Pacific Northwest Road Trip Part 1

February 7, 2011

Daily Post, Robert Forto

I have travelled a lot for business and pleasure over the years. And I’m really glad I had a chance to do so this weekend. As many of my rabid readers, friends and fans know, I am up in Alaska and my wife and kids are in Denver until next summer before they move up North.

I miss them terribly. I had no idea how much until I saw Michele off at the airport in Anchorage last August. While we have seen each other twice (counting this weekend), it does not get any easier.

This past weekend, we jumped at the chance to attend an executive leadership seminar in Portland, OR and an opportunity to see each other in a fleeting three day road trip of the Pacific Northwest.

On Wednesday night/Thursday morning I took a dreaded red-eye to Portland and waited for Michele to arrive from Denver at 10 am. I rented a car, headed back to the airport, grabbed an hour of shut eye in the parking garage and met her back at the security checkpoint.

On Thursday we had a few hours until our seminar started at a local hotel so we scooted up to S.W. Portland/Tigard/Beaverton area and I showed Michele my old stomping grounds. I quickly found my old apartment on 41st and was amazed that it seemed just like yesterday since I lived there as a student sustaining on Top Ramen noodles, generic soda and sitting on beach chairs in the living room.

We then headed to Beaverton to find my parents house where they lived while my dad was stationed here in the Marine Corps. I found what I thought was the address and called my mom (who now lives in North Carolina) and asked her if she remembered the address.

At around 1 pm we headed back into Portland and stopped by my old college, Portland State University and the site of my first “real” job, a 7-11 near the P.S.U. campus. I walked into the the store and a flood of memories came back. Even the Keno game machine (an electronic lottery game) was still on the wall. I lost many a dollars on that machine in my 2 1/2 years working there.

Before heading to our conference we made a quick stop at Pioneer Courthouse Square. In the early 1990s I spent a lot of time in that square, even playing a set with my rock band, Rainmaker.

In the early 90s, Pioneer Square was the center of the Universe for extreme liberal activism, neo-hippies, rag-tag bands, beggars, skin-heads, anti-government protests, petitioners and the counter-culture society at the height of the Grunge Movement. Today, it was full of moms and kids, school tours with little students in tow.

We attended our conference Thursday afternoon and most of Friday morning. I don’t recall much of it being that I was truly strung out from the road only sleeping for about an hour and a half in the last 48. I do recall something about social media marketing, brand strategies, and Dale Carnegie. It is all stuff I have heard before.

As many of you are guessing by now, the conference was just an excuse to meet up with Michele and have a “legitimate” reason for going on this trip. I am sure Michele got something out of it but you will have to ask her.

Within minutes of the conference conclusion we were back into the rental car and headed to the coast. It is only an hour west.

More to come…

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About robertforto

Robert Forto is the owner of Dog Works Training Company in Alaska, a canine behaviorist, mushin' down a dream, sports nut and radio show host. Robert writes a lot about his observations in Alaska, pop culture, music, and of course dogs!

View all posts by robertforto

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