Date: July 17, 2012
Food: 6 pounds
Next Landmark: 13 miles
Miles Traveled: 395 miles
While my pleas to rent a wagon and travel along the infamous Oregon Trail fell on deaf ears, our time in the unpronounceable state of Oregon (is it Ginn or Gone?), brought back great memories of one of my favorite childhood games -- A game that not only taught long-lasting life lessons (immaturity + tombstone epitaphs = hilarity), but also stressed the importance of ferries and their ability to cross rivers of relatively strong flow (despite having to pay $5 and wait 6 days). I leave you with some examples of my reminiscence:
Well, at least I enjoyed writing that intro. Onto the highlights:
Portland – Constantly compared to Austin thanks to its quirky and eccentric ways, Portland unfortunately did not provide the overall impression for which we had initially hoped. Despite possessing endless food trailers of every culinary possibility, and a wide array of unusual and peculiar stores, it was nearly impossible to avoid what can only be described as the “hoards of wanna-be homeless hipsters.” While many were neither homeless nor truly hipster (sleeping bags on the sidewalk are SO not ironic), they nevertheless seemed to be on every corner and every bus stop, constantly begging for passageway to the nearest easily-walkable location. While the city did give off a very “liveable” impression, I think I’m going to have pass on 177 days of rain in favor of 70+ days of 100+ degree summer days.
Kennedy School – Part of the infamous McMenamins chain – a business which has restored dozens of old and abandoned buildings into pubs, movie theaters & hotels, the Kennedy Elementary School was a combination of them all, and a nice change of pace away from the acid-inspired décor of previous lodging establishments. Originally built in the early 1900s, the Kennedy School was taken over by McMenamins, and converted into what can only be described as Disney World for Teachers (and that would be your history lesson for the day). Classrooms transformed into bedrooms, inclusive of original chalkboards and cloakrooms (still not really sure what a cloakroom is). Large public rooms such as the gymnasium, auditorium and cafeteria converted into a dance hall, movie theater and an upscale restaurant. And then of course all the remaining rooms (i.e. janitors closets) filled with variously-themed bars. Oh yes, and there was a brewery too. Cause why the hell not?
Columbia River Gorge – Home to the 2nd tallest waterfall in the U.S., and over a dozen other less-record-friendly-yet-no-less-amazing-falls-of-water (damn you waterfall for having no synonyms), the Columbia River Gorge was the perfect detour on our way from Portland to Bend. Not only did this 20-mile stretch of land include an endless array of amazing natural phenomena, it also encompassed several handfuls of wineries & breweries. Nature + Alcohol = Mucho Bueno.
Bend – Imagine a warmer and less mountainous Aspen, take away the hordes of Lambourgini-driving, Samsonite-bag-carrying elitists, and instead throw in about 75,000 people obsessed with every possible form of exercise. And that would be Bend. We liked it. We liked it a lot.
Cascade Lakes – They were blue and cold. Please see photos for proof of blueness (coldness is much harder to depict visually).
Onto the pics: