Oregon: Hippies, Yetis and so much more.

In Portland we were invited to stay with a friend of mine, Terra, from Gainesville, who moved back to with her husband Portland to be closer to her family after having kids. We explored downtown Portland first; Ben had been once before on a work trip to Portland State University so he showed me around the campus area. One thing we learned quickly was that they have a very large biking lane between the curb and the parked cars – we nearly parked incorrectly but fortunately someone noticed our out of state tags and set us straight. We went on a hunt for a farmers market but after walking in circles and not having any luck with Google Maps we decided that we should throw in the towel and make other plans for our afternoon. On our way back to the car we passed a very full city block of food trucks that smelled absolutely amazing - ranging from Ethiopian to Soul Food and back again. Terra and Stephan live in the Alberta Arts district. Knowing them, it was likely a fun, unique part of town, so we headed there to get some lunch.
Portland the city of roses
Right away I felt like I was in an episode of Portlandia, but in a good way… kind of. I think my hanger had gotten the best of me and I was probably not Mary Sunshine, and not surprising, in return people were not Mary Sunshine to me. We got some pizza at Bella Faccia which was good, but probably our least favorite meal in Portland - only because we had some pretty amazing food. It would be safe to say that we ate our way through Portland and enjoyed every second of it. After pizza we went to check out The Mash Tun Brewery and enjoyed a flight of beers while talking to a bartender - because who else knows a town better than them? She had been in Portland for eight years and pointed us toward a few galleries to check out as well as Salt and Straw, voted the best ice cream in the country by Buzzfeed. They have flights of ice cream that you can get if you can't make up your mind about just one flavor. 
Salt and Straw Ice Cream
Quirky art around town
There was also a tiny house hotel down the street that we had wanted to check out, so after our beer tasting we headed over to check it out. It looked delightful! There were five or so on the property - each one different, each one unique. On our way back we couldn't resist and even though we weren't hungry we stopped into Salt and Straw for an ice cream to share. We settled on the Coconut with Petunia's Salted Caramel Bars in a waffle cone. It was amazing, so amazing... It was Vegan and Gluten Free and 1000% delicious. That afternoon our dear friends Kendra and Justin (from Denver) sent us to have dinner on them at Bollywood Theater, so of course we graciously accepted and ate everything that was recommended via the Chef's Feed app. That dinner included the fried okra, Dahi Papri Chaat, Goan Style Shrimp, Vada Pav (because Ben loves burgers no matter the form), and finally the Kati Roll with chicken. We washed it down with two Kingfisher Beers and we were in a good place. That Kati Roll was our favorite…mmmm, ya that was delicious. The majority of the rest of our time in Portland was also spent eating, I convinced Ben we should most definitely eat at Pine State Biscuits, so we did that for a late lunch the following day. We shared a Reggie Deluxe (fried chicken, bacon, cheese, & egg - topped with sausage gravy) and a McIsley (fried chicken, grainy mustard and honey) both were delightful.
Dahi Papri Chaat from Bollywood Theater
Our Indian street food feast
Chicken Kati Roll... mmmmm....
Half of our Pine State Biscuits  (we forgot to take a picture earlier)
That night Terra suggested that we go check out the rose garden. After all, Portland is the City of Roses. It was amazing! Thousands of award winning roses that smelled like roses; not like the ones you get at a florist that look pretty but don't smell. We spent quite some time enjoying them. I asked Terra if she ever missed Gainesville, to which she promptly replied… No. I asked, "Not even things like Wards?" Still the answer was no, because they had something better then Wards, a grocery store called New Seasons Market. On our way back to Terra's that night we stopped by to grab a light dinner and to check the place out. It was amazing too! It was like a Spouts Market, Wards and Whole Foods rolled into one. Ben and I have decided that the next place we live needs to have a great, preferably locally sourced, grocery store.
A section of the test rose garden
I took this one for my mom, her favorite color is yellow.
Rose archway lining the path
This section is just a fraction of what was there
Portland is a very green city. They have curbside recycling and compost pick up every week, but trash pickup only every other week to encourage you to think about what you throw away. On top of the city trashcans they have holes for putting bottles and cups so they can be recycled. Portland really appealed to the inner hippie in me, and if it weren't so far away from all of our family, it would be pretty high on our list of places to move.

We left Portland the next morning but not before indulging in an egg sandwich AND donuts from Tonalli's Donuts & Cream. I've never had Voodoo Donuts because I'm not interested in a 45 minute wait for a fried piece of dough, but man I dare say that the Tonalli's Donuts were the best I have ever had. 

