Monday, June 27, 2011

Tess and I went to a festival. RE:generation Festival

Tess and I went to music festival over the weekend. It was kind of last minute, but our 2 roommates insisted that we join them. It was held at the most beautiful, magical festival venue that I can imagine, called Horning's Hideout. Here are some pictures of the scenery.

We had a great time listening to new music, people-watching, and enjoying the absolutely beautiful festival grounds. It was only an hour from Portland, so it was a very "simple" festival to do, without too much time or planning investment (relative to other festivals). It was certainly regenerating !

In other news, a very pivotal co-worker of mine is leaving MapTech, and there is talk of "promoting" me to Project Manager. Let's hope that this "promotion" doesn't only amount to doing more work.... I'll keep updates flowing as soon as things are settled and I hear what is up.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Some pictures of our current place

Tess and I planted all of the flowers (except the yellow pansies) into empty pots that were laying around.


Leaving this One Horse Town...

So, after considering the potential commuting options for getting up to Seattle every Wednesday for 9 months, we have decided that it is "cheaper" and easier to move to Seattle throughout the duration of the class. "Cheaper", meaning that instead of wasting money on gas, we will be wasting it on rent. I believe the cost-of-living is more in Seattle. I love the term "cost-of-living"...

Moving again is the last thing we want to do, but it will be fun to check out Seattle for a bit and see what it is all about. Then we can head back down here afterward, unless we fall in love with the home of Grunge music.

Tess, Sagan, and I headed back up to Mt. Tabor Park since it was beautiful, clear day and here is what we saw....That is Mt. Hood, the "potentially active" volcano with 12 glaciers on it, which you can see from the city on a good day, from a good location. It has a 3-7% chance of erupting over the next 30 years, but given how the world is working lately, I am already considering a contingency plan. Mt. Tabor park (the hill from which these pictures were taken) is itself a dormant volcano.

And here is the view of the city that I mentioned in the last post.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

News from the Frontier

So we have been in limbo, not knowing what the next step is, as we have been waiting to hear from the University of Washington about this certification program that I am interested in taking.

Well, we have finally heard back and I have been accepted! So it is looking like we may pick up camp, pack the Conestoga, and head to Seattle to live for 10 months to a year. BUT, I'm going to look into commuting (to Seattle) options as well (bus, train, etc). So I will keep everyone posted with updates. But at least now we can plan what the nest step will be (move to Seattle or move to the moon: the final frontier).

Here is a completely random picture I took of a statue in Mt. Tabor Park. It is of a Harvey Scott, an early Pioneer to these parts. We toured around the city with some friends [who we met while CouchSurfing here over Thanksgiving last year]. (More about CouchSurfing later.) His statue points to what is supposed to be a beautiful view of the city on a clear day (which is few and far between). It was clearly raining when we were up there.

Yes, it rains fairly often here. But the weather patterns are VERY strange. It will be overcast all day, but still bright outside and only rain in brief light bursts for 5 minutes. OR, like the other day, I saw the strangest precipitation I have every seen, which is impossible to capture in a picture and equally hard to capture in words: It was between a dense fog (but it wasn't foggy) and a LIGHT drizzle. It was dust-sized particles of wetness floating around as if it were a snow flurry. But it was none of those things and it didn't make anything wet although it was "wet" out. There really is no reason for particles of water that small to fall....? It is amazing how, although it "rains" a lot, you often do not seem to get wet by being outside.... a mystery.

Anyway, I will be posting some other random stuff on here soon that I have been thinking about and that relates to the trip, etc, so stay tuned.

And working from home has been going good. I had a lot to get done this past week, and it feels like I work way more, now that I am working-from-home... how does that make sense?

Oh! and we just found out that a college friend of Tess and I, is out here visiting her sister for the weekend, so we will be heading out to hang out with them tonight! Her sister just moved here a week ago to work an internship with Nike.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Settlement

Sorry to leave everyone hanging, we have been super busy moving, unpacking, arranging, settling in, and lets not forget to do some work here and there.

We found a place on Craigslist and began moving in last Friday (June 3rd). It was labeled "Community Household" and was willing to let a couple and dog move in. No, its not a commune, just a house whose owner rents out the extra rooms to good respectful people such as ourselves. We all share the common rooms (kitchen, dining room, living room, random room, bathroom) and the responsibilities (keeping things orderly, doing your own dishes, taking out the compost/recycling/trash). All the roommates are very cool, nice people, who all have their own lives. Since we all have different schedules, and our own private rooms to hang out in, the house never seems crowded.

There is a fenced front yard and large fenced back yard. Additional amenities include a big porch, several garden plots, a fire pit, a garage (for bikes and storage!), plenty of parking, washer/dryer, and fully furnished (nice when you own no furniture).

The house mentality is very open & welcoming, and accommodates people moving in and out as needed. The house is also setup for multiple people: 2 fridges for all the different roommates food, cabinet space for each roommate, and storage areas, etc.

