26 Dec Roadtrippin’: Touring Portland, Oregon
We arrived in Portland just before sunset, just in time to enjoy a few glasses of wine with my step-brother before the light disappeared from the sky. It was Voigner, a delicious white (which is a rare find because I never drink white.) We parboiled then baked sliced purple and halved gold and red potatoes in garlic and olive oil. We prepared fresh asparagus and a fresh salad while Chuck grills flank steak. We felt royal. After dinner, Chuck and Eddie broke out guitars and played me some Neil Young and Dylan tunes.
Another bottle was cracked and the good times continued. I think Eddie was in shock – not from the earsplitting hangover he was nursing from Seattle, but because he and Chuck clicked so well. Music lover? Check. Nature lover? Check. Spiritual? Check. Photographer? Check. Sweet mint condition old Porsche in the garage, but drives a VW bus instead? Check. They were smitten.
As far as I was concerned, Thursday existed but didn’t. It happened but felt like it hadn’t.
One of the many things I share with my step-brother is a love for volunteer work. The following morning we headed out to work with an organization called Loaves and Fishes that delivers food to elderly or handicapped folks in Portland. Next we went to Reed College, alma mater of the brilliant (despite being misogynistic) Gary Snyder who was one of the greatest poetic influences on my writing and spirituality, for another volunteer organization with a mentor program. It was a nature walk with 1st graders. Chuck mentors a beautiful Korean girl named Ouan with an enormous smile. All the children were delighted to have my dog Shakespeare along for the hike.
Next, we headed to Washington Park to see the rose gardens, which were in bloom in every color and fragrance imaginable. Some are cultivated for their colors, while others for their shape or size and still others for their aroma. As William Shakespeare said, “Of all the flowers, the rose is by far the most righteously awesome” …or something like that. The sun peppered my face with freckles, as we walked up to Pattock Mansion for a view of Mt. Hood and Mt. St. Helens.
After we hiked through the Hoyt Arboretum and examined conifers from around the world. The monkey puzzle was the most interesting to me because its sharp, pointed leaves are made to keep the monkeys off its branches. At this point, down time was in order, so Chuck redirected us to my personal nerdy version of heaven: Powell’s City of Books – A full city block, 4 stories high of nothing but books where we spent the next few hours. I was so excited I had to change pants.
We wrapped it all up at the Oak Bottom Pub, a Portland burger joint with Dick’s IPA, a killer micro-brew. A sign on the wall said “Once things reach the bottom, they start looking up.” Considering I’d contemplated killing Eddie only days before, I found it more than appropriate.
This blog is part of a Roadtrippin’ series. To see the next entry in this series click here.