Last week, I took the train to Portland, Oregon… a pleasant 3.5 hour trip through scenic Washington. Amtrak is very enjoyable because you can purchase a ticket online, waltz to the train station half an hour before the train leaves, get a boarding pass then leisurely get on the train without being searched or x-rayed. Plus, the seat are like Barcaloungers, made out of leather with a platform that lifts up so your legs are elevated.

On the ride up, I sat next to a woman who graduated from Reed College in the 60’s. She was bring a large box of books and notes from her calligraphy studies to donated to the university’s library. She had created a font called Gutter, which she "wrote" in my diary using a calligraphy pen.

The time passed quickly, talking to her about the influence of music on typography and how punk has influenced her recent work. She recommended that I start a journal that is composed of bits of writing and snippets of things that catch my attention. I took her advice and the first pages of this free-form journal has my Amtrak and Tri-Met (bus) ticket from my Portland trip!

After I arrived in Portland, I hustled downtown where I caught a bus to downtown Sherwood, which is a short walk to my mother’s house. Haystack rock

The weather was perfect… 70-degrees with clear skies, which reaffirmed my desire to drive to the coast the next day. With a picnic lunch packed and Cyrano (rat terrier) and Gigi (Sheltie) in the car, we headed to Cannon Beach. Half of Portland must of had the same idea because it took us a while to find a parking spot!

Cannon Beach is a classyCyrano at the beach town with many art galleries and boutiques, restaurants, and landscaped plazas with benches where you can watch the hordes of people walk by, many with dogs on leashes or tucked under their arm. The beach is equally wonderful. You can walk for miles on the smooth sand, picking up rocks and driftwood or wandering around the tidal pools. The picture above is Haystack Rock, which is opposite Cannon Beach. 

Cyrano and Gigi were thrilled to be at the beach. They ran around, barking at the waves and greeting other dogs (and humans) on the beach.

After eating our picnic lunch (turkey wraps, grapes, carrots, wheat crackers) at Cannon Beach, we headed south to Tillamook(below) and the Tillamook cheese factory. GigiWhile you can’t tour the factory any more, you can walk through the exhibits, sample cheese… and of course, purchase tourist items, along with cheese and other diary products, jams, jellies, canned fruits and vegetables, seafood, and other Oregon gourmet foods.

After stocking up on cheese — I got Rich a white cheese with whole black peppers — we indulged in a cup of Tillamook ice cream. I had espresso mocha!

We then headed home through the Tillamook State Forest and lush farm lands. It was a very pleasant dayTillamook for my mother, myself and the two dogs.

Meanwhile, Rich was in Mount Vernon, fixing the air conditioner in our motor home and doing other household projects.

Late Sunday afternoon, I took the train back to Seattle… sleeping and reading most of the way.