Archive for ‘Travel’

February 15, 2008

From da Bus: Love Transportation No. 20

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Shortly after boarding the bus Thursday night I was approached by a woman sitting behind me and to the right. She leaned toward me and said “hey!” through the headphone in my left ear.

I paused my music to see what she wanted, slightly annoyed and startled. She said she liked my haircut and asked if she could take a picture of it. That flattered me on an otherwise stale Valentine’s Day. I didn’t even know what my hair looked like by then. I had worked out at lunch, and walked to the bus stop.

I struck an “On da Bus” pose and she snapped a shot with her camera-phone. Then told her I got it cut at Hair Mechanix. For those ten minutes I felt like a model with my two-week old hair-do.

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February 7, 2008

Intro to Snowshoeing

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Tonight I attended a one-hour class at my local REI store to learn about the sport of snowshoeing. The class was free, and it filled up, mostly with older adults, but in no way did that turn me off. The presenter was a gentle man named Jerry, who did not look prepared to snowshoe in his tropical shirt and Chacos.

According to Jerry, snowshoeing can be done into the Spring; however, most people assume the season ends in February. Since I have a few friends that are enthusiastic about snowshoeing, I plan on outfitting myself with the proper gear and hitting the snow very soon.

Here’s what I’ll need:

Snowshoes (rent or buy).

– Waterproof, and preferably insulated, hiking boots.

– Three thin layers of synthetic clothing (long underwear, Polartec fleece and a waterproof shell).

– A hydration system for my day pack.

– Gloves and hat (styles depend on conditions).

– Trekking poles.

Gaiters.

And here’s the advice that stuck with me from the presentation:

– Walk with a wide stance, toes angled out.

– Stay hydrated.

– Let someone know where you’re going and how long you’ll be gone.

– Always be prepared to deal with a worst case scenario.

– Avoid wearing cotton.

-Don’t be afraid to blaze your own trail once you’re familiar with the conditions and the terrain.

January 21, 2008

The Blazers: Never too young to win, never too old to learn.

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Doesn’t Channing Frye (third from the right) kinda look like Pete Wentz with that beanie on? Sorry Channing, I hope I’m still your boy, after all I do have two of your bobbleheads…

The Blazers are nearing the end of a long and challenging road-trip. They’re still playing good basketball, but what’s even more reassuring is that they’re not just thinking about basketball. ESPN’s J.A. Adande followed members of the young Portland team on their history lesson through Atlanta scheduled around the MLK Jr. holiday. Portland defeated the Hawks, 111-109 in overtime Monday.

January 14, 2008

010_From_Da_Trax

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I feel like recently I’ve used every mode of transportation available, except for horse, boat and spaceship. It’s very relaxing to have others do the navigating for you. With someone else in front of the wheel, I was able to focus my attention on things other than speed limits, gas gauges, check engine lights and potholes. There was definitely a lot to observe on my trip from Portland to Tacoma and back.

The first thing I noticed was how laid-back and hassle-free traveling by train is. There are no security checkpoints, and seating assignments are made at the gate. I didn’t have to take my shoes or my belt off.

Laura and I sat across from two brothers from Jefferson, Oregon. One was a 10th grader, the quieter one was in 8th grade. They were both shy at first, but I made the mistake of asking how much his bistro car pizza was and how it tasted. Once I broke the ice, he was more than willing to speak his mind during the entire train ride, specifically on movies and his favorites subject in school, history. Luckily, Laura and I had refreshments in the form of Black Butte Porter and Bud Light. We also got to sample some of the fine bistro car cuisine for ourselves. She got the microwaved quiche, and I settled for the microwaved hot dog. Yum, yum!

On the way back we didn’t have to face any talkers (the kids said they were taking an earlier train back down). Instead, Laura and I were able to relax and watch Across the Universe, a decent flick that featured Beatles’ songs. It made Laura choke up at the end, but it just made me chuckle.

Overall, the train ride was an enjoyable experience, and I will definitely utilize it’s convenience again. I will just plan on taking and earlier train so that I can enjoy the scenery.

