During Evan's junior year in high school we made the trek south from Mount Vernon, WA to Forest Grove, OR to visit Pacific University. We liked what we knew about Pacific, namely that it was a smaller, liberal arts school with a strong science program. We also liked the financial incentive offered to children of UCC ministers which made the endeavor feasible. We had even been to Pacific, though that was back in 1990 when Evan was only four years old. He had changed somewhat over the intervening years, and we imagined Pacific might have as well.
Coming through the Tualatin Valley on Oregon highway 47 and US 26, we turned off onto a road that felt like the back entrance to Forest Grove. In truth, most roads into Forest Grove feel like the back entrance, but that's another story. As we drew near town we passed a home where several children and an adult or two were amusing themselves by sliding down the dirt slope in front of their house on a plastic toboggan. It was, for Evan, a wonderful first impression of Forest Grove.
Dirt sledding has its advantages. You don't need to wear cumbersome winter clothing, and your feet don't get cold. Walking back up the slope is a breeze in contrast to struggling to mount a snow and ice covered hill.
Perhaps that dirt sledding venue was the inspiration behind having the Winter Olympics in Vancouver this year. I'm guessing the US Team will do pretty well, as long as they had the good sense to fill the roster with athletes from the Tualatin Valley. The only concern we might have is, what if it actually snows?