Portland Travel Tips Has Gone Hunting

Update: What horrible grammar. I fixed the title. Geez.

No post this week or next because I am in Eastern Oregon elk hunting. Specifically, I will be near Burns out in the middle of nowhere. I will hopefully come back with some pretty pictures of the countryside. I’ll spare you any pictures of dead elk, unless of course it is a real big one!

It is interesting the evolution I have seen in our society with regard to hunting. I remember just ten years ago when it seemed like a lot of people frowned upon hunting as an antiquated and maybe barbaric practice. However, with the growing awareness of issues in our modern day industrialized practice of producing meat, it seems like hunting is making a comeback. A couple of weeks ago a good friend of mine, who is very much of the granola eating type, expressed some interest to me about learning to hunt. I was very surprised. However, the reality is that hunting, when properly managed, is a sustainable way to acquire meat. Also, meat doesn’t get much more organic than a wild animal living off the land. There is no need to worry about, artificial hormones, the overuse of antibiotics, e-coli, my meat being washed with ammonia, or having 100 different animals in my 1 pound package of ground meat. Plus hiking around the woods is fun.

Wish me luck.

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Random Odds and Ends

There are few things I wanted to take a moment to get out there.  Nothing long enough for an individual post but all worth mentioning.

Willamette Week Restaurant Guide

I’m sure most of you, since you are reading this blog, are like me and when you travel you want to eat where the locals eat and eat good food.  One of my top travel peeves is eating at a lousy restaurant.  That means I spend a good handful of time before I go on a trip researching places to eat.  I look at yelp, urban spoon, and trip advisor.  Another valuable resource, when you can find them, are also local restaurant guides.  Willamette Week released their restaurant guide last week and it is a great resource to check out.  Another great resource from Willamette Week is the cheap eats guide.  Being the cheapskate that I am, cheap eats is one of my favorite guides.

Ecliptic Brewing

The beer geeks in town are pretty excited about a brewery that just opened a couple of days ago, Ecliptic Brewing.  The person behind Ecliptic is John Harris a local brew master legend.   He was one of the early pioneers in the Oregon craft beer scene and worked at breweries such as McMenamins, Deschutes, and Full Sail.  Ecliptic is located in the North Mississippi neighborhood and just adds to the plethora of great bars and restaurants in the neighborhood.  I look forward to checking it out.

Saffron Fields Vineyard

For the vinophiles, a new tasting room is due to open in Oregon wine country at Saffron Fields Vineyard.  Saffron is located in Yamhill and is set to open the week of November 17th.  I’m not much of a wine guy, so I can’t say I will be making my way down there but for those of you who are interested here is another vineyard to add to the list.

Hood River

We are getting to the end of harvest season in the Hood River Valley.  At the Apple Valley Country Store they will be hosting their annual apple butter festival this weekend.  The event will feature apple butter made the old fashioned way in a kettle over an open fire. Apple Valley Country store has some amazing baked goods and I am sorry I will be missing this event. I will be down in Eugene for another weekend of Duck Football, go ducks!

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My Favorite Fall Day Trip

Autzen Stadium

Yup, Oregon Football.  I am a huge Oregon Football fan.  I moved from Portland to Eugene when I was a teenager, went to high school in Eugene and then attended the U of O before working my way back to Portland.  So in addition to being an alum, I was brainwashed by the locals after living in Eugene for 10 years.  Admittedly, this is not a day trip for all but if you like college football it is definitely worth the trip.

Doing this as a day trip works best if kickoff is at 12:30 PM or early to mid afternoon.  A game makes for a horrible day trip when kickoff is at 7:00 PM.  I’ve done it before and unfortunately will be doing it again this weekend and it sucks but it is manageable.  For the 7:00 games I highly suggest making a weekend out of it.  Otherwise, with traffic you are probably looking at getting back to Portland around 2:00 in the morning.

