Friday, August 28, 2009

I Need a Vacation!

After being away from home for nine days, I need a vacation! While going to Oregon was an adventure and full of lots of quality time with Youngest Daughter, it wasn't exactly a time of rest and relaxation. To explain, let me give you a brief synopsis of my trip . . .

Day 1: Several hours after leaving home, we crossed the Mississippi River--good thing YD was asleep so she didn't panic at seeing me taking photos while driving across the bridge:)--into . . .

. . . Iowa. Traveling with Coconut meant only necessary stops for food and gas and, of course, rest areas. Fortunately for him, "Grandma" needs frequent pit stops, so he got a chance for lots of interesting walks. Continuing on into the night into Nebraska (too dark for photos) . . .

Day 2: Traveling I-80 across Nebraska, there were lots of interesting places to see, including some historic stops along the Oregon Trail, like this one at Fort Kearney. But we had a schedule to stick to, so no sightseeing this trip. (Which accounts for most of the lousy pictures here--most taken from the car window while driving.)

Still Day 2: Into Wyoming. About the only wildlife we saw in this part of the state were cows!

Day 3: Still in Wyoming. No offense to any Wyoming residents, but the southern part of Wyoming along I-80 is quite frankly. . . desolate. Towns were so few and far between that I wasn't sure anyone even lived here other than the cattle. Of course, it didn't help that we had been on the road for hours.

Still Day 3: Finally we made it into Utah and hooked up with I-84. A few hours of some beautiful mountain scenery and a glimpse of the Great Salt Lake made this part of the journey go more quickly.

Still more of Day 3: Into Idaho, which . . . um, looks a lot like Wyoming:) Again, apologies to Idaho readers . . . I know other parts of Idaho are much more scenic. And, to be honest, eventually the landscape turned into farmland.

Day 4: Leaving Boise, Idaho and entering . . .

. . . Oregon! Daughter and both cheered when we saw this sign!

The last few hours of our trip took us along the Columbia River in northern Oregon, with so much beautiful scenery that we almost forgot to think how long we had until reaching Portland. A faint image of Mount Hood can--perhaps--be seen in the background in the photo above; it was much more visible to us as we drove along the highway.

Huge fir trees along the slopes of hills to our left and the blue waters of the river to our right gave us a taste of the beauty of the Northwest. Too bad I didn't roll down the window to take this picture to avoid the reflection of the map on my lap:)

Over two thousand miles and four days later, we finally arrived in Portland and found Daughter's new apartment complex. After touring her apartment and finding it just what she had hoped, we decided to save hotel expenses and "rough it" for one night, even though her furniture was not due to arrive until the next day.

Day 5--8: After a night's sleep on the floor--and I use the term "sleep" very loosely here--I had to get up at the crack of dawn to loosen up the kinks in my joints before the hard work began. The movers came, and the unpacking process began. Somehow I envisioned my role on this trip as being the alternate driver and as setting up the kitchen and making the beds, all pleasurable tasks for me. What I didn't think about was the other part: this mechanically-challenged mom found herself wielding hammers, screwdrivers, and even wrenches to help re-assemble the bed, the kitchen table, and a futon. Then Daughter decided she needed to buy a new TV stand and a computer desk.

The TV stand was fairly easy, but the computer desk was another story. It took three salesmen from the office supply store to load this in the back of her car, and one of them--bless his heart--looked at us in concern and asked, "Are you sure you ladies are going to be okay?" Daughter, ever-confident, assured him we would be, and we rode off into the night--two women cruising the streets of Portland's suburbs in a classy convertible with the top down. As you picture this scene and think how cool I must have looked, add this to the image--it was freezing cold by this time, and I had to keep my arm back, holding onto the box so it didn't topple over and crush us to death. Then the hardest part . . . how did we get this 100-pound+ box up to her second story apartment?? While I panicked and suggested knocking on apartment doors looking for burly men, Daughter, the analytical math whiz, suggested we take apart the box and carry it up, piece by piece. And that is what we did . . .

Voila! The finished project. I was so impressed with Daughter's capability, especially since she never understood how to work a laundry hamper at home. She followed instructions carefully--all 40 steps!--and other than a little help from me in balancing boards while she nailed, she did it all herself.

I, on the other hand, was chosen, as the taller of us, to hang a mirror on the wall. You can see my efforts above--would you believe I even used a level?:) Not to worry, I did manage to improve upon this before I left, although I did warn Daughter not to do any aerobics in the living room, lest the mirror come crashing down.

