Today felt more like when I’m traveling in another country than a road trip. I went full on tourist mode in Portland and was treated to some local love and a home cooked meal.
Portland is everything you heard it is. Williamsburg eat your heart out. I think the Portlandia has blown up the City of Roses’ spot, but something tells me nothing will change. I <heart> Brooklyn, but here in Portland I feel like they’ve been quietly living life the way it should be long before it was hip, and after the spotlight moves on I’d bet they continue to do it their way unbeknownst to us until, years later, it becomes “the next cool thing”. All hipster, DIY and “going green” talk aside, the city itself is beautiful. As I said before the approach from the east is stunning, and once you’re downtown its got everything I love. Old, mining era buildings, stunning natural beauty hugging the outskirts, cozy food-centric scene.
I only had one day, so I hit up the quintessential Portland spots. Started the day at the Ace Hotel for some Stumptown coffee, checked out the labyrinthian Powell Books, ate at a food truck, wandered the hilly streets.
My uncle, Dan DuFord, is a local artist and it was cool to see some of his public pieces. On NW 5th and 6th between Burnside and Glisan he has a series of installations about the legend of “Portland’s Green Man”. Its a throwback to his graphic novel roots, and I was stoked on the fact that he has left a permanent mark on his great city. As I told him, I would be happy to leave my initials in fresh concrete in a city I love, but to install an enduring artistic accent to a city must be exciting.
Uncle Dan and his wife Tracy invited me to their house for dinner. It is an artists’ utopia, hand re-made in a neighborhood thats since been gentrified, but was rough around the edges when they moved in 13 years ago. The place is my dream. A blood, sweat and tears labor of love that today is covered, wall to wall, with original art. Their studio is out back, nestled in a graveled backyard. Complete with BBQ, garden, patio and more art. They graciously made me a perfect Portland dinner with Copper river salmon, homemade flat bread, homemade pickled tomatoes and a Washington apple/goat cheese salad. All accompanied with a parade of exquisite local beers. Great conversation, great food, everything that makes life lovely.
After dinner I figured I might as well drive for a bit to take some miles off the ticker. Not sure what is next. A myriad of beer nerd opportunities lie all around me….which sucks because beer brewery tours and driving 1000+ miles don’t mix. I think I’ll go the wholesome, “natural beauty” route. I’m worked, and getting the feeling that Irie isn’t into this whole adventure thing anymore(she is 77 in human years now…), so I’ll pick my battles and probably high tail it south to SD. Big Sur is on the must see list, but google says I’m 17 hours away, so could be in La Jolla by Sunday night. We shall see.