Day Two and Three
The City That Works
Portland works. It was tough to leave this morning, I won’t lie. We cruised into Portland early Friday evening, cresting the bluff that overlooks the Willamette and down over the Ross Island Bridge into Southeast Portland. We had many faces to see, a BBQ to attend to, and a girlfriend to pick up at the Ace Hotel. Our friend Jeremy had offered up his house for us to stay at so we made our first stop there. He lives in a blue cottage off 39th with a large kitchen and cozy basement where we set up camp.
We spent our evening with old Portland friends drinking beer, eating carne asada tacos, and playing a dice game called “Farkel.” For the life of me I can’t remember the rules to this game, other than it was highly amusing to play after a few cold ones. The house that hosted this party was an old 1906 Craftsman, with vaulted roofs and a dungeon basement, filled with a century of memories, warm, welcoming.
Saturday we spent a glorious day of brilliant sunshine and soft breezes cruising around PDX consigning records and bar hopping. We started at Music Millennium then went to Hawthorne Street and hit Jackpot and Exiled Records. We had a microbrew at the Bagdad, a refurbished old theatre. From there we hit Green Noise records and then the downtown location of Jackpot, at which I found a record I’d been hunting for five years. We ended our tour at Mississippi Studios and Prost, a German biergarten in the heart of the historical Mississippi district.
When the weather is pleasant, Portland is about as idyllic a town as one is ever to find. People are out and about, shopping, dining, drinking. Bikes fly by, dogs and strollers connected to weird hybrids of yuppie-hippies populate the streets. Water fountains by the clover bubble the cleanest, freshest water in the world. The steel drawbridges gleam in the soft afternoon glaze and crisscross the blue green river water as joggers follow the trails that grace its banks. Everyone seems happy, even the homeless punks holding signs like “Your Add Here/Hobosigns.com” or “Will Rap 4 food.”
Our show was at a downtown club called the Knife Shop that sits adjacent to a revamped Biker bar called Kelly’s Olympian. The clientele of the bar is akin to a fraternity rush meeting, which at first is a bit unsettling, but then our crew starts to roll in and we overtake the scene with flannel, tattoos, beards, and long feathered asymmetrical haircuts. We played rather late, but people stuck around and we blazed through an electrifying set of jams from the album.
We capped the night with a visit to Portland’s famous Cartopia. Cartopia is a parking lot occupied by a half a dozen of the best food trucks one is ever to find arranged in a circle. Inside the circle are picnic benches strewn about for the Cartopia-goer to sit and enjoy their late night bounty. Between the four of us we had two fried pies, one savory one sweet, French fries with cheese curd and vegan chili sauce, and a fresh mint and Oreo milk shake. So, so delicious—and open until three in the morning to accommodate late night shenanigans.
A gang of is went back to Jeremy’s and drank Coors light and whiskey into the wee hours of the morning in an effort to pretend that perfect days don’t have to end, that if you just stay up it can go on forever.