On our way out we took a spin through the Columbia River Gorge and stopped to see Multnomah Falls - the second tallest waterfall in the country. The falls were pretty spectacular. There was a story about how a wedding party was on the bridge having photos taken when a rock fell off of the top of the falls and splashed the entire party – which would likely make for amazing pictures. After that, we headed through Hood River and thought we'd stop for a beer (are you noticing a theme here?) but I missed the exit and probably all the same because IPA beers aren't really my favorite.
The view from the Columbia River Gorge
The Vista House at Crown Point
Inside the Vista House
Random beautiful flowers in the bathroom at the Vista House
Multnomah Falls
Lower Falls
The rock that disrupted the wedding pictures 
Looking down from the bridge
Terra recommended that we go through Bend, OR instead of Eugene, plus our friends from Fore Street had recommended a brewery in Bend right near the river so that's what we did. Bend was a great town with a charming downtown and lovely green spaces. Lots of people recreating on the river, biking, running etc. We found our way to 10 Barrel Brew Pub which was a pizza/burger type place. I loved its style; nice and industrial with polished concrete floors, exposed wood, stainless steel table tops and large doors that opened to the patio to let that fresh Oregon air in. We had a flight of beers and some delightful Gorgonzola steak nachos consisting of house made kettle cooked potato chips topped with steak, bacon, Gorgonzola, Gruyere, green onions and a b├ęchamel sauce. They were pretty over the top delicious and if you are looking for a super bowl party idea that's a pretty good one.
Steak and Gorgonzola Nachos

After that we headed to the Deschutes National Forest in search our third dispersed campsite destination. We had one area that we targeting, but the lake it was on was all dried up so we kept driving until we found another area on the Deschutes River. It was tucked back off the road a ways. We could see a house off in the distance but the real winner was that there was LTE... glorious, so, so glorious! 
Our view of the river.
Our campsite
We set up camp, had a little something to eat, washed up in our wash basin and rolled into bed around 8:30pm (per the usual). Fifteen minutes later, when we are not quite asleep, we heard a very tall creature rather close to our tent. It was walking very slowly and I couldn't tell if Ben heard it too, so I rolled over in my sleeping bag hoping that if was a deer it would get spooked and run away. It stopped but doesn't run. Thankfully Ben was awake, and he quietly reached over to the keys in the side pocket of the tent and clicked the lock button which re-locked the car door and flashed the lights; it ran off. We're still not sure what it was, deer, elk, moose... all are pretty likely possibilities. 

Later that same night I awoke to hear something else, something larger with a soft foot, not hoofed like the last one. I'm a pretty sound sleeper so it was weird to be woken up in the middle of the night like that. I laid in bed listening as it walked slowly, and close enough that I was scared. The nylon walls of the tent distort noise in a funny way, amplifying things you might not hear otherwise, but I knew that this was closer then I was comfortable. I again wondered if Ben was awake. The moon was not bright that night so there was very little light. I heard the creature get a little further away then I heard Ben reach for keys again. Again he re-locked the doors and flashed the lights, then armed the alarm to beep the horn. The creature paused but did not run. I waited, taking breaths as quietly as I could, repeating the prayer for protection in my head over and over. We finally heard guest number two head down the bank of the river and away from our camp. I laid awake for a while after that waiting for my heartbeat to slow back down. The next morning we peeked out of the breeze area and saw four or five deer having breakfast. We got up to look for footprints of our second visitor but with no luck. Most of the ground was covered in pine needles not leaving much soil for very good tracks. If I had to guess I would think it was a bear, likely heading down to the river for some water, but who really knows? Perhaps it was a Yeti? Regardless, we decided that we should pack up and get on to Crater Lake National Park.

We arrived at Crater Lake pretty early in the day as we wasted no time leaving the Deschutes River Campsite - we even skipped coffee. Crater Lake is actually a volcano in which the top collapsed after an explosion and has become filled with water over time. The water was amazingly blue, there was one part where one could hike down and take a swim, but it was a little chilly that morning so we skipped that. We had a picnic brunch at one of the overlooks with a fairly typical meal consisting of avocado toast topped with feta and coffee with butter for some extra calories. There was a little fairly young deer that popped out of the woods when we were having breakfast. He was startled and popped right back into the woods. Crater Lake was the first place we noticed this neon green moss on the trees. We also saw it all over Northern California, but to us it was strikingly beautiful especially with the background of the rich blue lake. We checked out the lodge at the park as well, thought about doing a hike, but ultimately decided to head out to Mount Shasta, California, to relax for a few days.
Crater Lake with you can see the observation deck over to the left in the trees.
The blueness of the water is due to the depth, 1946 feet at the deepest point, and clarity of the lake. 
Ben on the deck of the Crater Lake lodge.
Phantom Ship Rocks off in the distance. Neon green moss in the foreground.  





Popular Posts