Stop number two on our journey saw us arrive at Silverton, Oregon which is between Portland to the north and Salem to the south. On arrival, we were greeted with pretty miserable weather as a storm blew in bringing lots of rain and considerable wind. Flood warnings were issued and sure enough many of the local rivers here in the flat-lands swelled up and in some cases spilled over their banks. While it remains warmer than it was in Seattle we continue to pine for warmer points south and are headed that way soon.
Our primary mission here was to visit some folks on our way south. First up was our good friend Jake who rented a room with Trail (Anne) and I for a while and who is just generally a great guy and fun to hang out with. We had dinner at the Sasquatch Brewery, which turned out to be a fine establishment and home to very rich and tasty comfort food. We ate, talked, and lingered for quite a while catching up. Since we were up in the Portland area we also decided a visit to Powell’s City of Books was in order. It is a store any book lover should visit, something akin to Labyrinth of Crete but with lots more books and pretty good cafe drinks. The rare book room is especially nice as they have many over sized and beautiful photo books to ogle at. Anne got a couple of National Park Guides and I picked up The Manga Guide to Electricity. I really like it and recommend the whole series. I wish they had these when I was young, but it’s never too late to learn and grow.
The next day we visited with my all time favorite cousin and her family. I expected I’d enjoy the visit, and I did, but I also found our conversation one of the most interesting I’ve had in quite some time. I was moved by their strength, intelligence and the love they clearly have for one another as a family. This kind of experience is one of the things I was hoping for, getting out and connecting with folks I’ve not seen recently, or in some cases ever. As much as travel lets you see places you have never been, its really the people you meet that ultimately change your life and open your eyes. By the by, my cousin is quite a talented artist and if you like colorful and vivid oil paintings I recommend checking them out her at her gallery.
Oregon is not a state I am much familiar with though I have been here on a few occasions. The differences in character between Washington and Oregon are often subtle. The terrains and culture have a lot of similarities. Seattle itself is a bit different in that its a pretty booming big city, and Portland while considerable and growing feels more like Seattle of 20 to 30 years prior, more genuine and grass roots, less diluted by an influx of new residents and metropolitan sensibility. While I like the shiny shiny of modern Seattle, I also remember the slightly grungier and homier feel it had when I was a kid and Portland reminds me of that strongly.
While I was here the Portland Timbers won the MLS championships. Folks here were pretty excited not having had a major sports victory in their city for some time apparently. Always good to see a city celebrating!