West Asheville. Hank Williams, Jr., David Allen Coe and Waylon Jennings.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Return to Pacific NW

wearing my U of O t-shirt, purchased in campus bookstore
Oregon beach, with the two Dawns.  A year earlier I drove them from Headland to Seaside and Panama City Beach, FL!
Maybe at Salmon Hatchery?

Rimsky-Korsakoffee House, Portland
In the Spring of '99, just over two years after Mark's and my trip to Seattle and Portland, I decided to go back out there on my own.  I wanted to revisit Portland, for sure, and I wanted to go a bit further south to Eugene, the home of The University of Oregon.  And, of course, I was going to reconnect with some friends - one, the same Uzbekistan connection, and the other, her friend from Seattle.  The latter one I actually already knew because, just a year or so earlier, these two young ladies, at my urging, made their first ever trip to the American South.  On down the road a bit, I will blog more about this, because it was quite fascinating, for them and me!  They made it to Headland.  They stayed at Lake Espy.  They also visited me at the bank.  I took them by Mother's classroom at the primary school.  And, before they left "the big city," we had lunch at Morrison's with Uncle Watty.  Here's a picture taken just after that lunch.

My plan was simple.  I was going to have coffee at a Seattle Starbucks with a contact of Mark's.   Then, I was going to take an Amtrak train down to Eugene, stay at a B&B and one day walk over to the campus and check out their business school.  After Eugene, I was going to travel back north to Portland, where the young ladies (Dawn and Dawn!) would meet up with me.  From there, it would be their call.

Covered the Seattle and Eugene portions of the trip with ease.  It was the first time ever taking a train in the USA.  Eugene and the university impressed me greatly.  The B&B was nice.  I remember the Chris Porter-led Auburn basketball team was playing Ohio State in the Sweet Sixteen, and I watched the disappointing loss on TV!   One day I walked over to the campus, and found a great little pizza parlor.  Later, I talked with the dean of the business school about their executive banking program and graduate school.  The U of O campus was very impressive, and the fact that Phil Knight of Nike was an alumnus and virtually built the football stadium, intrigued me as well.

Made it up to Portland, and met up with my friends. The three of us drove to the West Coast to the town of Tillamook, where we toured the giant cheese factory and ate some amazing cream (at the cheese factory).  After that, we drove along the coast and did some sightseeing.  Once back in Portland, we did some other fun things:  visited a salmon hatchery, went hiking in a forest filled with majestic Spruce trees and, much to my delight, saw the Portland Trailblazers play a game.

One other thing I had to do before leaving Portland was revisit Powell's Books, which may still be the largest bookstore in the country.   A book I bought actually prompted me to quickly do this and my last blog post.  The book:  Russia Confronts Chechnya: Roots of a Separarist Conflict by John B. Dunlop.  The subject matter didn't just magically popped into my head.  My travels to Uzbekistan and subsequent budding interest in USSR, Russian and Central Asian history brought Chechnya into my consciousness, and I wanted to learn more.  Naturally, last week, with the tragedy in Boston, and the ethnicity of the bombers being Chechyan, it prompted me to post something about these trips to the Pacific Northwest.  And, although I haven't specifically written anything about Chechnya on my travel blog, I have posted something on the forces that continue to make Central Asia a significant player on the world's stage.  Here it is.

As for the Pacific Northwest, I would highly recommend both Washington State and Oregon as places to visit.  Living in either state would also be pretty attractive!

My regrets:  I didn't research enough about the town of Eugene, OR ahead of time.  And, the fact I was by myself, I stayed a little too confined to certain areas - playing it safe in ways, I guess.   I would also add a few more days to the Eugene portion of the trip.

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