SIGCSE Pandemic Trip - March 9-13, 2020

These pictures are from my trip to the pandemic-shortened SIGCSE 2020 conference in Portland, Oregon. The conference was taking place just as the situation with Covid-19 was coming to light in the United States. The conference was cut very short when the state of Oregon banned large gatherings, but not before I had a chance to do a little pre-conference exploring and skiing, and the session at the conference that I was participating in took place as planned (minus handshakes and some of the organizers and participants). Plans changed constantly, and the trip that was originally going to include a start in Seattle a day earlier and end a day or two later ended up with what's described here. Pictures are from my Fujifilm Finepix HS50, my iPad Pro, and, on the ski day, the camera on my Motorola moto g6 phone and Mike's phone. Unfortunately, the HS50 camera was set in a mode that added ridiculous glare highlights to bright spots in the pictures, which really made some of the sign pictures look bad and made most of my snow pictures with that camera completely useless. This wasn't apparent on the viewfinder so I only noticed after downloading them all onto my computer after the trip. Annoying!

Rare items: an actual SIGCSE 2020 program and nametag picked up at the registration desk in Portland. [Larger: 2016x1512]

Monday, March 9

The original plan was to leave a day earlier and start in Seattle for a visit with some friends there, then a ride to Portland on this day. Instead, I had an early morning flight across the country via Chicago Midway, the second hop with some nice volcano views [7 Pictures], arriving at PDX a little after noon. I got my car [Picture], and had the day to explore the area. I decided there was enough time to take a ride out [10 Pictures] to Astoria and Cannon Beach (the Goonies tour) without making it too late of a day. My search for lunch went through part of Portland, then out US 30, where I found a taco place called Muchas Gracias in Saint Helens that was pretty good. I continued on and checked out a little of Astoria including the riverfront and getting a glimpse of the Goonies house [16 Pictures]. From there, I went down [6 Pictures] to Cannon Beach to walk on a Pacific Ocean beach near another Goonies location: Haystack Rock [9 Pictures]. I then took US 26 back to the Portland area [10 Pictures], checked into my hotel and got a fast food dinner from the local chain called Burgerville.

Tuesday, March 10

The fact that Siena was on Spring Break the same week as the conference meant the chance to come early enough to get in a day of skiing. Mike and I picked Mount Hood Meadows partially on advice of the person at the Meadowlark ski rental shop where we picked up skis in Sandy, and continued up to the mountain [Mike's 2 Pictures]. It turned out to be a great choice, and we had a nice day of skiing [20 Pictures][Mike's 25 Pictures]. On the way back [5 Pictures][Mike's 5 Pictures], we took a side trip up to see Timberline Lodge and got some pizza at Scooter's in Sandy, again on the advice of the rental shop.

Wednesday, March 11

This was the day of my session at the conference, and that went well despite many participants being unable to attend in person. In the evening, I met former student Jamal for dinner at an excellent little French restaurant and a walking tour of downtown Portland, including Powells [Picture].

Thursday, March 12

When I got up to start getting ready to go back into downtown for the main part of the conference, word arrived that the state of Oregon was putting a ban on large gatherings into effect immediately, meaning the remainder of the conference had to be cancelled. My flight was not scheduled to leave until Sunday, and it made the most sense to get out of town soon in case travel restrictions were going to be imposed. So my first business of the day was to switch to the next available flight, which would be early Friday morning. But it also meant that my day was now free, so I decided to use it to take a ride up the Columbia River and back. I started [7 Pictures] by crossing into Washington and grabbing some Chick-fil-A from a drive thru. In Washington, I took Route 14 [7 Pictures], with quick stops at the Franz Lake National Wildlife Refuge [3 Pictures] and Bonneville Dam [5 Pictures]. Continuing east, there were some tunnels [4 Pictures], the bridge between White Salmon and Hood River [3 Pictures], and then it was into the dry part of the valley and my crossing back into Oregon on US 97 [20 Pictures]. Working back west now, it was I-84 and a little side trip back into Washington on US 197 [20 Pictures], then another side trip through Hood River [7 Pictures] before leaving I-84 for Historic US 30 [4 Pictures]. Stops along the historic route were at Horsetail Falls [5 Pictures], Multnomah Falls [9 Pictures] and the Vista House [15 Pictures]. Back in the Portland area, I grabbed a sub to go from Jersey Mike's and returned to the hotel for the night.

Friday, March 13

What should have been the second full day of the conference became a long travel day home. I had to be at the airport in the very early morning hours for my 5 AM flight, which brought me to Chicago Midway [Picture], then another to get me back to Albany by late afternoon. - Sat Aug 8 15:30:34 EDT 2020