Portland, Oregon is one of my favourite places to come in the US. Partly a fascination with the Hood River (a tributary of the Columbia River) and its nuclear wind potential and partly everything else. ie. Beer, Wine and Roses. (Portland is often known as Rose City) It’s difficult to fly into Portland from the North, in daylight and not notice the range of Stratovolcanoes that form a line known as the Cascade range. The first one into view on the Port side of the aircraft is Mt. Rainier at 14,410ft. It’s a breathtaking sight even from the ground and is clearly visible even from Seattle. Then next up on the short trip today is the awesome Mount St. Helens which of course erupted in cataclysmic fashion on May 18th, 1980. 

The difference between the appearance of the volcano pre-that date, and now is stark. The remains of Earth’s awesome energies clearly visualised. It is photographed below with Mount Adams in the distance. Then comes the beautiful Mount Hood on the South side of the Columbia river. Being the windiest spot on mainland America, it is a popular windsurfing destination, a location I have yet to experience. Of course it was windy today but without a day off in Portland, there’s no chance. I had arranged to meet my windsurfing friend from here Tim Ortlieb and his lovely wife Layne. Tim distributes Ezzy sails across the mainland so we always have a lot to chat about since that’s what I use. Dave Ezzy makes the best sails ever. I’m not biased. It’s a fact.

Our day off was in fact yesterday in Seattle and I had an invitation to play a round at the beautiful Sahalee Country Club with Dave Littrell, who promotes the St. Michelle winery shows we are playing this weekend. The weather was spectacular and the golf was quite good, though I say so myself. I had so much fun and walked away with one birdie and many pars. Not bad for a 15 handicapper on a tough PGA course. It was such a relief to be indoors today for sound check in Portland after the battle in Utah. We enjoyed the sound of the theatre and our system before I rushed out and met Tim and Layne. Also in town was Russ Rosner and Susan Sokol Blosser from the Sokol Blosser winery who kindly donated a few bottles of their finest. We opened a 2013 Pinot Noir on the plane after show. It was utterly delicious.

With just enough time to get changed, have the tactical coffee and readied for the show, we commenced action. Another classic show which flew by as all good things seem to do. The band left the stage and stepped outside where the cars waited to take us to the plane. There were a few autograph hunters who couldn’t understand why we didn’t stop and sign. The reason is we are in ‘runner’ mode. Sorry but we don’t stop at these times. As I’ve said before, Mark will always try and stop and sign autographs, even at the FBO terminal BUT, and I must emphasise this, never when we’re eating and we do not entertain e-bayers, ie. folks who are not real fans and will sell items on e-bay and of course, haven’t been to the show. Pete came across one guy in Chicago who denied being one so Pete asked him to name one MK song. He couldn’t. Or the guy who swore it was his guitar so Pete asked him to play something. He couldn’t. Sadly they ruin it for the real fans.

Night flights of short duration pose a challenge for Flight attendants serving up dinner but this 15 minute hop was no problem for Natalie as she plied us with a Latin platter that was sumptuous, especially accompanied by Sokol Blosser 2013 Pinot. We all look at each other and shake our heads, “where did it all go right?”