Saturday, June 28, 2008

Adventures in Public Transportation (No bikes included)

Since Jenny and Christine were going to be at girls camp for the week and Barry was going to a camp for Priests Sam, Denise and I decided that we would go on our own little adventure. We went to Portland for two days on a train.

Train to Portland
We arrived at the train station about an hour early and got our tickets. Traveling by train is a lot different than airplane travel. All they wanted to see was ID and nothing else. They could care less what we were brining on the train. It was really pretty darn simple. About 5 minutes before our train arrived they made an announcement that we should go out to the platform. When the train arrived the doors opened and we all just go in. We wandered around a couple of cars to find some good seats. Once we found just the right seats we plopped down and got comfortable. There were two seats on either side of the center aisle so Sam and Denise took one side of the aisle and I took a seat next to them across the aisle. I was pretty impressed. The seats were really wide and made of comfortable leather. Down by your feet there were electrical outlets so we were able to plug in my laptop. Once the conductor took our tickets the kids settled in and watched multiple episodes of The Gilmore Girls. It was a great ride. I was able to finish a book I had been reading for quite a while. I was really surprised how quiet the train was. Occasionally you could hear the whistle blowing but just barely. For me the trip was great. The kids thought it was long but it was the first time I didn’t have to drive on a trip in years so I loved it. After riding on the train for 5 hours we arrived at the Portland train station.

Downtown Portland
Now that we were in Portland we wandered down town. It was only a couple of blocks from the train station. They have a lot of maps posted around town so we would walk for a while looking around until we found another map. We ran into Porters Books. I hadn’t ever been there but I’ve heard it’s a pretty cool bookstore. They were right it was cool. Porters is by far the biggest book store I’ve ever been to. We wandered all around the bookstore looking at different things. We found a cool book called how to stay immature. It was hilarious. It was about 300 pages long with tons of tips on how to stay immature. A true classic.

2nd Form of Public Transportation
By this time it was getting late so we decided to start heading to our Hotel. I new the bus number that would take us there but I couldn’t find anywhere to pick the bus up. We wandered for some time looking for a pick up spot but no luck. We decided to walk back to the train station to take a taxi to our hotel. After walking a block or so we looking over and saw a taxi sitting on the side of the road so we walked over and asked the girl driving the cab if she could take us to our hotel. She said that she could so we all piled in the back and away we went. Our hotel was about 3 miles away over a pretty major freeway so it was a good thing we didn’t try walking. The cab ride was $13 with tip included. Not too bad, I was worried it would be a lot more since there were three of us traveling but she didn’t charge for the kids.

About 5 minutes after checking in we were at the pool ready for some swimming. They had an indoor pool and the water was plenty warm. I’m quite whimpy when it comes to being cold so was glad that the pool was warm. We swam for almost two hours. It was good times. They also had a hot tub and a sauna. We checked these out also. When we walked out of the pool area the person behind the desk said “man you guys swam for a long time”. I guess we surprised her.

Treadmill Madness
After swimming we walked down to the fitness center just to check it out. It was a small room consisting of a treadmill, elliptical machine, a weight bench thingy and a TV. The kids had a blast playing on the machines. In fact, Sam wound the treadmill up so fast that he had to sprint on it just to keep up. When he went to get off he tripped and fell on the belt and it shot him off of the back of it right into a wall. Once we figured out that he was all right it was pretty funny.

Garlic Jims
On the cab ride to the hotel I noticed that we passed a Garlic Jims Pizza so when we decided that it was time for dinner we started walking in that direction. It turned out that it was a little farther that I remembered. After walking about a mile we finally arrived at Garlic Jims. I was relieved when I saw there was a sitting area in the restaurant. Before we got there we started scoping out good curb sides to sit at while we at our pizza. We didn’t have to use them thankfully. We ordered a totally guy pizza with a small female influence. Pepperoni, Sausage, Bacon, and Pineapple. I’ll let you decide which topping Denise chose. It was really good. We also had a two liter bottle of root beer that we polished off. When I ordered it I didn’t realize that there was caffeine in it.

Late Night Swim
After a long walk home we were ready for some relaxing. The kids ended up watching some Disney TV for a while I took a nap. At 10:30 the kids decided it was time for another session of swimming. I told them they could but I would act as the life guard sitting by the side of the pool. They had a great time swimming for about an hour. By that time it was 11:30 and they were going like crazy. Darn that caffeine in the root beer. By the time we got back to our room and settled down it was midnight. I think they had a hard time getting to sleep but finally they nodded off.

The next morning I woke the kids up at 8 so we could get some of the complementary breakfast before they closed down. They had a great spread. Sam and I both made waffles and Denise had a boiled egg and bagel. Good stuff and the price was right.

Another Swim?
When we got back to our hotel we decided to go for another swim before we had to check out. It was a lot of fun. After swimming three times in 24 hours the kids swimming abilities really got better. By the end Sam and Denise could float on their backs for a long time. That was nice to see.
3rd Form of Public Transportation
After checking out of our hotel we walked across the parking lot to a convenience store to get some snacks for the trip home. After we made our purchase we walked about 20 feet down the street to our bus stop. I turned to the kids and told them I wasn’t sure when the bus would come but I knew it came every 30 minutes. After saying that I turned back around and the bus was pulling over for us. Nice timing! We got on and took a seat. The ride was pretty uneventful, it took us downtown in about 15 minutes.

Pizza in the park
Now that we were back in downtown Portland we wandered around for a while and decided that we were hungry. We found a park in the middle of town and plopped down on the grass and ate our leftover pizza. It was a nice sunny day so we stayed there for a while and soaked up the rays. It was really nice.

Train ride home
After we had our lunch in the park we wandered around town for a while longer and then headed to the train station. The trip home was uneventful. Basically the same as the ride to Portland just in reverse.

All in all it was a great adventure.


philippine lotto said...
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Ross Marzolf said...

Hi Mike,

Thanks for talking about Garlic Jim's Pizza on your blog and for enjoying it. Where do you normally buy your Garlic Jim's?

I'd love to send you a gift certificate for a free large pizza. If you'd like one, please forward your address to

Best regards,

Ross Marzolf
Director of Local Marketing
Garlic Jim's Famous Gourmet Pizza

Mike J said...