Some other things I saw:

– At least 5-10 cuties on each train. One that caught my eye was drinking wine at the bar in the bistro car.

– A geo-engineer writing up a memorandum about some slope he checked out.

– Amtrak employees with really cool hats.

January 10, 2008

All Aboard!

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As the John Denver song goes: “I’m leavin’ on a jet train/but I’ll be back in two day-eee-yays.”

Yes, tomorrow I will travel by train for the first time, and as you can tell from the picture above, I’m all set! I’ve learned a lot about trains over the years, from Thomas the Train, to Mr. Rogers and the Neighborhood Trolley, to The Little Engine That Could (still my favorite book to this day), to the movie Throw Mama From The Train with Danny DeVito and Billy Crystal, to the band Train who performs a song about my mom, Virginia.

But I don’t think any of those ever went to the magical land of Tacoma, Washington. If they did, I certainly wasn’t on one. That’s the destination. There I will be visiting my friends Nichole and Matt, who moved there last summer. It won’t just be me. My good friend from high school, Laura, is the one who got the ball rolling. She is continuing on to Seattle to visit some friends. We’ll be meeting up in Seattle on Saturday to hang out with our other friend Patrick.

It has the potential to be a blast. I’ve only been to Sea-Tac Airport and Safeco Field, but I have yet to explore Seattle. Hopefully Matt will not be a blouse and get over his cold. And hopefully all the other Amtrak passengers will keep their hands to themselves, except for Laura.

I’ll to post a special From Da Train entry when I get back to Portland.¬† There’s sure to be some interesting things to report from the tracks.

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Choo-choo!

(Have you been noticing that I’ve been ending a lot of my entry titles with exclamation points? I think it’s because I do a lot of e-mail yelling.)

December 20, 2007

009_From_Da_Bus

 

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The other night I had to take the bus home after a Blazer game. I got the MAX at the Rose Garden and got off between 3rd and 4th Street to catch my normal bus. It was rainy, so I sat on the bench in the shelter. Of course, no one else wanted any part in sitting next to me, or even under the shelter. I guess it’s because I look so suspicious with my hood on.The other night I had to take the bus home after a Blazer game. I got the MAX at the Rose Garden and got off between 3rd and 4th Street to catch my normal bus. It was rainy, so I sat on the bench in the shelter. Of course, no one else wanted any part in sitting next to me, or even under the shelter. I guess it’s because I look so suspicious with my hood on.

Finally, a large gentleman got under the shelter. His main objective was checking the bus schedule; staying dry was just a bonus. He smelled like bologna and Fritos, a combination I have smelled before.

As I raised my head to see whose scent that was, a flash of light whisked through my line of sight like a shooting star. But it wasn’t a piece of space debris burning up in the atmosphere, oh no, it was a cigarette butt, and it landed two feet in front of me. It was from the hootrats standing¬† by the building. I thanked them with a stare.

More and more people gathered around and under the bus shelter, including one guy who stood right in front of me, and over the extinguished cancer straw. He asked another man standing beside me if he could use his phone “to call Tri-Met and check on the time.” The “connected” man gave him a funny look and replied, “it’ll be here.” I almost chimed in with a studio audience “Ooooo!” or a little “fight, fight, fight!” chant, but I just stayed quiet.

December 13, 2007

008_From_Da_Bus

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-I left my iPod at the ‘rents. Thus, I was without entertainment and my first line of defense against chatty weirdos.

-Since I had nothing to plug my ears with, I overheard two grown men talking about dark chocolate.

-Then last night, a man and a woman were faintly talking about snow storms and mutual friends. I was in between them and I could hardly hear a damn thing. I think my ears are shot.

-But sometimes people communicate with just a stare; so headphones or no headphones, I could tell exactly what this person was saying with her eyes. She was sitting alone with a small lunch box in her lap and a large shopping bag in between her seat and the open seat next to her. Another woman boarded the bus, and with plenty of available seats to choose from, she opted for the one next to the first woman. She moved the bag with a slight hesitation to communicate the inconvenience, and when she could see the unwanted neighbor didn’t notice, she sighed and followed that with a long stare. It was filled with anger and disbelief. It really said everything, and I heard it all. Unfortunately, it wasn’t loud enough for the woman right next to her to hear.

