Hello! Remember that time I went to Oregon? Yeah, I barely do either! It's taking me about twice as long to recap this vacation as it took the early settlers to haul across the continent with just a few sickly oxen to lead the way.
But like my pioneer heroes, I shall forge ahead in the face of great adversity (mild head cold.)
To the Pacific or BUST!
79 HOURS AND FIVE MINUTES IN PORTLAND, OR
WELCOME PIONEERS | 10:55 p.m.
Arrive at Portland International Airport, which you will later learn, thanks to a pack of Oregon trivia souvineir playing cards, was named the top domestic airport in a 2006 Conde Nast Traveller Magazine poll of business travellers. Very neat!
Shuttle it to your chalet for the evening, the La Quinta Airport Inn where, thanks to a booking error, you're upgraded to a suite that is literally larger than the apartment you live in, with two queen sized beds, two couches, two very huge flat screen televisions ... and one very small bottle of 2-in-1 Shampoo & Conditioner Blend.
FINALLY shower and pass out face down in the closer of the two beds, marvelling over how much you've done in one long, sweaty, flustery, day - was it just this morning you were at the Native American Museum? What time zone are you in now? How good was that wedge salad???
OH NUTS | 8 a.m.
Wake with the sun, because you're insane, check out and call an Uber to take you into downtown. Whilst you wait, spot the first of TWO food-mobiles you'll see on this trip, a Planters Nut Wagon.
Sure why not.
Have your Uber driver drop you in a random parking lot, pick up your waiting Zip Car and hit the town. This party's just getting started!
BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS | 9:30 a.m.
Portland is known for its vast and plentiful food and drink options and you've rolled in with a list of about 78 "must visit" establishments. You know there's no way you can hit them all...but oh, you'll try! First up: Pine State Biscuits in the hip Alberta Arts District. Order The Reggie Sandwich (fried chicken, gravy & cheese on a biscuit) while your husband opts for The Moneyball: a biscuit, topped with a huge slab of fried chicken, smothered in gravy annnnnd topped with a fried egg.
Clean your plates.
Wander up and down Alberta street, peeking into hip shops and marvelling at the amount of people aggressively brunching - cocktails and all! - on a Wednesday. Does no one in Portland work?!
PORTLAND AF | 12:00 - 2:00 p.m.
Cross the bridge into Portland's touristy Pearl District and visit PDX's two most recognizable hotspots....
Powell's City of Books: EVEN BETTER THAN YOU EVER COULD HAVE DREAMED!!!
Voodoo Doughnuts: MEH.
What's the deal with doughnuts? Why are they so trendy? They're not that great!
BEER ME | 3:00 p.m.
Find yourself once again killing time before picking up keys to an Airbnb - reazing this might be the fatal flaw of the whole Airbnb situation. Spend an hour or so sampling local microbrews at The Imperial Bottle Shop & Taproom.
Then pop over to one of Portland's legit super duper cool "Food Pods," organized groupings of food trucks parked year-round to create adorable outdoor eating spaces. Order a salad (lame!) because you think your body needs some greens...instantly regret it when you get a glimpse of your hubz' loaded ramen.
Fiyiyiynallly check into your Airbnb only to literally leap back in the car and head west, young men.
PACIFIC OR BUST | 5:00 - 8:00 p.m.
YOU HAVE TO GET TO THE COAST FOR THE SUNSET!! Maniacally drive 1.5 hours due west to the town of Astoria, OR, home to the famous and oft-photographhed Haystack Rock. The scenery surrounding you is beautiful - tall, piney trees, gold-hued farmland...but there's NO TIME to take in scenery! The sun could set at any moment!!
Begin to realize, for neither the first nor last time this vacation (and let's be real, your whole lives), that you two both need to learn how to fuckin' chill.
(Frantic drive totally worth it tho!)
I mean! If you' hadn't made the drive, you never would have seen this adult man dressed in FULL pirate regalia, standing in the freezing surf up to his waist, letting the waves crash upon his be-buccanneered torso.
Did the Booze Cruise follow you to the Pacific?!
Marvel in the majesty, hop back in the car, return to Portland, crash into bed.
WINGS -N- THINGS | 10 p.m.
JK y'all, the sun may set on the earth but it will never set on FUN! Your night is still young. Realize that A) it's been like, hours since you've eaten anything deep fried or consumed any liquor and B) the famed Thai hotspot Pok-Pok is literally across the street from your apartment so all signs are pointing towards late-night spicy wings and cocktails.
Ok, NOW crash into bed.
For real this time.
DO GO CHASING WATERFALLS | 7 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Sleep in. JK again!! Vacations are NOT the time to rest! Up, up, up and at 'em. It's hiking day! Grab coffees from Roman Candle Baking Co and several sandwiches from St. Honore Boulangerie and hit that road.
Park your car at Multnomah Falls Lodge next to the second snack mobile of the trip, the Oscar Mayer Weiner Mobile!!!!!!
Again, sure why not.
