We stayed here for the longest of any stop on the trip. Which is just mostly because we have been on a pretty quick pace for the first month of the trip. Now that the Doterra conference is past we only have one more scheduled stop on the trip and that’s not until the second week in October. So we have some flexability to stay in one place for a while.
We have been to Portland many times and Mt. Hood specifically at least twice. We love the size of the wilderness and ski areas the real ‘small town’ feel of Government Camp and Rhodedendron. But we also like the quirky city vibe that Portland provides. So we were really looking forward to spending some real time here.
We arrived late at night on Sunday after driving from Boise during the day. The only hiccup was that there was no one to let us in when we got there. But since we are now professional travelers we weren’t going to let that stop us. We unhooked the chain over the exit and just drove in ourselves. We just picked a spot across the street from where our friend was staying in the park. There were some surprised looks the next day, but everything worked out. It’s an older park and the sites aren’t all concrete and flat. But the trees are so beautiful and you really feel tucked into nature. They have some really neat hiking trails that lead down to a river, we didn’t get to use the pool but they did have a mushroom and Sasquatch festival while we were there.
The little towns on Mt Hood are “real” small mountain towns, there’s not a lot going on, but everyone is really friendly and seems to know everyone else. Technically the RV park is in Rhododendron, but we drove up the road to Zig Zag to go to the Grocery store and Coffee stand. Being there for two weeks, you really get a sense of what it would be like to live on the mountain. It’s a slower life for sure, but if you have a good internet connection it might not be that bad. Also a good heater, it was the first time that we had to use the propane heater in the RV it works pretty well overall. But the front of the house is much colder than the back bedroom. so I just ended up wrapping my feet in blankets when I work in the morning.
This just seems like going into someones house that also happens to have a kitchen and sell sandwiches. The owner/cook made an awesome Reuben and we sat at a table that overlooked the forest and stream that runs behind the building. Really cool experience!
Post card views, seriously. This is the photo that’s going to make everyone jealous of our trip. It was so nice there, it was a busy day and it still felt so peaceful. There were families playing, guys drinking and fishing, and bros out with their dogs but everyone was still getting along and enjoying nature.
We were able to get out and into the forest a couple times up there. We were guided on a mushroom finding expedition by our friend Tom. By guided I mean that he gave us the basic description of some chantarelles sent us on our way. We marched off the trails and into the woods for about an hour. we came back with pounds of mushrooms. They were all deemed edible by Tom and my basic internet mushroom googling skills. So we sauteed then up in some butter and ate them with pasta. They were delicious and no one died!
Finally finishing our ‘Keep it Weird’ tour with Portland. Which I would say is probably not the weirdest, but maybe it’s weirdness is in the most need of saving. We have been here 3 other times so we know quite a bit about the layout and scene of the city. But this is the first time that I really saw that the rough hipster vibe is being replaced by glossy expensive shops and more trendy restaurants. Much like what’s going on to ‘The Fan’ in Richmond. Division street is really getting pricey, but we did go to several new places this trip that we hadn’t made it to before that were interesting.
This is one of those places that all the tourists go, but we had avoided it previously. I think that was mostly because it wasn’t free admission and it’s kind of a drive to get there. But it was worth it, the view from the top of the hill is great and the gardens themselves were very peaceful. I don’t know if I could stay there all day, I’m not that into meditation. The rose gardens are free and we forced our 16 year old guest to walk through them. Which we thought could have been a disaster, but even she was impressed with the color and variety of the roses. I would probably just go to the rose gardens and skip the Japanese gardens next time, you only need to see them once.
We almost went here the first time we came to Portland in 2009, but we chose ‘Pirate themed underground glow in the dark mini golf’ instead. I call that a push. But this time I was not going to miss it. And it really did not disappoint! It was half bar from Tron 2, half arcade from 1994, and half weird guy’s basement video game collection. It was also half not good at fractions. They had mostly classic arcade games downstairs (frogger, pacman, street fighter) and then pinball upstairs. I have a soft spot for pinball, but whoa! I am not good at it. Terrible even.
One of the most interesting things we say was a 10 player arcade game called ‘Killer Queen’ that pitted two teams of 5 against each other in some kind of Joust like competition to control little bears to collect magical berries and ride snails into a soccer goal. Keep it weird, Portland! But it was so much fun. I hope I see one again someday.
This place is Portland. Pretty much a traditional asian food place, but with just the right mix of tattoos, betty page bangs, and ironic kitch decorations. Perfectly curated to remind you of the ending of Big Trouble in Little China, but they also didn’t forget about the food. Also a little twisted, I recommend the Miso Gravy Poutine. It might be the most delicious single thing that I have had on the whole trip.
We just happened on this place at the right time. They do a little ‘food happy hour’ where you can get smaller plates of really delicious Cuban food for reasonable prices. It was so authentic and great, I’m pretty sure it would be worth the money at any price.
We came in the middle of ‘Fresh Hop’ season, so there were a ton of super hoppy IPAs to be had. If you’re anywhere near Portland you can expect almost every bar to have some kind of local craft brew. Overall I would have to rate it pretty highly on our cross country beer tour, the variety is great and I didn’t have a beer that disappointed me the whole time. I still think that Vermont is the best area in the country for Beer, but Portland may be a close second.
Holy Crap are the views here great. We were told be the afor mentioned Tom to stop by Parkdale if we ever went over to the other side of Mt. Hood. On our way home we saw the sign and made an executive descision to try it out. We parked and walked down the only street in the town and saw a BBQ joint that seemed really popular, then at the last minute we decided that we better check out the Brewery that was also on the main street. It didn’t seem like much from the front, but their back patio is what pays the bills. They have the most amazing view of the back side of Mt Hood. And the beer is great. That’s like a bonus compared to this atmosphere on a great day with the sunseting behind the mountain. This is a must visit Oregon Destination.
We wanted to go to the valley side of the mountain and relax and enjoy some cider. We didn’t really research this place, but we were rewarded again by the Gods of the Road. This place was a home run, get the sampler and sit on the porch. They have 12 kinds of cider to sample. I reccomend almost everything on “The Dark Side” of the sample menu. The BEST being the ‘Gillouly Blue’ which is a bit sour and also a bit like sweet blue cheese. Which sounds terrible, but it was the best cider I have ever had. EVER. I bought a growler just so I could take some more home with me.
Home on the road
Maybe it’s because it’s the first place that we’ve stopped for more than a couple days. But we are really comfortable in this area of the country. I love the views, the beer, and the people all have a ‘do it yourself’ vibe. I’m not sure I would actually live on the mountain full time, the hour drive to Portland was a little annoying. But somewhere in between would be nice.
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