Tuesday 16 August 2022

Train, train!

Our train to Portland isn't until the afternoon. So, we arrange a late checkout. And try to get through at least some of our huge beer stash.

The kids make a fairly good job of it, brave little troopers that they are. I do my best to help, in my oldie person sort of way.

“Hurry up, Dad! You’re not drinking your share. We’ll never get through them at this rate.”

“I’m doing my best.”

“Well, it’s not good enough.”

It’s a terrible thing to be a disappointment to your children.

“Then try drinking faster.”

“Did I say that out loud?”

“Yes. Christ, you’re going senile. Shut up and get on with drinking.”

It's much warmer today, unfortunately. Much, much warmer. Which me and Alexei notice as we head over to the Mecca Cafe for breakfast.

It's a proper diner place. Exactly what I was after. We both order a three-egg breakfast. It turns out to be ginormous. Three eggs, three rashers of bacon, two sausages all on a massive bed of hash browns. And two big pancakes. No toast, mind.

Breakfast totally defeats me. I can't eat that much. I leave my pancakes and most of the hash browns untouched.

We Uber it to the station. Which is quite crowded. We seem to have arrived at exactly the right time. The queue behinds gets much longer soon after we join it.

At least there's always plenty of legroom in Amtrak trains. Even if they are a pain in the arse to get into, with the stupidly low platforms and steep steps.

I'm feeling quite knacked and doze most of the way. About two-thirds of the way in, the airco starts struggling. The temperature in the carriage rises. Not as high as outside, but enough to make it uncomfortable.

It's boiling outside Portland Union Station. Where we wait for our Uber to show up. It's not a very big car. And we all have to sit in the back. Which is incredibly uncomfortable. Luckily, it isn't far to our hotel.

Checked in, we crowd around the ac to cool down.

"We'd best drink some more of this beer, Dad." Andrew suggests.

"Sure. I'm always up for more beer."

“Remember to keep up the pace. We’ve a lot to get through.”

“I will Andrew. Just don’t shout at me again.”

Lexxie, diligent lad that he is, has found somewhere for us to eat.

"Red Robin. It's just down the road."

The sun has fallen in the sky and it's somewhat cooler. Though still not exactly cool. Red Robin is, indeed, fairly close by. It looks a bit closed, as all the blinds are drawn.

It is open. I think they've just been keeping the sun out.

We order some drinks from an enthusiastic waitress. The kids get a large beer. I order a diet coke. And a margarita. It goes with the hot weather.  

The waitress asks for the kids’ IDs. They show her their UK passports. But she can’t seem to work out where the date of birth is.

“Well, if you’re old enough to drink in the country you come from, that’s good enough for me.”

I’m amazed at such a cavalier attitude to drinking age. Though both kids are well over it. And almost 7 foot tall.

Hydrated, we order food. Nothing too large for me. Just a BBQ chicken wrap and a salad. The kids both opt for burger and chips.

I can't finish mine. And get a box to take it home. I'm sure I'll eat it later.

We drop by Wahlgreens on the way back. To get some water. And beer. Not sure why the kids want 12 more cans of beer when we already have so much.

It's baseball and beer in the hotel. The Mariners just edge out the Rangers in an exciting finish. I hope the kids aren't expecting something similar next week when we see the Padres.

“Don’t expect the Padres game to be as exciting as this. Baseball is mostly much less exciting.”

“Like cricket?”

“No. Nothing like cricket. That’s just wall-to-wall excitement.”

“Yeah, right.”

I do finish my wrap, my hunger perhaps awoken by a whisky or two.

I don't stay up very late. In fact, I struggle to keep my eyes open. "Stay awake, Dad." They're afraid that I'll fall asleep in one of their beds and they won't be able to wake me up. Ever.

I make it to my own bed. And collapse immediately into unconsciousness.

Mecca Cafe
526 Queen Anne Ave N,
WA 98109.

Red Robin Gourmet Burgers and Brews
1139 NE Grand Ave,
OR 97232.


If you liked this post, maybe consider buying the book about my trip to Japan and South Korea with the kids.

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Matt said...

Cricket has become more like baseball (T20, The Hundred), while baseball has become a much longer, more tactical and imho less interesting game (walk, walk, home run, strike out, walk), in which the fielders are at times almost superfluous and the differences between the two leagues have been erased.

arniem said...

Bringing beer to Portland reminds me of the English equivalent, "carrying coal to Newcastle".

I grew up in Portland, all before craft beer. The lower east side of Portland where you are staying still has some of the old non-trendy atmosphere of the city (Red Robin?).

arniem said...

Another comment, possibly off topic. (not sure worth publishing)

Football (your terminology) has an interesting history in Portland. Portland landed an NASL team, Timbers, in 1975. Many of the players were Wolverhampton players making some extra money in the English offseason. The current Timbers are no relation. But they play in the same place, a city center stadium not surrounded by parking fields. Multnomah Athletic Club established an athletic field before 1900. My father played high school football (my terminology) there in the 1930s. At that time the west and north stands you can see now had been built.

Ron Pattinson said...


I'd been wondering why the Portland team had an American sort of name - Timbers - when most US Soccer teams go for more soccer-like names like United, FC, etc. This explains it.

I'd love to see a soccer game in the US, especially in the Northwest.