More beer … More beer

Sitting here in the Qantas lounge drinking a complimentary Allagash White out of Portland, Maine, and I think it is about time I tell you about the beers from the Portland we visited in Oregon.

brewvanaAs previously mentioned, Portland is known by many names one if which is Brewvana. Here’s a note from inside our lift.

I wondered how many of those 154 brewing companies I could sample the wares of over three days. Well, as it turned out, not too many. We did have to do other things in Portland as well. As earlier mentioned, Oregon is tax-free and there’s some pretty good shopping to do, even bought myself this and they shipped home to Australia for me.

But I thought I’d have to try a few beers. What I have not included in this list is the six-pack of mixed stubbies from Whole Foods – $1.99 a stubby if interested. So, I only had time for beers from six different breweries but a total of 20 different beers.

Continue reading

Backtrack – Keep Portland Weird

Seems like weeks ago when we were in Portland, which was where we started our driving trip, so I thought I better post some snaps and other such ramblings.

Portland was a pretty good place, easy to walk around, bike friendly (not that we went for that), good food, plenty of weirdos (some real weirdos, others on their way to the next G20), skateboards a plenty, a few beggars (some homeless, others very doubtful), trams, full of craft beers, not much hustle and bustle, pretty laid back (make that very laid back), polite, traffic but not like California traffic, food trucks, and best of all – tax free shopping. There are only four States that do not add tax to food, drink, shopping, etc. one of these is Oregon. The prices of the goods do not rise to compensate so it is a bargain place for buying and eating and drinking – woo-hoo!

The Vintage PlazaWe stayed at a nice hotel downtown – the Vintage Plaza, which is another Kimpton Hotel with the hosted wine hour – and because Portland is known as Brewvana there was also beer on tap – woo-hoo! Something some may find strange, nearly all USA hotels are pet friendly so here at the Kimpton they were most welcome with their own drink bowls during wine hour.

This was the one place where Caroline had mapped out several eating locations and we were not disappointed, eating at some really great places and also some snacks at some really great places, such as Voodoo Doughnuts. This place is a Portland legendary doughnut shop where people queue out the front to buy a doughnut – although many buy many and even many more. I liked the fat kid and his Mom in front of us who was going through the revolving glass display cabinet (we are talking multiple doughnuts here, not just your stock-standards) and I’ll have one of those and one of those and one of those and … you know the story. Then came Jim’s turn, but you can only eat so many doughnuts before feeling sickly ill so we went for a small selection – two of the classics the voodoo doughnut and the maple log and bacon. I tell you, maple syrup and bacon are a match made in heaven – maple icing and bacon and doughnut are what they eat in heaven.

maple bacon Voodoo doughnut

 

 

 

 

 

Portland is also known as Bridgetown. There is a river through the city (the Willamette River) – a bit like Melbourne. But at least in Portland they have more than one bridge. The city is also quite old – or it has that appearance – and the bits we were in seemed very safe. Although the old town where the doughnuts were may be a bit dodgy at times because that’s where all the missions for the homeless were. they also have a great garden along the river and running/walking tracks. Here’s a few shots of Portland –

Did I mention that Portland is the home of the food truck? These are just making a good start in Melbourne but in Portland they are everywhere; however, I don’t know if they classify as a truck because many in the downtown  area are permanent fixtures in a parking lot rather than a truck that can drive from place to place. The other interesting thing with the food trucks is that there is no seating, like you might find in Austin, but there is a park or somewhere to sit in the close proximity. So, as well as eating some fine dining we also had to make room for a food truck. I went for the BBQ and Caroline went for something healthy. There is so much variety that you could have something different every day and not have the same thing for a few months. For instance, in the location we went to there are 52 trucks.

I said Portland was bike friendly – they have had number plates (for cars) dedicated to bikes. And there are bike racks and bike lanes, and like many of the cities, bike racks on the front of the buses.

bikes bikes2

 

With the food trucks and fine dining we also went to a great place for breakfast – The Original.  In fact, we went there twice because first time round Jim went for the stock-standard and Caroline had some interesting polenta cakes and honey-maple bacon –

carolines Jims

But what drew us back was not just the good food but Jim saw the Elvis Sighting on the menu and couldn’t resist – french toast, bananas, roasted peanuts and bacon – mmmmm Elvis

And just because I have uploaded them, here are a few more random shots from Portland. More catch-up when I get around to it. Off to San Francisco for the NFL tomorrow (Saturday).

Highway 101: Day 1

We left Portland on Friday to commence our drive south. We have given ourselves a week for a trip that takes about four hours on the freeway by taking Highway 101 – the Pacific Coast Road – along the Washington, Oregon, California coast. This drive is also recognised as being one of the world’s greatest road trips. So, we didn’t come all this way just to go to Spokane for a dog conference. Actually when we go to conferences (this is the third and we also did one in Canada) we always look to see where it is situated and if there is anything around that would make the trip into a worthwhile holiday as well as an informative five day conference.

Back on the road and I had planned a certain route that would have us picking up the coast a little farther south than Portland but the concierge recommended picking up the highway at Tillamook (farther north than where I was headed) so we took his advice as I’d be guessing he’d know a little more than me and Google maps. Our actual target for day 1 was Eugene, which is about 2 hours south of Portland on the freeway but where is the fun in that – and the freeway is inland. So our planned trip would take us through the mountains to the coast, south to Florence then cut back through the forest to Eugene – a bit under five hours.