Having spent most of our time working or shopping for necessities, Daughter agreed when I said I wanted to see something of the area before I had to leave for home. Did you know that Portland is often called "the City of Roses"? We traveled by train to downtown Portland, visiting Washington Park, the site of several interesting places. Although we saw only the outside area of the International Rose Test Garden, we did spend some time in a fantastic Japanese garden--more on that in a later post.

After humoring me by walking past waterfalls, koi-filled ponds, and an amazing Zen garden, Daughter wanted to go further into the city to find where she would be attending classes. At the next train stop we found ourselves at Pioneer Square, which was alive with activity and the sounds of a swing band. Nordstrom's and other shops are nearby; this will be on my must-see list next time.

Portland is a beautiful city, with gorgeous scenery surrounding it. I've already informed my daughter the next time I come to visit, I plan to relax and enjoy the sights!

Day 9: Time to fly home. I must say that the four-day drive out to Oregon really made me appreciate the four-hour flight home. I can only imagine after seeing the terrain on the drive in an air-conditioned car going 75 mph what such a trip must have been like for the original pioneers of the Oregon Trail. It's amazing how many of them survived such an arduous trip.

A big thank you to dear friend Beckie. I had planned to take a shuttle bus home after my late-night flight. But Beckie volunteered to make the 2 1/2 hour drive to Midway to pick me up. It gave us a chance to catch up on the latest, even though our chatting almost took us north to Wisconsin instead of south to home:)

Thank you, too, to all of you for your kind comments and concern on my last post. I really didn't mean to sound sad, but I think I was suffering a little empty-nest blues my first day back. Not to worry, though, I have plenty of plans to fill up my time. I'm already scoping out Daughter's bedroom and making plans to redecorate for a guest bedroom. Tai Chi starts next week, there are grandchildren's activities to attend, and still more blog reading to catch up on. And, of course, the garden . . .

While I didn't get to taste a ripe tomato before leaving for Oregon, a bounty awaited me. Tomatoes are simmering on the stove as I write, waiting to be pureed into juice and put into the freezer.

Oh yes, I'll find plenty to do . . . Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!


  1. Wow! A drive all the way to Oregon? It was a lovely drive-from here at least:) Those picture hangers are too too funny! Good job to your daughter to put together her computer desk and good job to you for helping her with it all.

  2. Sounds like a lot of fun! Good times and good memories, but I had to laugh at that mirror. Oh, my. You really shouldn't be working with hammers and screwdrivers!

    Welcome back,
    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  3. Rose that looks like loads of fun! You got to see a lot of the country that some folks will never see. Oregon sounds so wonderful. I would love to visit there.

    Glad you made it back home safely.

  4. Thank you for sharing this post! I have driven across the exact roads you traveled many times! I went to college in Colorado and took road trips to the Pacific Northwest repeatedly, so this was a great trip down memory lane for me! The blandness of Nebraska (sorry NE readers), the desolation of Wyoming, the lushness of the Portland area. (The state of Wyoming has a death wish for me; it's a long story, but be glad you were there in August, not the winter months!)

    Your daughter is very intrepid with assembling furniture! Me, I have never successfully put anything together but instead relied on my mom, also roped in travel westward with me during moves, to build everything!

    And should you ever go the wrong way when leaving Midway, you (and Beckie) are welcome to stay the night here!

  5. Hi Rose! You deserve a good break! But what great places you saw! I should confess that I almost started to cry when I saw pictures of Portland. I used to live there in 1992-95 and I love that city!
    P.S. Were you interested in the foxglove seeds? I started mailing them. If yes, I need your address.

  6. Oh my gosh Rose you had quite the adventure. I could see you were in big sky country for awhile. I about cracked up when I read that you and Beckie almost had a detour to WI. Ha... Now I can picture that in my mind perfectly. tee hee... So glad you are home safe and sound and your daughter is happily ensconsed in her new digs.

  7. That was a mammoth trip for you to do. Was pleased to see all the photos. That corner computer unit looks absolutely great! Send daughter to me anytime as I haven't a clue how to put flat packs together.
    Much better to fly back.
    You will be busy at home. You have an action packed life. That empty nest syndrome does improve and it was a good idea to alter daughter's bedroom right away.
    That's what I did.

  8. Dear Rose.....the medal is on its most definately deserve one.....

    Helping move ones children is a nightmare.....Mr p and I have done it five times now....we have told them both no more moving house.....
    We also moved my parents and Mum in law to the village and that was worse than helping the

    We drove through Iowa many years ago was very desolate.....I was worried should we break down.....your country is so vast....I love that. UK is small and rarely find somewhere that is totally deserted.....sad....

