Friday, August 8, 2014

Day 2 Riding WITH the wind....

August 8, 2014
Portland, OR to Pendleton, OR

Leaving Portland...

There was a movie called Leaving Las Vegas. I never saw it. But I'm guessing that the bulk of the movie was actually spent IN Las Vegas, and not leaving it. If I'm wrong, I'm wrong, but that's pretty much what happened to us as we "left" Portland. We mostly didn't.

Nice people and toolboxes....
The day started with breakfast, as it had for the past two days in the Hotel deLuxe's own dining facility called Gracie's. J had picked this hotel because it had a "Classic Hollywood" theme, with pictures everywhere from old classic Hollywood movies. The music in the lobby and restaurant was from old Hollywood musicals and the whole place was just simply delightful. But just as all the other wonderful places we've been, it is not the structure or amenities we remember most: it's the people. The staff was friendly, inquisitive about our trip and accommodating without being overly zealous or superficial. They are just seriously NICE (remember the mission of our tour?) people doing their jobs VERY well.

The first person to greet us and the last to say goodbye was Phillip. I don't know the specific name for his job. If it's "valet" then that just doesn't cut it for what he actually does. Yes he helped us unpack our stuff, and took care of our truck, but remember, this was the day before my final ride to the Pacific. That topic inevitably came up and the conversation we had with him on it was just right. Not too pushy, not too over the top, but also satisfyingly curious. In the service industry, it's a tricky line that one has to walk between genuine caring and pretentious pandering. Phillip handled his job with ease and finesse and made us feel comfortable and welcome. Thank you Phillip!

Please remember, there was an entire staff in this hotel that all seemed to be trained well AND to have come from the same "nice people" gene pool. The two I am highlighting are the two that stood out, but their co-workers were wonderful too!

The main "person" event of our stay was Terry. He waited on us the first morning after our first stay. That was the morning that I was heading off to the Pacific for my final ride. Terry came up to us with his easy going, polite and warm personality and simply charmed the living heck out of us. I have no other way to say this: Terry is a DARLING MAN. The fact is, if you spend any time with him at all, you just want to give him a huge hug and say THANK YOU! Which is exactly what J did on the third morning that we had breakfast at Gracies. J is a friendly person, but not usually the "huggy" type  except with friends and family that she is close to. When she got up and hugged Terry, it caught both me and him off guard. It was so awesome that I got up and hugged him too.
So there we were, at this fairly upscale restaurant, hugging our waiter. I couldn't help wondering if the other guests, as in When Harry Met Sally, were thinking, "I'll have what THEY'RE having!"

J already filled you in on Terry's CT roots. One thing she didn't talk about was how close he is with his brother. Turns out they independently of each other moved to the same corner of the country (Washington/Oregon) from completely different places. Their emotional closeness is now matched by a geographic closeness reminded me of my own awesome relationship with my sister. To make a connection like that is to have achieved one of life's great accomplishments. Terry is truly blessed and reminded me that I am too. 
Ps. In one of my past posts, I referred to my brother in law, as my "brother in law". The reason I did that, rather than calling him "Dave" is that we have a have amassed a fairly substantial readership base beyond my immediate family. However, Dave took issue with this, and wanted to be called "Dave" ...not just "my brother in law". I'm thinking he might call me to task for referring to my sister as...."my sister". So in case you're interested, and to make Dave, my brother in law, happy, my sister's name is SUE. Thanks Sue! You are and always have been, one of my best friends in the world.

Anyway, all this "touchy feely" emotional stuff came out of our three mornings of breakfasts with Terry. Forget Tuesdays with Morry, have breakfast with Terry and you'll turn into a puddle of warm happy blubbery goo....with bacon, pancakes and oatmeal on the side!  Thanks Terry!

The topper with Terry, is that he too has a Ram 1500. By the time he told me this, we had already hugged, so I just had to fist bump him to bring back the macho truck like spirit that inhabits ALL Ram series pick-up truck owners! Which leads me to the rest of our day.

As we left Portland, we had three objectives: 1) WASH Spearfish, 2) Get Spearfish a new toolbox to store our stuff, and 3) head east.
We spent most of the day on objective 1 and 2.

I know, I know, how hard is it to wash a truck???? Well, let me tell you...ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE!!! Spearfish had Jenard and Rootbeer locked and loaded on the Thule. That's code for "both bikes were loaded on to the bike rack, and locked to the bike rack."

You can't just send a truck with bikes on it through a regular car wash. It'll destroy the bikes. So you have to find a hand wash stall that has a wand and soap brush. We couldn't find one, so we decided to first try to find a tool box.

We found the toolbox quite easily, at Lowes. But the darnedest thing was, they didn't have the mounting brackets. We needed the mounting brackets to avoid drilling HOLES IN OUR BRAND NEW TRUCK. Lowe's had ONE set of brackets, but we needed two. So we went to two other stores. Still no brackets. Please understand that the original Lowes and the two other stores were several miles apart. After about two hours of travelling we still had an unsecured toolbox sitting on the bed of our truck and a shortage of mounting brackets. The fourth and final store DID have a set of mounting brackets, but they were different than the ones intended for our particular toolbox. What I mean when I say "different" is that, they were actually BETTER!

The brackets which I finally bought, from the fourth store, which was called Body Armor were incredibly cheap, about $8 and incredibly effective. They installed quickly, and in the future, they can be uninstalled quickly in case I ever need to remove the toolbox.  

As it turned out, the fact that the first three stores did NOT have the specific brackets designed for our toolbox was a blessing. If they did, I would have been stuck with pain in the A!@# brackets that would have been difficult to install and difficult to remove. I now have exactly the opposite.

After we finally got the toolbox in we drove about 12 feet outside of the Portland area, and got a motel.

That's not true. We did go about a couple hundred miles east, but scoring that toolbox and the proper mounting brackets was the highlight of that day. I'll post the cool landscape pics for Day 2 in my Day 3 entry. For now, I'd prefer to post some sweet pics of our new truck and call it a day.

Please understand that Spearfish, after seeing these pics of himself would like to be a truck model. I tried to explain that a life in entertainment was far more difficult than it seems. I myself have an MFA in Theatre, but do you think he'd listen? Fortunately, he's less than one years old and can't strike out on his own legally until we have the title from the loan company. Hopefully, he'll have grown up by that time so that he can make a mature choice for what to do with his life. But until that day, he still is a good looking boy isn't he?

Spearfish, hanging out in an Oregon parking lot.

Spearfish, same parking lot.

Spearfish, rocking the new toolbox.

Toolbox, left side view

Spearfish with Jenard and Rootbeer loaded and locked.

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