December 6, 2007

007_From_Da_Bus

 

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This week I encountered a lot of interesting characters on the bus. A couple of them happened to be the drivers.On a foggy Thursday morning, as we crossed the Morrison bridge into downtown Portland, the bus driver exclaimed, “I shouldn’t have watched Stephen King’s ‘The Mist’ last night.” That got a surprisingly energetic reaction from the passengers, considering it was so early in the morning.

My driver on Wednesday night wasn’t afraid to drive and entertain either. He reeled off a half-dozen jokes. Three of the funnies had to do with President Bush, which the democratic crowd enjoyed.

As more people boarded the bus, the jokes got less political, but arguably more riske. One was about three surgeons in a bar, and right before I got off there was an epic joke about an American in Shetland having a sexy party with one of the natives. But my favorite was definitely the recycled ha-ha that went something like this:

“I got home and my wife said ‘take off my blouse.’ So I did. Then she said, ‘take off my skirt.’ So I did.¬† Finally she said, ‘don’t you ever wear my clothes again!'” Ha! Knee slapper!

Guy with parrot hat bragging about his hat collection.

This morning we also had a guy with a stuffed parrot hat. No a real parrot, but a plush, colorful parrot that was about a foot tall. He wasn’t all there, but that didn’t stop him from striking up a convo with one of the girls next to him. He proceeded to tell her that he was a bell ringer (I guessing for the Salvation Army) and his collection of plush animal hats bring in a lot of donations. Whatever works for you buddy. Somebody needs to put the parrot and the Cuckoo back in the cage.

November 28, 2007

Bachelor Living

I’m always curious about what other “normal” people do when they get off work. It’s not creepy. Creepy is if I ride the same bus as that person and then camp out in front of their house with a telescope. Most people don’t want to bore someone else with the details of every little thing that they did that day. They’ve deemed those things irrelevant and uninteresting. Usually there’s no time to expand on these minor events. Well guess what people, you’re gonna get a taste of Steverino’s everyday. I’m fulfilling every stalker’s dream. I’ll try to make it easy to follow along.

The following events occurred on Tuesday, November 27th between the hours of 5pm and 11pm:

I got off work at approximately 5:35pm. I walked to the bank to deposit my transportation reimbursement check. Then I checked out this fancy men’s clothing shop in the Pearl and talked to the guy about an $800 coat I saw in the window.

I took the bus home.

When I got off the bus I picked up a take-out menu from a Thai restaurant on Stark, just a few blocks from my apt. I called my dad on the way home and we talked about how cold it’s getting and how hot it is to defrost the Ghia. I got home and read a few blogs while I thawed out in my room. I wrote out a shopping list and then Cody and I headed down to Fred Meyer.

We checked if they had any Nintendo Wii’s. Nope. Then I proceeded to shop for groceries while Cody wandered aimlessly through the store complaining about the price of Diet Pepsi and the lack of selection in the bacon department.

Then we got food at Pepinos. Mmmm. We took the food home and ate it while we watched Beauty and the Geek, Family Guy, a second of London Ink (boring!), Chuck and Reaper. Cody hung up or dartboard, even though we don’t have any darts.

I checked on my fantasy teams, downloaded some music, updated my iPod and then went to bed.

November 26, 2007

006_From_da_Bus

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From Portland en route to San Francisco I discovered the upbeat track “Hi-Speed Soul” by Nada Surf from the album Let Go.

There were two newly recruited soldiers on that first flight.

I was also able to watch The Office on that plane, as it was the only one with TV monitors.

On the plane from Frisco to PDX one of our flight attendants looked like Hiro from Heroes.

My dad sit next to a girl that almost got sick.

Out of four separate flights, I was only offered a bag of pretzels on one.

I only hit my head once.

I witnessed no Mile-High Club meetings.