Packed and loaded – on our way east. Hopefully there will be no car problems along our 3,000 mile journey to Venice, Florida. My wife took the first shift so I could write. On the way out of downtown Portland we passed many favorite haunts, the airport, magnificent Mount Hood, topless St. Helens, Multnomah Falls, and The Dalles prior to the scenic drive along the Columbia River past the dams, wind farms, and fish hatcheries into the barren lava fields of Eastern Oregon. A sharp contrast in regional topography.

I did the full cherry blossom run this morning as the sun was coming up. The 100 Akebono cherry trees I passed both coming and going that line the river path were a gift from the Japanese Grain Importers Association in 1990. That section of Tom McCall Waterfront Park is technically called the “Japanese
American Historical Plaza.” Sadly, it reminded me of the Japanese internment during WWII at the nearby Expo Center. Such beauty and horror the city of Portland holds. One of our friendly farewells with one of my wife’s co-workers transpired a few weeks ago at the Japanese Gardens, founded in 1963 as a symbol of healing between war adversaries. The trees and 5.5 acre garden are two of Portland’s cultural treasures.

The city of Portland is now in our rearview mirror, but family and friends will bring us back. Dinner last night was from DeNicola’s as we said our last goodbyes to my wife’s daughter, along with Falco and Raylord. The Residence Inn where we stayed last night sits on the Willamette River with a view of five unique bridges – Hawthorn, Steel, Morrison, Fremont, and Broadway. Both the nearby Marriott and this property were our first two exposures to the city where we lived for seven years.We landed here because of my wife’s job, and I adapted to work my last two years at the local Alpha Media radio stations. The last five years I’ve enjoyed retirement while my wife just settled into it for the last two. We decided that Venice, Florida would be our forever home and we’re on our way today.