I wish I had started counting espresso stands when we left the airport. These look like potting sheds and they have names like "Java the Hut" and they serve specials like Mountain Huckleberry Mint Mocha and there is one or more in every parking lot in the state. The other ubiquitous outlet is a secondhand or antique store. Unique treasures abound along the Oregon coast. The beaches are spectacular and still more unique treasures wash up regularly. It was not warm, but I can easily see the appeal of hanging out in one of those beach towns for weeks at a time. We did see a lot of NO VACANCY signs, so it's not just me.
Then we headed east for a treeful drive across the Cascades. We got to Bend and were all over my sister's over-the-top cool house (it has an elevator!). Brian golfed but my sister played hookey from work for a couple of half-days and we poked around a lava cave, went to the desert museum, and ate a lot. She has a new dog and an old cat, so it was fun playing with them, too. She is enjoying her new job and had a lot of great stories; Victoria took a while to warm up, but by the time we left she was very disappointed that we weren't staying for another sleepover.
We headed back to Portland and I finally got to meet my email friend. It was a great visit, although not long enough to break through Victoria's usual reticence. Brian played golf early in the day but met us for lunch. We went to a baseball game that night--the stadium is right in town with a light rail stop at the front door. One side of the stadium is open to the street; anyone who wants to stand there can watch the game for free. The next day Brian golfed some more while Victoria and I went to a literacy chalk-in, Powell's Books, and the central library. Powell's is a huge city block of books and we only visited the parts that Victoria could dig. The library is a real treat, too. Portland is such a swell city, I am glad my sister moved to Oregon so I can use visiting her as an excuse to hit Portland regularly. Lots of bikes.
Today we drove to Seattle. Brian had mentioned that we'd really be on our own here because he has meetings for the whole week. Since he'd been a consistent car-hog thus far I was looking forward to being on our own--but I thought we'd have wheels. Nope. He returned the car as soon as we checked in to the hotel (another fancy one, which is great if you like bathrobes but annoying if you like speedy internet connections. All of the fancy hotels charge for their wireless service, so we use dial-up.) I'm sure we'll get by. While he was returning the car to the airport, Victoria and I walked down to the waterfront and found a wealth of pirate-themed souvenirs. We have already purchased one pirate hat, only slightly larger than her head. She was pretty pleased when a couple of guys arrhed at her in the hotel lobby, since they obviously recognized that she is a pirate.