There is only one reason that I will get up at the crack of “oh-you-gotta-be-kidding” o’clock on a Sunday morning, and that is if will benefit others. Or if someone I’m married to (we shall not name names here) decides that a 5:00am plane flight is a good deal.
This morning it was the former. My daughter and I had signed up to do the Portland Bridge Walk, an annual event that raises funds for various reasons–each participating group decides what it wants to raise money for. It’s sponsored by Providence Health & Services, see more at this site: http://blog.bridgepedal.com/
Our group is a small but determined bunch from our church, and we always include our pastor in the event. Our goal this year was to raise $10,000 to help the poor in our area. I think we got in about $7,000; hopefully more will come in after the event. (If you wish to donate, I can send you the church’s address.)
Our town has its share of low-income citizens; however, since it straddles the interstate (which stretches from Canada to Mexico), we get a lot of people pulling off the highway to seek shelter and gas for their cars. Our church office seems well-known for its generosity. I don’t think a day goes by that they don’t give out hotel and gas vouchers, food and clothing, to someone in need.
So–this is why we got ourselves up at 6am today. Shortly afterward, Murphy and his stinkin’ law made a visit. To those unfamiliar, the law goes something like this: “If something can go wrong, it will”.
It did. Several times.
I’m sure that there is an axiom that also states something like, “If we’d only left five minutes earlier…” That is what the theme was this morning.
Out the door, in the car, and off to the Sunset MAX commuter station for a quick trip into Portland Central, right on time–7am. Halfway up the street, the daughter says we must go back for her hat. Okay–we still have plenty of time.
I saw walkers and joggers out on the surface roads, and I really had to question their sanity. People get up on purpose this early on a Sunday??
Traffic was simply not there, hooray. It was almost worth getting up early just to see the empty streets. Especially the highway between the interstate and the transit mall. Usually it’s headlight-to-taillight crowded.
Conversation was pretty much nil, as neither my daughter nor I can knit two syllables together very well at that time of day. I’d only had one cup of coffee, and she’d had about 5 hours of sleep, so we just kept within our own minds while we drove to the station. It’s safer that way, for both of us. “The Badger Girls Take The Train”–you better believe it.
Parking–great. Tickets–no problem. Getting on the train–problem. We crested the top of the staircase at the platform just in time to see it leaving. The trains come in every 15 minutes or so, but that one would have gotten us to the event in a timely fashion.
So we waited for the next one.
This is the platform at the Sunset Transit Center. They went to great lengths to make this a nice place to wait. Meg and I decided that the ramp beside the stairs would probably be a very bad one for sledding, though…
We really didn’t have to wait long, but every minute counted. The event started at 8am, and we were about 15 minutes from start time–and 25 minutes away in transit-speak.
I thoroughly enjoy the trip into the city via the rail, probably because I don’t do it all that often. There is so much to goggle at. The station below-ground at the zoo is almost like a museum, with its historical information and pictures depicting the world in prehistoric times. There is a long, clear, tube that hangs horizontally along the wall–it is filled with soil, and is a time-capsule of the layers of matter that make up the earth around our area. Worth stopping off to check out. But not today.
As the train comes out of the tunnel, we have a dramatic look at the stunning Vista Bridge, which spans the area known as Goose Hollow. It is a beautiful piece of architecture, way above the traffic that rolls under it.
Then we got into Portland proper, and I can’t help but think of the song by Paul Simon, “You Can Call Me Al”, in which he sings, He looks around, around. He sees angels in the architecture…
Because I do. I get totally caught up in the way the old buildings are so different, and so architecturally complex, with the way their exteriors are embellished. I am detail-oriented, and it is fascinating; I see something new with each visit.
Riding past the Oregonian building is fun–the newspaper had some interesting benches put in outside their offices:
Not being absolutely sure of where the start line was, as it was now in a different area than previous years, I got us off at what seemed to be the right place. (Hey, it had bikes and outhouses…) But it wasn’t the start place for the walkers, just for the participants on bikes. And there were a bajillion!
Meg and I walked up in one direction for awhile, she of a crabby nature letting me know what she thought of the idea the entire way (anyone want to buy a slightly-used 21-year-old badger girl??? Please???), then we turned around and went back the other way.
We did finally find the start line for the walkers, but it was way too late to even think of catching up to them. So I got the idea to take a shortcut and intercept them at some point. The guy at the start line gave me directions (“Just go up to Everett and make a left” “Uh-huh. What’s an Everett? Pretend I have no idea where I am, okay?”), and so we took off through the center of downtown. When we got to a map, and discovered where our next street, Glisan, was, we headed off to the Park Blocks…then turned left. Meg was right–we should have gone the other way.
Soooo–after walking pretty much an hour anyway, we said the heck with it and came back to the start/finish line. Got our pins for finishing, even though we let everyone know we did our own route. Got some ice cream, met up with our group, and then came home via a detour to Dutch Brothers for a mocha frappe.
It was a morning, alrighty. Glad to have it done, wish to go to bed. I personally found great delight in the ability to have the adventure, but wish the kid hadn’t been so grumpy.
I hope the group found our pastor. When we left the event, he and is bike still hadn’t shown up…