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Fording the River: Day Four in Going to the Other Portland

August 10, 2011

There are two well-known Portland’s in the United States:  Portland, Maine, and Portland, Oregon.  I can remember my dad worrying about our luggage going to Portland, Oregon, after a trip to Disney when I was little.  I always thought it was funny that the two opposite ends of the country had the same city name.

Now I can say I have visited them both, and know why they are named the same thing.  Portland, Maine, was created and named first.  The man who named it such was a good friend of the man who named a little city called Boston, Massachusetts, so when it came time to name a town out west, they had to decided between Boston, Oregon, and Portland, Oregon.  The latter won, which is good since it sounds better.  I have a little bit of pride that the city I grew up shopping in was the namesake of another city.

But let’s not get ahead of my trip yet.  The morning of day four, we woke up earlier than our alarm and decided to check out of the hostel early to walk around a little bit more.  There wasn’t much that the little room could offer us now that we weren’t sleeping, so we checked out and walked around Chinatown a little bit more.  We eventually made our way to the little bakery known as Dutch Bakery, a little shop that has been a part of a family for about 60 years.  Their website is much fancier than the shop, but the prices were very reasonable.  We both ordered one-egg omelets (yes, they really can make those).  They came with potatoes and toast for a grand total of $3.50.  Add on some toppings and a pastry, and I paid no more than $5.50 for breakfast.  Nice!  If you do end up visiting this restaurant, make sure you have time.  The service is casual and sometimes a little slow.

After breakfast, we took our pastries on the road and walked back to where we would load the ferry for the U.S. This time, the officials seemed more interested in making sure Al really was from Hawaii than me.  I guess they don’t think people from Maine are all that important in immigration.  We boarded, we sailed, and we went through a second set of U.S. Customs officials.  When the man asked us how long we had been in Canada, we told him one night.  He asked what we had to show for it.  Confused, I asked him if he was looking for things we purchased.  I took out my Christmas ornament from Victoria and Al took out her postcard.  The man chuckled and told us to move along.  Clearly, in our bewilderment, we weren’t smart enough to smuggle anything in.

The next few hours consisted of me driving, trying to find food, Al driving, and finally finding food at a little Italian restaurant in a town I don’t even remember.  Trust me, this was not the most exciting or photo-worthy day in the bunch.  When we finally made it to Portland, the highway we needed to take to Al’s apartment was closed, and we were on a time crunch to get to a college fair Al was working for her former job as a college admissions counselor.  We did the fastest wardrobe change for girls as soon as we reached her bedroom, jumped back in the car, tried to find parking and booked it into the convention center…

which was holding a Sock Summit 2011.  I’m not kidding.  Look.  We had a hard time convincing Al’s former boss K that it was a real thing.  He didn’t believe it until we walked past a group of knitters at the end of the night.  Since Al has a job to do, I put on my teacher hat and walked around to collect info for my seniors.  Will they want to apply to schools that are so far away from Maine?  Maybe not, but some schools were as close as Massachusetts.  This was a conference of Colleges that Change Lives, and there were some pretty cool schools there.  If I had had the guts to look outside of New England when I applied to schools, maybe some of these would have been on the list.  One school in Massachusetts, however, rubbed me the wrong way when I heard him bash state schools.  Let’s talk about how I went to a state school and then an Ivy League and now am very close to not having any student loans, mmmkay buddy?  Yeah, let’s shut your mouth.

As I collected, I kept count of how many people thought I was a student.  The final percentage?  100%.  That includes Al’s former boss K.  Yep, they thought I was getting ready for college.

We ended the evening with a late dinner with K and then headed back to Al’s apartment.  Tomorrow, we would be exploring the Oregon coast and another location we had already known on the East Coast, Newport.

Miss an Exit?

I land in Seattle and we go to Port Angeles.

We see the vampires and hike in the woods.

We exit the country.

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