When you drive down for a game my advice is to leave early.  The earlier the better.  There are a lot of people who drive down from Portland for the day to watch these games and traffic can be pretty gnarly.  For a 12:30 kick off, my friends and I will usually leave around 5:30 am.  Traffic is virtually non-existent and we have a nice relaxing breakfast when we get down there.  My favorite breakfast is the breakfast burrito at Burrito Amigo. For the later games, play it by ear but also make sure you pay attention to what is going on in Corvallis.  When Oregon State also has a home game traffic can get very very bad on I-5. If Oregon State also has a game I would suggest going first thing in the morning, regardless of Oregon’s kick off time or leave right as Oregon State kicks off.

When you get there before the game, obviously, you will want to partake in some of the tailgating festivities.  You have a few options at your disposal.  First is the traditional tailgating from a parking spot.  Unless you are fortunate enough to score a parking pass on the Stadium grounds, chances are you will be tailgating across the street.  These lots open up about 5 hours before kickoff.  There is a city ordinance that prohibits drinking outside the stadium until 4 hours before kickoff, which is why they don’t usually open until it is close to that 4 hour window. The exception is the Mason’s lodge which opens up first thing in the morning.  The lodge is all on private property which is how they get around the ordinance, so if you park there you can drink to your heart’s content, but go easy you still have to drive home!  Parking across from Autzen will generally run you $30 – $40.

If you don’t want to tailgate from a parking spot, your next option would be either one of the beer gardens or a bar.  Directly across the street from Autzen is a good sized beer garden that is new this year.  I have not had an opportunity to check it out, but it looks fun.

Down the street from Autzen is also a bar called the Cooler, which has a beer garden in their parking lot and a full service bar inside.  If you get there early enough the cooler also has an all you can eat $6 breakfast on game days.  It is not very good but it will fill you up for cheap.  The breakfast off their menu is much better.

Finally, the biggest and baddest beer garden of all is actually on the stadium itself.  The Moshofsky Center.

Moshofsky Center Beer Garden

The Mo Center is Oregon’s indoor practice facility.  During games it turns into what you see above.  It is a fun place to hang out but food and beer is expensive. Unlike the options mentioned above, you also need a ticket to get into the Mo Center.

Aside from the tailgating festivities I also enjoy just walking around the Stadium.  The facilities are mind boggling.  Alumni Phil Knight have poured a lot of money into the football program and it shows.  The latest is the fortress that was completed this season.

Oregon Football Operations Center 2

Oregon Football Operations Center

Oregon Football Operations Center 3

These games are a lot of fun and if you are a college football fan seeing a game at Autzen is a must.  It is one of the loudest and best venues in all of college football.  Autzen was named by the NCAA as the second loudest stadium in the country.  To give you an idea of how loud it gets check out the video I took from a game against Cal earlier in the season.

Yes it is raining, very hard, but that was a freak storm because it never rains at Autzen. Aside from the rain what is impressive about that video is how loud it is, in spite of all that damn rain!

As for tickets, I wish I had advice on how to score a cheap ticket but it is almost impossible.  Tickets will generally cost you at least $70 per ticket.  You can try using my cheap ticket method right after kickoff but I doubt it will work given the demand.  You best bet is to try and find something for face value off of craigslist.  I’ve bought and sold plenty of tickets off of craigslist and I find it to be pretty reliable.

If you make it down for a game, have fun, remember to be safe because you have to drive home, and go ducks.

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Portland: Beer, Beards, Street Meat, and Environmental Consciousness

A reader alerted me to a blog post about the blogger’s (Kristin) first trip to Portland.  I enjoyed the tip report and asked Kristin if I could republish her trip report here.  She was kind enough to agree.  Kristin is a teacher who lives in San Diego and writes a blog about her mission to experience 100 new things. I’m happy Portland made the list.  Rumor has it Kristin also like the Goonies and long walks on the beach, not sure if the two are related. You can check out her blog at seekingsd.wordpress.com, and here is her trip report:

The only experience I had with Oregon before this trip was “Oregon Trail” from 4th grade. When booking this trip, I just thought about all the oxen I was going to lose wading the river, or how Timmy was going to die of Typhus before we could reach the fort. However, when I arrived in Portland, I discovered that the city was filled with a plethora of modern luxuries, (so no bargaining with the natives for medicine). Modern day Portland is now known for beer, beards, street meat, and environmental consciousness, so basically just really clean hippies.

