I can't prove it, but the best part of our Portland trip was the spectacular scenery along the way. We left as it was already getting dark, but the twilight reflected in the Umpqua River like a ribbon in the darkness. We walked to BJ's Brewery from the hotel for a late dinner and a brew, and even in the dark I couldn't help but notice the beautiful autumn foliage along the way. At lunch I walked outside the conference and looked out over the sparkling Columbia River at majestic, snow-covered Mount Hood. As I drove around Portland, failing to find the Japanese Garden, more fall leaves were everywhere. Our drive back today was dominated by foggy farmland, with trees and barns and farmhouses rising out of the fog. The fog lifted as the slanting sunset light colored the distant mountains purple and the countryside a rich amber, before settling behind the hills with a farewell blush above the horizon.
I did accomplish practical things. I nearly finished holiday shopping. I'm still stymied by a certain camofluage-loving brother-in-law though. I bought materials for holiday cards and gift wrap. I even shopped for myself and enjoyed it, something that extended deprivation of civilization made possible. In lieu of the elusive Japanese Garden, we had lunch at Blue Tangerine. I had a delicious Persian vegetarian appetizer platter. Sadly, they were out of Turkish coffee. I like meat, we have steak three times a week at Dahlia Man's, but the vegetarians really know how to flavor a meal.
Now, back home, and happy.