Thursday, June 26, 2008

A timely purchase

Back when I was pregnant with Ellie and we'd just moved into our house, I had a recurring nightmare. Those of you who've been to our house know how close we live to the train tracks - they're almost right across the street (picture a T, with the train tracks running parallel to the top of the T and our house two houses in on the upright part). Anyway, my nightmare was that a train would derail, slide across the road and block our access out. Then I would go into labor and have to give birth at home with no epidural. The idea freaked me out to no end, even though Chris assured me over and over that that could never, ever happen.

Forget about the train for a minute, though. I have to tell you about our awesome new ride.

Vicki has been getting too big for her bike for a while now, so the weekend before last Chris and I took her out and bought her and me new bikes. Mine has been hanging in the garage for 3 years gathering dust and in serious need of repair and I haven't actually ridden it in nearly 10 years. Sad but true. So we came home with new bikes for both of us (plus way cool helmets). Then yesterday the girls and I went out and bought a trailer so that Lexi, who inherited Vicki's old bike but isn't very secure on it yet, and Ellie could be hauled around by moi. We wanted to be able to get to our garden, which is about 10 blocks away, and swimming lessons, about 12 blocks, without wasting gas. Plus, now we feel like true Portlanders.

Here's Vicki's beautiful bike:

And our awesome trailer (I was trying to force the girls to look straight into the sun to smile for the picture, but they would have none of it): And here's a shot of me on my new bike. Vicki insisted that if I was going to have pictures of her and her sisters then we needed one of me, too. I was telling her to hurry up and take it so I could turn, hence the slightly bucktoothed appearance.
We took a test ride to the garden yesterday. It's downhill the first four blocks and then relatively flat the rest of the way, so it was a piece of cake. Riding home, however...not so much. We made it, though. We stopped to rest a few times, but we made it. And we decided to ride to swimming this morning.

Turns out that that was an excellent plan, because I'm not sure we would have been able to get there in the car.

Just after 7:00 this morning Ellie came and climbed into bed with me. We were snuggling and talking about how Mommy was going to have to get up and take a shower in just a minute when we heard the train go by outside. Remember, the tracks are just up the street, so we've gotten used to the trains and hardly notice them anymore. We certainly don't pay any particular attention to them. Well, this particular train seemed awfully loud. Then the house started shaking. Sometimes we can feel a little bit of vibration, but nothing major. This was major. The candles in the niche on our headboard were shaking and clinking together. The windows were rattling. I was convinced I was experiencing my first ever earthquake.

Nope. Not and earthquake.

Just a train derailment.

Talk about drama. Our neighborhood has never seen such excitement. People are out on the street (which is okay because cars are being rerouted) with cameras, discussing how it felt and where they were, etc. etc.

We left for swimming lessons at 8:40 and had to ride through the police blockade, which of course was okay because we were on bikes. We attracted the attention of a news crew - how could we not, with our getup? - and will most likely be on TV at some point today.

Here's what the train looks like from the top of our street:

You can't really tell from the picture, but it's leaning WAY over. In the slideshow that I linked to down at the bottom, you can see where the cars tipped over and where they're standing up. If you followed the standing up cars about 75 yards you'd be right in front of our house. Yeah, kinda scary.

This is the view down the street (I walked across the street to get this shot, but again, no cars, no big deal). Those are a combination of rescue vehicles, police cars, and fire trucks, plus several news vans. If you look closely to the right of the blue and white water tower you can see a huge antenna. Channel 6 is getting some good shots, apparently.

There weren't this many cars when we left for swimming, and coming home we practically had a police escort just to get to our house. Why, I'm not sure, since there's not actually anything happening at that particular spot on the tracks, and the train is leaning the other way, but oh well. Something to blog about!

So yeah, it's been a pretty crazy morning.

Check out this news story and the accompanying slide show for more details.


  1. That's awesome that you guys can ride your bikes to places. I read the news article about the train de-railing. Who's this Leonard Smith guy? They should have quoted you!

  2. I didn't mention this on the phone but it is pretty cool how much access you guys have with your bikes...maybe next year.

  3. What a great purchase and a great way to save on gas! Looks like you have had quite the morning. At least it is something to keep you entertained. Nice Obama sticker on the back of your car too. (=

  4. I like how your real greatest fear was giving birth without an epidural.
    You're my hero


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