    Tai Chi is wonderful.....I love it. I do it in the garden as the sun rises.....not for long....just long enough to prepare me for the day ahead......

    Take care Rose and have a restful weekend with your feet up.....

  9. Tina, Driving to Oregon would be fun if you could allow much more time and take some sightseeing detours. Now you see why I'm always so impressed with your projects--I am hopelessly tool-challenged.

    Carol, We did make some memories. This is why I leave the tools to Hubby:)

    Susie, It was a memorable trip, but next time I'm flying directly to Oregon:)

  10. Rose, Glad I brought back some memories for you! I'm interested in that "death wish" in Wyoming, but I do know that I wouldn't want to have my car break down on a highway there--they might not find me for months:) Thanks for the offer of a place to stay--Beckie and I tend to get lost quite easily!

    Tatyana, I hope to see a lot more of Portland the next time I visit. The Pacific Northwest is beautiful country! I will send you an e-mail; sorry about the delay.

    Lisa, Why are you not surprised Beckie and I went the wrong way?:) As she said, for a little while we were "too east of east", lol.

    Maggie May, I don't know where Daughter got the ability to put together projects like this--perhaps the genes skipped a generation, as my Dad can fix anything.

    Cheryl, Moving is not fun, for sure, although youngest Daughter hasn't accumulated as much "stuff" yet, so it wasn't too bad. If you thought Iowa was desolate, you should see Wyoming:) Overpopulation is definitely not a problem in parts of the West!

  11. My goodness Rose !
    I didn't see your previous post .. I have been ill .. but I know you are the type of gal to bounce back fairly quickly after dealing with the empty nest syndrome ? .. and YES ! plans for the room will keep you busy and full of beans .. aka having some fun with it : )
    I would have had a heart attack seeing you drive and take pictures while going across the bridge girl .. I am totally with your daughter on that !! LOL
    That was such an adventure .. I laughed and giggled over the computer desk thing .. you never know what you can do .. until .. you DO IT right ? ;-)
    This was a great read for a rainy Saturday morning .. thank you girl !

  12. Rose, you get a gold star for that trip!! (I would have taken a picture while driving...wait, I think I have done it already :-D )
    The desk story is a carboncopy of my daughter's desk story!! Right down to carrying it up piece by piece. The desks are very similar once constructed too! Heavy as a bear. Not sure when it is time to move out what will become of the desk.
    Welcome back!!

  13. Wow, I can understand why you would need a vacation! You are quite brave making a trip like that! I don't particularly like driving and can't imagine embarking on a cross country trip. Oh the things we mothers will do for our beloved children!

  14. Rose, I've been meaning to visit Portland for quite some time and this post has intensified that for me and Mr I! We may have to plan a road trip; although, Southwest flies there from Nashville!

    I have to rest after visiting my son, too. They are always working vacations. I am totally impressed with the office/desk set-up. We may have to get you, your own pink handled tools and toolbox. You've now graduated to beginner first class!

    Your comment about you and Beckie almost detouring to WI reminded me of how much I missed on the drive around Chicago on Thursday evening during Spring Fling.

    Glad your back~


  15. Sounds like a wonderful trip. LOL, if YD had been awake while you were crossing the Mississippi, SHE could have taken the picture and no one would have panicked (I'm analytical, too!). That computer desk sure is something--great work. I love putting furniture together, and have used odd things (like styrofoam) to hold things up as my cats aren't much help! Glad you and beckie made it home safely. I did leave a plant for you with her, so I hope you got it. And don't worry whether you sounded sad, sometimes one feels sad and that's all OK!

  16. That was a memorable roadtrip! Can't wait to hear more about that Japanese Garden. It was good of YD to humor you on this visit. :) Looks like you will have plenty of things to fill your time.

  17. I can almost smell the toms simmering on the stove!

    Wow, that was some drive, we don't live in a country large enough to ever have to do that. As I was reading, I was thinking what a lonely drive back you would have. Yay for flying!!

    And as for building things..... Well Done, though the mirror made me laugh!!

    Good to have you back. Do you have a holiday planned, I agree you must need one now?!


  18. Well I can see why you need a vacation! I was a little exhausted reading all the work you all ended up doing. We did a lot of driving this summer and the one thing I can say about it is that it's always interesting to see the U.S. from that perspective. It's really a beautiful country and so different from one end to the other. Your tomatoes look gorgeous. And speaking of gorgeous, isn't that Japanese garden in Portland something else?

