Rail back to Oregon

Day 5: Portland via Amtrak

After just an hour of sleep, I rise around 430am and head out to the terminal in Vancouver. No sense in trying to sleep, and I don’t want to miss the bus. I ride through the strange night streets, populated by revelers from the bar nights, homeless folks and various night dwellers. I’m feeling off kilter, but the scene doesn’t bother me much, even the slowly moving panel van circling the streets by the station.

Then I’m on the bus, bicycle and gear stowed beneath, heading south again. The bus pauses at the Border Customs office, where we all have to disembark, carry our luggage, in my case wheel my bicycle through the inspection line. The Border Patrol officer seems as sleepy as we all are, but waves everyone through with a perfunctory glance at passports. The bus continues on to Seattle, where we connect to the Amtrak Coast Starlight. How I know this train well! Every year I’ve ridden it north from the southern terminus of my tour.

Just a couple hours, then I’m back on the streets of Portland, under clear and warmer skies. First stop, REI to replace my new Marathon Plus tire which developed a bubble in the sidewall. Then I meet Jennifer for coffee off Mississippi Avenue. We are going to meet up tomorrow, when she will shuttle me back to the coast. This evening I plan to stay with my brother David in Beaverton.

I catch the MAX at the convention center and ride over the West Portland and then through the tunnel to Beaverton. Just a short hop form the stop to David and Angela’s new wine bar, Syndicate. A beautiful renovation and neighborhood, they opened just a few months ago and are enjoying an enthusiastic showing from the local community. We talk shop late into the night, after getting dinner at their favorite haunt.  I’m glad to be back in Oregon, content to bypass Washington for this tour. I’m hopeful that warmer weather awaits.

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