Monday, July 28, 2008

July 26-27 Oregon

After leaving Ashland in the afternoon we barreled up I-5 looking for a decent place to camp, passing nothing but places called "Lazy RV Village" and "RV Heaven". Expectations low, we pulled off the highway past Eugene and stumbled across Brownsville. Brownsville is a rare thing in the American West, a historic town void of kitsch. While driving up the California coast you are inundated with offers to buy a "Giant Redwood Indian" or stop by the "Trees of Mystery". This doesn't really detract from the majesty of the redwoods, and some might go as far as saying they add to the coast's charm, but I'd rather do without them. Brownsville is a real town with real people, celebrating their past while living in the day to day, without any attempts at self-marketing. We had a couple pints at the saloon, before camping by the river, next to two family reunions. Thankfully they gave us a little space.

The next morning we decided to sample some Oregon wines before making our way up to Portland. We took a wrong turn at Tangent, OR and stumbled across an antique car show. There were probably 300 people in the middle of nowhere, showing off their beauties while others were line-dancing and women were serving up a pancake breakfast. I (Nader) was excited by the photo opportunities.

Continuing on, we stopped at a couple Willamette Valley vineyards (now midday and a reasonable time to sample some wines) and tried the locals pinots. A much more laid back feel than either Napa or Sonoma. We had some award winning wines from Yamhill Valley Vineyard and the tasting room was in the owner's house.

Driving on, we arrived in Portland in time for a late lunch. Having only spent a few hours in Portland and only downtown on a Sunday, our impression of Portland was that it is decidedly bizarre. Within two minutes on one city block we passed a protest rally claiming the Environmental Protection Agency is corrupt, some Hari Krishnas ringing their bells, and overly pierced street kids with signs offering "Instant Karma". Walking through the park we stumbled upon a 30 person adult Alice in Wonderland party, everyone taking their characters very seriously, playing croquet with bowling balls and sledgehammers. We went to the open market and chatted with a cigarette smoking, guitar playing, jewelry maker who also happens to make hand-crafted bows and another guy who for a few bucks will make a ceramic representation of your face. I like Portland. It's kind of a smaller, weirder San Francisco.

A few more hours on the road and we were in Seattle, where Tim and Marnie have graciously let us take advantage of their beautiful home, while ironically, they're in San Francisco.


  1. Please tell me you have more pics of the line dancing!

  2. all the line dancing pics i took. just for you peter.

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  4. that tent looks dead sexy with its fly off.