Oregon Trip: Portland

Portland, OR

  • Sleep: another airbnb.com find, at a little craftsman style home in the Hawthorne district of Portland - walking distance to shops and restaurants.
  • Sights: the Portland Art Museum, which I thought was absolutely amazing... I could have spent 2 days in there!  My favorite exhibit was the "This is War!" exhibit of graphic arts from the Great War.  It was interesting to see the pieces from all over the world, and see similarities in the artists' work that were from the same country.  I also loved the New Photography Acquisitions section. I'm always fascinated by photography, I think because I like to getting a peek at the world as other people see it.
  • Activities: I admit, I really wasn't digging Portland when we arrived.  After 5 glorious days in small towns and beautiful outdoor scenery, I was NOT happy to be in a city with traffic and so many people.  Thankfully, Brent stuck with me through my bad mood and we turned it all around with a really fun night of bowling. I don't know why we don't bowl more often! But, I digress.
  • Food: Portland has the BEST food! 
    • Bollywood Theater: Brent and I ran across this place after having worked up an appetite while bowling.  This is the BEST Indian food EVER.  I have already found a recipe for Pork Vindaloo to make at home... I'll let you know how it goes.
    • Bijou Cafe: I found this little place while I wandered downtown Friday morning in search for a brunch spot that didn't have a line around the block.  Apparently, it's a well-known fact that Portland likes to brunch, but somehow I was unaware of this when I set out that morning.  I found the Bijou Cafe had seats available at their bar and I was happy to have a good ol' farm fresh breakfast there.  Highly recommend.
    • Trinket: this was literally a block away from the house where we stayed, and I had such a great brunch there!  I knew it was a good fit for me when I walked in and they had Fitz and the Tantrums playing and antique silverware on the table.  
  • Overall: Portland was not my favorite city. I'm pretty sure it was just because I wanted to be back outdoors in the Columbia Gorge area or back in Bend, but I think there was more to it than that.  I loved the food everywhere and the art museum, but otherwise everything just felt a little too serious for me... I would guess half of the population I saw had piercings, face tattoos, and smoked cigarettes.  I'm willing to give it a second chance... especially if I can get more of that Indian food!!

Oregon Trip: Bend

Next destination: Bend, OR

  • Sleep: This was our first airbnb.com experience, staying with a very nice family in a modest home that was walking distance to the best parts of town... it's a great deal, and I plan to book more on airbnb for future travels!
  • Dinner: Deschutes Brewery (duh). Every single beer in my flight was delicious. I ordered the mac 'n cheese which was to DIE for, and totally worth the feeling that I was sleeping with a brick in my stomach all night.
  • Nightcap: We hung out with one of Brent's friends from Arizona, who was born and raised in Bend so he showed us around McMenamins - a hotel/pub/restaurant/movie theater that used to be an old Catholic school... pretty sure this place was haunted, and totally freaking awesome. 
  • Bike ride: Day 2 took us on a long (well, for me it was long) bike ride to a tiny neighboring town called Tumalo.  Surprising: I made it on the bike ride and actually enjoyed it despite the abuse to my crotch region.  Not surprising: I made friends with two dogs where we stopped for lunch, and I really didn't want to leave them.
  • Fun foodie moments:
    • Brent ordered a Pumpkin Spice Cubano at a little coffee shop in town, immediately declared it was "Autumn in a cup", and made us go back for another the next day.  
    • Our airbnb host recommended Sparrow Bakery on the outskirts of town for their Ocean Roll, which is like the best, most wonderfully flaky croissant roll peppered with sugar and cardamom in the center.  AMAZINGNESS - this is on my list to try making at home this winter.
    • One afternoon we were waking up from a nap at the house before we left for dinner, and I heard an unmistakable sound that I have not heard in YEARS... an ice cream truck.  Obviously, I got an ice cream sandwich.
    • Raganelli's Pizza is pretty much the only spot to eat in Tumalo, and it was a delicious pit-stop on our bike ride. And what a small world - the owner of the place is from Santa Cruz (well, specifically Aptos), but it's always fun to find a Santa Cruz neighbor while away from home!  
  • My all-time, hands down, favorite moment: Brent getting a hair cut on our way out of town. There was a very friendly barbershop in Bend that serves beer while you get your mane tamed, so I convinced Brent it was the universe telling him it was time to cut the coif.  And it was glorious!  I spent the rest of the trip staring and sneaking pictures of him. 
  • Overall: I loved Bend even more than I loved Ashland.  The Old Bend neighborhood around Drake Park along the Deschutes River is an absolute dream.  It sounds like during the summer this park gets jam-packed with fun outdoor events, concerts, festivals, etc. I am dying to go back again to see Bend in the summer and float down that river.