The roommates include:

Bill - The owner. Produce Manager at grocery store, so he brings home plenty of free produce! Avid (board) gamer. Aspiring game store owner. He has a full business model for his game store, business partners, and plenty of game knowledge and gamer friends to back it up. Saturday nights are Dungeons and Dragons night!

Steve - Teacher. Also into board games and cooking. Husband of Leslie.

Leslie - Horse/people trainer. Trains people about horses and teaches horses about people (or visa-versa?). She's into gardening and horses (duh).

Katherine - Insurance sales-woman. Into music and video games. Often gone for long work trips.

Earl - DJ. Into music (duh). Boyfreind of Katherine.

Aaron - Engineer. Into gardening and wood-working.

Tess - Aspiring self-employed crafts-woman, but in the meantime, on the job-hunt.


Toby - 10 yr old sweet dog, who acts about half his age, but gets annoyed with Sagan when he wants to keep playing.

Sagan - young dog who has a lot of energy, but is loving the yard, and who has been an amazingly good dog for the past several weeks.

Monty (Python) - Incredibly Zen cat with 27 toes (no joke), who is super cool but is also the "alpha-dog" of the house.

Steve (the cat) - keeps-to-himself cat, is not friendly, but you never see him anyway.

2 backyard chickens - who live... in the backyard! and provide eggs.

So yes, you could say we have a full-house, but it really doesn't feel that way at all, because like I said, we all have very different work schedules and understand to give each other space.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Knowledge from the Trail

Well we made the journey in 1 week! The same trip which took settlers 5 months, and Lewis and Clark (and Bowman) a year. We managed to make the journey without having a broken axle, getting yellow fever , malaria or dysentery, and the oxen never once got tired. I cannot imagine making this trip at the speed of oxen.

After traveling across the entire continent I can tell you that it is WIDE, mostly lacking in trees, and BORING. Most of the country is either flat fields of national product, corn, or vast scrub wastelands.

I don’t know if it is by-product of growing up in one of the most beautiful parts of the country or if it is that I only feel that way because I am from there, but I think Virginia really is one of the most appealing states. I will give Oregon a try, and I feel it is quite the contender with the unbelievable landscapes we saw on our way in.

We made it ! ... Alive !!

On our final day of traveling we logged another 10 hour day. We have been following the Oregon Trail "Auto Tour" route for the majority of the trip. And for the last few states we have been following the Lewis and Clark Trail, the same route that another Bowman once took (a relative? who knows.) All I know is that I made WAY better time than he.

As we entered Oregon it seemed just as boring as previous states, but steady grew more and more beautiful as we traveled west. Every mile a more breathtaking micro-climate than the last. The Columbia River Gorge was especially beautiful. We arrived at our new home, Portland Oregon, about 5 pm PST. We went and met the potential roommates at “The Lodge” where they mentioned that the landlord would most likely not allow Sagan to be an inside dog. Quite a miscommunication by the dude that is subletting the place...and an obvious deal-breaker (but that place is still up in the air.)

We then moved on over to our friends house (where we stayed for the night) and then walked out with Sagan and had some great food, where we met many extremely friendly strangers who oogled all over Sagan, gave him treats, and chit-chatted with us. Looks like having a dog is the best way to make friends here.

I thought the Rocky Mountains would be a little rockier than this.

So today we set out from Greeley, Colorado, well-rested and properly re-supplied, and drove a solid 10 hours. We went north into Wyoming which meant that we were essentially circumventing the Rockies, an unintentional bonus route that my car thanked me for by complaining about every not-that-steep hill.

Now a word about Wyoming. Wyoming blows hard. No really, the wind was ridiculous killing our MPG and requiring a strong grip with both hands on the steering wheel at all times. I guess that’s good for all the wind farms there but for driving/living/existing there? Not so much. Wyoming has a sort of short-lived novel appeal to it, where you expect the RoadRunner to cross the road, followed shortly by Wile-E-Coyote. But you soon realize that there are no cartoon characters there, in fact there really is NOTHING there, except depression and hideous landscapes. It does contain Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks, so I’ll give it that.

Most of Wyoming looks like this....

The open road of Wyoming

From Wyoming we passed into Utah, which is beautiful! Then into Idaho, which is back to nothingness. It is quite amazing how the aesthetics of the terrain seem to be bound by imaginary state lines. Wyoming is destined to be the nation’s wasteland, while just across the border, The Hills are Alive With the Sights of UTAH!

We ended up staying at some little motel in the middle of nowhere Idaho.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Hitting the dusty Trail

The extra day in Greeley with my mom was just what the doctor ordered. We all relaxed, napped, hung out with the dogs and enjoyed each other’s company. My neck was still a bit sore and didn’t have its full range of motion but with the help of frozen corn, a heating pad, a few massages and ibuprofen I was ready to hit the road.

I can always count on my mom for comfort and care and I even still call her when I get really sick even though I usually know what her advice will be. Thanks mom for being there for me! With my partially functioning neck we headed into the unknown!