Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Oregon Trail

You know how Virginia is for lovers? Well, Oregon is for weirdos, in the most charming way. I recall my old high school chemistry teacher always saying how weird people were in Oregon and maybe that has stuck with me. He did sport a handle-bar mustache, so take that for what it's worth. But I think he may have partially been on to something because they are proudly and aggressively weird there. But I'll give it to them because it's so pretty. Around every corner was something breathtaking. People kept apologizing for how brown and dry it was and then I'd laugh and mumble something about a drought and apply more lip balm out of habit. It was literally the greenest place I've ever been to. I had a really great time there and will definitely be back. Well, as long as Casey and Kylea and their amazingly adorable children live there.

On to the list:

1. Oregon seems to be filled with a high percentage of vagabonds. I stopped counting how many people I saw roaming the highways, some hitchhiking, all hairy and toting giant backpacks. In California if you see someone walking on the freeway that means that they are in some kind of trouble, like their car is on fire or something. But in Oregon the dozens of people I saw walking down the interstate all seemed to be carefree hobos casually walking from town to town. Their hub, obviously, is Portland. It seemed to be populated entirely by unwashed hippies waiting for the next drum circle. It was actually difficult to tell who was homeless because of mental illness or who just chose to live the wandering life.

2. In that vein, as I was driving back from my day-trip to the coast I passed a couple hitchhiking and my initial thought was, "I'd bet money that if I picked them up I'd be abducted into a cult."

3. That day-trip was a dream. It was gray and drizzly and there were pockets of mist hanging in the pine trees. I stopped at every viewpoint. I wandered into a used bookstore in Astoria to get out of the rain. I sat on some driftwood at Cannon Beach. I ate cheese and ice cream and fudge in Tillamook. This is all to say that it was a perfect day.

3. Gina came out for my birthday! Just for the day! Isn't that that best? I am always totally happy lone-wolfing it when out and about but I'm never going to turn down a sister to share in the adventure. Sisters always make things better. And we had a huge adventure. I wanted to do something fun and different so I booked a jet-boat tour up the Willamette River (did you know that it's pronounced Will-AM-ette? I did not until Kylea corrected me.) You guys, promise me that if you ever make it to Portland you will take this tour. Just do it, okay? It is the most fun! We went so fast, did donut after donut, and got so wet and I HATE getting wet when I'm not in appropriate clothing for it but who cares when you're having this kind of fun. It was so worth the time and money and tumbleweed hair.

4. On the other donut front, we did get Voodoo donuts. I'm going to be totally un-American right now and say that I don't exactly care for donuts. They taste like delicious regret. The first 5 minutes of a donut are wonderful but the rest of day I feel like I've eaten a sugary brick. Because I'm 80. But these were really tasty. And while I did have the sugary brick feeling all day I did not regret it because you've got to live, right?

5. Thanks to that mutant sinus/bronchial infection I left (and came home) with my ears clogged up on the descent into Portland. A baby started to cry on that descent and I wanted to hold her and say, "I know, right? Let's cry together." They stayed clogged for FIVE WHOLE DAYS and I wanted to die. But now I'm good as new. And it didn't ruin my trip. Every morning I would tell my clogged ears and nose and lungs to go eat a worm sandwich, I was going to have fun anyway.

6. I mentioned this on Instagram but it bears repeating: I went to this pizza place that a friend recommended and I was literally the only person in there who was not eating it with a fork and knife. I refused to feel like the weirdo in this situation and ate my pizza like a human being, with my hands so the grease can drip down my arm.

7. Oh, Sweet Land of Liberty! Just let me pump my own gas!

8. Best thing I overheard in Portland, "No, she's already gone. She helping set up for Burning Man this year."

9. Best sign I saw, "Squirrel Fest 2015!"

Picture time!

C&K have a shortcake place that is everything you want in a non-chocolate dessert.  My parents were up there a few weeks before me and my dad literally cannot stop talking about this. I ate really well on this trip but this was maybe my favorite thing.


I had completely forgotten that logging is a thing. But you can't forget up in the Pacific Northwest. I drove through a logging town with actual stores for logging supplies. I live in the desert, okay. That's it in the distance, across the Columbia River in Washington. 

If you've seen Goonies you know what this is. If you haven't seen Goonies, you need to crawl out of your cave. But also, isn't this so lovely? The tide was way, way out but it left these pretty ripples behind.

Powell's takes up an entire city block. And it's 4 stories. Which means that I spent a lot of time there. And it was everything I wanted it to be. Yay books!

Every morning as I was getting ready Addie would come up and hang out with me. Every time I was out doing something fun I was kind of wishing I was back with the kids. 
The Graham Poo-Bah. This kid is the sweetest. He doesn't cry. He hardly fusses. He just snuggles with you. He did not fit in my carry-on.

Nearly everyone I know who has been to Oregon comes back and shows me this picture. I've been looking for a Wealthy Benefactor but I would just as happily take a rich uncle.

This is exactly how I wanted to look on my 40th birthday. Happy and surrounded by beauty. In this case, the International Rose Test Garden, which I am putting on your must-see list for Portland. I'M HALF WAY TO 80!!!!!!!!


3 comments:

Valerie said...

Happy birthday! And this trip sounds amazing. I love California so, so much, but being in forests always makes me rethink my life.

That shortcake place, a whole storefront dedicated to shortcake? I'm intrigued. Is that biscuit or cake shortcake? Do you get to choose? I have a lot of shortcake questions.

Rachel Knecht said...

Val, yes. It's the Shortcake Shack. They sell other things but I didn't see anyone get anything else. And you can get a biscuit or cake or both. We got the biscuit, which was perfect. You can also get a mixture of fruit. And then you eat it outside on picnic benches. And there's a playground for kids and a farmers market next door. It's only open during the summer because to have that experience any other time of year would just be weird.

Emsy said...

Did you see Schwarzengaerfisasfoaser posing as a kindergarten teacher under cover or the forcefully cheerful Number Five robot?? One of the best hotels I've ever stayed in was in Tillamook, the whole place smelled like warm musty chlorine.