Sunday, August 11, 2013

Portlandish and Beyond

Musings of the Daisy Dog: When will this nightmare end? When will they stop dressing me up like some kind of doll? When's dinner? Where are my snacks? I am the Daisy Dog. I thought it was all about me.
This is our friend Brayton in his most common pose: on his cell phone, on his patio, at his golf resort home in Belches, Ore-eh-gone. It seems he spends twenty-six hours a day on his cell phone talking to his brother in Hawaii, his son in Portland, his daughter in Seattle, his lady friend in southern Arizona, and any real estate agent anywhere in the world as he looks for his next big buy. He owns three houses and a large undeveloped piece of property but mostly he's on the phone yammering with Paul eating up Paul's expensive pay-as-you-go cell minutes saying absolutely nothing as most people do. Say nothing. But we love him anyway. Paul has known Brayton for nigh-on four decades.
He has a lovely house on one of the fairways at the Inn at the Mountain in Welches (we call it "Belches"), Ore-eh-gone about twenty miles west of Mt. Hood on US Hwy. 26. A beautiful area. When the sun is shining, which isn't often. (While walking Daisy around Brayton's deck I heard a "whoosh" and saw what I thought was a small bird whizz by. Turned out to be golf ball that missed the fairway completely and missed me by inches. Even I don't golf that badly.)
Trying to save a buck or two, we parked the all new for 2014 Lance 1885 travel trailer with side slide and Prius in his driveway which is very much against the high-falutin' "resort" rules. But breaking a rule or two and offending a few folks as we travel this great land seem to be what we do best and most enjoy. So you damn teabaggers if you don't like it you might want to stop reading this now and move onto the latest anti-Obama harangue on the Drudge Report. ...Geez, where'd that come from?
On our second day in Welches we finally pried the phone from Brayton's ear and took a day trip into Portland, truly one of the world's weirdest, most overrun with homeless and bicycle riding liberal tattooed rasta-braided cities I have ever seen. The best part of the day was a stop at a trout-fishing farm down the road from Belches where for a price....
you can throw in a line, snag a trout, clean it, take it home and then try to eat it. Trout have little muscle mass so it's like eating spongy fish meal, something you wouldn't even feed the cat.
This typifies Portland: a sign overlooking the Columbia River that says "Goo Goo". Don't know who put this sign up but we were going to show you a truly offensive sign down below that some cyber censor said "Oh, no you don't" so you get "Goo Goo" instead.  The cyber censor is onto us now.
We stopped in a Portland neighborhood called "the Alphabet District" away from most of the homeless and bicyclists. Had lunch at very nice, dog-friendly restaurant called "El Matador".  Good service, great food-- I had carnitas enchiladas with an arugula salad. Daisy had the same. Brayton made a feeble attempt to pay but as usual Paul picked up the tab. So far it's Paul $31, Brayton $0.
The next day, a nice, clear day, we loaded up Brayton's two kayaks and headed up the road to Mt. Hood.
First stop: historic Timberline Lodge about half way up the mountain.
The lodge was built in the 1930s as a W.P.A./Three Cs project. Teabaggers, you might want to look that up and actually learn yourself sumpin. This is one of the original bedrooms on display behind a glass wall. Wow.
Mt. Hood has the longest ski season in the country. Champion skiers and snowboarders hone their skills on the mountain's glaciers. Its best skiers have even been featured on the cover of Pee Chee folders. If you're over 50 you may remember these things. Pee Chee folders were as ubiquitous as book bags and slide rules for us old folks who went to school in the stone age.
Pee Chees were peach-colored (as in "peachy") paper folders with pockets on the side, not bottom, so your papers wouldn't fall out if the folder turned upside down. Ingenious. Are they still around?
And here's something interesting and kind of scary when you think about it: some wag actually converted an old bus and attached cables to its undercarriage to turn it into a ski lift/tram. This is only a photo because the actual bus didn't last a week before it crashed to the ground with 300 snowboarders on board who will snowboard no more. That's a good thing. (Just kidding. The tram was safe but impractical so was replaced with more modern lifts that we still see today.)
In the 1950s, the lodge fell into disrepair, becoming a haunt of gamblers and prostitutes. That's true. But not enough people were pullin' them slots or shaggin' them gals so that era ended and the building stood empty. Eventually a visionary thought fixing up the Timberline a good bet. He rolled the dice and came up a winner: the refurbished lodge thrived and today it's a National Historic Landmark and quite an impressive place on show.
The original WPA art is also on show.  
In 1980, the Timberline was on show quite literally in the opening scenes in the horror movie "The Shining" with Jack Nicholson. Along with two fright films from the 1960s--"The Innocents" and "The Haunting" --"The Shining" ranks as one of the scariest movies ever. (August 19 update: a couple of days ago I read that a sequel to "The Shining" is in production. Its evil protagonists are diabolical old folks who are also RVers. I kid you not.)
Here are two counter-culture Portland-based skiers/snowboarders who weren't on the bus/tram that came tumblin' down.
We saw plenty of something you don't often see in this part of Oregon: the sun. This a weird item. Paul went into a convenience store, picked up the cheapest sunblock he could find -- $12 for a small tube -- and discovered it was made for people with tattoos so their precious, ridiculous body art won't get burned and fade in the high mountain sun.
Now back to the kayaks. Here we are putting in at Trillium Lake near Mt. Hood. Nothing like a day in nature with sandwiches in a bag from WalMart.
Trillium Lake offers that classic view of Mt. Hood that is on every wall and mind of every Oregon commercial enterprise trying to fleece you out of your tourist dollar. But it is well worth it.
After our bag lunch,  Brayton paddles out while Paul restrains Daisy on the leash.
And here are the two of us, Brayton and yours truly, making Daisy even more anxious because right after that Paul took her off leash and Daisy swam out about fifty yards....
...and was hauled back to shore by me. We don't know what it is with this dog or even what kind of dog she really is but she takes to water like a Democrat to Obamacare. But point her in the direction of a bath and she whines like a teabagger having to pay for Obamacare.
Daisy once had her own flotation device but no more. She outgrew it, big time.
Yep, that's Daisy. Found a stick and out she went again.
The entire region around Mt. Hood is full of lakes and tall trees and clean, comfortable Forest Service and state park campgrounds. No hook-ups for RVs for the most part but no matter. A couple of days of dry camping in comfort and having a campground pretty much to yourself is worth it. Damn. Get an RV. Get on the road and stop at a spot like "Little Crater Lake".
Like its big brother, it was formed when gas and magma built up and collapsed the ground around it, opening a fissure that fills the small crater with flowing spring water that stays at a constant and cold 34 degrees F. Interesting stuff.
Looking into Little Crater Lake and trees that have fallen in and are now frozen.
We were so bored with lake after lake after lake that Brayton took this picture of Paul grabbing my boobs. I know now why they're called "boobs". They seem to attract boobs, like this tall one at my side.
Saw this little Boston Terrier (I think) named Riley at yet another lake. Gave her one of Daisy's treats and as you can imagine that set our creature off like a teabagger getting goosed by a Portland cross-dressing, transgendered bicyclist.  (If you haven't seen the IFC series "Portlandia" you should. It's very, very funny -- to me -- and very Portlandish.)
A rare, clear shot of Mt. Hood without its customary "hoodie" of clouds and mist.

Next stop, wild, wild weather at Crater Lake and a drive that left me shaking in my boots.

Bye-bye. Buy Starbucks. Best damn coffee in the world. Hey, Howard Schultz, give us some and we'll start saying nice things about you, too.
Or not.

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