Thursday, February 22, 2007

Up, up and away in a sleek silver gondola!

December 31, 1972, might have been one cold day, but it was also a day filled with the warmth of love, a love that lasted throughout just over 10 years that I got to share with my beloved husband LeRoy. We were married at 2:30 p.m. in Bob Musburger's home, beautifully decorated for the holiday season. The Musburgers and LeRoy had been friends for a number of years. Fast forward to April, 1983 and Houston, Texas. LeRoy died there at the VA Hospital on April 14, just a few days before Bob came to interview for a professor position at the University of Houston where he stayed for 20 years, I think. Fast forward one more time, to the Pacific Northwest. Bob and Pat have retired to Seattle, to be uncle and aunt and great-uncle and great-aunt to beloved family members. Mama and I moved to Portland to be near mine and LeRoy's swell sons, Lamont and Leland. Stop on Feb. 16 when Pat had an iyengar yoga meeting in Portland, the two of them rode the train down from Seattle, and we all ate dinner at 3 Doors Down Cafe where those sons of mine (along with the rest of the crew) regularly create magic known to one and all as delicious food. Saturday was supposed to be beautiful, so Mama and I agreed to meet the Musburgers near their hotel and take a trolley ride to Portland's brand spankin' new aerial tram. It turned out to be a jewel of a day.

You must be wondering why in the world I would even contemplate riding in something that looks like this, so high up in the air. Well, I decided that I'd been up in the London Eye twice, on the same day no less, and thoroughly enjoyed myself, so surely I could do this. Mama was so excited, too. Just after we got off the trolley and crossed the street to get in line for our free ride, I took this shot of one of the cars coming to roost at the lower station. During February the public can ride for free Friday evenings and all day Saturday. That column there, known as an intermediate tower, causes the car to sway going or coming. Here's a bit of what Wikipedia has to say about the tram:

The Portland Aerial Tram is an aerial tramway in Portland, Oregon. It connects the city's South Waterfront district with Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) and the Marquam Hill neighborhood surrounding the university, and introduces another mode of transportation in Portland. The tram opened to OHSU employees on December 1, 2006, and to the public on January 27, 2007.

The tram travels a horizontal distance of 3300 feet in a ride that lasts thee minutes. Its upper terminal is adjacent to OHSU, 140 feet above grade, and connected to the ninth floor of a new patient care facility on the university's campus. Its lower terminal in the South Waterfront is the focal point for a mass transit center (the Portland Streetcar extends from downtown to the South Waterfront) and development in the surrounding area by OHSU and others. A single intermediate tower supports the tram's cables between the two terminals, allowing the tram to rise 500 feet over Interstate 5.

The tram cars carry a maximum of 78 passengers per trip, with cars leaving every 5 minutes. Transportation officials estimate the tram will carry over 1,500 people a day initially, with up to 5,500 by 2030. On October 29, 2006, the tram's two cars arrived from Switzerland after a week-long delay.

The tram cabins are shaped and painted to look like "bubbles floating through the sky"; the surface of the cabins reflect and refract light, minimizing their visual impact to the neighborhood underneath.

Here's Bob and Pat, seated in our apartment in front of my glass display case, topped with Ruby Pearl, the Yes Dear Girl.

Looking north and east from the observation deck at OHSU, you get the idea just how flat or level part of Portland is.

There's Mount St. Helen's in all its glory. I wish all of it was still there; old photos show just how beautifully symmetrical it was before the eruption. It seems to be hovering, like a spacecraft on the horizon, doesn't it?

That's my building, that red brick one I've zoomed in on, just beyond the decks of the Marquam.

Here's the shot before I zoomed in. Those lanes of the Marquam must be the ones "The Portland Bridge Book" mentions on pg. 69. It seems the Portland Art Commission didn't like the "spaghetti" ramps. They must not have been able to see them from this angle. To me the design is dynamic, full of motion. From my windows at work, I've seen traffic backed up on both decks, so sometimes motion stands still.

This is the car going into the lower station, down by the river.

Outside of the 9th floor at the Kohler Pavilion up at OHSU, there stands a sculpture that took my breath away, conveying such heart-felt compassion. I found out that it's "Standing Lady Hare with Dog" by Sophie Ryder. That's all I know right now, but I plan to learn more before my next trip up there to see it again.

Can you see those tiny people in line on the sidewalk? That's where we'd been earlier. The first weekend it was open to the public an estimated 10,000 people took a ride. Wow.

You can see both cars easily here, as they cross paths between the intermediate tower and the upper station. The lady operator onboard told me that the cars are traveling 22 mph. I didn't notice much about that, and thanks to my motion sickness bracelets, I managed to deal with the swaying very well, going up and coming down.

This yellow construction crane is near the upper station.

Mt. Hood peaked out of the clouds, shortly after we had made it out onto the viewing deck.

Here's a teensy rainbow on the steps between the two levels of the viewing deck. I was so taken with it that I didn't even look to see what was acting as a prism to cause it. I'm slipping, y'all.

Tell me what you think of "Standing Lady Hare with Dog," please.


Casey said...

that is so fun, Lynettey. I want to do that this weekend.

Standing Lady Hare with Dog is freaky.
But I love Ruby Pearl, the Yes Dear Girl.

Lynette said...

Ruby Pearl love you right back, Caseydeeah!

Sonia said...

I think that sculpture
"Standing Lady Hare with Dog" is just amazing! Where is the city?

Lynette said...

Sonia, this is Portland, Oregon, in the Northwestern United States. It's in a valley and affords easy access to mountains and the Pacific Ocean--in one direction or the other, only an hour's drive or so.