Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Travelin' (and the links have been fixed)

So, if you had free tickets on Southwest Airlines, and you had to use them by October 4th, where would you go?

Lincoln City, Oregon, right??

Okay, here’s how THAT happened. My friends Ann and Marty had the two tickets, not me, but well…wither they go, I goest…or something like that.

One day, Marty calls and says, “Let’s go to Atlantic City for a long weekend.” (You have to understand that just as some people choose their vacation destinations based on golfing, Marty travels from a gambling perspective.) I tell him (firmly, because Marty’s the kinda guy who doesn’t take no for an answer) that Atlantic City’s too far.

Knowing he won’t let the matter drop unless I come up with an equally attractive plan, I Google Indian gaming casinos and find a map pinpointing their locations across America. Then I check the Southwest route map to see where they crisscross.

Voila—Lincoln City, Oregon. Well, Portland, really. But I picked Lincoln City because its casino is on the coast.

I email Marty with the info and we start looking at hotels. Somewhere along the line, I receive an email from Ann: “Just when are you planning to go to Oregon with my husband?” (It’s okay. She’s kidding. We’re like the Three Mouseketeers.)

So, off we go. On the Friday after my birthday, we fly to Portland and pick up our rental car. Since I’ve done my research exceedingly well, we know ahead of time that Spirit Mountain (a—what else?—Indian casino) breaks up the drive nicely so we stop there for lunch. We don’t play much…just one slot machine for which we each contribute $10, walking away $20 winners. (See, we’re not candidates for Gamblers Anonymous, I promise.)

We reach The Seahorse Motel before sunset and take a nap (our flight left at 8:15 a.m. and if y’all remember, I’d been to a concert the night before). Check out the view from the hotel.

Oh, and here's a sign you like to see next to your door:

That night we go to the The Chinook Casino and learn, to our dismay, that Oregon casinos forbid mixing alcohol with gambling. I never understand this rule. (Okay, I’m aware that not everyone in the world is a drinker, but hey—the two just GO TOGETHER, don’t they?) Anyway, Ann and I opt for a couple cocktails in the nightclub while Marty hits the poker room.

An interesting crowd populates the old upstairs meat market…we have a hard time sorting out the genders. Do the girls like the girls? Or, do they like the guys? And vice versa. The puzzle makes for good people watching.

Finally, we decide we’ve imbibed enough fortification (two glasses of wine a piece) to try the gaming tables. That’s when IT happens (and, come to think of it, thank God we haven’t had more to drink).

You know that sign in front of escalators? The one that says something about baby strollers, sandals and…yeah, I’ve never read the whole thing either. Turns out there’s a reason for that sign.

As I place my foot on the first step, I hear a shriek beside me.



We peer down at her foot and see a cut, a slice, a HUGE GASH, in her heel. No blood, though. Just a deceptive flap…the kind that makes you think, cool. It’s not gonna bleed…right before it starts to GUSH.

So, Ann bleeds all the way down the escalator, across the lobby, and to the information desk. There, she asks for napkins and a bandaid (she’s a trooper, our Ann) but the attendant says, “Do you want an ambulance?”

Hell, no.

A medic arrives in seconds and leads us into the bowels of the building (well, down a floor anyway) and to a small office. That’s when the legal mumbo jumbo starts. Does she need an ambulance? Does she want to go the hospital? Blah, blah, blah. They send for a digital camera and take photos. They have Ann fill out a mountain of forms. (Meanwhile, I’m dying to document the episode with photos off my cell phone but figure the idea will get an ix-nay from Medic Guy.)

After refusing anything but a bandage and icky ointment (even when Medic Guy recommends stitches—and don’t you just KNOW the whole thing is probably being recorded, if not on videotape, certainly audio??) we finally leave. Ann has no trouble walking and we take the elevator from then on.

Later, when we see Marty, I announce he’s this close to OWNING the Chinook (wink, wink).

The next day we went sightseeing down the Oregon coast (yes, I kow I just changed tenses). Oh, and we learned some new terminology: Senior Hiking. You see, senior hiking is identical to regular hiking, minus the foot movement and arm swinging. Oh yeah, and you do it from inside the car. Trust me, it’s almost the same.

The highlight of the day was our stop at a lighthouse and its accompanying interpretive center. Wish I had the name (which I do, I really do—only it’s on the videotape and I’m too lazy to haul it out to check and the still pictures are waiting to be developed). Maybe in a later post.

All I can tell ya is the Oregon coast is magnificent…majestic…a bunch of those ‘m’ superlatives. It puts the southern California coast to shame with its countless panoramic vistas of long, wide beaches and multiple sets of rolling waves.

‘Course we reminded ourselves that our visit probably coincided with the only three good days of weather they had all year.

On Sunday, we checked out early to leave enough time for a quick trip to the Columbia Gorge before heading to the airport. On the way, we discovered Shari’s. Ah, Shari’s--truly a find. I ask you, where in California can you go to a Denny’s style restaurant, sit in the bar and eat Denny’s style food, smoke cigarettes, drink beer, and PLAY LOTTO SLOT MACHINES? Not that this was a lucrative exercise, by any stretch. Still, it was a whole lot of fun.

I’d been to the Columbia Gorge before so I should have known better about how important the proper directions were. Long story short, we ended up driving along the river instead of the top. Oh, well. Multnomah Falls was pretty.

But not, according to the squeals coming from Ann and Marty, as exciting as our trip to Washington. Yes, we made the extra-special effort to make it a tri-state weekend by racing across the bridge and setting foot in Vancouver, WA before turning the car in.

Amazing how much you can cram into three days, huh?

And how expensive two free airline tickets can turn out to be?


Babs in the desert said...

How did Ann's foot turn out....did she end up getting stitches when you got home?? How much did you win at the casino? The pictures are totally BEAUTIFUL!! I love reading your stories! Come visit me in the "sandbox".
Lots of Love,

Carol B. said...

Sounds like fun. Well, except for Ann's foot episode. But even that sounds kinda humorous from a spectator standpoint. (Sorry, Ann!)

I tried your links, but none of them seem to go anywhere. ???

randy said...

I hate when I forget to test the links! And I posted this from my office where, for some odd reason, blogger acts differently and I didn't put the addresses in right. But they should work now!