We left off last time in the middle of an awful heatwave. But before I get to that, it was nice and cool when we got to Madison, WI to visit with my friends Laura and Joe. Laura and I worked together last summer in Alaska as sea kayaking guides, and hadn't seen eachother since. During our travels, we have met a lot of people and still, it was great to finally get to spend time with someone I know, and who knows me. As exciting as it is to travel, there can be times of loneliness and homesickness, brought on by that lack of familiarity. Joe and Laura were extremely hospitable, making us dinner, and showing us around town.
In many ways Madison is a lot like Portland. The day we were leaving town, was the annual Paddle and Portage race. I don't know all the details, but basically hundreds of people in canoes (and in recent years, a few kayaks) paddle around Lake Mendota, portage a mile through downtown to Lake Monona, and paddle around it. The lakes are separated by an isthmus, which is a narrow strip of land that runs as a connector between two bodies of water. During the portage part people end up running down the street with their canoes on their heads. It was a cool way to end our visit to Madison (we even got to see Laura once more, as the paddle shop she works for was renting canoes for the race). This seemed like a very Portland-like event, and I felt right at home.
In other ways, Portland has a few things it could learn from Madison. Joe took Adam on a tour of the town, where they encountered Madisons bike share system. basically, one can pay a daily fare to "rent" the bike, deposit it at any station, and pick another one up. Portland could definitely use one of these.
And I'm out of time at the library, so we'll have to write more later! Bye!