It was a pretty easy drive, the road system over here is excellent and you know one of the biggest differences is that they aren’t doing roadworks everywhere and when they do they don’t see a need to block half the road and reduce the speed to almost nothing. Although there was one section of the coast road that was reduced to one lane and luckily we were in the direction that got flagged through first as the opposing traffic was about a kilometre long (or at least it seemed that way).

Also, everyone here in Oregon and moving back into Washington are very polite drivers. No-one sits in the left (the right for us) unless passing, trucks stay on their reduced speed limit (65mph for vehicle on the freeway, 60 for trucks – on the coast road this is 55mph for cars). The roads are smooth and hardly a anyone speeds or tailgates.

Nice drive through the mountains but I was wondering where the bloody hell was the coast. A highlight was petrol in Beaver Town (it was beaver something anyway) where there was someone to fill the car and do the windscreen for you and the guy inside was in for a chat and the toilets were great – such a contrast to Connell from one of my earlier posts. And the petrol prices, this is the second time for a refuel – it costs about $3.45 a gallon (which is expensive the attendant told me), which for us is about 90 cents a litre – and that’s expensive!

We finally picked up the coast, had a nice seafood lunch (fish and chips and a cup of clam chowder) in Newport and headed inland to Eugene. There are a few viewing points along the way but the sky was quite hazy but the views are worth seeing. And so was the highlight, which was a visit to the Sea Lion Caves the largest sea lion caves in Nth America. Unfortunately we were out of sea lion season (they return to the caves about tend of November, not the start) but we were lucky enough to see two of them swimming around in the rather rough ocean (and we did get a discount as there was no guarantee of seeing a sea lion). Great views from here and the cave was pretty amazing, even had to catch an elevator down.

So day one ended in Eugene as expected. More to follow.

Home » Highway 101: Day 1 » Portland to Eugene
DSC01784.jpg
DSC01784.jpg
From Portland to Tillamook
DSC01785.jpg
DSC01785.jpg
From Portland to Tillamook
DSC01786.jpg
DSC01786.jpg
From Portland to Tillamook
DSC01787.jpg
DSC01787.jpg
From Portland to Tillamook
DSC01791.jpg
DSC01791.jpg
Tillamook to Newport
DSC01793.jpg
DSC01793.jpg
Tillamook to Newport
DSC01794.jpg
DSC01794.jpg
Tillamook to Newport
DSC01796.jpg
DSC01796.jpg
Somewhere on the highway
DSC01798.jpg
DSC01798.jpg
Somewhere
DSC01799.jpg
DSC01799.jpg
Somewhere
DSC01801.jpg
DSC01801.jpg
Just like the other somewhere
DSC01802.jpg
DSC01802.jpg
Newport
DSC01805.jpg
DSC01805.jpg
Newport
DSC01811.jpg
DSC01811.jpg
Sea Lion Caves
DSC01812.jpg
DSC01812.jpg
Newport to Sea Lion Caves
DSC01818.jpg
DSC01818.jpg
Sea Lion Caves
DSC01821.jpg
DSC01821.jpg
Sea Lion Caves
DSC01823.jpg
DSC01823.jpg
Sea Lion Caves
DSC01871.jpg
DSC01871.jpg
Teaser for Day 2

 

The owls were flying

Okay, back to the holiday – or should I say vacation. I mentioned we picked up our car in Seattle for the drive over to Spokane and then from Spokane, driving on down to Portland.

We have a Nissan Altima with Oregon plates, which helps in fitting in with the crowd. It’s not bad to drive but there is some terrible glare through the windscreen, i.e. bouncing off the rather large dash. The radio is okay and does well at selecting all kinds of music in this area – country or christian. Although we did find one that was original rock, think AC/DC et al.

Staying on the right is not a problem, just those damn windscreen wipers being where the indicator should be.

The first drive was about 4 hours which was very scenic as we drive through the forested mountains but then flattened out to not very much as we got closer to Spokane.

Home » The owls were flying » Seattle to Spokane
DSC01664.jpg
DSC01664.jpg
DSC01666.jpg
DSC01666.jpg
DSC01667.jpg
DSC01667.jpg
DSC01668.jpg
DSC01668.jpg
DSC01669.jpg
DSC01669.jpg
DSC01671.jpg
DSC01671.jpg
DSC01672.jpg
DSC01672.jpg

The second trip, well that was the opposite, although at one stage we drove through a dust storm – very windy, very dusty. Especially in one place – Connell – that had a prison and trailer park; and dust and a not so clean rest-stop but when you gotta stop you gotta stop as there aren’t many opportunities and it does add to the fun(?) of the trip. Although we did a detour to stops for lunch at Bacon & Eggs in a place called Walla Walla, which is a bit of a wine area and fantastic food.

And I almost forgot, the trip was that much more exciting as Mr Garmin sent us on Washington side of the river to the older state highway, rather than the Oregon side on the newer interstate – still got to the same place just a different view.

Home » The owls were flying » Spokane to Portland
DSC01693.jpg
DSC01693.jpg
DSC01694.jpg
DSC01694.jpg
DSC01697.jpg
DSC01697.jpg
DSC01700.jpg
DSC01700.jpg
DSC01702.jpg
DSC01702.jpg
DSC01704.jpg
DSC01704.jpg
DSC01705.jpg
DSC01705.jpg
Texas Eggs.jpg
Texas Eggs.jpg

Excuse some of the photos as not easy using a camera while driving and there are the customary bugs on the screen. I’ll stick a map in here when I can remember how to do it … and I remembered