Apologies that most of these photos are grainy - I spent a lot of the time camera-less in Bend, so most of these are taken with our cell phones...

Oregon Trip: Ashland

I plan to cover each destination in its own post, and then wrap it all up with a video!  I thought it would be more fun to share the tid-bits in list form instead of a long, paragraph-form novel like I usually do. And if I'm being honest, I just really love using bulleted lists for things.

First stop: Ashland, OR

  • Sleep: we camped at Glenyan RV Park Campground - off a country road, quiet, and has clean bathrooms. What's not to love?
  • For dinner: Standing Stone Brewery - great beer, delish food. Most memorable: their homemade ketchup!  
  • Sights:  Before dinner we took a walk through Lithia Park which sits in the middle of town.  It reminded me of a miniature Central Park with a little duck pond, musicians playing on a big open lawn, and people laying together on picnic blankets, reading and relaxing.
  • Fun fact: this was the maiden voyage of my new backpacking tent - it was love at first sleep.
  • Fun fact #2: strange, aromatic, possibly homeless people like to hang out in Ashland... it felt a lot like Santa Cruz, except these people were very theatrical, acting out their own imaginary stories together in the streets.  Made for great entertainment while Brent and I sipped smoothies.
  • Fun fact #3: we were lucky to catch a bit of an all-female, fully improvised Shakespeare theater group called Chickspeare... greatly added to Ashland's creative, small-town charm.
  • My favorite part: At twilight, Brent and I discovered a little river running through the town and sat beside it, talking and watching the water run by.
  • Next time: I want to do a weekend getaway to the Ashland Springs Hotel - they have pet friendly rooms!
  • Overall: I really loved Ashland!  I like that the main little part of town is so cute and filled with plenty of life without feeling crowded.  Everything else around the main part of town was beautiful open countryside.  If only it didn't get so dang hot there...

Pitstop on the way to Bend, OR: Crater Lake

  • Strange fact: Brent was somehow unimpressed by the lake.
  • My favorite part: After we left on our way to Bend, I read every single word of the pamphlet the park ranger gave us at the entrance to the park in the car. There are so many fun facts about the history of the lake, how it was formed, and what's in there now.  I had NO idea it was formed from an erupted, collapsed volcano 7,700 years ago - amazing!

 

Oregon Road Trip - iPhone snaps

I am back from a week road-tripping around Oregon, and am reminded there is no better feeling than being excited to get home... that's how I know I live in my happy place.   

I loved Oregon - it is full of friendly people, has great food & craft beer, and has some of the most gorgeous green, lush views I have ever seen. I will admit - I wasn't the biggest fan of Portland (aside from having the most AMAZING Indian food EVER), but the rest of the trip didn't disappoint.  I don't think I went a day without seeing a river or waterfall or some beautiful vista of the like.  Specifically, the Columbia Gorge area absolutely blew me away - I have never seen anything quite so majestic as the view driving along the wide river expanse separating Oregon from Washington. 

I would go again in a heartbeat - there were so many little places that felt perfect to me. Between funky details like old hand-painted signs in small towns, antique silverware at brunch spots, the neighborhoods of historic homes, and a close connection with nature and outdoor living, I felt right at home.

Until I get around to editing my video and camera photos, my iPhone snapshots will have to do for now...