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The first thing I did when I arrived in Portland was head straight to eat at a gourmet street cart. Portland is known for original dishes that can only be found on a hipster roach coach. It is so popular, I assumed I could quiet my fears about what “street meat” actually consists of, and headed straight to see what the avenue of gluttony had to offer. I noticed that Portlanders seem to really like their Thai food, but again, hipsters all like Thai, it is way more cool than Chinese. So, I blamed them for the lack of variety. If you haven’t noticed, I am blaming all negative things on the hipsters, don’t get mad, it’s science. I settled on a gourmet grilled cheese truck, where I was pleasantly reminded that you can’t go wrong with bread, cheese, and a good deep fry. I enjoyed my meal in a park outside of Powell’s bookstore, noticing that everyone appeared to be eating outside. I thought it was so great that the locals make a point to get outside and enjoy fresh air during their workday. Then I remembered there were only about two months of sunshine a year in Portland, so it was more vitamin D deficiency, than an enjoyment of nature.

I continued my beautiful day with a stop at Powell’s books. This bookstore is a city block in size so I anticipated it would be like the mother ship calling me home. However, with all the color coded floors I felt a little lost and overwhelmed. I am pretty mainstream with my reading choices, so my excitement was not over the selection of hard to find new releases, but rather the large selection of used children’s books. I have spent the last ten years trying to track down a copy of “Jelly Beans for Breakfast”, my favorite, yet out of print, childhood book. Yes, I know I could just check Amazon, but there is something about finding your favorite childhood memory right where it belongs, on a bookshelf. Despite the mass inventory, Powell’s books did not have what I was looking for, so I wandered around, taking in the smell of old books (my favorite), and made my way back out to the street to continue my tourism.

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I ended my day with a walk along the river, where I took in the amazing scenery of the city. I stopped at the smallest park in the world, which is basically a plant in the middle of the street. You almost die trying to get there. I have to give props to Portland; the views from this city are amazing. On a clear day you can see Mt. Hood peeking out a top the clouds and it is pretty jaw dropping. The backdrop of the greenery surrounding the city makes you feel like the air you are breathing is cleaner, (I am from LA, so it probably was). However, just when I thought I was completing a perfect day, I headed to my car and got flashed by a homeless person. Not as horrible as it could have been, he asked me if I wanted to see his boobs. I figure if anyone, even a homeless person, asks to show you their boobs, you always say yes. I also discovered, while you always say yes, you are usually horrified with that decision. I told myself weirdos just added to Portland’s charm.

The next morning I learned, “all good things come in pink boxes”! Voodoo Donut boxes that is. I couldn’t come to Portland without stuffing my face with the popular breakfast pastry. The reason I loved Voodoo Donut so much was because they took everything that contributed to my childhood obesity and combined it into one breakfast treat. I decided on two donuts (you can’t go there and wait an hour for one), the regular chocolate glazed (always a safe bet), and then a chocolate glazed covered in Rice Krispy’s and Peanut Butter. It was one of the most sinful things I have done in a while, it was so rich it almost made me sick, but what do you do when you are full and eating something great? You just shove it down of course! Kate Moss is wrong, there is something that tastes better than skinny feels, and that is glazed bread covered in sugary cereal. My mom got the infamous “voodoo donut”, which was a voodoo doll with a pretzel through its heart, filled with jelly so when bitten it looked like blood. I appreciated the humor they brought to their pastry decorations. My favorite part of the experience was the advance researching of the menu with my mother and her cousin. Nothing makes gaining weight worth it more than having to describe to your mother what a “blunt” is, (yep the names on the menu don’t disappoint). Although, according to the venue, “the magic is in the hole”.

