A Travellerspoint blog

November 2007


"But oh, if I could only get you oceanside, to lay your muscles wide, it'd be heavenly. Oh, if I could only coax you overboard, to leave these lulling shores, to get you oceanside." -- Colin Meloy

View Oregon coast on seabear's travel map.

Sept. 3

I woke up hungry, feeling weird after way too many corn chips. We went to a Safeway where their Starbucks spills coffee all over its patrons to get tips because they are a bunch of bumbling clowns that everyone loves. It was good to have Starbucks again; I can’t believe I am typing this. Oregon has a tons of those little espresso drive-ups but they aren’t very good. There was a girl in the store -- a hipster with an Amish hat on. I have to get one of those hats. I’m sure Portland will be crawling with them. We got ingredients for trail mix only to find that the dry roasted peanuts had onion powder on them which didn’t really go with M&Ms and I didn’t really think it was a big deal, but Charlie sure did.

We went to Cape Meares and saw the Lighthouse, rocks, ate our 19th peanut butter and jelly sandwich on a table in the fog.
Then we took pictures of the gross Octopus Tree, a large Sitka spruce: "A tradition handed down by the Indians is that the eerie giant is a burial tree shaped when it was young to hold canoes of a chief's family. Such deeply-rooted lore passed from generation to generation is likely to be founded on truth, and Indian history of the area will corroborate it."

    Sea lions are like water bears. Sand dunes are like sandy bears.
    Eugene is the retarded cousin of Madison that no ones talks about.
    Charlie said his city pool sold frozen candy bars and he’d never had a Charleston Chew that wasn’t frozen.


We drove through Oceanside and other sea towns and saw a "porky pine "in the middle of the road. I kept getting text messages from K, he was sending duplicates of depressive phrases. We stopped in Cannon Beach which had artsy buildings; this place was classier than the other towns. We first went to Bill’s Tavern which we had seen on the list but almost passed up and it was pretty good 75 cent tasters and then had pints over the crossword puzzle and solved the whole thing but I don’t think it was the actual NY times puzzle. Then, on to the actual beach that has the Haystack Rock and Charlie decided to body surf and he was the only one in the water -- the only one in the whole ocean, I‘m pretty sure. It was freezing.
On to Portland! There was some weird traffic and we crossed the bridge too soon but then did find our hostel. I was expecting another hippie place, but this place was gorgeous. It even smelled like Europe. I could just hang out here!
We started walking to find a brew pub of course. Ugh. We found Brewer’s block and nothing else. Stopped in Powells to look up breweries and found one called Tug Boat but it was closed. So we wandered toward the water, noting how small the city was and loving it. We walked past a dog place called “Virginia Woof Dog Daycare.” Only in Portland.

We came randomly to a place called Shanghai Tunnel which satisfied Charlie’s need for a cheap Rainier beer and it was quite hipster, but not enough people there or microbrews. So we then happened to wander into the most hipster bar in Portland called The Tube. We put on our most comfortable tattoos to be like everyone else. They had cheap vegan happy hour which was pretty good, reminding me of Comet or Palomino in Milwaukee. A TV show was on in front of us and Charles said, “Oh, this show is great. I saw an episode once, it’s called “Freaks, Geeks, and Weirdos.” It was Freaks and Geeks. Ahem. I’ve watched the whole series, years ago. Charlie apparently saw one episode, funny.

We had Mirror Pond or something from Deschutes and then left and met this messed up kid who was mesmerized by the Care Bears the window of a vintage toy store and followed him past Crystal Ballroom to a bar where we found this man named George who reminded me of the actor father on I Capture the Castle. We talked to him for quite a while and I drank water and we walked back toward the hostel to 21st street which seemed pretty cool and came to a Blue Moon pub which proved to be quite fun even after we found out it was McMennamins. Oh well. We ate hummus and talked about bad movies and music with the bartender. When anyone talks about why Portland is great they always say “I love it because it’s so small.” I agree that it is wee and I want to experience more of its diminutive-sized charm.


