I have never been to a streetcar-equipped city that I did not like. My late grandmother lived in Düsseldorf, which has a dense trolley network. San Francisco’s case shouldn’t require explanation. Even Buenos Aires had a–now largely defunct–system in place. And so does Portland, OR.
With this being said, Portland felt different from what I had hoped for. I guess I should have watched a bit of Portlandia to prepare myself for the immersion. Never before have I seen so many guys in skinny jeans and sandals with man buns and oversized horn glasses as on the city’s hipster-contaminated Mississippi Avenue neighborhood. Female residents were a tad more diverse, ranging from shaved-and-tattooed to Amélie Poulain types with skirts and bob cuts. I was semi-desperately looking for someone in khakis or sneakers, maybe even a regular sweater. No luck; Portland is home to the most fabric-softened urban population in the United States. And it keeps growing at rapid pace. A few decades from now, it will be a mega-city packed with millions of latte macchiato-sipping micro-entrepreneurs clad in organic hemp blouses who are too cool for school. I’m glad I was able to savor it before it got that far.
Campgrounds along the coast were all booked up this past weekend. One of the park rangers suggested I call Jerry. He and his partner recently bought the Ride Inn in Vernonia, OR and remodeled it from bottom up. They also own the Mason House a block away, which they are converting into a five-bedroom mansion. Jerry let Harry and me stay on his parking lot for free since we did not actually need a room, and we chatted about their projects and his previous “lives” in South Dakota, Alaska and Georgia.
On our way toward the Oregonian coast, I noticed a fever creeping up on me. I bought some locally made honey (and date candy) on Tillamook’s farmers’ market and then spent the rest of the day sleeping inside la bestia, which I had parked in the shade near Cape Lookout.
Unfortunately the fever persisted throughout the night and the following day, and so Harry and I did not get to do much aside from a quick run on the beach and some fresh seafood (and ibuprofen) for me.
Following a paper tissue-destructive night, I felt a bit more alive this morning, so we left Cape Lookout for Pacific City. I hadn’t checked my e-mails in several days, and Harry was eager to run off-leash.