<-- dad taking a picture of me as hundreds of thousands of tons of angry metal whiz past me from behind. do I look nervous?
I believe I left you last, breathlessly wondering if there is any more to my trip than a ferry and car ride. In other words, get on with the bloody story already. "Come Watson, the game is afoot." (sidenote, Sherlock Holmes movie previews)
Early the next morning, I awoke on American soil to a surprise visit from my baby nephew. All my morning travel preparation plans went right out the window and we had some too-rare Uncle Ben time. Nothing better. (grandpa's post with nephew cameo)
Dad drove me to the train station in Tacoma (about an hour and a half drive) so of course we talked about writing and books the whole way.
Author, illustrator brainstorm session at the Tacoma train station.
Dad clearly violating the stay behind the yellow line rule. That's actually a rule I believe in.
I haven't been on a longer train ride since I was in seventh grade and my family went to the middle east and Europe. And I was really looking forward to it.
The train goes from Tacoma, down right along the Puget Sound, then heads straight down to Vancouver, WA and then Portland. Beautiful scenery.
This isn't the Puget Sound, this is some lake on the left side of the train.
No, this is the Puget Sound. Which, I might add, isn't too far from where all you lucky writer dogs get to have your WWA SCBWI Retreat on the Water with Cheryl Klein, Jolie Stekly and company.
Did you guys know that you can write on a train? Yeah. Imagine that. What a cool way to travel. Very romantic and gives you an extra boost of inspiration. I think I even found my muse on the train, albeit briefly. Or it could have been a ghost.
World's biggest egg, apparently. They made a big deal about it on the train but it was disappointing. A concrete egg they painted white. I told my dad about it later and he very meanly suggested that someone should build a bigger one, just to mess with them. He was joking, but you can see where I get it from.
And at last, with great excitement, I arrived in Portland, Oregon. Home of Powells City of Books, Jim De Bartolo and Laini Taylor as well as a whole HOST of talented writers/illustrators, and a joint everyone raves about called Voodoo Donuts. This city has so much culture but it still maintains a small-town kinda feel. There are so many old, craftsman-style, Green and Green influenced homes. And relatively affordable too, at least compared to Seattle and Victoria. Small wonder it is on the top of Amy and I's places to live list. Pretty incredible hospitals too.
The train was late, which I hear isn't rare, and we had to wait a while for our luggage. So, with a stuffed backpack, HUGE wheeled suitcase and my itinerary I nervously walked to the bus stop a number of blocks away. I'm not a savvy bus traveler. At all. And my perfectly planned itinerary my wife had for me was now obsolete. Little nervous.
My bus stop was across from a pretty seedy apartment/hotel, where the owner was outside talking pretty loudly about how the SWAT had just left over some incident and that he was going to be on the news. Great.
When a bus did come, the very kind bus driver talked to me the whole drive, telling me about his wife and his trip to Victoria and where I needed to go next, then wished me luck at my conference. At the next stop, a lady with two wild-as-hell boys, helped me figure out the rest of my journey from there. We had about forty-five minutes to wait for the bus, but I was kept entertained. I was really grateful. Real nervous, I asked her if her boys read and she said they loved to. So I gave her my book about a wild-as-hell boy on a class field trip as a thank you. The bus came right after and then one of the boys came up and asked me to sign it. Then for half the bus ride I could hear her reading my story, loud enough for the whole bus to hear (who were now staring at me), to her wild-wonderful boys. Very surreal, pretty special experience for me.
The next stop was Reed College. And my amazing writing conference.
And a nuclear reactor and other stuff. I'm actually gonna try to get another post about this again today since tomorrow I'm heading to Seattle for book signing/reading thing.