Posted by seabear 18:59 Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Sand dunes: How do you know?

Lions and ears and capes, Oh My!

-17 °C

Sept. 2

We came to Florence from Eugene after waking from camping to find that my ear hurt from laying on it -- and then the pain spread down the side of my face and my glands swelled up and I thought it was sudden, massively intense ear infection and I was going to be on my deathbed for the rest of the trip. I started crying and Charlie felt my glands and checked to see if I had a fever, and I didn’t. Then a minute later, I couldn’t hear anything out of my ear. It was extremely awful. Then I took a shower in the hostel in the Carousel of Progress hippie house. The shower had never been used and there was no soap because hippies don’t wash. We got free food at the main hostel and drank coffee amongst cobwebby abandoned hippie mobiles and I was miserable. My ear kept popping in and out with much pain.

We drove to the Oregon Dunes Day Use in the Siuslaw National Forest. First we ate our leftover Poppi’s lunch from Eugene with so much great coconut milk and spices, and then ran down the sand dunes.

I kept saying to Charlie, “what if we burn our feet?” He said, “we won’t.” I said, “how do you know how do you know how do you know how do you know how do you know how do you know how do you know?” and he was almost going to kill me for real.

We made it down to the ocean! My first time at this specific ocean, The Pacific! I got a shell and it was rather cold and vast.
Next, we drove to Cape Perpetua Scenic area of Siuslaw Forest. There we hung out at Devil’s Churn near the Spouting Horn and the sun-sparkled waters.

Then we made our way to the “best view of the Oregon coast” which was actually correct.

When we were leaving, a kid started crying and screaming because her brother hit her and when we passed them Charlie said, “I hit her pretty hard.” And we heard the man in front of us say, “guess it sounds like Mom’s got her hands full.” I wonder if he really thought Charlie had hit the girl.

We found our way to Newport which turned out to be some sort of Wisconsin Dells town but it had sea lions! They looked like seabears. I loved them so much.
Then we found a brew pub but it just had Rogue beers and they weren’t good but they were alcoholicky so it fooled us into being satisfied. We got coffee at a place discussing Shots in the Dark and Red Eyes and it wasn’t very good coffee either. We decided to drive to another brewery and try to find lodgings for the night, whatever they might be. The weather started to get rather dismal but we made our way through the fog to the disappointing Pacific City to a brewery which had 5 small samples of their beers for $6 and then we drove in the mist to find nothing but a cheap bottle of wine and chips and drove to Tillamook where were forced to get a motel room at the Apple Inn. The place was mismatched and hilarious. Charlie loved watching TV and commenting on how old movies were so much more artistic and well-conceived than the movies of today. I think the movie we were watching was by Ingmar Bergman, a genius. Oh well.

Posted by seabear 20:01 Comments (1)

Best Lake, Worst Beer, Best Food, Worst Town

Crater Lake, Waterfalls, and Eugene, Oregon

Sept. 1
We woke up at 6:45 even though we thought we were getting up late. We packed up the tent and made our way to the Crater Lake Lodge. It was quite posh for a lodge -- rich people mingled in the lobby and they gave them free coffee, but not us -- and I sat by the fire, breathing in the smell of a European lodge and wanting to stay here forever. I let the large, wooden door slam shut loudly, so they don’t like me there; time to go find this lake, I guess.

We began hiking and saw Crater Lake for the first time and said our initial !Wow! like the newsletter said, only it was more like Whoa. 101_0646.jpgWizard Island was in the middle and then there was a small Pirate Ship island. I felt like Lewis and Clark because we were the only people out there and it seemed undiscovered and pristine. We hiked around the lake for quite a while and it got more and more blue by the minute. I fell in love with that lake.
As we began our descent, a woman was coming toward us and said, “There’s a big fat Japanese tour group headed this way, look out.” We had a laugh over that and Charlie pointed out that they were overweight until we passed some without shirts, looking buff. We decided it was a Japanese break dancing tour group and the overweight ones were their tech people. We had definitely beat the rush of tourist hikers. We passed lots of people on the trail and felt again like Lewis and Clarkette, but not proud to share our find.

