Friday, May 15, 2009

My First MAX Ride

Rachel and I left Albany by 8:30am and made it to Portland without a problem. We didn't take a single wrong turn the whole way to the Lloyd Center where we deposited the truck and set out on the day's mission: ride the MAX from the Lloyd Center to an undisclosed location in downtown Portland (we knew the location, but I'm not sharing it here) in order to determine ride length and feasibility for 150 people in the next few months.

We stopped to ask for directions and a suggestion for a lunchtime pit stop. The concierge we spoke to was exceptionally helpful and kind. He told us which MAX stop to get on and off at, and then he shared with us the secret of how to return to the same place without getting lost. Because there's a secret apparently.

We found the station and waited for the next MAX to arrive. As this was our first experience ever riding, it was totally new (and admittedly a bit scary--you hear stories about people getting on alive and being carted off not alive all the time on the news). We didn't need to pay fares or get tickets because we stayed within fareless square the entire time. Thankfully, we managed to get seats for the ride downtown. We rode through stop after stop until we crossed the river and beyond. Finally, we debarked the big train thingy into downtown. After confirming the MAX time and orienting ourselves to the Grid o' Chaos that is downtown, we wandered around for a short while getting walking distance times. We followed the secret the concierge had mentioned and got back onto the MAX without incident. Having to stand the whole way back wasn't so fun--seats are way better for the ride--but we made it. No deaths occurred while we rode. In fact, the whole ride was incredibly peaceful. Why isn't there a rail transit like that in Corvallis?!

Lunch found us in Lloyd Center's "foodcourtia." Being daring (and at Rachel's insistence), I tried a new food from some little mediterranean joint there. My first experience with lamb was not as pleasant as I'd hoped. While it didn't kill me, I wasn't impressed. Curried rice and some horrific "salad" rounded out my $9 adventure with food. I can't stand curry! UGH!

We left downtown Portland in search of other venues. The good news is that we had directions. The bad news is that the directions took us to somewhere. We only made it to one venue before the directions became useless. Upon review, it appears the directions wanted us to turn left when we needed to be going right. We went from just off I-5 to somewhere beyond Oregon City before we realized we needed to turn around pronto. We stopped at a real estate office to get directions out of town. Thankfully, the nice woman at the front desk pointed us toward I-205. We were back on the road and headed the correct direction in no time.

After another adventure trying to find the correct exit, we managed to get onto 99W for the drive home. Several stops along the way, a harrowing driveway entrance or five, and being in the sun the entire day left me exhausted by the end. I was dehydrated and bleary-eyed. My blog post was pathetic. But I survived my first MAX ride. I survived driving down tiny streets in Portland with crazy bicyclists. I survived Portland (again).


Chris said...

Yeah, the Mediterranean place at the mall is kind of funky. I think I've had lunch there twice. I'm usually a Subway guy, but sometimes they're sloooow.

If you're up here again, may I suggest you check out the food carts website. If you can think of it, there's a cart downtown that serves it. They're all quite fantastic and much better than the mall.

Anonymous said...

Turns out I have no idea what a MAX is... some sort of train thingy by the sounds of it...?

Jaggy said...

We saw some food carts, but we're not into hot dogs. Next time, I think they sound like a great idea. Probably less expensive and more fresh anyway!

The MAX is a mass-transit system in Portland, Oregon. You can read all about it here: