Riding the Tri-Met

by neff trebor

Copyright© 2013 by neff trebor

True Story: No Sex. Too long for a blog. If I wait to fine tune it, it'll never get posted.

Tags: True Story  

Being from the Mid-West, I have had the space to acquire a 1972 911 Porsche, a 1967 Camaro, a five window, chopped, channeled 1932 Coupe with a 350 engine, a 1959 Morris-Minor, two trucks, and even more motorcycles. I have rebuilt the engine on a 1966 Harley Davidson; stripped the parts down; sandblasted and repainted it to the original colors. I am in the process of rebuilding it and getting several more into running condition.

These interests would not be possible if living in New York, Los Angeles, and a number of other areas. I grew up as a teenager with guns racked up in the rear window of a pickup as being more common than the exception. I explain some of my background to explain some of my feelings on our trip to Portland.

Portland and the surrounding areas have many wonderful sights and wonderful opportunities for adventure. We enjoyed walking around the many waterfalls on Historic Highway 30 which is just south of Highway 84 and the Columbia River.

I took hundreds of pictures of the Samurai Warrior Exhibition at the Portland Museum of Art. Anybody who hasn't seen it should go. It is hard to describe my disdain for one of my wife's suggestions. She wanted to ride the Tri-Met into Portland.

The Tri-Met is an electrically powered train of about six cars that runs on railroad tracks. It runs about every fifteen minutes on the red, green, blue and yellow routes into and around the metropolitan area of Portland. For a one-day-pass you can get close to most areas of interest. From there, it is probably a free bus ride to fill the remaining distance.

Parking your car all day at the Museum of Art is about $10.00. The ride from Welches, which is where we were staying, is about an hour ride by car to Portland. The ride from Welches to Gretchen (half-way to Portland) is about twenty five miles. From there it is about another twenty five minutes on the Tri-Met into Portland. The cost breaks out about even but you don't have the hassle of driving.

There was a story recently about a man in New York who pulled out a gun several times and pointed it in different directions. Everybody was so engrossed in using their cell phones, ipads, Kindle readers, etc. that they were all tuned out to what he was doing. On-train cameras recorded the moment when he pulled the trigger and killed a man getting off the train.

The riders of the Tri-Met seemed almost as tuned out and detached as the story about (the shooter) in New York. While waiting for the train to arrive, I commented to a middle aged woman how much I liked her jacket. She took the ear buds out and proceeded to tell us about how she got it. An ex-boyfriend and their buddies went deer hunting regularly and this was the liner of a warmer jacket. Things escalated. We talked until she got off in about twelve miles.

In that time we heard about her trips to Alaska, Hawaii and lots of things about her son and his work.

Either just after she left, or not long before, a man behind her seat started telling jokes:

"Three guys walk into a bar..."

"What do you call..."

On it went. Then he asked if anybody else knew any.

"This guy walks into a bar and asks for a gin and tonic," I begin.

The bartender tells him he has to be more specific.

What do you mean? The guy asks.

The bartender says, "There are Nitrogen, Oxygen, and hydrogen. You need to be more specific."

The guy say; "I want two turds to go."

"What are you talking about?" the bartender says as he throws up his hands in frustration.

"There are three kinds of turds." The man says. There's mustard, custard and you; you little shit.

And so the ride went; exchanging jokes. I found out he had worked for the founder of "Jimmy Johns" at his first restaurant.

The conversation eventually turned political. I was pretty amazed at his evaluation of the political situation we are in. This man looked like he probably worked at the low end of the pay scale. He was barely presentable with respect to his haircut, shave and cleanliness of clothing. He was going to work.

We were trying to get to the Farmer's Market on a Saturday morning, but got off, mistakenly at the "Saturday and Sunday Market." Instead of looking at people trying to peddle flowers, corn or tomatoes, there were hundreds of 8'-0" square tents where people were selling all kinds of things.

One young man was selling belts made out of used bicycle tires. Another was doing portraits out of clay. Not only was he an excellent sculptor, he was an excellent conversationalist. He had humorous responses to most questions. He kept the person posing for the portrait entertained.

There were women who had enormously well made and unique dresses they had made out of repurposed clothing. I was especially enthralled by a man who had used all sorts of ideas with silverware.

He had made flower holders out of forks or spoons. He had made wonderful bracelets out of forks or spoons. He cut the fork in half and soldered in a clasp in the middle. He bent the fork to form a bracelet. The tynes of the fork were curled around into all kinds of shapes.

forks 001.jpg

We decided to get something to eat. We had seen lots of people carrying large pink boxes that said: "Voodoo Doughnuts." We asked a man where to find the doughnut shop. He said: "Go down the street a couple of blocks and follow the smell." When we got there, the line of people inside had doubled back and out the door. The line outside had over a hundred people and switched back on the sidewalk and down the block.

We debated how badly we wanted a couple of doughnuts and whether they would be worth the wait. The line was moving so we decided to give it a try. There were two Chinese girls with their father behind us. We were at a "switchback" where there was a line beside us, along with the people who were stopped with nothing to do before and behind us, so I showed the two little girls a bunch of magic tricks. I got them to smile, but wasn't too successful trying to get them to talk. My wife asked them several questions and got them to talk a little. The people around us began to talk and ask questions about several things.

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