As we drove along, we stopped at various waterfalls. The first one was White Horse Falls. The temperate changed by 20 degrees the closer you got to the water.
The next falls was Watson and on the way there was a car that was going slower than Charlie for the first time on our whole trip. These falls were part of Umqua National Forest. Watson was a plunge falls and the trail there was misty moisty and then the falls were my first real waterfalls since Amicalola Falls in GA. The way the sun hit it perfectly was probably the best part. That, and the South American drug lord taking his extended family to Oregon along with their lap dogs.
We followed the highway past the artificial flys of South Umqua and small winding waters to Roseburg to a brew pub. I had printed out a list of every brew pub in Oregon and Charlie insisted on stopping at as many as possible. We stopped at one of those roadside espressos first, for $1.75 for 2 coffees with straws and on to a picturesque pub owned by McMenamins Pubs and Breweries. It took them forever to seat us and we were beginning to really hate the place. The beer came, there wasn’t very many choices and they all tasted like sweat, so we left.

From the wikipedia we learned that McMenamins is a chain of over fifty brewpubs, microbreweries, music venues, historic hotels, theater pubs and more. The chain is located mostly in the Portland metropolitan area, but has many other locations in Oregon and Washington. I liked this part of the article: The brothers have faced some criticism, mainly from some who feel that the business uses a vertical integration model that could easily be co-opted by large commercial breweries. Others feel that the company's many locations may be pushing out smaller microbreweries.
The beer was NOTHING LIKE the Creamery in Klamath Falls. I need to post a picture of the Creamery here to remember its goodness to get me through this blog posting.
As we were leaving the place, a vast group of Japanese students came in and sure enough: It was the exact same group we saw at Crater Lake and it turned out that the lady who had called them big and fat was actually their own tour guide.

Charlie had this guidebook written by Thomas H. Booth which described Eugene, Oregon as being very eclectic and raved about the university library there saying it was a place to find “books on nearly every subject.” Why would they write about it? Or maybe they actually had books on the topic of “nearly every subject.” We might have to check that out.
Me: Mountains? Again?
I was thinking how I wanted to get a souvenir, like a stuffed Crater Lake and thought about how I could sell stuffed landmarks like a stuffed Grand Canyon with Velcro-ed animals and plants that are also around the canyon. Cute. We listened to old radio shows like Fibber McGee and Molly which had the line “more rattled than a gourd in a rhumba band” and The Great Gildersleeve, that old radio pervert, and Our Miss Brooks, not a pervert.

“Eugene has all types of people, from children to elderly,” goes the guidebook. And the town of Noti has no tea available. I wonder if we can get coffee in Noti? Do you have coffee here or just no tea?

We found our hostel in Eugene which was run by stoned hippies, of course. Yeah, the place was the number one most hippie-filled place I’ve ever been. We would be putting up our tent in a yard of the hostel which was nice. I rearranged things in the car while Charlie talked to the people on the porch and they all shared their problems with him. To give you an idea: when he asked about a brew pub the girl thought he said, “group home.”

We made our way through the hippie infested neighborhood to the weird, weird downtown area, passing a Greek place called Poppi's. It looked good, but not what we were looking for … that was the brew pub of course. We first found one called Eugene Brewing Co. which had lots of Rogue stuff but also their own and the girl there agreed with us that McMenamins sucks and thought that was place okay, but it was more of a sports bar. She told us to go to Steelhead but that we probably wouldn’t liked it. We found that place which was more yuppie, but pretty good actually. But we needed a place with atmosphere -- and I guess we could stand to get real food instead of just peanut putter and chilly.

