Take your friend shopping. Nowhere fancy. T.J Maxx will do. She hasn't had the luxury of trying clothes on in a fitting room in years. (Toddler wrangling makes it tough.) Try on silly hats. Giggle a lot. Help her choose a stylish new fedora. Find a pair of swimsuits perfect for her post baby body. (And a cool one for yourself too!) Later, lie out in the sun in the backyard in those perfect new swimsuits and read for an hour or two while the babies sleep.
Admire the oil cloth upholstered booths, the light fixtures made from upcycled salad bowls, the amazing bakery case stocked with a selection of vegan baked goods studded with pumpkin seeds, quinoa, glazed with icing and apricots all shining like jewels. Check out the wait staff too. Dread locks, turbans and hemp never looked so cool. You will be impressed with the extraordinary quality and flavor of the locally sourced food and I promise, you won't even think about missing the meat.
Get up close and personal with the textile artwork of Mari Livie, a talented and passionate Eugene artist. Marvel at the intricate detail and warmth she pours into each hand stitched canvas. Make a mental note to arrange a studio tour with her on your next visit.
Then, grab your suitcase and stroll across the street to the train depot. It seems unchanged by time- inside is all wood floors and glowing oak pews that call up Grand Central Station on a tiny scale. The train will take you to Portland... eventually.
Don't count on Amtrak to be on time, the journey from Eugene to Portland is just one hour by car, but took me about three via train. Enjoy the journey anyway. You aren't in a hurry, after all.
Watch the fields roll by, they are green and lush with the first days of summer. Spot clumps of grazing cows, and a field full of freshly shorn sheep resting in the grass. See people sitting on the steps of their trailers, having a smoke. There are so many tiny, ramshackle towns in this giant country of ours. Pass over meandering streams. Get there when you get there, and be thankful of the ride.