I had more social interaction during my time in Portland than the past year all put together. From seeing old friends to meeting new ones, I find myself wondering what happened to my introverted self? I am feeling a little like the Kim Kardashian of the RV community. I love being around people and meeting new and interesting friends, but my “internal battery” tends to drain after a couple of encounters. It really got put through the paces as “a couple of encounters” turned out to be an insanely social two weeks!
I met Jane back in Atlanta in 2003. We became fast friends and “foxhole buddies” through the long and painful passing of a mutual friend who succumbed to breast cancer. Jane moved to Portland shortly thereafter, and I hadn’t seen her since I visited Crater Lake and Bend, OR back in 2006. So when my plans were set for Portland, Jane was the first one I emailed.
We shared a couple of margaritas and an obscene Shrimp Parfait on The Deck, a floating bar on the Columbia River, followed by mid-week Happy Hour margaritas at El Matador. And then I came full circle on the last night of my Portland stay, as Jane and I visited McMenamins Edgefield, one of the famous McMenamins local watering hole / brew pub / vineyard / distilleries. Built in 1911 as the local “poor farm,” a welfare reform effort later turned nursing home, it’s now a hotel with outdoor restaurants, live concerts, and darned good beer! We enjoyed a couple of great burgers, brews, and a little Celtic music under the twinkly lights of the trees.
Chester and Linda
I met Chester and Linda at the Winnie Rally back in Canyonville in May, then bumped into them again in Newport, Rhode Island, where they greeted me with a “welcome packet” of things to see and do in the city. So it was no surprise that they rolled out the welcome mat, since they live just across the river from Portland in nearby Vancouver.
They graciously invited me to dinner in their beautiful home, an expanded version of their elegantly appointed Winnebago View, which makes my View look like a college dorm room. I was a bit mortified, parking my oil-incontinent Tracker on their spotless driveway in a gated community. But thanks to the strict rules of the Columbia River RV Park, I now travel with my own cardboard. 😉
During the second week of my stay, Chester and Linda kindly picked me up at Freightliner while waiting on my Winnie to be serviced, and treated me to lunch at their favorite fried chicken haunt, “The Wooden Chicken.”
So why do I never seem to get pictures of Chester and Linda? Well, I don’t make a habit of snapping photos inside someone’s private home as “blog fodder,” and during our second visit, my camera was in the Winnie, up on the “rack” having its transmission fluid changed. But trust me; they both look just as kind and generous in person as they sound!
Hans and Lisa
Some of my favorite destinations and hikes have come from the blog, Metamorphosis Road. I have had several “near misses” with Hans and Lisa as we both leap-frogged our way up from Prescott, Arizona, through Nevada and northern California. So I was quite excited to see their “Next stop, Columbia River RV Park” listed on the blog as their upcoming destination. We would overlap in the same RV park for an entire week!
Lisa and Hans have a fifth wheel big enough to transport my Winnie inside, complete with the equivalent of an entire sound stage stored under their sofa. Lisa is a great cook in her “gourmet, one-butt kitchen” while Hans is a master at the Weber Q. But the meal was only a by-product of a great night of lively conversation. Lisa said it best — when you follow someone’s blog, you get to know their personality. So when you finally do meet face to face, you already have a lot to talk about. This was certainly the case, as we ”leap-frogged” across more subjects than we had campgrounds in the past six months!
During the course of our conversation, they mentioned they loved to visit Tiki Bars. I had no idea there was an entire Tiki sub-culture out there, with requisite specs for décor to include Tiki masks and puffer fish light fixtures. Expert mixologists create unique and lethal concoctions under the disguise of a harmless paper umbrella, while Tiki fans flock to Surf Band concerts.
I have always been a fan of tropical-themed bars, so when Hans and Lisa asked if I wanted to come along, I jumped at the chance for a frosty Mai Tai. We met up with Hans’ friend and fellow musician “Portland Bob” for a tiki toast. There was discussion of a Surf Band concert afterward, but when we found ourselves in the parking lot discussing whether there were enough earplugs to go around, I knew I was out of my league.
Debbie and Kim – Trouble Times Two
I have been following Kim’s blog, Kimbopolo, since back in the days before either of us had rigs. Kim lives in Alabama, neighboring state to my home of Georgia at the time, so much of our simultaneous searching for “the perfect rig” happened at the same RV venues. She and Debbie, whom I met when she was traveling with Jim and Gayle with Life’s Little Adventures, were doing a stint with the WINs (Wandering Individuals Network,) and were parked in Boring, Oregon, just a half an hour outside of Portland.
We agreed to a mutual meeting place, Bistro 23, where we laughed and talked for almost five hours straight. We had so much fun we couldn’t stop there, so we planned to meet again at the Portland Saturday Market.
No visit to Portland is complete without a stop at Voodoo Doughnuts, our agreed upon meeting place. Just as infamous as the doughnuts is Voodoo’s consistently long waiting line. Since Debbie and Kim were commuting in from Boring, I took one for the team and got in line for the one hour wait while they were on their way.
Voodoo is known for their “suggestive” doughnuts, but we kept it respectable….as respectable as bacon on a maple doughnut can be. Of course, it had nothing to do with the fact that they were sold out of the phallic, cream filled special, “Eat at Joe’s.”
Another great visit filled with laughter and tales, travels and travails of “Solo Woman RVing,” and I have a feeling it won’t be the last with these two. I trust our paths will cross again!