The morning started off very, very rough. As usual, I was the first to get up. I glanced at my image in the mirror and my eyes looked like 2 piss holes in the snow. I stumbled zombie-like out the back door and collapsed into the hammock, rocking myself with one foot on the ground. At some point, TK joined me, followed later by Will, who had opted to sleep on the couch. We all felt rotten. As the morning crawled by in slow motion, I braced myself for the tasks that had to be completed today: Vacuuming up all of Cali’s hair that was matted into the carpeting of the Queen Anne’s Revenge and boxing up all of my camping gear to be sent back home by Federal Express. Will located a car wash nearby and the 3 of us set off to accomplish the first task. Thankfully, the car wash had a very powerful vacuum. I started up 2 vacuums simultaneously and TK and I got to work while Will wandered off and returned a few minutes later with a sandwich. There was quite a bit of multi-colored bug splatter all over the front of the car and so I went ahead and gave her a quick wash. Afterwards, we decided to find someplace to go for brunch that involved a Bloody Mary. Will located a placed called the Eclectic Kitchen, however after being seated outside and perusing the menu, we learned that they did not have a liquor license and we rapidly, yet politely, excused ourselves and walked down the street to the Almeda Brewery.
Almeda is best described as a nanobrewery with a capacity of about 2 bbls. Inside the cavernous room, we sat next to each other at the bar right across from the brew kettle where the brewmaster was hard at work on a batch of beer. There was the wonderful aroma of fresh wet hops in the air following the boil. I ordered their IPA while TK and Will opted for spicy Bloody Marys which they nursed for the rest of the time we were there. I had a cup of their World Famous crab bisque and a Caesar salad, Will had a bowl of the bisque, and TK ordered the tacos with fresh mango salsa and avocado. After eating something, I felt much better but I really, really needed a nap. Unfortunately, there was still more to be done. We went back to the house and I began reconstructing the cardboard boxes with packing tape that I had brought with us and packing them up with everything that was to be shipped. While I was working on this, TK disappeared with Cali to go take a nap and Will departed to return to Seattle. I searched for the closest Federal Express drop-off location and found one nearby in the neighborhood. I loaded up the boxes and headed out only to discover that this location was not a real Federal Express drop-off spot, but was a privately owned packaging store. The Hobbit like woman behind the counter told me that they could not accept the 2 large boxes that I had unless they had pre-paid mailing labels attached. With no easy way to resolve this, I searched again online and found a Kinkos that was not too far away that would do the trick. Getting there was easy, but there was absolutely nowhere to park. I did not have any means of hauling the 2 boxes without hurting myself. Being in no mood to be inconvenienced in any way, I decided to double park on the street with the emergency flashers blinking and I drug the boxes one by one into the Kinkos. After a short wait, the boxes were on their way back home. Hooray, I did it! The last thing that needed to be done was to buy something nice for Cathy for all of her love and support with this whole operation. Earlier, I had asked Jill, our host at the AirBnb house, about local shops that sell cool, funky jewelry that my wife loves to receive. Jill responded, “Lucky Gal!” and gave me the names of several places that she liked. One was a shop run by the artist herself, while the other one sold things by multiple artists. I opted for the latter to give myself more variety from which to choose. I wandered around in the shop inspecting all of the various options but I kept circling back to this one bracelet that I knew that Cathy would adore. I purchased the bracelet and headed back to the house where TK was still napping. While waiting for TK to awaken, I contacted a cardiologist friend of mine who did his training at the University of Virginia, but had moved with his family to Portland about 10 years ago. He has an active research program and I thought he would be a good local contact for TK. He was delighted to hear from me and invited TK and myself to his house after work to chat and share one of his favorite Portland area pinot noirs with us. TK soon awakened and I offered to take him out shopping for a bed for his apartment. I figured that if we found something, we might be able to get into the back of the Queen Anne’s Revenge. We might as well take advantage of the behemoth while it was still available. We looked online and found a Mattress Outlet nearby and trekked off to see what we could find. We walked inside and we were the only customers. The gentlemen working there was friendly and not pushy and showed TK a number of mattress models and options over a range of price points. We asked about delivery and he said that they used a 3rd party delivery service that cost around $80. After a brief pause, and sensing that he was about to make a sale, he offered to throw the delivery fee into the deal and said that it could be delivered the very next day. Done. I called my friend and told him that we were finished with all of our tasks and he gave us directions and instructed us to go straight to his house, a beautiful modern home on a hillside. From the street, the 2 car garage sits 4 stories above the main house that cascades down the hillside. We were greeted at the door by his lovely wife who immediately cracked open the pinot while reminiscing about the last time we had seen each other in Charlottesville. A few minutes later, my friend arrived home from work and within seconds began whipping up a fresh batch of homemade guacamole. What a great guy! We met their teenage daughter who was about to begin a violin lesson at their home and so the four of us went out on the balcony to enjoy the wine, guacamole and other hors d’oeuvres that were already out on a table. Their property backs up to the Portland Botanical Garden and the view from their balcony looks down on a forest. It was a beautiful evening and I was finally feeling like myself again. Having the food and a little wine, and being in the company of such good and thoughtful friends, was just what I needed. My friend and his wife took an instant liking to TK, as I knew they would, and offered to help him in many ways such as introducing him to influential people at the Oregon Health Sciences University where my friend works, and where TK will be attending graduate school, as well as offering to help find a desk and other furniture that TK needs for his apartment. I felt really happy knowing that TK had someone that I know and trust that he could turn to in Portland if he needed anything. During our conversation, we mentioned that we were going to find a restaurant to share a last dinner together before my departure the next day. TK’s mom had recommended a place called “Tasty N Alder” that she had visited on a past business trip to Portland. When me mentioned this restaurant to our hosts, they both enthusiastically agreed with this selection and encouraged us to go there. Being only 5 min away from their house, we decided that it was a good choice. Tasty N Alder is a very popular restaurant described as New American cuisine. It is crowded every night with a long waiting list. If you are willing to eat at the bar, then you can usually get a spot in fairly short order. We arrived and put our names on the waiting list for a table but notified the hostess that we would also be happy with a spot at the bar should one open up prior to our table being ready. TK ordered beers for both of us while I went to wash up. Not long after we got our beers, we saw a man paying his tab and there were now 2 empty seats at the end the bar that we stealthily moved in on. The menu at Tasty N Alder is all locally sourced and changes daily depending upon what ingredients are available on any particular day. The food is served tapas style where you can order several small plates to share, adding additional plates at any time. We started with grilled Spanish octopus and “Josh’s Meats”, a Tora Bravo charcuterie board containing a pate, as well as a number of other delicious thinly sliced meats with toast points and a dollup of a dark mustard. We also ordered a Wagyu beef carne asada dish that was delicious. After we finished dinner, I took TK back to his apartment because I had a very early flight the next day. We said our goodbyes at the car and, as I drove away, I looked back and he and Cali were out on his balcony waving farewell. I was suddenly filled with an intense sadness with the realization that the adventure had come to an end. I returned to the AirBnb and went about getting myself organized for the trip home the next day and tidying up the place. When all was in order, I went to bed.