Wednesday Dec. 2nd. Back from Oregon

Written by Jack van Ommen on December 3rd, 2009

AMTRAK is actually getting it’s act together. I had sworn to never use the US rails after the 2007 experience from here to Alameda and back. Now the train was on time, comfortable,  greater frequency, inexpensive and very enjoyable. Today it was a cold crisp sunny winter day,  the view riding along the Puget Sound with the snow capped Olympics was breathtaking. Seth picked me up at the Portland station on Saturday, Carly joined us later at their home in Beaverton. They live in the rural outskirts of the town on a large lot with a big shop behind the home they rent, where Seth can work with his tools and toys. Evert Slijper came to get me after Sunday’s services at St. Cecilia and drove me to their home in Eugene. I met his wife Judy for the first time. Evert and I have known each other since 1973. Evert visited me at “de Schinkel” in Amsterdam last August. He knows the club and several of the members well. Sunday evening the three of us had dinner with Joan Rippe and her new partner Mark Mooney. Joanie and I became friends in Papeete in July 2005. Some of you on the “Lisa List” will remember the intensity we all shared with Joanie when her daughter Maia went through leukemia treatment in 2006/2007. She recovered, I believe, in part through your prayers. Eugene used to boast more sawmills within it’s town limits than any other. In the seventies and early eighties I spent much of my timber purchasing life in Eugene. Much has changed. A walk through memory lane.                                             Monday evening the Slijpers invited a dozen of their sailing friends over to see my slide show of the circumnavigation. Tuesday morning I took the AMTRAK back to Portland. Mike Parr and Vicky Onouliak, friendships from my wood career, took me to lunch in the Goose Hollow Inn, a Portland land mark and great food. 

I took the train later in the afternoon from Portland to Centralia ( about half way from Portland to Tacoma). This is where my oldest granddaughter’s dad and grand parents live. I had not had a chance to see them for a few years. Another lumber years long time friend, Jim Wilkinson also lives in Centralia and we caught up on each others latest news and Jim gave me a run down on our industry. The wood products industry has taken harder hits than any prior recessions. Many mills and sales organizations have hit the (saw)dust. I stayed the night at the Olympic Club Hotel. A 100 year old hotel, pub and theater with a colorful wild west history. In the pictures below you can just imagine that you are looking at John Wayne starting the day with the beverage of his choice at the magnificent mahogany bar.  A few blocks away, Corrine’s dad showed me his house where he is the 6th generation proprietor of the same home. I got back in time at Lisa and Harry’s home to see the moon rise over the Cascade Mountains.

This Oregon visit was another vacation from a continuous vacation that was filled with the warmth and love of so many lasting friendships.  I am so very fortunate and grateful.  


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