Every one whose been to Portland, loves Portland. I've yet to meet a Portland disclaimer. This would be my umpteenth visit. I'm always passing through and rarely stay. Much younger it was on the route between Vancouver Canada and San Francisco, two cities I'd live in. Last year I'd ride down on my Harley Electraglide coming up the Gorge before circling back to Canada.
A few years back it was the location of a medical conference I attendeded. I was there a week. The Oregon people who put on the conference were the finest. I sailed down the coast of Oregon a couple of times so have met my share of Oregonians I've admired. Always bright. Something about the area begets intelligence. A lot of ruggedness. More apparently immune to the flakeyness on the west coast than Californians and British Columbians. Too much pot though. I encountered that this trip and noticed it other times. The weazel dozy quality, clever but limitted feeling I get around chronic users. Pleasant enough people but really monetary. I remember growers with shot guns. Marijuania fields in back woods.
This day it was the grunge in the old district. Kind of eco hippies. Makes me wonder if peace was as important to me in my own youth as apparently free sex and pot. Loose women and loose lips. Strays the lot of us. Escapees from suburbia. Mixing our affluence and decadence with the predators and dangers. Domestic dogs gets loose.
Laura had never been to Portland. She made the plane jump from Vancouver Canada to LA to go to Disneyland. She didn't like the drinking in the Old District. A part of me identified with the chaos and wild. I lit up just a bit and wanted to wade in. Overaged and plump. I'd have been silly. Glad to be sober. But I saw her reaction. Not wanting to be in the danger amongst the regressed. Animal howls came out the street pub. People drinking all day. There was the Salvation Army and the Union Gospel. Then it dawned on me. This was just the downtown eastside a little upscale.
I was glad to drive on to Rose and Pearl. Nice upscale becoming districts of a city, reclaimed warehouse past. I'd driven my Harley here last time, remembered cruising all around this district, riding up and down streets, just looking. Feeling the slight anxiety the yuppies project on bikers. Even one a lone. A different kind of wild. Upscale and dangerous.
Today I was driving the new Mazda MX5 miata with the cute blond and the cockapoo. I lacked a surf board but the image represented a 60 year old source of power. Not the mercedes kind that hides the owner inside. But the sportscar type that suggests a certain freedom and yet suggests accomplishment. It's a long time since I back packed and hitch hiked across Canada and the States but you think an old guy in a sports car might have done that where as an old guy in a mercedes probably wouldn't have. That's what people think anyway. I know better.
Laura and I couldn't help but compare Pearl to a kind of Yaletown Kitsilano area. Portland is much bigger though. There's more streets. I love the rows and rows of outdoor cafes. There's a lot of European flavour. Something about it makes it seem more established than Seattle. Something about the bricks. The buildings aren't sky scrapers but little half Chicago structures. As squat sort of place. Lots of Rivers and bridges.
We parked the car on the street and walked to Portland luggage. I've been looking for just the right over the shoulder bag for these weekend jaunts. The one I'm using, a nautical semi waterproof one from my sailboat is just fine. But it's blue and grey and heavy. I don't need such substance. I want some thing lighter and black. Then my laptop case was heavy leather for carrying on the motorcycle. Again I don't need one so heavy. We took Gilbert with us. Looked at bags. Handsome men and beautiful saleswoman. Everyone helpful. I so wanted to find the right bag. Almost did. Wrong colour. We walked on. Laura didn't really want anything. I thought I should get her something from Portland. Evidence shed' been. Leaving her with Gilbert outside I nipped into Nordstroms and saw the shoes she'd once before wanted and couldn't find her size. Bought them. She was delighted. Changed on the street. Gilbert as excited. He's excited any time. Enthusiastic over Laura who was gushing about the shoes. I remembered the last time I was here. The help I got at Digital Camera. I pointed out the lingerie store I'd bought Laura a night gown at. "I still wear that, ' she said.
Then it was sitting outside drinking coffee, Gilbert lying under the stable. We were watching people go by. Lots of eye candy. Real variety of clothing. Different from Vancouver. Same and yet different. More diversity. More white too. Gilbert was looking at dogs. Less terriers. More labradors.
We had to be back in Vancouver the next day. I didn't look forward to the long day of driving. Figured I'd drive back for a couple of hours now. I was tired but would rather have less the next day. With coffee perked up. Back in the car I programmed the GPS for a Best Western near Toledo. I like the lodging feature on the Garmin Nuvi. Alternating Blue Colar Comedy with the symphony channel and country rock we drove up to Best Western Parkplace Inn and Suites in Chehalis. We got a great meal from Kit Carsons down the street and watched several episodes in a row of NCIS. Gilbert slept on the bed between us.
Easy drive home today. I've already walked Gilbert. Just need to shower and shave. Laura will want a bath. Now I'll go down the hall and get us some of the continental breakfast.
Last night my face was a little sun burned from riding with the hood down. Road trip in the miata nearly as much fun as on the Harley but different.