Monday, July 11, 2011

Mikey, this isn't the kind of place you wanna go to the bathroom...We begin in Oregon

I hope that most of you reading that title will think of one of the greatest cult classics that has ever graced the big screen. Yep! You guessed it... GOONIES!

I felt it appropriate to begin my report of my recent vacation to the Northwestern United States with a Goonies shout out. It makes sense in my mind.

A couple months ago... I thought to myself I thought SELF! You've been to some pretty decent international destinations: England, Scotland, France, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and the land of endless guacamole and mariachi bands, Mexico. One should travel. Always travel. Not just to see this or consider that; but to change and grow and appreciate and eat, eat, eat. I think one of the greatest lessons I relearn every time I've gone out of the country is first, an appreciation for diverse cultures and customs, but second, how much I love my little Salt Lake City, Utah. It's true! Home is where the heart is - and my heart is in Salt Lake City.


After thinking of the international destinations that have been my great opportunity to visit, I thought how much I've not seen right here in the old US of A! How can I say I've seen the capitol of Vietnam, Thailand, France, Cambodia, and Scotland and NOT the capitol of my very own country? In fact, as far as travel within the US is concerned, I've mainly been limited to such destinations as Colorado, Vegas, Arizona, Wyoming, and California. Yep. I've not even stepped foot in Idaho! IDAHO! I mean SURE Idaho doesn't have such things as Stonehenge or the Eiffel Tower, but I'm sure it has... like... stuff! Stuff worth seeing!

Thus I made a goal this year to shelf the international aspirations for awhile and check out my own, very vast, very unique, proverbial backyard.

You all remember my trip to Charleston, South Carolina the first of May. This was as far "east" as I've ever been - and I developed a soft spot in my heart for all things fried and muggy. I also appreciate the Southern hospitality so natural to the good folks in those south easterly states. It's probably the only place where I don't feel 100 years old being referred to as "ma'am" or "miss."

Thus, I added to my US traveling repertoire this month by planning a 6 day venture to the Northwest; Oregon and Washington respectively. Why? WELL WHY NOT! EH!??! Psh. And also because I've only heard sincerely wonderful and happy things about the area... the whole area... from a multiple "types" of people: outdoor enthusiasts to city dwellers, from hard core rockers to granola popping hippies. It seems the Northwest has a little something for everyone.

And I discovered that was truly the case.

Portland. Lets talk about Portland. Commonly referred to as one of the best (if not the best planned city in America), Portland was in a word, delicious. Nay, beautifully delicious. The greatest thing I will remember about Portland is the food food FOOD! And to remember a place for its food is to write it upon your own SOUL. You know I speak the truth. Thus, lets talk about food

First, Meagan and I ate at the Food Carts. Yes. Portland has these well-known ghetto fabulous food carts parked at random areas across the downtown area supplying any manner of delectable deliciousness from Turkish wraps (which we had), to Tibetan jasmine rice and Korean Pho. And it may have been the fact we hadn't eaten since that morning before boarding our plane; but I will forever remember the Turkish Gyro Style Wrap and sauce I ate that first meal in Portland. If you go to Portland, dear friends, eat from a food cart. Eat from a couple of them.

Then naturally we had to find dessert via the nationally well-known Voodoo Doughnuts. Make note, they only take cash. Archaic maybe. But you'll take a look and then ceremoniously a taste of these quirky doughnuts and begin carrying cash in your wallet again. It's that worth it.

  Other honorable mentions must go to the Grilled Cheese Grill on Wheels. The unique atmosphere is as enjoyable as its grilled cheese sandwich options and juice boxes. Lunch on a bus! And why not? Find this and eat. We actually ran into their second location en route to the greatest sushi place I've ever eaten - except this lunch on a bus was double decker British style. Pip!

Finally, Bamboo Sushi. Perhaps being from a severely landlocked state has created lower expectations for good sushi. I like sushi places in Utah, but turns out when you visit a state that actually boasts an ocean front, the fish is a little bit (and by a little bit I mean A LOT) better. And surprise of surprises, when you eat at Bamboo Sushi in Portland (and you damn well better!) GET the bread pudding. I know I know, if you're feeling sushi then it's likely you're not feeling bread pudding. But get it anyway - and ask for an extra smackrel of the sauce on the side. I literally lapped it up with my finger. I like to keep it classy.

Food aside... but only just... We also wandered around the Japanese Gardens, the Rose Gardens, and Powell Books, aka, the City of Books. Let me tell you about my sensory overload in that store. 3 hours combing through travel, cooking, poetry, history, politics... and I had to literally exit the store in a happy delirious panic when I finally attempted to tackle Fiction. I couldn't do it I tell you! I wasn't mentally prepared for such a magnitude of the written word. So we quickly pulled ourselves together, bought some MORE books, and sensibly made a run for it before Fiction completely devoured us. We barely made it out with our lives I tell you!

Portland being a fantastic experience for two days - day 3 began with a drive to Canon Beach and Astoria.

Here is my advice

Spend the majority of the day in Canon Beach. Nay, spend the WHOLE day at Canon Beach and stop in Astoria for 2 hours on your way through to something, ANYTHING, else. Turns out, Astoria is a bit of a hole (no offense to you Astorians out there... ahem). Though quaint and boasting many a cinematic enjoyment, 2 hours is plenty of time to check out the Goondocks, the County Jail, and the elementary where Kindergarten Cop was filmed. There's some this and that about Free Willy - but who really remembers Free Willy anymore? Not when there are Goonie sites to see!! I don' t know why Meagan and I felt spending most of the day in Astoria was somehow going to be better and/or comparable to the picturesque loveliness of Canon Beach, but we did. And now, we can have a good laugh about it... with only minimal malice in our eyes.

Look at the pictures! Oh... and as an aside. I bought a $230 Cannon camera last year when I went to Thailand. It's excellent and takes really great pictures. Did I bring it on this trip? NO!?!? Why? Cause I thought I left it in my office and so the morning we were flying out, I stopped by my office to check. Was it there!?!? NO!!!  So... this pics were taken on my phone. Alas.

 And that was Oregon! Stay tuned Goonies fans, because we're on to Forks and Port Angeles next! Yes, we did. And you would too!


heidikins said...

Idaho may not have Stonehenge, but Nebraska has <Carhenge. I'm just sayin', worth checking out if you're in that neck o'the woods.


Jaime Van Hoose Steele said...

Good trip choice! My bf lives in Portland and I love everything about that place! I'm constantly amazed at all the beautiful greenery everywhere you look! now I need to plan a visit!

erohde said...

Say hello to my family when your in Forks. If your there sunday and stop by the ward, they teach sunday school. Have fun, hope it doesn't rain for ya.

Michele said...

Oh friend, we have much to talk about! I love Canon Beach. Isn't it magical? Did you visit Trader Joe's? Oregon truly is one of my favorite places on the planet... even though I haven't been to that many places. Well, not as many places as you. However, I have been to Idaho and they have "stuff" to see. Most of my extended family is from Idaho so I have been there many times and know of some good spots. We can plan your idaho agenda over lunch.

Just a thought... said...

I'm so jealous! My youngest munchkin is serving his mission near Portland, Oregon. Elder Stephen was recently transferred to Vancouver, WA so could you go there next please? So you can take some more pictures for me! 8)