September 1st, 2004

default, pepper

On the road again...

Well, actually off the road now.

I'm at the Holiday Inn Express (what makes a hotel "express") at Jantzen Beach. I don't know if there's actually a beach here; this is a small island more or less on the edge of downtown Portland. It's the typical travel-oriented hotel rather than destination-oriented--no lobby to speak of, a free continental breakfast, an amiably generic room. But this is fine. It was probably the best night's sleep I've had since summer started.

The trip up the road yesterday could best be described as really long. I started around 9:00, a little later than I should have. Thanks to traffic and a longer-than-desired detour around Union City (when CalTrans says "Freeway →" sometimes they leave off the "...eventually"), I wasn't out of the bay area until nearly noon. Lunch was at Granzella's Deli in the small town of Williams, California--then it was on along I-5, with an inevitable detour to Shasta Dam.

I made it into Oregon around five, I think; I stopped in another middle-of-nowhere place at a restaurant called "Heaven on Earth" for dinner, a country restaurant so aggressively Christian it was either charming or disturbing depending on how you wanted to look at it.

My first--and so far only--view of Portland was coming into the city after 10:30 and watching the skyline. It was one of the prettiest views of a city I've had.

In about a half-hour shaterri should be here and we'll do... something. Get breakfast, more than likely. (I braved the in-room coffee maker, and I'm willing to say it's some of the best free hotel coffee I've had, but that only goes so far.) It looks like today will be overcast and drizzly, but things should clear up tomorrow. And, naturally, I managed to forget a couple things I'll have to go shopping for--but it looks like I'm on Strip Mall Island here, so that shouldn't be a problem.
default, pepper

(no subject)

When I woke up, I risked trying the in-room coffee maker. These usually make dreadful brews which taste mostly of lime rock; this one produced something drinkable. Not good, really, but not bad.

Just about on the dot of 10am, shaterri arrived and we headed on into Portland itself, parking somewhere off 23rd and walking to Café Cameo for breakfast. Shaterri had their "quarter-acre" pancake--just one, bigger than a plate.

From there, it was mostly wandering about that neighborhood, into several odd little stores--the most unusual one being "Moonstruck Chocolate Café," which I can only describe as being like a coffee shop for chocolate lovers: instead of a menu of espresso drinks, it was a menu of chocolate drinks, and a display of chocolate truffles and candies rather than pastries and breads.

After that, it was on toward Powell's Books, the largest new-and-used bookstore in the country. This is the store I chose to "affiliate" Claw & Quill with (that is, reviews will be linked there, not to Amazon); I'd forgotten the real store was here in Portland until I was driving up the road yesterday. This is the sort of bookstore you can spend a few hours in and still only get to a small part of. I ended up with--well, more books than I should have.

Shaterri dropped me off at the hotel around four, and he headed back north while I headed--to the room, to fulfill a promise to be online for four hours or so. Yeah yeah yeah. I admit, I was strongly tempted to go back to Powell's or some other place with free wi-fi, but I didn't.

Then it was back out to downtown to visit the New Old Lompoc Brewery & Pub for dinner. I knew I had to give a brewpub here a try, given the place's reputation as a beer mecca, and it didn't disappoint--a great stout and a pretty good jerk pork dinner. (And nothing on the menu over $9!) I have a couple candidates to try tomorrow.

A destination tomorrow will be Stumptown Coffee Roasters, which apparently has a reputation as being one of the best coffee places in the country. While I'm facetiously thinking of it as a main destination, it isn't, really--I have more of Portland itself to see, possibly on a walking tour thanks to a map I picked up at Powell's. I intend to get to the coast, but I may let that lapse until Friday, and just try to get up bright and early then. Coming back down on 101 would put me back home at an insanely late time Friday night, I suspect, though.