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Portland: A Great Town

Somehow I've always had good luck in Portland. Like a few years ago coming into town cold and ending up at the Stumptown Coffee Roasters, great coffee, wi-fi, hip young people. And then going for a run in the park on Mount Tabor (inside city limits) and discovering it's a mecca of downhill skateboarding...
I rolled into Portland just after dark last night and punched in "hotels" in my Garmin Nuvi GPS. This miraculous device lists the hotels closest to where your car is positioned (which it knows!). Closest was a Travelodge and upon arriving, it looked dismal. Another nearby hotel was the Avalon Hotel and Spa and I hit the jackpot. Much nicer hotel than I usually stay at, this would be $350 a night in NYC, but was about $110. Everything elegant, well thought out. Plus the spas part was fabulous. Big gym, fully equipped, good-working sauna, great way to start the day.
I'm now at Powell's bookstore, where I'm going to do a slide show and signing in a half hour. Powelll's is fantastic, a full block, 3 stories of books-books-books. Just now wandering around the neighborhood looking for a meal I stumbled upon Jake's Famous Crawfish (Since 1892), a lively, brassy, hustling popular good-vibes restaurant and had an Oregon draft porter and steamed mussels. Music was Al Green, Aretha, the Stones, and as I got ready to leave, Otis...O she may be weary, young girls they do get weary...

Red Oregon Barn

By side of road near Carlton on Hwy 47, southwest of Portland. Notice how straight the eave line is, meaning the barn's foundation is sound — no sag.

Notes From the Pacific Coast Road

In Arcata someone told me the burnouts that hang out in the town square are "trustafarians." You know, east coast families sending the family screwups to California. You can do anything out west and people will put up with it, sad to say. And the rest of the game seems to be that the trust fund babies hit California and pretend to be poor, or just making it. Yeah, right.
Wordplay in roadside signs:
• "Burning Slash"" (Slash=branches left over in the woods after logging)
• "Wind Gust"
• "Pistol River"
• Coffee shop in Brandon, Oregon: "Brewed Awakenings." Ever notice how many hair salons have wordplay names, like "Shy Locks?"
It's always a relief to get out of California. Oregon just feels more relaxed. I had a few days before my Portland event so came along the Oregon Coast. Port Orford is nice, with a unique port where they have a cable-powered trolly for launching boats. Florence is a pretty nice town. Yachats is a little gem of a town, with sparkling ocean air, small cottages, nice little cabins that can be rented + the Green Salmon Bakery and coffee shop with a chef that doesn't know it, but she's world class. I haven't been along this coast for 30+ years and it's a lot nicer in the non-summer months, when tourists are not out in force. Mile after mile of deserted sandy beaches. Much of the drive is right along the beaches. There are a series of concrete bridges that look art deco. Gas is $1.94/gal. (A friend of mine said recently that gas should be $10/gal., the true cost to the planet.)
I've got into the habit of taking small country roads when possible, and always seeking out routes not taken before. Today I was on Hwy 47 coming into Portland, stopping to shoot pictures of little sheds and shacks and barns and a program came on the radio about bands in New Orleans. They played a lot of Fats Domino. If I had to pick one musician who had the biggest impact on me, it'd have to be Fats. I first heard him played by my friend Sherman Welpton when I was 18 (1953), and it was an introduction to Rhythm and Blues and eventually the world of blues. Fats has always made me happy. Today I pulled off the road to eat my takeout smoked turkey sandwich from the Green Salmon Bakery, and was facing a green furrowed pasture hill when on came Blueberry Hill. Up with the volume.
I met my thrill
on Blueberry Hill...

Log Tree House

Maple Island Handcrafted Log Homes produces about 40 homes a year. Most (from pics on website) appear to be mega-houses, but this one is a charmer:

Log boathouse:


Clover Milk Ads

For decades, Clover has been coming up with funny ad lines. I still remember one from years ago: "Tip Clo Through the Two Lips." The below was on the side of a truck in Pt Arena a few days ago: