Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Settled in to Portland

We are at the Gateway Elks Lodge, in Portland (map).

We had an uneventful and mostly scenic drive down from Chehalis yesterday, a route that is extremely familiar to us. We did cross the river in Longview to get a slightly different set of scenery on US30. I did notice, since the last time we came through, that they have finally torn down the coolant recovery tower at the defunct Trojan nuclear power plant in Rainier.

Somewhere along 30 we stopped at a closed Oregon weigh station. (Oregon helpfully puts a scale display in full view of the driver and leaves their scales turned on when they are not open.) We found we've added about 250 pounds to the front axle since our last weigh-in, also in Oregon on our way north. That's about what I expected due to the new, heavier batteries we just put in, bringing our steer axle to right around 13,000 pounds. We put 160 gallons of diesel in at the Flying-J in Troutdale, where we nearly coasted in on fumes. We also took advantage of their dump station.

We chose this Elks lodge because it is a two-block walk to the Max light rail station, and from there a 15 minute ride to the convention center. $19.50 buys us an all-you-can-ride seven day transit pass, good for the Max and the buses, and you can't even park a car downtown for one day for that price. There is also a Fred Meyer store across the street.

The lodge is pleasant enough, although I am a little miffed by their "campground" operation. Generally, we prefer lodges that just ask us to park in some empty space out back and leave us to our own devices -- we usually have no need of power or other hookups. Our generator will come on as needed, including should we need to leave an air conditioner on standby for the dog.

At this lodge, they have set up an actual campground in the back, with a dozen spaces. Unfortunately, those dozen spaces share only six power pedestals, each with one 30-amp and one 20-amp receptacle. So the second rig next to any pedestal gets a mere 20-amps -- again, usually no problem for us, except that generators are forbidden here. On top of which, the paucity of power means that air conditioners (as well as electric heaters) are also forbidden. In Portland, this is usually no problem, except that this week is something of a hot spell, with temperatures in the 80's. We've got all the windows open and the fans on, but, still, I do worry a bit about the dog while we're away. I may try to get back here during the day to check on her and take her out.

In any case, they are charging us (umm, "requesting a donation") $12 a night here, which would be reasonable if we got some power and could run an air conditioner. But for what amounts to dry camping ten feet from another rig, it's a bit excessive. Beggars can't be choosers, though, and we need the proximity to transit, so we ponied up.

In a few minutes we will hop on the Max and head to the convention center to start our conference, the General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association. For the rest of the week, we will be blogging our experiences there as congregational delegates over at a blog we have set up for that purpose, the CLF Delgates' Notes blog. I will likely not post much else here until General Assembly is over.

1 comment:

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