Minnesotans are obsessed with weather in the way Los Angelenos are obsessed with traffic patterns on the 405. Being trapped by a snowstorm or a gridlock can make one appreciative of clear skies and roads. Thusly, I was awed by the seven day forecast of sunshine and ninety degrees when I boarded Delta flight 1411 from MSP to PDX.
I had my preconceptions of Portland. Rain. That was the first. It was going to be a haven for vegan food, thrift store clothing, and music featuring accordions. I was going to be in carousel of characters. This guy was definitely going to be there:
Instead, I found a community of genuine individuals. And I emphasize individuals, not stereotypes from a television series on IFC. Ok. There were bike messengers (from Minnesota, I'd discover), hippies, hipsters, street musicians, foodies, and a lot of twenty-somethings appearing to be not doing anything of import during the work day. And they were all so kind. Minnesota Nice is sort of a misnomer. We'll give you directions to every place except our home. We keep new people at a distance. In Oregon, people were constantly telling us where they were going to be later in the day hoping we'd join them.
My Polaroid land camera did not find much love our first three days in the city of Portland. I was too busy biking around and finally indulging in this coffee thing you all are always talking about. I felt self-conscious about busting out my bulky camera and appearing touristy. On Friday evening, we were at a BBQ at the condo of a Minneapolitan turned Portlandian and I removed my camera to find another object in my bag. Our host instantly declared I would fit in this city perfectly.
My camera finally received some exercise when Josh Van Patter took us to Kiwanda Beach in Pacific City, where we attempted surfing for the first time in front of the Haystack Rock. Following that, we climbed the massive sand dune and snuck down to peek at the cavern that falls into the ocean. The next day, we traveled to Mt. Hood and attempted our ascent. Kind of, we maybe made it up one-third of the mountain before we stopped to watch Olympic snowboarders practice on the enormous half-pipe made of snow.
Check out the highlights of my Polaroid shots in the Union State. Also featured is a chicken at Pistil's Nursery, the foggy view from Josh Van Patter's condo in downtown Portland, and the Timberline Lodge (or the resort from The Shining).