M. Giant's
Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks

Thursday, September 05, 2002  

I said I’d stop talking about Seattle for a while. I didn’t say I’d stop talking about Portland.

Much as our visit to Seattle coincided with Bumbershoot, our drive down to Portland happened to be on the same day as an event called “Bite of Portland.” We have something similar here called “Taste of Minnesota,” and I’m sure that other cities all around the country have similar events like “Mouthful of Kansas City” and “Edible Phoenix” and “Masticate Kalamazoo” or whatever. It’s basically a thing where the entire city gathers in one place and eats one item from every restaurant in the metropolitan area. Often there are concerts featuring some of the music industry’s most prestigious names, up to and including Chubby Checker. We didn’t attend “the Bite,” but we liked the fact that it didn’t seem to be driving up the price of hotel rooms that night.

Another thing I appreciated about Portland is how it’s so darn convenient. We drove in one direction from our hotel, expecting to wander aimlessly and hit whatever tourist attractions we stumbled upon at random. As it turns out, many of Portland’s top tourist traps are gathered together in one place. Now, that’s helpful. We were able to experience some of the finest things that the city of Portland has to offer, from the world-renowned Japanese Gardens, to the Rose Garden, to the Zoo, to the Children’s Museum, all in a matter of minutes, and without ever having to get out of the car. Thumbs up, Portland!

On the other hand, you can drive an hour in the opposite direction and find yourself at the foot of Mount Hood, the highest peak in Oregon at over 11,000 feet. That was cool. We don’t have that many mountains here in Minneapolis, unless you count Buck Hill, which you can’t, and that’s in the suburbs anyway. There’s a road that loops around Mount Hood, and as we wound along it, our ears doing impressions of a case of Pop Secret while the peak itself hovered in and out of view in all its lumpy, threatening glory, we could imagine the pioneers passing through the area along the Oregon Trail, and we’d remember how deadly this beautiful region might have been. Even today, we could get a flat tire and never be heard from again.

Then we’d pass another vacation resort just like the one two miles before and the illusion would be ruined. That’s what Mount Hood gets for being so close to Portland, I guess.

At one point I got out of the car to take a picture of the peak, dashing up a short ridge of scree to get a better shot.

“Huh,” I thought. “I’m closer, and yet the mountain looks smaller from here.”

“That’s because you’ve driven a third of the way up the side of it, you bonehead,” I reminded myself. I was actually impressed with myself that I was able to scamper back down the ridge without dropping the camera or racking myself in the process. My shoes still have some of that distinctive, light-gray Mount Hood dust on them. Good thing I wasn’t there to dispose of a body, because that’s the kind of thing that gets people nicked when they’re suspects on C.S.I.

Overall, the vacation was a success. Perhaps I’ll post some pictures from it over the weekend. Or perhaps that’s just a transparent ploy to keep my traffic from doing its usual Saturday morning drop. There’s only one way to find out.

* * *

I mentioned yesterday that American Idol has become appointment TV in our house over the past couple of weeks, implying that we’re equally into it. Trash read that, and she refuses to let me take the fall with her. So I have to say, for the sake of honesty, that she’s the primary Idol watcher in the house, not I. She saw some of the “performance” clips on the official website and just got reeled in. It could have happened to anyone, and none of us should think less of her for it.

That being said, Yay Kelly!

posted by M. Giant 3:26 PM 0 comments


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