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Thursday, May 11, 2017

Way Out West

On Tuesday our traveling heroes, Jen and Oni, drove from Western Colorado to Boise. In the late afternoon I received a very specific directive.
Salt Lake City , NEVER GO HERE, though the mountains are beautiful.
The urban sprawl around Salt Lake City was horrendous. I feel bad those majestic mountains have to gaze down upon all that ugly ass shit.
Too late. I passed through Salt Lake a few times way back when I was wickedly young, crisscrossing the country via Greyhound. The solid state, palpable, right wing, conform-or-else mormonosity of the place skeeved me out big time. Swear to Bast, even the sidewalks were ironed (and probably wearing magic underwear). Still, the Salt Flats and mountains were astoundingly awesome.

Rodeo sculpture in Eastern Oregon
No pics from Boise itself as they got in late and didn’t stick around.
Drive was beautiful but long. Drove around the city for 45 minutes looking for place to stay then left. Called the Comfort Inn near airport. Yikes. City is posh, I’d expected a hick farm city but apparently it's enough of a going concern that average hotel rooms cost $300 per night.
Who knew? Boise’s a destination not just a stop over! Will I ever visit Idaho? It’s a profoundly red, open carry state so I wouldn’t feel at all safe. BUT never say never.

The town of Moscow sounds absolutely lovely. They have an annual Jazz Festival named for Lional Hampton, a Hemp Fest!!!, a Renaissance Fair and more. Yup, a wonderfully hippy-trippy slice of heaven.

Still the state’s known, possibly, more for its hate groups (neo-nazis!) than potatoes and beautiful landscape. Unless you’re a skier. Of course.

In any case, our dynamic duo made it to Portland, Oregon yesterday afternoon. Jen fell in immediate swoony deep love with the place. Her first text, We have to come here sometime!!!

Yup, it sure as hell looks like we do.


  1. If your friends wander around downtown Portland they'll see a lot more of those eccentric sidewalk sculptures like the metal pigs in the third-from-last picture. If they like books, they should check out Powell's at West Burnside and 10th -- it's said to be the largest independent bookstore in the country.

    Offbeat types seem to like it here, no matter where in the country they come from. It's not a really big city but it has a lot of character.

    1. I can't wait until Jen sends me the next round of pics!

      I've heard about Powell's and def want to go there. I'm really looking forward to visiting.

    2. If you ever do come to Portland, be sure to let me know.....It's not often that I get to actually meet internet acquaintances.

    3. I surely will! I expect we'll be out there next spring.

  2. Not said to be, it is the largest independent bookstore in the country. Been lost there more than a time or two. Well worth the five hours round trip.

    Did they stick to freeway from Boise to Portland, or did they cross the High Desert?

    1. I don't know which route they took. I'll ask.

      I've got Jasper Fforde's "Lost in a Good Book" in mind now. Mebbe he should write a sequal, Lost in a Good Bookstore :-)

  3. Thank you guys for recommending Powells! Will check that out today. Looking forward to seeing more street art as well.

    Here's the route we took: 70 west to 191, to Rt 6, to Rt 15, to Rt 84 into Portland. Was wild watching the landscape subtly change over the miles from the red/orange Rocky Mountains, to the purple/yellow desert, the emerald green drenched hills and mountains of eastern Oregon, to the lush wooded hills and mountains in the west. Spectacular...

  4. Was a marketing slogan, may still be: I Got Lost At Powell's Books! Encompasses at least four different interconnected three and five storied buildings, takes up an entire block.

    You missed a lot running the freeway, but there's a lot to see there too. The Colombia River Gorge cuts through about ninety million years of volcanic history, though what you see is the result of glacial runoff as the most recent ice age retreated twixt ten and twelve thousand years ago. The only way I've found to describe the carving out of the gorge to visitors is that both the volume and force of the water carried house sized rocks from Western Montana down and around the Grande Rhonde of Washington, through the Cascade Mountains and then two hundred miles up the Willamette River to a few miles south of Eugene. Hard to grasp, but even more mind-boggling is that when the icedamns broke at Hell's Canyon on the Snake River, a tributary of the Colombia, was carved out in less than sixty days. There's a (I think) really good book about it ... ­čśĆ

  5. Wow, we did just about get lost at Powells! THANK YOU for the recommendation. I usually try to carry my purchases out in my own bag but this time I couldn't resist accepting one of their branded brown bags. Awesome store!

    Thank you so much for the mini overview Thomas!! Fascinating... wish we had more time to spend exploring the area. We went to the coast yesterday and happened upon a band of five orcas trying to kill a baby Bright whale (as reported by the friendly park ranger) 50 YARDS OFF SHORE. Felt like we were watching the nature channel! Wasn't exactly a fair fight ;-)

    1. Glad to hear you got to see Powell's! I don't know whether you've gotten away from downtown and the big freeways much, but if you do, you'll see another unusual feature of Portland -- when the city was built, as many as possible of the original trees were left standing (this area used to be forest). A lot of the residential areas are full of trees over 100 feet tall. Even along I-5 south of downtown there are stretches quite close to the city center where it feels like you're driving through a forest.

      If you have any interest in movies, you might want to check out Movie Madness Video on SE Belmont Street. It is to video as Powell's is to books. The owner has also put together a huge collection of original props and costumes from various movies both old and recent, so it's like a movie museum as well as a video store. Very cool place.

    2. Ah geez! I have GOT to get there AND I will! :-)

  6. Hi Infidel! Thank you so much for the info! We've explored the neighborhoods up on the hill as well as some of the farther flung neighborhoods in NW Portland. Can't tell you how many times we've ooh-ed and ahh-ed at all of the beautiful trees. From a distance you'd never even know there were roads or houses in some of these spots thanks to all the GREEN. The day we arrived it felt like we popped out of the forest and landed in Portland's lap. Love it!!!

    The video store sounds great too! We may pay it a visit today which would work well with the rainy cool weather :-)

    Thanks again you guys!! So great having insider tips and info about the geography and city. I appreciate your time :-)