Leaving Seattle was a mission in itself. Using Googlemaps instead of the the GPS (I cannot recall why), we were directed to take a route that required us to drive up three steep streets, all of which meaning that poor Tim had to stop at each set of lights and do a rather impressive hill start (in an automatic with a weirdly positioned "hand" brake) without rolling back into the car behind us, that was inadvariantly closer than we liked. Finally, however, we got out onto the straight and narrow and managed to jump on the Freeway and exit Seattle.
Except that Seattle doesn't really end, it sprawls down into Olympia and Tacoma and whatever else its neighbouring cities are, so that you don't really get out into the countryside until some distance south. We stopped over at a rest area, where I found the jays utterly delightful - if impossible to photograph, and reached Portland around two. The Freeway deposited us near enough to Damascus, where we met up with our hosts for the next four nights - James and Meran, their three dogs, one cat, resident robin and leopard gecko. James was standing out the front, juggling (we had alerted him that we were on our way) and the dogs greeted us with enthusium. Their basement area fills me with envy - gaming room (for roleplaying or wargaming), library, and partially constructed bedroom and bathroom. Their house is pretty rural, and I found an adorable little frog in the grass.
For dinner they took us to a fish and chip diner - where the fish and chips are of a definitely higher class than our local. Situated in an upmarket part of the Portland area, pedestrians ruled the road and cars actually stopped to let us cross - even without a pedestrian crossing in sight. We visited a Comic Shop as well, where Tim spent money and luxuriated in the lack of sales tax. Dinner was pleasant, and then it was off to the Red Lion on Jangtzen for the AFA Meet and Greet. Although the M&G had been scheduled for the evening, when we arrived there was a demonstration going on and it seemed most of the people had already met and greeted one another, which left me feeling a little out of place and awkward. However, it did not take long to warm up though - after all, these were not really strangers - just friends I did not immediately recognise.