Even just watching one hour of the show was kind of nerve-wracking, and I didn't have a season's worth of investment in the outcome: I just wanted the Northwest to be used well and to look good. Both accomplished: walking across a high plank between trees at a Newberg wilderness camp, riding a zip line between the Bridge of the Gods and a Columbia River island (wheeeee! Now I wanna do that!), running through downtown to find a sculpture, a Russian food cart and Voodoo Doughnut ("Thank God that guy likes doughnuts!" Heh; that might be my favorite line last night), scrambling for a taxi on West Burnside, and reaching the finish line up at the Pittock Mansion in the West Hills. All this in beautiful weather, whether overcast in the Columbia River Gorge or sunshine later in the city.
But it was a relief, especially now that I'm watching this dysfunctional season of Survivor (where two of those voted off have used their final confessional to basically say "I hate you all") how much these TAR contestants seem to have bonded. I don't imagine this season's crop of Survivors will be clapping and cheering for whoever wins that show's grand prize, but here are a bunch of people who covered tens of thousands of miles under what had to be arduous conditions a lot of the time, and they're all at different levels of tired or exhausted, and they're still happy about what they've done as a group and hugging at the end. I'd like to say that Portland makes people happier, but that'd take my Portland-boosting too far.
(No, Survivor: Portland is both a bad idea and a lame idea, Chris. Stop thinking that.)