Mount Hood from the airplane. (c) J.S. Reinitz 2011

Saturday, July 30, 2011
OVER THE GREAT PLAINS — Flight to Portland with a short layover in Minneapolis. On the way to see my brother and his family.
This will be our 4 year old’s first flight and the second plane trip for our 8 year old. Also, it’s the first time to Oregon for my wife.
I’ve been to Oregon once before. When I was a teen, we went there as a side trip after visiting the California branch of the family — cousins on my dad’s side. I remember Crater Lake, the cliff-lined rocky coast and old growth forests. I remember learning the state doesn’t have sales tax when I bought a Judges Guild game that had wandered a few thousand miles from its Midwest roots.
This time it will be the Mount Hood area and the Willamette Valley. I checked out (and twice renewed) a dated Frommer’s guide to the state, so we’ll see what’s in store.
Waiting for the refreshment cart to snail its way to our Row 37 seats on the three-hour flight, I realize I should have packed more kids movies into the iPod. I’m siting with the 4 year old, and she’s hungry, and it’s the only thing keeping her calm. She’s already worked her way through a Snoopy and is deep in a Curious George episode. I have a Dr. Who rerun, but I don’t think she’ll go for that.
I keep looking out the window, trying to catch a glimpse of the terrain below. Most of what I can see is flat farm country, but what I want to see is mountains.