Day 434 to 436 West Linn to Salem OR. – 40 Miles


20151116_170956An old friend from younger days had popped in to see me right after we visited the block of food trucks. I must have smelled like a plate of exotic spices but at least I matched the exotic furnishings of the place. I greeted my friend Randy in the lobby. One girl had begun to set up the complimentary drinks while a couple people lounged. I hadn’t seen my buddy in almost a decade. It was surreal because he still had the youthful look I remembered despite the addition of two young daughters. I filled him in on the adventures of my life since he last saw me. And of course we laughed a lot about incidents from a lifetime ago. I was happy to see that he was helping others as a life coach in Portland. He had also just released a book called “Unlimiting You”. It seemed we had both matured and embraced the paths our lives had taken.

20151117_125434The next morning I had the privilege of meeting the wonderful ladies that had agreed to host us at Hotel Monaco. The luxury Crystal and I experienced was the cherry that topped off our Portland experience. The day would be the last day of rest so we decided to walk around the city even though the rain fell. The block of food trucks we had visited was like an international buffet. Cuisine from six different continents were represented in that block. We couldn’t help but try a taste of many different flavors. The Indian food truck remained our favorite. They even gave Crystal a free bowl of the lunch special.

20151117_132501The downtown area was casually busy. Nothing like New York or Chicago. It felt more like a Milwaukee with rain. We actually spent the greater part of the day looking for deals on books. We had headed towards my friend Dave’s house in West Linn. On the way we stopped at a couple of libraries to find some new reading material. We ended up discovering a treasure chest right around the corner of his house. The library had plenty of the genre Crystal had been reading most recently. We figured we would just relax at the house the rest of the evening. Dave however was intent on showing us more of Portland. He said we needed to try Montage Cajun Restaurant. It was a Portland staple. Always conscious of our budget, Crystal phoned ahead to see if they would sponsor a meal for us. I marveled at how efficient and clear she had become about what we were doing. They said yes.

IMG_59781We maneuvered through an industrial looking area and entered a large brick building. The inside had many tables and super high ceilings. The artwork was majestic in size and the lighting was dim. The menus had a great selection of Cajun food and I ended up with a creamy and spicy macaroni it had a nice zip and cheesy flavor. I ate every bite, plenty of bread, and an oreo crusted cheesecake. It was a great end to the days of relaxation in Portland. We returned to West Linn with Crystal’s left over shrimp pasta wrapped in a giant, aluminum foil, origami dragonfly. We couldn’t stay out too long because of my early morning commitments.

IMG_8693The morning began with a couple granola bars mixed in with my Mamma Chia clusters and soy milk. It would give me the energy I needed to give the kids at Noah’s Ark preschool a good show. I drove the truck to the building because I had already run past Lake Oswego on a previous day. The vehicle felt foreign and the roads curved. Driving had become a stranger to me after the long separation. It was like riding a bike and of course I still knew how to maneuver. The bigger question was whether or not I could still entertain young kids. I was about to read my book to three and four year old children.

20151118_122641The kids marched into the spacious room and sat themselves right in front of me. I wasn’t sure what they would think of my trip but I did have their attention. I gave the kids a short introduction before I started reading to them. Their big eyes were fixated on Chuck and the book. Every time I turned a page I made sure to inspect the audience for any lost spectators. They stayed with me the entire time. At the end of the story they had plenty of questions and I was happy to impart a little bit of my knowledge. It was a great start to the day.

My original plan was to run nine miles to the town of Canby. Of course when Crystal looked at the rain forecast for the next day those miles increased. The days off had repaired my muscles and the run seemed easy. The bulky clothes and dark weather didn’t hinder me. What did keep me off balance was the tiny patches of running path next to curved roads and fast traffic. When I entered the town of Canby my body told me to keep going. The clouds that were supposed to appear on the following day started to roll in. I pushed through mist and droplets and ended in a town called Hubbard.

20151118_201255I shut my eyes for a few moments when we returned to Dave’s. When I woke up, the sky was dark and everyone was ready to eat. Crystal found a pizza parlor not too far away. Spectator Pizza had several specialty pizzas and I chose to put potatoes and corn on my half of the veggie pizza. The food smelled incredible and the aroma filled the truck as we returned to the house. It took a lot of self-control to keep from tearing into the large pie. Of course the food was as tasty as the scent.

20151118_222815Dave had one more plan before sending me back onto the road the next day. He took me to Voodoo Donuts. Crystal stayed behind and did our laundry since donuts did not appeal to her. I never quite understood how she could enjoy desert but not like donuts. Voodoo was a specialty donut shop that people from all over the country talked about. Dave bought us a box of various flavors. I tried a chocolate covered cream donut and an oreo donut while we sipped on RC cola. The treats put a smile on my face and gave me some calories for the following day’s run.

IMG_61591We woke up early and had a couple left over donuts for breakfast. We tried to wait for the drizzle to stop but the passive behavior bore no fruit. We made the executive decision to hit the road to ensure we arrived at Salem early. The road ahead of me was barely visible and the cars had no intention of slowing down. I shifted my legs into another gear and focused on each step. They came naturally as the legs felt light as a feather. We had a warm meal a dozen miles down the road. I slipped the sandwiches down my throat and got back to my mission. My muscles were cooling by the second so put myself into motion so that my blood would flow again. When I reached the destination in Salem, I stumbled upon Crystal and her furrowed brow. She was flushed by the parking situation of the downtown area. The hotel that had agreed to host us didn’t have parking for our beast of a trailer. The queen of last minute donations showed up as Crystal called the Hampton Inn. They had agreed to host us a couple days earlier but we had already agreed to stay elsewhere. We were fortunate that they still had the suite available. They housed us, fed us dinner, and provided us with a large suite made for business travelers. We just continued to roll with the punches. 20151119_164918

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