The Good, The Bad and The Thank-You’s – Oregon

It’s my final day in the Beaver State (yes, that’s their real nickname) and I head out to explore downtown St. John’s which is a neighborhood of Portland. Portland Record storehas many “neighborhoods,” you see. There’s “North,” Northwest,” the “Pearl District” and many more (Mr. Rogers would have a tough time figuring out where he lived). There’s not a whole lot to downtown St. John’s; a nice pastry shop called Tulip, a used record shop (kids, it’s a round thing that used to play music), an interesting restaurant with an identity crisis called Patti’s Homeplate which also sells old Avon products, matchbox cars and used clothing, and a beautiful bridge.

The St. John’s Bridge, dedicated on June 13, 1931, is a Gothic design and, on a misty day or dark night, could easily be a place where Dracula might hang out. It’s also the only suspension bridge in the Willamette Valley and is the farthest north of any bridge on the Willamette. Underneath it you’ll find Cathedral Park which is a great photo spot where you might even catch a ghost photo-bombing you as it’s supposedly haunted.

St Johns Bridge

As I fly home I’ll give you a list of the Good, the Bad and the Thank-you’s:

The Good

– The wine and the beer (I mean, what’s not to like).

– Secrets of Portlandia tour – take the tour, trust me.

– The Edwin K B&B – the bathtub, the breakfast, the sherry and the town of Florence are all amazing.

– Climbing Spencer Butte in Eugene – the view, oh my, the view!

– The natural beauty of so much of the state.

– The nice people I met along the way.

– Food trucks! – you can find just about any kind of food at these gatherings.

– The Dining Room in Eugene, OR – they fought hard to develop this creative place that helps those less fortunate.

– Voodoo Doughnut – The first (and last) time I’ve enjoyed an Old Dirty Bastard. Yum.

– The weather – I expected rain and cold, it’s Oregon after all. Nine out of ten days were lovely. It may always be sunny in Philadelphia but, contrary to popular belief, it’s not always rainy in Portland.

– The Kia Soul – that was my rental car and I loved it. So fun to drive.

– Bubble Tea

The Bad

– Trying to balance driving, experiencing, meeting people and writing. It’s much easier doing it without the driving, either by staying in one location or traveling by train as the driving, even shorter distances takes time out of the day. My apologies for typos and grammatical errors in this series, it was a lot of work and I’ll do better next time.

– The not-so-nice people along the way. I wish I could say differently but, for the most part, I didn’t enjoy Eugene or Corvallis as I didn’t find them very friendly. Even in Portland, I would often smile or say good morning to people as I passed and I received simply a blank stare in return. Perhaps they thought I had gone off my meds.

– The homeless situation – there’s a lot. Make no mistake, I’m not saying the homeless people are bad, I’m saying their situation is. Some unfortunately choose to be homeless. They call it a lifestyle choice and ask for “donations.” There’s a huge difference between these people and the ones whose situation (abusive relationships, mental health issues, catastrophic financial issues, etc.) has landed them on the streets.

The Links (most of the links I provided in the series all gathered up for your clicking pleasure).

Global Airport Parking

Sleeping In Airports

Priceline

AirBnB

The Roundhouse

Jazz Station, a Performance Space and Gallery

Spencer Butte

Slurp

Townshend Teahouse

The Hideaway Bakery

The Dining Room

Theo’s Coffee House

Edwin K Bed & Breakfast

Bridgewater Restaurant

Sand Dunes Frontier

Willamettans Family Nudist Resort

Arkeny Vinyards

Buena Vista Ferry

Willamette Valley Vineyards

Broken Yolk Café

Max station (the Portland public rail transportation)

BrewCycle Portland

BrewStop Pub

Powell’s City of Books

Pioneer Square

Secrets of Portlandia

Voodoo Doughnut

Budgeting

While an unplanned trip comes with unplanned expenses (heck, every trip comes with unplanned expenses), here’s a list of what things cost on this trip so you can have a bit of a budgeting plan should you choose to do a trip in this area. I’ve included tips for guides in the cost of the activities as you should always plan on this. I’m a former guide and have strong feelings about how hard these folks work and how little they often get paid.

Airfare – $268

Fees/Tips – $54

Accommodations – $642

Food/Drink – $240.37

Transportation (includes taxis, car rental, gas, ferries and public transportation) – $370.24

Admissions and Activities – $72

For a grand total of $1616.67

Note that totals are actual costs. I stayed with family for three nights and enjoyed dinner at a friend’s house one night. Any media discounts I received are not reflected in these total. Also, any discounts received in no way changed any of my opinions. On that note, I would like to thank:

Sand Dunes Frontier, Edwin K B&B, BrewCycle and the Red Roosts Guest House

The Thank-You’s

As always, the people I meet are the biggest joy I find in traveling. Here are a few who made the trip better:

– Amber in Eugene – nice to see you again. So glad you’re happy. Thanks for dinner!

The ladies from Townshend Teahouse – thanks for explaining Bubble Tea and Kombucha and discussing life in general.

– Dana and Eric from the Red Roost Guest House in Portland – thanks so much for your hospitality. It was    great getting to know the family.

– Don, Nate and Boston from The Roundhouse – thanks for making your house, my house.

– Marv and Laurie from The Edwin K B&B – your property and your hospitality are unmatched.

– Nigel and Mary and Barb and Brian – thanks for a great dinner, the transpo. and helping me experience Lacrosse. So great to see you after all these years.

– Adam and Annie, my fellow wine lovers from the Arkeny Vineyards Winery and the Beth, Jason, Dan and Stephanie, more lushes from Willamette Valley Vineyards.

Diedra, Jan, Sally Jo and all of the others from the Willamettans who made me feel so comfortable.

The guests, staff and volunteers at The Dining Room – if you remember, part of Drop Me Anywhere is to find a project or organization that is doing good and spend a day, or part of a day volunteering with them, and then to write about them in Rebel-With-A-Cause. Thank you for allowing me the honor of volunteering with your amazing organization. Thank you for your hard work and dedication to providing, not just food, but dignity and respect to . And to the guests, thank you for allowing me to serve your meal and to be reminded that poverty is a temporary situation, it does not define you. The article will be published on Rebel-With-A-Cause next week.

Finally, thank you to all the Virtual Travel Buddies who vote on where I go, read the stories, follow the blog and offer comments. Your opinion matters so please feel free to comment. On that note, here’s where you get to tell me where to go again. The next vote is up and running! Please click on A Walk in the Park and vote! Remember, you can vote once per day, per electronic device.

Advertisements