  19. Rose, the photos are great! I know you didn't get much rest, but what an adventure you had-and with out me. :( We should do the Oregon thing next summer maybe to visit M. We could take in all the sites and maybe even have a few scenic drives. Glad you are home. :)

  20. Oh Rose, this was the happiest of posts, except the sleeping? on the floor part! OUCH! You are the world's best Mom and Portland looks to be a wonderful spot for your daughter. Kudos to her for making this big step in her life, and for knowing enough to take the box apart to get it upstairs too. And love that Beckie, almost going to Wisconsin, were you once again west of west? HA :-)
    Those tomatoes look wonderful!

  21. Oh Rose, you make me laugh!! I can just see you sitting in your convertible, top down, freezing your buns off and trying not to let that 100 lb. computer desk smash all over the road! LOL! And to think you two (o.k. mostly daughter) put that together! There is no way I could even attempt that!

    I can see you needing a vacation! Especially after sleeping one night on the floor. LOL! But it sure was an adventure. And isn't it fun? I remember my daughter asking me at 11:00p.m. if I had typed up her college paper for her. Sh*t I had left it at work. So both of us in pajamas got into my car, drove to work where I prayed that there were no alarms to go off in the middle of the night (was close to midnight by this time), unlocked the main door, unlocked the office door and found her assignment in my bottom desk drawer. Whew! Got home with nobody the wiser.

    All that to say - treasure these adventures with your daughter. And your road trip sounded like fun. I like all your pics. Thanks for sharing!

  22. Joy, Glad you enjoyed the trip with me:) You're right about not knowing what you're capable of until you do it--glad my daughters are a little more handy than I am.

    Janet, Oh dear, I didn't think about when Daughter moves in two years:) The things we do for our kids!

    Robin, I do enjoy driving and like "road trips," but this was the longest one I've ever taken. I wasn't ready to let Daughter go just yet:)

    Gail, Definitely take Southwest! You can always rent a car and drive around the Portland area afterwards. Yes, the drive into the city at Spring Fling will remain in my memory for a long time:)

    Monica, You are much more self-sufficient than I am:) I find that my cats aren't particularly good co-workers, either. Beckie mentioned the plant, but I haven't gotten it from her yet--thank you!

    Racquel, Non-gardening Daughter was very gracious to go with me to the garden, but I think she knew I'd reached my limit of nailing and assembling:)

    Suburbia, No way would I have made that trip back home by myself. We were definitely in "Big Sky" country! I don't think I'll be hired by anyone to fix up their house:)

    Jean, Yes, the Portland Japanese Garden was very impressive; it will get its own post soon.

    Beckie, A road trip sounds fun, but I don't want to get lost in Wyoming--not sure we'd ever find our way home:) As long as we watch the compass to make sure we're going WEST, we should be fine:)

    Frances, No, floors are definitely not for sleeping. And actually, Beckie realized the other night that we were too "east of east" this time:) I think my driving and her navigation have become legendary:)

    Wendy, We must be soul sisters:) I was the late-night typist and proofreader for my kids, too. The things we mothers will do! You are right--this trip will be another shared memory that we will laugh over, and I didn't even mention the coffee-stained shirt and the crown that fell out the first night:)

  23. HI Rose, I've made the drive several times and always find it exhausting (used to live in Coos Bay). You both did a great job, especially assembling that desk. I'm no good at stuff like that--with or without directions. Your daughter is lucky she has a great Mom.

  24. Marnie, I can't imagine making this drive very often. If I had tried to put the computer desk together, it would have fallen apart in minutes:)

  25. Rose, my favorite name... that of my mother! Just discovered your charming blog and beautiful photos. So happy you had a good trip to Portland and quality time with your daughter and enjoyed our PNW. Next flight out, you Tatyana and I will have to get together. ;)

  26. Thanks, Di, for such kind words! I will remember this the next time I get to Portland--it's always so much fun to meet fellow bloggers.

  27. Rose, I've heard such wonderful things about Portland. I know your daughter will enjoy her time there. I had to laugh about you and Beckie almost going north to Wisconsin ... I can relate. I've caught up on some of your older posts and love the picture of Coconut. What a cutie! Your cosmos pictures make me wish I'd grown more of them this year. I don't know why they didn't germinate for me but lack of rain might have something to do with it!

  28. I do so admire you for driving all that way! And then doing the moving-in bit. You're right when you ask how the wagon-trainers ever got there.
    Whoops, just noticed time: I should be in work and haven't showered yet! I will come back later and finish commenting.

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  30. I enjoyed your story and photos. I like that desk, too. Some serious studying can go on there!

    What a drive! I'm thinking you may have driven around my town of Lincoln, NE on your way.


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