From Park City, Utah, we drove to Portland, Oregon, aka Beervana. Along the way we saw waterfalls, windmill blades, a beautiful mansion, and gorgeous hiking trails. We were very impressed with Oregon. See why…
The route from Park City took us through the southwest corner of Idaho. The entire stretch of Idaho we saw was farmland. Some of the farms were picture perfect, a few were CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations). I saw this this sign for lawn mower races when we stopped for gas. It actually made me wish we could have been there on June 25th!
The scenery changed soon after we crossed into Oregon. It became more mountainous, forested and rocky, divided by rivers and connected by bridges. I’d say we took the scenic route, but most of the state was scenic. We passed by Horsetail Falls, which was pretty. But then we saw Multnomah Falls and it had to be one of the prettiest waterfalls we’ve ever seen! There was so much water rushing down, the spray at the bottom filled the air with mist. Here is a short video showing how loud the water was:
The highways were busy with truckers hauling windmill blades. So what, you say? So they were the longest loads we’ve ever seen go down the roads. We saw tons of trucks pulling three trailers behind them and they weren’t as long as this. It really was amazing to see. When you see wind farms from a distance, you don’t realize just how big they are. And most windmills are made in the Netherlands and have to be shipped piece by piece to the states.
Once we made it into Portland, we visited my cousin, Jesse, (and my sister, Frances, who was also visiting him) and enjoyed the view of Portland from his apartment rooftop. Portland is a little weird, like Austin Texas, and we saw some funny sights. Above is a brief slideshow of some of the things we saw.
Of course, hearing that Portland is the self-titled Beervana city, we had to check it out. I tried to map out a tasting route for a self guided tour, but I was quickly overwhelmed. So much beer and so little time. Portland now has 65 breweries! Indeed, the entire state of Oregon seems to be a brewing capitol with 206 brewing companies. Even Hood River has five of their own. Beer added 31,000 jobs and $4.49 billion to the state’s economy in 2015 (source: http://oregoncraftbeer.org/facts/). Oregon produced 1.7 million barrels of beer and consumed 650,500 of those barrels. The rest were shipped to the other US states and territories, Canada, and 35 other countries! We’re talking big business that is growing every year. So where does one start a tour?
We tried to go to Hair of the Dog, but we couldn’t find any parking. While we were driving around, we saw Old Town Brewery. OTB has two locations — one focuses on beer and the other focuses on pizza — but they both combine the two to some degree. We tried their sampler flight and a mini pizza (we were at the beer-focused location). The beer were okay; our favorite was the kolsch. The pizza was very tasty but had cracker thin crust like the Caribbean.
Next we headed to McMenamins. McMenamins opened its first brewery in 1985. They became so successful that they now have 25 breweries, including locations in Seattle, Salem and Roseburg. Each location brews their own batches by the McMenamins recipe, science and technology, but each crafter has their own style making the brews slightly different. Again, we tasted a flight of beers, cutting out the darker beers and the IPAs to better suit our tastes. They were good, but the huckleberry one, Purple Haze, was a little too sweet-tart for beer. The Ruby Ale was my favorite with a tasty hint of the raspberry puree added into the process.
Continuing our hunt for a favorite brewery, we tried the trendy Hopworks Urban Brewery. They have two locations — the brewery and the bikebar. We stopped at the Bikebar and ordered their full flight of 15 beers! The only things the flight didn’t include were their hard ciders. Unable to avoid the stouts and IPAs, we had a hard time finishing all these samples. Lets do the math 15 samples x 3 ounces each = 45 ounces! And this was after two other stops, one with pizza. Dave really wanted to try their soft pretzels, too. They were absolutely delicious! We were full of both beer and food, but the pretzels were so good, Dave ordered a second batch. I wasn’t a fan of the beers. I found them hoppy and bitter. But we couldn’t continue our tour.
Outside Hopworks Bikebar, two exercise bikes sat unused. They actually feed electricity back into the business. That’s awesome, but I should have tried it before all that beer and food!
We had some extra time, so we toured the Pittock Mansion, pictured top of page. The lives these people led were truly of another era, one long gone and unlikely to return. It was built in 1914 and though that doesn’t sound all that long ago, it was a different world then. Servants took care of their every need, but weren’t allowed to dine with the family, use the main staircase, or even enter the dining room through the door. There was a special unobtrusive entry the servants had to use. The family focused on their musical accomplishments and walked through the forested grounds. The grounds are a gorgeous forest with multiple hiking trails. Henry Pittock thought that water sprayed on your kidneys was good for your health, so he has one of the craziest showers ever. The children actually used their imaginations and used a puppet theater to put on shows. There was no simple way to do laundry, so the family changed clothes multiple times a day and the ladies wore overdresses to keep their clothing clean. There was a house intercom with one red button that only Georgiana Pittock could use and it was to call her chauffeur. Here is a slideshow with a few pictures inside the house and around the grounds:
So far it has been a great road trip. We are liking Portland, really liking it. But it is not our paradise. However, it is on the list of potential places to live if we ever decide to be landlubbers again.