Saturday June 30th
Left wet Wanganui after a great send off from R and J
The flight from Auckland to San Francisco was fantastic. From the moment we took off to the moment we landed we didn't touch the ground at all, the seats were comfortable, the food was good and we both managed several hours sleep. We made up lost time so we made our connection. The big surprise however, was still to come. San Francisco customs officials were smiling, helpful and happy and the transfer through customs to the flight to Portland took about 20 minutes all up, including walk time. We actually felt welcomed into the USA.
Stephen Murphy drove a couple of hunders miles south to pick us up and deliver us to his sister and brother-in-law's place not far from the airport on the banks of the Colombia river. We ate, talked and went to bed.
Sunday July 1
Up around 8 and spent the morning touring the lower reaches of the Colombia river looking for wild delphiniums. Didn't see any, but did find several lovely waterfalls. I got some great photos of these and even remembered to load the memory card into the camera first. What a clear mind. I must travel more often. In the afternoon Stephen took us to see Ft Vancouver (in Washington state just over the river from Portland, Oregon) where he used to do volunteer gardening work. There was a blacksmith and a baker demonstrating old skills and a really chatty, well informed guide showed us around what was the head man's house. Ft Vancouver was owned by the Hudson Bay Company and used as a trading post/store preparitory to shipping beaver furs back to the "old country". Sadly, all buildings are reconstructions as the originals were burned down in a fire some time before we arrived - but they looked and felt the part. We even found a couple of long drops, but refrained! If you look at the photos you will see three fold away beds from the 1840s - nothing new in the world eh!
Then to the most exciting bit........shopping! We bought a few electronic bits and pieces ( I got a 1gig CF camera card for $25 and Janice a 1 gig SD card even cheaper. Then to Powell's book store in Portland. This is the "must visit" and well worth the journey. Second hand books are sold alongside new ones and it's set out by subject matter, rather like a library. We used a few dollars here too.
Our hosts, Mike and Mary Marquande, have been wonderful and Stephen, our chaufer and guide, his usual bouyant self. We're having fun.
Monday July 2nd
Rose at 5:30. I went for a jog and Janice did some resting for me. Today we go visiting nurseries and drive down past Eugene to Cottage Grove to meet more growers and a seed company. More later.