Posted by: Andrea | January 6, 2009

Road trip!

It was my second day back at work today and I think I’ve finally managed to settle in.  I’ve arranged almost no appointments so I can relax back, which thankfully has worked so far.  I’m on duty on Thursday though, so I anticipate very little relaxing starting then.  After three weeks away, it’s almost a relief to be back on a regular schedule.  Plus I have no more  Christmas cookies tempting me from every available surface.

I know I promised you the story of the trip up to Seattle, which I’ve been very lax about.  The trip was and adventure and not just because we broke two tire chains just trying to get out of our driveway.  I’ve lived in Portland for quite a few years (all of my childhood and off and on since) but I’ve never seen snow like this.  As we were on I-5 heading north, I was trying to decide if I’d ever seen so much snow on the freeway.  Usually when it snows we get snow on all the residential roads, but at least the freeway stays clear.  Not this time.


The drive up was fun, mainly because I got to sit in the front seat and take a bunch of photos.  I got to admire all the snow and say, ‘wow, this is SO MUCH SNOW!’ without having to drive in it.  Thanks dad!  We picked up my sister without too much fuss halfway between Portland and Seattle, dutifully dropping off the son of a family friend who lives in Seattle who we’d been driving north.  With offspring duly swapped, we turned back around and headed south.  Which is when things got interesting.


First the car’s engine temperature started climbing skyhigh at an alarmingly fast rate.  Alarms and buzzers started flashing and beeping and generally causing my heart to jump into my throat.  I started picturing us getting stuck north of Vancouver and spending the night in a 7-11.  At least we’d have chocolate and hostess snack items readily available.  We stopped (NOT easy with that much snow) and checked the engine, which seemed ok so far.  We kept going, hoping the car would at least last until Portland.  We limped onto the 405 and I crossed my fingers.  Not too far from home now.

Then, as we crossed the Fremont Bridge, (picture the tallest bridge across the Willamette river, for all you non-Oregonians), all the electrics in the car shut off.  We has no lights and very little power.  My dad managed to coast us off the bridge and onto a sidestreet, where the car finally shuddered to a halt.  As beautiful as Portland was in the snow (and it had clearly snowed another 3-4 inches while we were gone) it was very cold and we were far from home.  NO chance of a tow.  I think they probably laughed at my dad when he asked.

After a hike to a nearby Holiday Inn and about an hour and a half in front of the fire waiting for a taxi, my sister finally found a friend with a 4WD to come pick us up.  We arrived back home eight hours after we’d left.

Things did get much more interesting with my sister at home, after a week of being snowbound with only my parents for company, specially since she only had a backpack full of shorts and flip flops.  She lives up on the hill near the med school, so there was NO way we could drive up to her place to get some warm clothes.  The buses had also stopped running up to her house, probably because of the huge hills.  So what else to do on a very snowy day when we had nothing else do to?  Well why not walk five miles down Macadam to the brand new med school tram?  Nothing else is running consistently, but at least the tram was!  After about three hours, I got VERY tired of walking in the snow.  It’s like sand but worse.  I could feel the muscles in my calves and bum burning after a very short time.




But at least the tram was fun. Plus my sister told me the tram operator was a championship bagpiper.  Unfortunately he didn’t chose to play, though that would have made the day even just a bit more surreal than it already was.

After we made it up to my sister’s house and packed up a few backpacks of essentials, we hitched a ride down the hill with one of the hospital residents.  Thank you little sister for putting in all those endless hours in surgeries!  I really didn’t feel like walking another few miles into downtown Portland to catch our ride home.  We were considering walking home, which would have been probably another five miles, but instead got picked up by a family friend who had a jeep and chains.  I’m really glad we did because it was fun seeing Portland covered with snow.


Man on skis on Broadway.  Why not?



The funniest thing was that this weird guy thought it was the strangest thing that I was taking pictures of these statues (there were also ducks, otters and bear cubs that I took pictures of too).  Then he followed me down the street telling me some story about a guy who tried to steal the beaver statue!  I ran away very fast.

All in all, it was a fun trip home, even with all the snow.  I had a lot of quality time with my family and did A LOT of snow shoveling too.  It gave me a break from work, which I desperately needed, and forced me to just relax, instead of running around like a crazy person trying to see every single friend I have in Portland.  Instead I could just read books and take naps and make cookies.  The perfect Christmas!

OH!  I also attended an ugly Christmas sweater party.  I wore this:


Yes those ARE all twelve days of Christmas.  I almost won the prize for ugliest sweater too.  I WAS ROBBED.



  1. Yeah, I’d run away if some stranger started talking to me about beavers too ;o)

    Great snow pictures! It’s supposed to be freaking cold here all this week, but snow? Best part of winter? Not for us. Boo.

  2. Well we usually don’t get much snow and this year was a total fluke. So you never know, maybe you’ll get lucky!

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