Now into the woods! Follow the admittedly VERY poorly marked 8-mile Wahkeena Falls Trail Loop towards Angels Rest Overlook. Pass a family blasting "Who Let The Dogs Out" on a boombox (normal), a group of stoned teens (actually normal) and a cute older couple with matching windbreakers, until you are basically the only people on the trail. Totally don't panic about being lost! You're calm at all times! Achieve bonus Crushing It At Nature Points by getting stung by a bee in the back of your knee.
Now you know where that phrase "Bees Knees" originated! (Ba dum, ping!)
Push through the peril, the view will be worth it.
Hike back down, passing half a dozen more waterfalls on your return, each one more gorgeous than the last.
But none more gorgeous than your pale bod gleaming in the sunlight as you bravely wade out into the frigid waters of a glacial swimmin' hole in your undies and soon to be ruined running shoes.
Swimmin' Hole Pro-Tips: Bring water shoes, the rocky ground is painful. Don't sweat it if you chicken out before getting all the way to the falls. DO make sure to train your video camera on your wife as she's scampering out of the freezing pool because you "know she's going to fall and it will be hilarious." (SUCK IT HUSBAND I DIDN'T FALL!!) (Well, I mean, I feel earlier but not this particular time so ha! Not on camera. Boom.)
Haul it back home for a much deserved nap. But only a short one! There's no crying in baseball and no relaxing EVER in your household.
PAINT THE TOWN (PINOT) NOIR | 7:00 - 11:00 p.m.
Bundle up (Portland gets legit breezy in the evenings, even in August!) and take in the best of the hip Clinton/Division neighborhood, where your rental is located. First up: a tasting of local wines (and some bacon wrapped, cheese stuffed dates, YOM) at the Southeast Wine Collective. Then pop over to newish hotspot Ava Gene's, put your name on the long wait list for dinner, and kill your wait on the front porch of the a-dorable Hedge House across the street. It's a former home turned into a restaurant, with the bar in the old dining room, booths in the living room and cozy rockers right on the front porch.
Portland, you charmer you.
Then mosey back to Ava Gene's where, luck of luck, the only seat available is at the vibrant chef's counter. Spend the evening sipping yummy Oregon Pinot Noir, devouring locally sourced salads and home made pastas while watching the hustle and bustle of (v v cute) chefs turning out dinner orders.
A true must-visit!
SLEEP IN! | Nighttime - like, 10:00 a.m.!
No for real, sleep in today!
BLOODY GOOD | 11:00 a.m.
(Hot babe not included.)
Meander around Hawthorne, popping into cute vintage shops, bookstores and boutiques. Stop into Blue Star Donuts, order a blueberry bourbon basil and a lemon poppyseed and proceed to question everything you thought you knew - and hated! - about donuts. Is it possible you actually...like doughnuts?! (Also proceed to question why you keep spelling it differently every time you type it. Do-nu-t-gh-tnuts!)
BUILT TO SPILL | 2:00 p.m.
Journey back to the Pearl District to spend the rest of the afternoon doing what you do best, playing cards and sipping craft beers at 10 Barrel Brewery.
While there, enjoy a visit from an old pal who now calls PDX home.
Catch up. Spill your beer on yourself. Leave.
LARD-OHHHH | 5:00 p.m.
Soak up that beer with a DELICIOUS pork meatball banh-mi from Lardo and a side of dirty fries, a dish that will blow all other fries - and possibly foods as a whole - out of the water forever. Crispy, salty hand-cut fries topped with zesty melted parmesean, bright fresh herbs, chewy bacon bits and tart, crunchy pickled peppers. Break your 36-hours writer character to say OH HOLY SHIT YOU GUYS THESE FRIES!!!!!!!!
Grab one more drink at a nearby bar, forget the name of the establishment but DO remember that the bartender spilled a drink on you bringing your tally to TWO drinks poured on yourself (and your Keely!) that day.
But only one that was your fault, so, win!
THE BIG CHILL | 8:00 p.m - 11:00 p.m.
Go home. Take a nap. Uber up to the Alberta Arts district, wander around, stumble into a cute bar, play funny trivia games, eat vegan chick pea fries, guzzle moscow mules, learn a new two person card game, realize you're finally, at last, really, truly, totally relaxed...just in time for vacation to be over.
COAST TO COAST | 6:00 a.m.
And back east you go. Watch the sun rise through the clouds as you fly over the Rockies, equal parts sad the adventure is over and happy to be headed home.
This trip was truly fun and gorgeous and in many ways a grand adventure, but it was also exhausting and often stressful, due as much to our own neurosis as our packed schedule. We joked around a lot about marriage suddenly getting hard in the second year but I really do think we learned a surprising amount about ourselves and each other and what we need to successfully travel and co-exist as a unit. I won't get into that here because this post is long enough, for sure, but juuuust keeping it a little real. LIfe is not always all fried chicken and piney trees! Sometimes it's a bit of a mess.
But I still love it all.
Ok now the end for REAL.
Thanks for reading along! I know this was longer than long but I DO hope it was more enjoyable than getting stuck in a mountain pass and having to eat all of your frozen loved ones, Donner Style.
When you start making bad canabilism jokes, it's time to shut it down.
Liz Hott, Over & Out.