(Last modified 28 July 1997.)

Wanderjahr: Week 48

Locations: Portland, OR; Tacoma, WA; Seattle, WA; Grants Pass, OR; Davis, CA
Dates: 7/13/97 - 7/19/97

Sunday Kristen showed us around downtown Portland. We saw the cool public fountains (more or less designed to be played in) and the results of a sand-sculpture contest, spent some time at a comic book store that was selling back issues by the pound, wandered through the Saturday Market for a few hours (yes, I know it was Sunday. But nobody consulted me about what the weekend market should be called...) looking at cool crafts stuff and mostly deciding not to buy it. We had dinner in Kristen's back yard, and CJ and I got to juggle for an hour or two (she'd never passed clubs before, so I taught her how). Eventually it got late and I drove back to Tacoma, staying awake by the time-honored method of eating a couple of chocolate-covered espresso beans and listening to late-night talk radio. (Notably "Loveline," the only call-in radio show I've ever encountered whose advertisers include Trojan condoms. The show describes itself as "A cross between Dr. Ruth and Dennis Rodman," and though the hosts can get a little annoying at times, it's mostly fairly entertaining.)

Spent the rest of the week rushing around to see everyone in the area whom I hadn't seen enough yet. For instance, Monday evening I met Ellie in Seattle for dinner and talking. We got take-out Thai food (which, we discovered, one can eat with one's fingers if one has failed to obtain other utensils) and went to a grassy little beach-like area on the western shore of Lake Washington (?). Didn't get nearly enough time with Ellie, whom I see far too rarely, but better than nothing.

Tuesday had lunch with Uncle Paul near his office in Gig Harbor, in a restaurant with a lovely view overlooking the harbor; was great to have some time to talk with him. Then rushed up to Seattle (arriving late as usual, after as usual getting mildly lost two or three times and encountering heavier traffic than expected) to meet Debby for tea and writing at Teahouse Kuan Yin (where, alas, they didn't have a certain kind of tea that I'd hoped to pick up for Arthur). Made some progress on the screenplay, got the latest east-coast news (she and John had just arrived from Boston a few days earlier, I think). Joined Debby and John and another Swat alum (Dierdre?) for a delicious home-made dinner and subsequent conversation on the usual broad variety of topics late into the night. Headed back to Tacoma around midnight.

Wednesday I had lunch with Todd, whom I'd seen at the reunion a year ago but otherwise not since high school, at Microsoft. Got to see the very cool stuff he's working on there (one advantage to working at a colossus of a company is that you have a lot of resources to throw at any given problem), met his co-workers, reminisced, talked about other friends, discussed possibilities for the future of 3D VR roleplaying games. Wished I'd had a chance to see Sam and to meet their kid Tyler, but my schedule had gotten awfully tight when I decided this was going to be my last week in the Seattle area. Ah, well; next time. Rushed back to Tacoma for a couple hours of hanging out with Peter; we went for a walk in his neighborhood, helped a woman whose car had run out of gas push said car off the road, stood on a bridge in the middle of a lake and looked at Mt. Rainier for a while. Then it was time to pick up Amy for dinner with other CW alums from our year; only Dave showed up, but it was nice to get to talk with him again before leaving town.

Thursday I was horribly late yet again, this time for lunch with Mikala. Got to meet her newborn but not her husband, got to see their very cool house. Relaxed in the sunshine on their deck for a while, then drove up to the U district to see Thida and meet Walt. Mary Anne had told us she might be participating in a TV panel (on a show called something like Town Meeting) that night, but the topic had been changed (originally to be on the Communications Decency Act, but switched to whether TV shows should be rated like movies, a topic of much less concern to me) so we decided to skip it. Spent a couple hours in a noisy café, then Walt went off to teach class and Thida and I had dinner and wandered around the area. We visited the troll under the Aurora bridge, which Thida hadn't seen, and then it was time for me to go home.

mountain photoI'd intended to pack Thursday night, but was too tired, so did it Friday morning and of course left a couple hours later than I'd planned. Fortunately, I'd expected to leave late so I hadn't planned on trying to get all, or even most, of the way to Davis that day; I'd made reservations at a Motel 6 in Grants Pass, near the southern edge of Oregon. My maps indicated it would take about 8 hours to get there; it was actually more like 6 and a half, so I arrived about the time I'd originally expected to. Unfortunately, I discovered that the motel had reserved me a room but not a non-smoking room. Grr. It wouldn't kill me to spend the night in a smoking room, but I was upset at the way I'd been treated, so I tried a couple other motels -- and immediately found one a block away which had only nonsmoking rooms and was no more expensive than Motel 6. Canceled my Motel 6 reservation, checked in at the Sweet Breeze Inn, run by an entertainingly talkative older woman with an amazing beehive hairdo. Got a fairly good pita sandwich at Wendy's for dinner (someone had told me about this recent addition to the Wendy's menu; it sure beats McDonald's), spent the rest of the evening reading and trying to catch up on email.

Another six hours of uneventful driving through excessive heat on Saturday brought me to the Motel 6 in Davis, where they did honor the request for non-smoking rooms. I took a shower, considered going swimming but couldn't bring myself to leave the slightly air-conditioned room, so lay on the bed and read for a couple hours until Arthur, Jeremy, Sarah, and Gerry arrived, having driven up from Mountain View. Amid much noise and bustle we dressed up in our wedding clothes, then met Thida for dinner at a fairly good crepe place. Which left us just enough time to zip over to the wedding itself.

Which was fine, if a little hard to hear at times (it was outdoors, and a small child combined with amazingly loud insects to make quite a racket). Robyn & Ellen seemed very happy, and no major disasters marred the event. At the reception, the food was good, the company (mostly Harvey Mudd alums) enjoyable, and a good time was had by almost everyone I saw. There were disposable cameras on the tables, so some of us repeated our stunt from another wedding a couple years back of everyone sitting down under the table for a photo. Eventually the hour waxed late and we headed back to the motel for sleep. Jeremy was kind enough to take almost all of my huge quantity of Stuff back to Mountain View in his car, so that I'd be able to transport Arthur, Sarah, and Gerry in my car on Sunday.


Movies, Books, etc.

Oddly, I don't think there were any this week.


Jed Hartman <logos@kith.org>