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Thankfully I planned to spend the next few days being active, since the main activity in Portland so far was eating. When it comes to outdoor activities, Portland really does do it better. The main reason I came to Portland was for the wedding of two close friends from San Diego. I met up with some wedding guests to hike Multnomah Falls before the ceremony, figuring you can’t waste clear skies in a place like this. If you ever get up to Oregon in the summer, take this hike, the views are awesome. While I discovered in a previous blog that hiking is “just like walking”, I found at the falls, if you are going to walk, you might as well do it next to a waterfall. I love moments in nature where you get to be in awe of something, it reminded me of why I started out on this adventure, to pay attention to living. We completed our hike just in time to avoid the tourists. For instance, the girl who was wearing the raised Rocket Dog flip-flops we all used to rock in college, who fell on her face and tried to blame nature. I may be new to this hiking thing, but at least I am not that girl, wining.

485459_10151823546046291_608948201_nThe wedding was about as Portland as one could imagine, and I loved it. This has been the year of weddings for me, and I have to say, this is probably one of the best I have ever been to. It was located on the water of Bridal Veil Lakes. The couple got married under a hutch covered in beer hops (all for the groom). The bride looked beautiful, with all the details of her dress and decorations perfectly complimenting a lakeside wedding. There were two things that made this the best wedding ever, the food, and the venue. The food was served family style, simply take your portion and pass it to the next table over (best pork chops ever). As I said, the venue was on a lake, yet I was very excited when I found, instead of the boring cocktail hour waiting for the couple, there were canoes and fishing rods. How many weddings have you been to where the couple says, “we are going to go take some photos, here is some alcohol, now go fishing on the lake while you wait”? It was awesome!!!! This wedding didn’t have all the typical clichés, no long speeches, no money dance, no tossing of the bouquet. There was no cutting of the cake, because the desert was cookies and mulberry pie, which again, I loved!!! I couldn’t decide if the wedding was so perfect because of it being outdoors in Portland, or because it so perfectly fit the couple. I settled on as much as I miss my two friends, they fit better in Oregon, the beer and the beards suit them (well not a beard for the bride)! Having friends in nice places just gives me an excuse to visit, only in the summer that is, I hate rain!

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The highlight of this adventure came the next day, and I will consider another adventure. Let’s just say, there was no way I was going to head up to Oregon without making a stop at one of my childhood dreams…..Astoria! Stay tuned to hear about my adventures with One-Eyed Willy!

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Sherlock Holmes Is Coming to OMSI

I am pretty excited about a new exhibit coming to OMSI on October 10th.  Here is a blurb from the press release:

Sherlock Holmes, a chemistry and forensics expert ahead of his time, used seemingly trivial observations of clues others missed to solve some of his era’s most mysterious crimes. His practices and techniques, created in the mind of doctor turned-author Conan Doyle, changed the way police work was conducted, and remain in practice today. The International Exhibition of Sherlock Holmes features original manuscripts and period artifacts, investigative tools influenced and used by Sherlock Holmes, and interactive crime-solving opportunities.  Guests will be transported into Sherlock Holmes’ London to solve a crime in a world that was being introduced to his ground-breaking methods for the first time, a world filled with innovation and experimentation.

This sounds like a lot of fun and I am looking forward to checking it out.  The exhibit runs from October 10th to January 5th.  Admission to the exhibit will cost $18, which includes general admission to the rest of the museum.  If you want to save a few bucks consider going on the first Sunday of the month.  On the first Sunday general admission is $2 so you may be able to pay the difference and see the Sherlock Holmes exhibit for only $7.  Call ahead to confirm or just be prepared to pay the whole $18.

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