Sunday, March 8, 2015

2225.Day Five

Entering Portland on the I-5 can have a wonderfully cinematic feel to it.  At one point the highway is surrounded by variations on green on either side of the highway.  After traveling over a small rise you  enter the view of the get this view of the city and Willamette River.

It seems that a lot of the taller buildings have a good bit of glass about them.  This can make for some nice contrast to the misty gray sky.  On a clear day the buildings seem to be opalescent.  Shiny, rainbowy, and magical.  It is a little like seeing a ShangriLa of the Pacific Northwest.  Wasn't there a moment prior and now this bit of heavenly green seems to appear out of nowhere.

As you enter downtown there is an aerial tram that travels perpendicular to the freeway.  One of the few regrets I have when I'm solo driving that I can't drive and watch this airstream shaped gondola glide above the freeway.

Image from:
In the past I've tried to find the place where the gondola begins its glide so I could ride it.  I've not been successful.  I'm determined to succeed on this trip.  I have support of my mission.  James and I have decided that we are going to take Cheli and Lili for a joy ride on the mini-airstream in the sky.

The tram is a bit of Portland transportation.  The folks riding the tram are tourists like us, medical personnel, and patients going to their appointments. I have no idea why the hospital is on the mountain.  A three minute ride by tram versus a 20 minute ride by car.

The girls are ready for the ride.  They are surprised that what looked like tram for maybe a dozen
really holds 78+1.  78+1.  Why doesnt it read 79?   We develop theories why the Maximum Load sign has this number, none of the reasons make any sense.  All our ideas are good for a laugh.

The tram leaves the dock slowly and smoothly.  For the next three minutes we enjoy the vista - Mount Hood, Mount St. Helens, and the top Mount Adams peeking behind a much lower and closer mountain.   The girls and I enjoy the fact that mountains are not very good at playing hide and seek.  We see OMSI - the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry.  I point out the sub that Lili and I toured that is a part of OMSI.  I tell James that some interior shots were in The Hunt for Red October.

We float across the freeway and the neighborhoods below us.  OMSI becomes smaller and smaller.  We slowly dock.  Then out we go to watch the gears that move the gondolas back and forth.

The gondola arrives.  Each gondola is named; one is Jean, the other Walt*.  This is Portland.  Acknowledgements and quirkiness abound.

We ride the car in the sky to the car on the ground that takes us to our Portland home.  Soon it will be time for dinner followed by time for littles to go to bed.  And for grownups to talk about the day over a glass of wine.

Photos by James M. Grimes and Roberta H. Martinez
* According to Wikipedia "...Jean Richardson, the first female engineering graduate from Oregon State University, and Walt Reynolds, the first African-American to graduate from University of Oregon Medical School".


  1. Good names.

    I could drag J. on one of these trams, but he would never choose to go.

    1. It is safe to say that the trams I have ridden have been accompanied by a lot of deep breathing - on my part. As tramway rides go it was so smooth. The fact that it helps to shuttle some of the 20,000 people that visit the hospital daily. Not all use the tram but it seems like Jean and Walt are the main means or visiting the hospital.

  2. Replies
    1. It was one of the smoothest tram rides I've ever experienced. Lots of folks, a tiny portion riding were tourists, it seemed. Most were going to their appointments or work. I spent a lot of time trying to find an image of the bubbles going over the freeway, but didn't find any. Perhaps that's on a new Portland to-do list.

    2. So nice of you to buy me this virtual ticket. I lived in Portland for a few years as a kidlet.

    3. We try. Hope you've been enjoying it. The visit is always days filled with little adventures and family. A good mix for me.