So we stopped at Poppi's Anatolia (10th & Willamette St.) which was about to close and ordered the vegetable thali which had dal, potatoes, spinach stuff, awesome chutneys and lots of butter. It was the best food of our lives and Charlie told the girl so. And then she came out with the special and let us have all their leftovers for free! The best ever, and in Eugene of all places.

We found a bar eventually and got the Mirrorpond and some N something beer. Mirror Pond was the stuff Charlie had heard about but one guy told us it was bad and so we left his bar, jerk. Anyway, it was a college type place and we read my old manuscript, laughing at how silly it all was, but hilarious. Oh, before we passed a ballroom dance competition and I took this photo from the street. Number two only good thing about Eugene.
Then it was back to the tent at the hostel. A VW bus pulled up and a bumbling guy got out and asked Charlie how he liked the place and asked when he got there and Charlie asked him when he got in and he said, “Oh, I own the place.” It was like he was so high on dope that he forgot he owned the place. He reminded me of Beauregard from the muppets. Oh I own dee place. I’ve lived here all my life.

Posted by seabear 21:01 Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Eruption Gift Shops

When is it Too Soon?

sunny 12 °C

Aug. 30
Charlie and I began our Oregonian Road Trip tonight. He picked me up in the rental car and off we went.....
We drove past the Eruption Gift Shop and discussed disaster gift shops. What disasters warrant gift shops? Not tsunamis and not 9/11, we decided. Olympia seemed nice from the highway. We talked nonsense about the pronunciation of roofs, ruffs, riffs, raffs. As we drove through Portland at night there were FIREWORKS! We have no idea why. It was quite grand. We stopped in a town called Oak Ridge and found a motel.

Aug. 31
We drove into Klamath Falls this morning which was a lake-desert and Oregon Institute of Technology gave Charlie free subs for he and his “friend” for taking a tour and talking with a professor about their renewable resources program. When we were getting our sandwiches a lady said, “do you attend classes here?” Charlie said he was thinking about it. She said, “because they have great pizzas here.” We realized she meant at Subway. Oh.

Our tour of campus made me feel like I was taking my son to college. The campus was dry and picturesque and 60’s esque-mini campus, the dorm seemed like someone was “playing college” but that it couldn’t quite actually be real.
The only other person on the “tour” of insides of engineering buildings was a kid named James who when asked what his Labor Day weekend plans were, replied, “Well, not much. It’s kind of weird, but we’re taking our laptops to Dennys where we’re going to play Risk all night. They let us stay there the whole time and the wait staff will join us and watch movies on our laptops on breaks.” I wish I was playing Risk at Dennys.

We drove through the town and noticed a Baldwin Hotel and stopped to talk to the tourism lady who “highlighted” us in the direction of a brew pub, much to Charlie’s delight.
It was called the Creamery. They had 11 of their own beers, the atmosphere was great, the waitress left us alone and we read the beer descriptions and they were smooth and flavorful; Charlie was in heaven.

We planned out our trip toward Crater Lake and wondered where we would camp, but we would find something. We went looking for more local beer to bring camping, but all we found that pleased us was a hill to view the town. We drove through cowland to Crater Lake while listening to “Go Places” and John Vanderslice.

We got to Crater Lake just when it got dark and waited in a slow line to find that the campsites were running out fast. We talked about sharing with someone and the people behind us heard and said they would split the fee and share the site with us. So we did. They were named Chris (from Oregon) and Rachel (from Texas) and Chris had just gotten back from a missionary trip to Mexico and they had gotten married and were on a honeymoon of sorts. The best part was that they had corn, salsa, and steaks. Rachel was saying how if they told someone this salsa was actually “vegetable dip” that no one would eat it. Chris came back and told Rachel she needed to remember to close the zipper on the tent or a small Spaniard might get in. That was what I thought he said, but what he really said was “small spiders might get in.” Rachel thought my thing about a small Spaniard was really funny and we joked about it for quite some time. Later, we were standing around the fire that was going out and Rachel said, “what if your body was really cold but your head was on fire?”

Posted by seabear 19:32 Comments (0)

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