tired that I opted to just go to my sister’s house. So Bill hopped off the Max a few stations before I did.   It’s a nice little walk from the lightrail station to where my sister lives, and soon I was sitting at her kitchen table, eating a nice sandwich and talking in whispers, since my brother-in-law works at night and sleeps in the daytime.

After that, I spent the rest of the afternoon and early evening  just lying down on the couch–I read a few chapters of an excellent book by Dorothy Sayers, then just went to sleep.  At dinnertime, I got to eat my fill of FRESH green beans, just picked from the garden, and lots of fresh tomatoes.  Wonderful!  And since my sister and her husband make their own homebrewed beer, I got to try their latest batch.  It was really good–and it only costs them about 25 cents a bottle to make.   I went back to the couch and had a good night’s sleep.  Bill ended up staying at our other friend’s house, since they got into a lengthy discussion about something or other.   I figured that would probably happen!

It was a wonderful thought to know that tomorrow we will be home!