Jukeboxparables

WT2010 – USA – Day 22/23 – Portland, OR (Through rose coloured glasses)

Posted in Travels by jukeboxparables on April 2, 2010

WT2010 – U.S.A
Day 22/23 – Portland
[On the iPOD] Comet Gain / Yacht

Wow, what a busy two days. I was feeling pretty lazy in the morning so didn’t get going until almost 12 (which is fine because a lot of stores in Portland don’t open till 11am, they’re apparently not morning people just like myself) I missed breakky so decided to get lunch and wandered across a place called “Red Robin” which is basically a cross between outback steakhouse and burger king. It has ‘to be seated’ service like a proper restaurant and makes gourmet burgers. It’s pretty much like burger kings big posh brother. They cook the burgers as you order them and have an array of toppings and stuff. It was fairly good. So with energy to meet the day I headed off and decided to explore East Burnside Ave. Which is the ‘truer’ Portland that is; more Suburbia than Inner city new urban buildings. Vintage clothing, Art Supplies, Comic Store, Coffee Shops, Home-made clothing labels. You’ll find all this on Burnside Ave amongst peoples houses though, its fairly spread out and you have to walk a bit.

I was wandering kind of aimlessly in and out of places with intent to find a music store right up the other end. I walked into a store that I’d later find out is pretty popular here called wholefoods where it’s basically a mini supermarket based all on organic produce, they actually have a cafe where you can eat your food within the store. Free WIFI too.

Eventually found the music store after a long wander but nothing of interest that I didn’t already own in their used section. Prices for new albums were moderately okay ($15ish) But still too much to go on a shopping spree for.

I headed back the direction I came and wandered into an underground Comic store (literally) that had boxes and boxes of comics and graphic novels and the like. The store keeper was really helpful telling me about anything and everything but I was just browsing. I later listened to him and a friend/customer rant on about things like something out of Kevin Smith movie. Pretty funny

I then really didn’t have a goal because when I got back outside it started to rain again, total bummer. I was thinking of heading back to my hotel heaps early for the first time on this entire trip! But I wandered past a coffee/tea house and then for some reason decided to walk backwards towards it and inside. Something to eat/drink to recharge a bit.

I got to talking to a local by the name of Noelle in there about Portland and certain Issues, she was working intently on her macbook so naturally I had to find out what about. It turns out she’s investigating Improper imprisonment of people on a case by case basis completely on her own time to try and shine some light on things and perhaps set things right and see justice done. It made me feel kind of selfish, my wandering about the world totally absorbed in all things me and heres someone actually doing some good.

Anyway we got to talking music and other things and next thing I knew I was riding in her trusty volvo on the way to meet her friends at a bowling alley. The entire gang were totally rad people and I petty much got a tour of Portland the rest of the day and night including a bar and some local brews to a place called “Voodoo Doughnuts” It’s a place I took a photo of on my first days wanderings (there was a queue outside) but I didn’t go in. Noelle’s good friend Clint explained their an uber dingy doughnut place that is so bad it’s good. Think BACON on a glazed donut. The place they took me too had a queue at like 9pm at night and they were playing oldschool thrash metal full blast in there whilst waiting to get served. Awesome (in a funny kind of way) Checkout the photos, It’s the ultimate late night diabetes-inducing-snack. I piked out on finishing my second doughnut though. I couldnt do it. I’ll try the bacon one next time I promise (with photos)

Oh I actually won one game of bowling, which was pretty surprising I normally gutter a lot. Anyway we finished the night chilling with beers watching the Portland Blazers totally school NY. It was pretty entertaining.

I started thursday with a sugar hangover. Ugh. Today was a warm day with no rain forecast so I decided to head to Forest Park. But first it was lunch. Portland has great restaurants but apart from those, another thing loved by the locals are certain areas within the city that have ‘trailer-style’ food service. There will be a carpark area and a line of trailer restaurants. Now I know what your thinking (In Australia this is associated with dodgy food) but do you really think they’d get away with serving bad food with the amount of good restaurants around?

I went for a trailer/stall called Nong’s Khao Man Gai and ordered the Chicken and Rice (Chicken is from a local farm) and then dodged the people lining up for their share at all the other stalls. You’ll find every nationality represented in one area or another. Thai, Italian, German, Chinese, Japanese and I even spotted a Czech one called Tabor. I’ll try that one another day, apparently it’s great. Anyway I wanted to head to forest park pretty quick cause the food was hot.

As it turns out the park entrance I was aiming for was only 3km away. So I was there in less than 5min and parked on a bench at the entrance digging into the most amazing chicken/rice I’ve ever had anywhere. I love Thai food but have never had anything as good as that.

