6.21.2006

Slowing coming back...

Mentally, that is.
What is it about vacations? No matter how short they are, my brain always seems to manage to linger away for days after my body has already returned home. The trip this time was a series of lovely days filled with strolling down tree-lined streets,



wandering around beautiful gardens,





and some shop-trolling (only a little bit out of respect for dear, easily bored Dad). I managed to not go crazy at Powell's books (a used bookstore encompassing one city block. Yes, an entire city block.) and only picked up a few volumes to add to my bookshelf. I was likewise restrained at Knit Purl and only bought two skeins of "souvenir yarn:"
A skein of hand-dyed boucle yarn (Blue Moon Fibers Llama Loopy in Aubergine -- made of alpaca, actually) in varying shades of purple...chosen by my mom for me to make a scarf for her.



A skein of Handmaiden Sea Silk in Sangria (a lush mix of deep reds and purples and oranges that my camera refused to replicate) for myself. Possibly the Diamond Fantasy Shawl?



The trip was only slightly marred by being bookended by much-longer-than-expected train rides. I have to say that my romanticized vision of travel by train has very much been vanquished by the realities of a poorly run transportation service. It's little wonder that Amtrak struggles financially. Not only were the trains that we took to and from Portland almost 3 hours late in departure time, the rides themselves also took over 5 hours longer than anticipated. All this added up to 22 some hours spent in the station and on the train each way. I didn't really mind the actual train ride too much since the scenery was often mesmerizing





but the hours spent at the train station nearly drove me mad. It certainly doesn’t bode well when a page long, closely-written note giving detailed answer to the question "Why Amtrak trains are sometimes late" is prominently displayed at the train station. The short version? Freight trains operators own the railways. Thus, freight trains take precedence over passenger trains. Ergo, lots and lots of


Well, at least I had books and yarn to keep me occupied.

6 Comments:

Blogger Philippa said...

Oh dear! That is a great shame. I too had notions of you romantically travelling by train. Although I am still pleased to think that in America at least some freight continues to go by rail. :)

It looks like you had a lovely time otherwise, though. And as ever your photos are beautiful. I particularly like the 'Waiting' one. And it's a good thing you have 'resources' to keep you occupied!

A book shop the size of a block! What a dreamy thought. What did you buy? Did you take any photos? I've started The Mandarins, by the way. I love it.

3:48 AM  
Anonymous le chat qui coud said...

how wonderful.... beautiful pictures, beautiful places....

5:09 AM  
Blogger hege said...

Wait, you live in San Fransisco and it took 22 hours to get to Portland??? That's insane! I agree, no wonder Amtrak is doing badly. But the pictures are beautiful. Glad you had a nice time otherwise! :)

6:05 AM  
Anonymous yuki said...

Gorgeous scenery! Your beautiful photos have allowed me to step outside of the city for a moment.

It sounds like you had a nice, relaxing trip, aside from the train ride. It's unfortunate that Amtrak trains aren't as reliable and efficient as the trains here in Japan.

7:15 AM  
Blogger Areli said...

So many beautiful pictures! Even of the train station :-)

Yes, do the Diamond Fantasy Shawl, I love it, and then I can watch you knit it instead of doing it myself, since my list is too long right now to add to!!

9:06 PM  
Blogger Jeanne said...

Lovely photos -- thanks for the vicarious holiday!

6:09 PM  

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