Our Alaskan Adventure begins with a belated Mother’s Day Weekend on the coast of Oregon. Our neighbor showed up to pick us up, a few minutes early; but, just as we’d brought our bags to the curb. She had warned us that she’d taken the “Multi-Gen” room in her house as her room, both because the master bedroom was much too big to suit her (reading between the lines means it was much too big of a job to clean to suit her) and besides, her room at the front of the house allows her to be the Mrs. Kravitz of the neighborhood. She’d called just after our alarm awoke us and I answered asking if this was our Uber driver confirming our pickup.
We got to the airport, quickly dropped off our checked bags breezed through the TSA-PreCheck line, and this time they were making sure nobody got into the line that didn’t have TSA PreCheck on their boarding pass. We boarded on time, and even took off on time. Evidently Alaskan Air has won awards for being the most on-time airline, and I don’t doubt it. We even landed ten minutes early. We got our bags
and Sharon is impressed that after Hawaii, and now with this trip, our Briggs and Reilly luggage is still showing no signs of wear, something that couldn’t be said about our previous bags. It was a bit of a circuitous route going down to baggage claim in Portland, and then down again to reach the rental car center, then up again to find that the center was for the major rental car agencies such as Hertz or Avis. The bargain rentals, including Payless which we are trying in Portland, required us to go out to the second island and wait for a van. Sharon marveled, instead of going down, and along the people mover through the underground cavern and up again, why we hadn’t just gone directly to the island from the terminal. Some questions just don’t have good answers. We hadn’t even gotten comfortable when a Payless shuttle showed up. I flagged it down to stop and headed toward it. Before I could get all of our bags to the rear of the van a throng of people had been drawn to the van like moths to a light. Sharon had popped in the van right away, and saved
a seat for me. And the lady driver did manage to squeeze our last two bags into the back. On the way to the rental car office the driver alerted them that she was on the way with three or four parties. I whispered to Sharon, “We’re a party.” The driver heard me and asked to share a piece of cake. At the Payless Office, I popped out first, and Sharon told me to go in the office and she’d babysit the luggage outside. Since Hawaii, we learned the importance of getting to the counter first, and it took just a few minutes for me to get the keys to the Jeep Renegade. Putting our luggage in, we realized, this wasn’t the largest SUV we’d ever seen, and I guess I had signed up for a “Mid-sized” car, and I suppose that this might be considered a “Mid-sized SUV”. I had to pull the Jeep forward so that we could put luggage in the back. The car had a keyless ignition, which I prefer; but, then I discovered I couldn’t find the parking brake. We did get all of our luggage in; but, we still need to pick up Sharon’s
mom and get her luggage in as well. I just hadn’t remembered that Sharon’s mom comes with a walker! I went bake into the rental agency, and asked if the “P” button that I’d seen was the parking brake. They confirmed, toggling it one way set the brake, and the other way released the brake. If I hadn’t asked I’d probably sat there pushing the button which would have done nothing!
We had no trouble getting out of Portland. Sharon still remembers her first trip here after Jim (her first husband) had died. She had to navigate with oversized printed directions on 3x5 index cards. GPS makes driving so much easier. We grabbed lunch at “Micky-D’s”. Sharon had wanted to drive through; but, I wanted to stretch my legs. Alas, their inside lobby and dining area was closed for renovations; but, the drive-thru was open. We found a place to park next door at the Motor Coach Inn to eat lunch. It was a bit of a drive to get to Gentog where Shirley (Sharon’s mom) was spending the day. Gentog is a day care for toddlers and seniors, as suggested by their name: GENerations TOGether. Sharon’s
Mom loves it there as it keeps her busy with others and they also get to do some activities with the kids in the Day Care. Sharon went in to get her mom while I tried to rearrange the luggage. Her brother Sean had given her the pass-code, that would allow her to check her out (but as I found out later, all she really needed to know was her mother’s name). ( Sharon – No I actually had to enter the code into their system to Check her out). When they didn’t come out right away I went in, and walked into a sitting room where many seniors were sitting. Through one door I could see toddlers playing, and the confusion on my face wondering where Sharon was must have been spotted by one of the staff. I heard someone say, “Are you looking for someone?” Without thinking, I replied, “Yes, Sharon.” The voice then turned to a white haired lady sitting in a chair with her back to me, and said, “My dear, Sharon, your ride is here to take you.” All kinds of thoughts ran through my mind, including, “My God, what have they done to my wife.” I explained, “No, Sharon, my wife, who’s here to pick up her mother Shirley.” The white haired lady seemed somewhat disappointed that her ride wasn’t here yet. When I saw Shirley, coming with her walker, I knew this wasn’t going to be as easy as I’d hoped. It took some rearranging, but we did get everything, with Shirley up front and Sharon in the back. But we would still need to get Shirley’s suitcase in too.
We got to Sean and Patty’s house; but, they’d already left to celebrate a belated mother’s day with her mother, and to have lunch with their sons Kyle and Kameron for Kyle’s birthday. So they had ditched the old lady in Gentog for the day! Sharon had suggested that they might want to do that a week ago, so that they could get an early start on the weekend. We got Shirley’s bag and left one of Sharon’s in its place and were about to leave when Sean called to remind Sharon about the games, Mexican Trains and Scrabble which Shirley enjoys playing so Sharon found the tote in the garage but when she picked up the Mexican Train container it wasn’t locked shut so it took a while to pick up the dominos from the tote and get them in the box. Still, things have started out quite well for us so far on this trip. We had a nice drive to the coast, and found our “Carousel House” at the top of a hill overlooking the Pacific in the sleepy coastal community of Pacific City. We had the code for the lockbox that would give us access to the key. We just didn’t know where to find the lockbox, and when we found the lockbox, we found two of them, and we didn’t know which one we needed, which as it turns out, didn’t seem to matter; because, our code didn’t seem to work for either box. Okay, now this is more like how our vacations seem to start out. After much trial and error, tries and retries, I heard a distinct click, and there was the key inside that we were seeking.
We got Shirley settled inside, and after one look at the second bedroom downstairs where her mother was staying, decided that we would take the upstairs master bedroom. The 2nd
one downstairs wasn’t really that close to the one Shirley was going to have which was also the one next to the downstairs bathroom. The stairs are a bit steeper than normal so we were worried about Shirley getting down them. There is also a Living area and Kitchenette downstairs so we spent the short time left that evening there after Sharon gave me my marching orders that even a caveman could understand: “We hungry. Go bring home dinner.” I checked for the closest Safeway, hmm, 14 miles away. I eventually settled on Chester’s Market less than a mile from the Carousel House. To my surprise and delight, they really did have everything I was looking for, including the roasted chicken Sharon had wanted.
Dinner was good; but, it was becoming a long day. The clear skies had given way to overcast and gloom, and what had promised to be a spectacular sunset disintegrated into a whitish haze over the ocean darkening as the sun set. We were tired and I retired first. Sharon and her mom watched a couple of Family Feud game shows and a forgettable Toy Box episode before calling it a night. I hope it’s not unlucky to sleep in a house with thirteen sides. From our second story bedroom we can see the roof sloping up from each of these sides to a single spire.
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