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PHOTO GALLERY INDEX > If We Had To Settle Down Somewhere…

Portland, OR   08/12-16/08 (Day 669-673)
If We Had To Settle Down Somewhere…

…we could totally live in Portland, Oregon.

It’s gorgeous, outdoorsy, full of great culture and live music and even has fantastic coffee which we enjoy at Stumptown Coffee Roasters adjacent to the lobby of the ultra-hip (in a good way) Ace Hotel (thanks for the tip, Miss J).

The place also has the best farmer’s market we’ve ever seen—it’s like having a meal just walking through it. The bounty almost makes us sorry we’re staying in the Hotel Deluxe, a Golden Age of Hollywood (think Kate Hepburn, not Kate Hudson) inspired luxury boutique hotel, instead of in our Airstream where we could go nuts and (over) stock the kitchen.

We can’t resist the peaches (juice down to your elbow) and a great crusty loaf of fresh baked bread and we turn those purchases into a light breakfast for the next few days—and we require a light breakfast with all the great food we’re indulging in the rest of the day.

So many compelling new restaurants have opened recently in Portland, on top of all the great ones that already flourish in this foodie town. We can now personally vouch for DOC (24 seats of inventive Italian bliss), belly (pleasingly heavy on the pig) and a place called 50 Plates that offers up regional favorites from across the country (Cincinnati Style Chili, Buffalo Tamale Pie, Hot Brown from Louisville to name a few). 50 Plates even has an absolutely delicious cocktail called The Road Trip and we may have had more than one of them…

Portland's Classical Chinese Gardens
Portland's Classical Chinese Gardens is a suprising oasis right in downtown.

We’re also lucky to be in town during a visit by our friend Justin who’s from Portland and we meet up with him one night to go see the Robert Walter Trio featuring Johnny Vidacovich, one of our favorite drummers, for a show at a club called Doug Fir. In addition to a very comfortable little music venue, the Doug Fir runs an adjacent motel with a retro look but thoroughly modern attitude including a tremendously forward-thinking policy of discounted rates for check-ins after midnight.

While in town, we also get hooked up with access to the Columbia Sportswear employee store where we stock up smartly, exercising Herculean self-control in the face of shockingly good prices on gear from one of our favorite brands (thanks Leslie and Janis).

Not even an unusual heat wave, which makes Portland feel every bit as sticky and sweltering as August in Manhattan (our home town, if we must have one), can cool our enthusiasm for the place.

But none of our Portland fun would have been possible without Mike Rogers, Oregon Unit President of the Wally Byam Club 5452 who responded to our anxious post on Air Forums asking if anyone had any suggestions about a safe place to leave our Safari for a few nights while we ventured into Portland.

Within minutes of posting, Mike had offered us the covered concrete Airstream pad at his home just a few miles outside the city. He’d be taking his Airstream (a 25’ Safari with a gorgeous wooden table which this wood shop teacher made himself), out for a week of family fun leaving the pad available to us. We honestly can’t thank him enough.


Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument
Entering Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument with the
volcanic mountain itself in the background

When we (reluctantly) leave Portland, we head for Mount St. Helens Volcanic Monument. We’ve seen pictures of the place, both before and after the catastrophic eruption of May 1980, but nothing prepares us for the reality. A dramatic, sound effects-filled film shown in the Johnston Ridge Observatory Visitor Center (just 6 miles from the crater) informs us that smoke and gas from the eruption shot 80,000 feet into the air within 15 minutes and debris, including huge rocks, that spewed out of the crater created a massive landslide that traveled at 70-150 miles an hour and had enough force to twist and snap giant trees for more than 10 miles in its path.

Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument
View of Mount St. Helens from nearby Johnston Ridge with trees that were
snapped liked matchsticks when the mountain exploded in 1980.

Yeah, it feels like not-the-smartest-thing-we’ve-ever-done to be standing there gawking at the still-active volcano’s base.

Bigfoot Mount St Helens
Apparently Washington’s Cascade Mountains, and particularly the Mount St. Helens area, have a long history of Bigfoot sightings –but we’re pretty sure this one, right outside Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, doesn't count.



** This isn't a normal photo gallery with a slideshow because this post originally appeared on our Airstream blog. **

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