Surprise, Surprise – Portland, Oregon

With our official “Year of Travel” anniversary having passed in July 2013, we had a lot of catching up back home to do.  August was a tremendous month where we were able to spend time with friends and family.  We even attended, and I was able to take part in, a fabulous wedding over Labor Day weekend.   Our month at home certainly wasn’t all fun and games though – we also got to catch up on all the mundane things we had tried to leave behind us, like car inspections, oil changes, and driver’s license renewals.  And we dealt with all kinds of problems with our rental units including broken air conditioners, broken heaters, water leaks and chimney repairs.

Now why, oh why, you might ask, would we want to leave such fun things behind to get our travel groove on for one last disco?  It’s a tough question to answer, and yet here we are – across the country – in Portland.  It’s the first stop in a series of two months of surprise travel planned by me for Elliott.  For this little jaunt, we’re just tourists – with our friend Junior and our guide John Daddy.  And what a wonderful week it has been…

We started out in downtown Portland, in Old Town.  We visited the Oregon Leather Company, where Elliott sported many animals, I mean, hats.  As we walked around the town we noted lots of cool architecture, fountains, and painted cast iron buildings that could have easily passed for stone.  Apparently the cast iron building thing was a pretty big deal around here.

We stopped for lunch at a collection of trucks which I would normally identify as grease trucks.  The problem with that is, this is Portland, and people here are way too healthy for grease trucks.  This town is a hipsters’ paradise with plenty of organic food, recycling, mustaches, bicycles, coffee joints, vintage clothing stores and ironic T-shirts for everyone.  I enjoyed something new for me – salad rolls – which actually taste much better than they sound.  They are made of rice, shrimp and pork, and wrapped like a sushi roll in rice paper.  Yummy!  And healthy!

We checked out Powell’s Books, a book store so big that they have free maps with color coded rooms!  Elliott and I loved the Rare Book Collection, where I quickly scouted out the most expensive book in the room.  It was a copy of Lewis & Clark’s Expeditions, for the bargain price of $25,000.00!  And that’s not even the most expensive copy – there’s a copy that is selling for $325,000.00 somewhere nearby!

The best part of the day was definitely Voodoo Doughnuts.  I got a doughnut with white icing and miniature M&Ms on it.  Someone had one with bacon on it.  And we all shared a huge glazed fritter loaded with cream cheese icing on top!  Carlos enjoyed some of each of them.  With all the doughnut calories in us, it was a good thing John Daddy led us to the river for an after gorging walk.

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