We’ll first begin with Seattle, which of course isn’t Oregon, but since Seattle was a short stop, it really doesn’t need a post of its own.
So, our first stop was in Bellevue, at a Lego resale store. Our friends, the Privats, had told us about it, so of course, the boys wanted to make a quick visit. Three mini-figures and two sandwich-size Ziploc baggies later, we left, ready to make the world a better place, brick by brick.
Our next stop was the Seattle Seahawks stadium. It was also game day for the Seattle Mariners, and we saw scads of Dodgers fans on their way to the game.
After the stadium, we headed to the Space Needle. Since we’d already been up in a big glass tower in Chicago, we figured we’d save a wad of money and just take a picture out front.
The Space Needle wasn’t as tall as I expected. Makes me a little wary to ever see the Eiffel Tower. What if it doesn’t live up to my expectations? Oh well. I’d love to at least be able to judge it for myself in person 🙂
(walk around pics)
Then we were off to Discovery Park. It’s acres and acres of walking trails along the bay. There’s also a playground and some ball courts.
Just as our hike was beginning, we found a plethora of blackberry bushes with juicy berries. We ate and ate until our teeth were dark purple. It was delightful!
We hiked the 2.8mi Loop Trail. It took us out by the water. Even with the haze of smoke, it was still beautiful.
We then headed out toward Portland. We planned to stop around Olympia, but Albert felt like eating up some more highway. We stopped just short of the Oregon border.
We planned to park Big Boy and take the commuter train in to downtown. Since we were close, we decided to drive around downtown a little first. Albert and I have both been to Portland before in our younger years, and were completely impressed with how clean and beautiful it was. I remember walking around downtown and thinking, “Wow! This is a beautiful city!” Albert had had the same impression. So we were both excited to take the boys here. We knew they’d love it like we had.
But Portland has become Port-a-potty. It’s trashed. There are vagrants everywhere.
And piles of trash and junk strewn all around. It’s mind-blowing. Back when I was fifteen, it was pristine. Like a magazine photo shoot. Now it’s filthy and the stench of urine is everywhere. We walked by several piles of clothing and other items lying on the sidewalk. It turns out this is called a “yard sale”.
Vagrants leave their unwanted items out for other vagrants to dig through and take. The items are filthy and have all kinds of stains on them. Can you imagine how many germs and diseases are being spread around?
Portland has hired a “Clean & Safe” crew to walk around downtown to clean up after the vagrants. The cleaning crew push their janitorial carts up and down the streets, sweeping up the piles of trash. So the vagrants can live as trashy as they’d like because someone will clean up after them. There’s also extra security guards that walk the streets. Portland is paying so much extra in salaries and pensions to people to address the symptoms rather than address the problem.
In front of food truck row, if you were to stand there to order, it smells like urine. The Health Dept. is OK with this??
Vagrants lie sleeping on the sidewalks as you walk, trying not to step on them or their belongings. They have absolutely no idea what’s going on because they’re passed out. Vagrants are in the parks, under overpasses in their tents, behind bushes, grouped together on corners — on their smart phones. Or yelling out obscenities at no one or someone going by.
As we walked through the blocks, we passed store owners who have hired people to paint or powerwash. Why? It won’t be long before things are filthy again.
We passed many professionals who walk this every day, sipping their Starbucks. I couldn’t believe this is normal. No one seemed fazed at all by what was all around. How come this is OK??
And this is where it’s impossible to pass up the spiritual application. First of all, that city is filled with people Jesus loves. I, as a self-professed germaphobe, have a really hard time seeing all this. But Jesus sees children He loves dearly, and it breaks His heart. And me, in my sin, am no different than those people. I live my life making the same mistakes day after day. How come I don’t notice anything? How can that be OK? I really hope the people of Oregon get it together to help the ones who really need help and start expecting adult contributions from the many who are capable. And I really pray I am willing to allow God to come in and help me clean up the mess in my heart.
We planned to spend the day in Portland, but we ended up spending less than two hours. And if the Portland board of tourism is reading this, we did no shopping, either. We had no desire to spend any more time in a city that doesn’t want to promote something different than what we experienced.
One of our biggest reasons for visiting downtown was Niketown. We walked in the door, only to find out Niketown doesn’t exist anymore. This place was once an experience, not just a place to buy Nike items. There was a room for each of their big athletes (like Jordan) with posters, videos, and clothing for that athlete. They had huge TV screens in the floors. The layout was funky and vibrant. Now, it’s like shopping in Kohl’s. No creativity. No experience. Just normal. Bummer. Big bummer. The boy’s would’ve loved it.
We headed west toward the ocean. Albert has always loved the ocean and it was a great way to “wash off” the Portland feeling. Rockaway Beach was the answer. Even though the water was so cold, the boys enjoyed their time splashing and wrestling.
Our niece, Kayla, recently visted the Tillamook Creamery and told us about how great it was. Being huge Tillamook fans, we mooed our way to this cheese lover’s haven.
In the picture on the right, Dayne and Ean teamed up to see if they could milk a cow in less than 25 seconds. They did!
We woke up Tuesday morning in Tillamook and drove to Eugene. We have a church friend who lives there and he gave us a tour around the printing/media ministry, Lightbearers, he works for. The pictures below show the printer (top left), the stacks of literature drying (top right), the folding machine (middle left), the big door they bring the shipping containers through for sending the literature off into the world (middle right), and the warehouse where literature is stored until ready for shipping. They print in twenty languages, and send out about 1,000,000 pieces each year, including Bibles. The Bible studies are shipped world wide, and are prayed over before being sent. That’s special.
The bottom right is the vegetarian restaurant we had lunch at. That’s a wrap we got to eat – very refreshing! Then we picked more blackberries 🙂
We were headed to Crater Lake. We pulled over along the way into a forest rest area and spent the night there. Before showering, the boys had a fun time playing out in the forest, and again in the morning before breakfast.
We’d noticed the fridge was not as cold as it had been, and things in the freezer were softening. Our auxillary batteries hadn’t been charging up completely and were in need of replacement.
We arrived at the Crater Lake north entrance where the ranger said due to smoke, the lake wasn’t visible. Well, we had a decision to make. Either we continue on and drive the miles into the park and through, taking time to stop and not see the lake, or turn around and get on the way to Klamath Falls to get a battery, hopefully in time to save our food in the freezer and fridge. Well, we chose to save the food, and we’re glad we did. After stopping at Walmart for batteries, we headed for the California border!