I should explain at this point that Forest Park isn’t a regular park but more a ‘National Forest’ type park in that it has 100’s of different trails and different entry points and spread acres and acres. Some are opened to bikes and pedestrians, others just pedestrians. I wasn’t knowing what to expect but soon I was following a river upstream and just totally surrounded by green old growth forest.

The photos speak for themselves. For all you Twilight fanatics this is the style of forest they shot the movies in. I walked on and on finding lots of hikers along the way. You’d see HUGE trees crashed across the path but parks services had been in with huge chainsaws and cut them open so you could still use the path it made for great photo opportunities, these massive trees cut open exposing ring-growth and sometimes hanging suspended over water as make-shift natural bridges.

I eventually stumbled onto something unexpected. An old stone hut on the forest trail. It looked about 100 years old or so. No timber left. You could walk up the stairs and inside. I then noticed a ‘downstairs’ entrance that was near pitch black inside. I wandered in and then out and then thought there is missing space. A hidden basement? No as it turns out in the dark area they’d bricked up the room (with modern bricks) probably to stop homeless people from living in there. There was also a map of the area and surrounding hiking trails. I’d walked close to 2km I’d say but this was just a small fraction of the park, it was amazing. It would take you weeks and weeks to explore it all I think. I headed back down towards civilisation.

Next I drove to Portland’s International Rose Test Garden. Mostly because I’ve heard it’s the best spot for photos of the distant Mt Hood (An 11,240ft peak making it the tallest in Oregon) It’s actually volcanic and is apparently the most likely volcanic mountain in Oregon to erupt. I caught a glimpse of it in town (just the very peak) in the sun and it looked awesome. Unfortunately the clouds had completely covered it up in the distance. It’s also too early for the Roses. This garden was established during WW1 as a sanctuary because it was believes the war would destroy many species of rose, since then it has accumulated over 7,000 different species. It must be some sight to see when they’re in bloom. They looked to be a few weeks off though. I’ll hopefully stop back through here either before I leave or on the way back down (I want that shot of Mt Hood!) even though I don’t have a good enough zoom lens.

Next I drove back into town for dinner at a bar/restaurant and again tried a different local brew. Then walked to a store by the name of “Compound” which had a bunch of cool art and design toys, art and clothing. Inspired a bit by Japan I think, but the local work on show was really good. I didn’t buy anything though. Nowhere to put it!

I’d heard about a ‘local’ 3D Museum. A private small one but I thought I’d check it out anyway. It was really interesting. On show were a range of ‘Viewmasters’ (remember those things you’d play with as a kid, the red goggles you’d put wheels in and spin them to see 3D images?) It turns out the guy who invented them was from Portland. The lady who ran the museum was very knowledgeable in ALL things 3D. A total buff. Apparently the man who invented the Viewmaster intended it as a serious scientific tool and spent a years with an anatomist dissecting specimens and taking stereo-photos. In the end it ended up as a cheap toy for kids!

I overheard a man enquire about how 3D stereo-photos that were hung on the wall that we were using a large custom made box to view worked. Basically if you looked at the photo it looked like a regular arty hung photo but there were 2 identical ones side by side (or so it seems) but they’re actually taken by two cameras a certain distance apart and when you use this box to view them (a box with mirrors in it that widens your point of view) you end up looking at this regular photo on the wall in amazing 3D; everything foreground is leaping at you. Remember I’m not talking an image that is blue/red overlaid. It was a regular photo.

Apparently you can do it at home; from memory the ratio of distance between the cameras is 1/30th to that of your subject. So if your aimed at a flower 30inches away, your cameras should be 1inch apart (centre focus point of lens that is) Then you just hang them side by side and buy this viewing tool online or make your own (its 4 mirrors, very easy) One photo was of a fountain, you could see individual splashes of water in the foreground. It was pretty enthralling. The Museum had a 3D movie showing and a bunch of Viewmasters and other 3D stuff for sale. It’s pretty good value.

Oh also the address of the Museum is on ‘Lovejoy’ Ave (ring a bell?) (Reverend Lovejoy) one of the gang from yesterday told me that a lot of the characters from The Simpsons are named after places in Portland (Matt Groening, the creator of The Simpsons is from Portland) You’ll also find Flanders Ave as well. The Nuclear power plant is based on one that was once powering Portland (it was knocked down years ago) It had cooling towers and everything. Springfield is a city in Oregon!

A long non-stop day. Hopefully the weather holds out tonight for night photography and hopefully seeing a good band or two. Photos below!

CHECK OUT MORE AT FLICKR

CHECK OUT MORE AT FLICKR

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