Well, I finally made the trip. It was much more limited than planned, but I think you might find it interesting to see what happened and what I learned. I've been wanting to travel up to Portland for a while now because I have the death certificate of my great grand-father, Adalaska Frakes, on my Mom's side that says he was buried in Aloha, OR - a suburb of Portland near Beaverton. So, the stars aligned and I found a gap in my schedule that I could take if I was willing to drive up there.
Driving wasn't bad -- except for the heat. Most of the way the temperatures were above 90 degrees. I don't have air conditioning because I live in the amazingly moderate climate of the Bay Area. I might change my mind on the next car after this trip! It's so much less energy-draining to drive with moderate temperatures. And I'm a temperature wimp living in the Bay Area. If the thermometer rises above 80, I start sweating and moaning.
Anyway, I made it all the way up to Eugene on my first day. Leaving around 10:45 am and arriving in Eugene around 4 pm. I stopped in Ashland for a nice break plus a couple quicker gas/snack breaks. I drove about 500 miles that first day. After breakfast at Starbucks the following morning, it was on to Portland where I stayed at the excellent and affordable La Quinta in the Northwest industrial part of Portland.
La Quinta was great with free wi-fi, clean and attractive accomodations, friendly staff and close (2 miles) from the really fun and hip NW 23rd St neighborhood with great restaurants, coffee shops, bookstores and a vast variety of shops. After freshening up and resting up in my room for awhile in the afternoon and hooking up with one of my best friends from my college days at Portland State, I drove to the Northern end of 23rd and walked all the way up to Burnside and back. Scored a great prawn burrito along the way which I ate voraciously when I got back to my room around 9 pm.
Saturday I had free for genealogy pursuits. It was about 93 degrees but I managed to research on the internet and then go looking at burial sites in Aloha and environs. Around 5 pm, I was lying under a tree at Hillsboro's biggest cemetary. I spent about 45 minutes resting and chatting with my housemate as she tried to locate my ggf's death certificate - yep, I didn't manage to find it before leaving on the trip. She couldn't find it, so I just strolled the grounds and probably covered 2/3rds of the gravestones. No luck but it was a lot of fun looking and photographing old gravestones. You would be surprised the sense of anticipation you get. Any collector will like this kind of thing -- the prospect of snaring a photo of the tombstone keeps you going.
There's lots more to this story, so stay tuned. You might want to subscribe to my RSS feed if you haven't done so yet. Three quarters of the journey is ahead. By the way, the photo above is a high rez scan of my grandmother. One of the fruits of my labors yet to be described.