Seeing the weird of Portland

Columbia River Gorge Keep Portland WeirdWe made it out of California! We realized today that we’ve only been traveling for a little over a week, but we’ve seen so much already that we barely noticed how little time has passed.

After we picked up our friend from Palo Alto, we headed to Mendocino to stay with a friend for the night. One thing we’ve been disappointed about is that because our first leg of the trip is time-sensitive, we haven’t had much time to be flexible and stay in an area if we like it a lot. Mendocino was definitely one of those areas I would have loved to spend more time in. We arrived pretty late Tuesday night and left really early Wednesday morning so that we could make it to Oregon.

When we got there, we were all thoroughly impressed by how gorgeous the area is. Our friend lives in a neighborhood a little north of Mendocino where nearly all of the homes have ocean views. Walking outside, I could hear seals in the distance and we kept finding deer in the middle of the road. We thought the deer were great, but our friend said that their kind of like rats because they’re everywhere in Mendocino and they eat through your gardens.

The next day we were planning on camping in Crater Lake, but unfortunately it was raining and after our last tent-flooding experience we decided to just drive the few extra hours to Portland. Driving into Oregon was an experience. We saw more rain during that drive then we have in over a year, as well as an unexpected amount of indicators of the ‘hickness’ of Oregon. We stopped at a gas station when we first got into the state and the car in front of us had two bumper stickers stating “Redneck” and “Tomato Toemato Obama Osama”.

We stayed in Portland for two days with a friend of my parent’s, Phillip, and his wife Yanming. They lived within walking distance of a popular art festival that Phillip described as the perfect way to witness the “weird of Portland.” While in the city, we also checked out some popular tourist destinations like Powells Book Store, Voodoo’s Doughnuts, and a few local breweries.

We couldn’t help but notice how apt the “Keep Portland Weird” slogan is for the town. People really aren’t afraid of being who they want to be in Portland which allowed for us to see a lot of interesting things. Staying with a local, we also got a lot of recommendations that helped us find a lot of hidden gems during our short stay. Phillip recommended an area for lunch notorious for its food trucks. We walked over and expected just a line of food trucks only to find that there was nearly a full parking lot of them each offering a lot of different things all for very reasonable prices.

After getting food, we headed across the way to a park to eat. Having grown up in Encinitas, there is one aspect of cities that I’m really not use to. Most cities seem to have very large homeless populations and Portland was no exception to this. The park we ate at had two homeless people in it, one of which stomped right up to us when we sat down and sat within a foot of Evan. She kept mumbling things quietly to herself, slowly getting louder and louder and starting to say things about the three of us. Once one of us finished eating, we decided to get up and move across the park which only made the woman angrier. She started shouting that I was a red whore (I was wearing a red sweater) and getting more aggressive, so we decided to leave just as she was getting up and walking closer to us again.

Our last night we stayed up with Phillip and Yanming chatting. We we’re talking about some of the local breweries we had tried when suddenly Yanming asks if we want to try some traditional Chinese liquor. She pulls out a few shot glasses and a large white bottle of three penis wine! Yes, that’s right my fellow League fans, it actually does exist and boy is it ridiculously strong. She poured us each a little taste and after finishing it, I honestly felt like the room around me was moving a bit. Honestly, though, it was very good once you got past the idea that you were drinking alcohol brewed from the penises of three animals… You’re just going to have to trust me on this one.

We just finished our last day in Seattle and our friend is going to fly home today, and Evan and I will head to Montana to go camping. As always feel free to leave us any suggestions!

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