Sunday, December 18, 2011

Goodbye Portland...and Goodbye Budget Car Rental

So we piled our luggage into the rental car Friday and hit the interstate for Les Schwab, the tire and brakes place where we'd left the camper. Art and Glenn got underneath to inspect the work.
Nothing left for me to do but drive the 15 miles back to Portland, drop off the rental, and hike a mile and a half back to the hotel. How beautifully our transitions from train to car to lodging et al had unfolded....until now.

When I arrived at the Budget return address, an old guy told me they hadn't been there for 5 months. Then ensued what felt like a vision quest, driving a tangle of one-way streets in downtown Portland, asking random people if they knew where Budget had an office. Yes, I finally found it, after 40 minutes and more stress than I've experienced in six months. Needless to say: the poor young woman behind the counter, trying to be a good employee while sharing my incredulity that an airport manager would have sent me to nowhere.

My hike back was restorative, and I got see a little more of downtown Portland, including city hall...
 ...and this building with a fish stuck in it.

Art had been waiting for nearly 90 minutes, prepped and ready to hit the road, by the time I returned. "I know you have a good story to tell," he said, relieved to see me.

I was still so astonished that any business could have treated a customer (albeit one paying with air miles) as I'd been that I had to visit the always-full Pepperidge Farm cookie plate in the lobby for travel supplies.

Soon were were actually heading west (yellow) toward Lincoln City and south to Beverly Beach State Park.

We drove through the Willamette Valley, home of boutique vineyards and organic farms. My pal Kathy (Miss O's mom) had given me a piece torn from Travel and Leisure before we left that was precisely on point and great fun to read while tracking all the mentions in real time. Thanks Kath!
Walnut trees line parts of the roadway in this fertile valley.

A reminder: in Oregon people are paid to pump your petrol and wash your windows, just like the olden days.

So happy to arrive at Beverly Beach. First order of biz: a fill-up of a different kind. Fresh water for our tank.

We're accustomed to traveling in September-October and quickly realize that our outdoor days are hours shorter, with darkfall near 4 pm. After several hours sorting our home on wheels following its yearlong storage...time to be inside.


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