Donuts, video games and fun in Portland

                                                                                 – written by Sarah                                                                                  

Place

Portland, Oregon

Date

July 2 to July 3

 Logistics

We left Crater Lake, Oregon around 10am Tuesday morning to head to Portland. We got in around 2pm after a leisurely drive and settled in to our hotel. We stayed at a Courtyard Marriott in downtown. The next day we left Portland around 2pm and drove to Multnomah Falls. Around 5pm, we left the falls and headed north to Seattle, about 3 hours away.

Costs

We used 20,000 Marriott points for our hotel. We spent $40 total on the Underground Walking Tour we did Tuesday afternoon, and about $50 total in food and drinks that evening. My coffee at Powell’s City of Books was overpriced and tiny at about $4 for 6oz, so bring your own from outside if you want coffee while you browse. Our lunch on Wednesday was about $20.

Summary

When we got into town we were pretty hungry so we immediately scoped out some places to eat. Conveniently, less than 2 blocks away from our hotel we found a parking lot full of food trucks- pizza, Chinese food, gyros, Indian food- anything you can imagine really. We decided to get some gyros (extra tzatsiki sauce please!) and sat on a bench to devour our lunch. We had signed up to do a walking tour of Portland’s shadier historic sites and headed that way after our lunch. Since we were early we stopped to enjoy some locally brewed beer at the Old Towne brewing company.

Our tour guide was a woman in her 40s  – she was a cute, spunky woman with a ton of energy and a lot of recommendations of what to do in the Portland area. Tim and I may have invited her out with us to a strip club later that night 😉

The tour was really interesting- my favorite story was about a woman named Nancy Boggs who owned a brothel on a boat in the river  that divided Portland and Albina. Because her brothel wasn’t technically located in either city, she was able to evade taxes to both. Sneaky lady! After being harassed by both sides to choose a side to pay taxes on, officials cut the ropes that tied her brothel in place, sending her boat careening down the river. But that didn’t stop her- a few weeks later she was back in her old spot, where she continued to operate for several more years. I love a story where the woman outsmarts the law!

We also got to tour a piece of Portland’s underground tunnels, called the Shanghai tunnels (even though no Shanghai-ing actually took place in them). What is Shanghai-ing? I’m glad you asked. Obviously Portland is a port, and one of the primary routes was Shanghai to Portland. These ships always needed men to work on them and a popular way of getting men on these ships, while making a few bucks, was for men in Portland to kidnap other men (often when they were drunk) and then sell these drunk men to the ship captains. By the time the men sobered up, they were out to see and destined for a year or so of free labor on the ship until it would eventually make it’s way back to Portland!

After our tour, we decided to be even more touristy by going to Voodoo Donuts to see what all the fuss was about. Aside from having the most sparkly brick façade I’ve ever seen, they admittedly have some damn good donuts. I got a donut covered in icing and Orea crumbs, while Tim got one covered in Capn Crunch berries. We walked with our donuts to a bar (incidentally called the Shanghai bar), grabbed a pint each, and downed our donuts and our beer while playing Big Buck Hunter, a video game found in many bars. Now, those of you who know Tim and I very well probably already know that we are pretty big fans of this game, and we were really excited that the one at this bar was the newest version with a giant HD screen and some enhanced functionality. Tim was the new Hunter Hero on many of the sites, and after our mouths and his ego were sufficiently fed, we headed back to the hotel for a nap.

After our nap we ventured out for an evening in “weird Portland” and the city did not let us down. We started at a bar called Bailey’s Taproom where we each got a flight of local beers- allowing us to sample 10 beers total. They also had board games available to play so after we got our flights, we played a few rounds of Connect Four and I was even able to convince Tim to play Battleship with me. To thank him, I let him win.

After we were sufficiently tipsy we headed to a popular bar arcade called Ground Kontrol, where, to our delight, we found the oldest version of Big Buck Hunter- the very original! After some electronic buck hunting we decided it was time to check out the infamous strip club everyone had been recommending to us- Mary’s.

Mary’s was a dive bar at its heart, that just happened to have semi- nude women on a stage dancing. We stayed through one rotation of all of the girls performing that night, and at that point our drunken selves were hungry. Conveniently, the Mexican restaurant right next door to Mary’s was still open and had also been highly recommended.

Our evening ended with a literal frolic through the streets back to the hotel where we crashed quickly.

The next morning Tim had his heart set on getting a hair cut, so we went to the Paul Mitchell school where he got his hair cut by a student who probably didn’t really know what she was doing, as evidenced by the approximately 2 hours it took for him to get it cut. While he did that, I meandered down the street to Powell’s City of Books, where I planted myself in the travel section with a cup of coffee and perused the shelves for books that would help me and Tim plan out our upcoming round-the-world trip. I had a blast.

When Tim was finally able to meet up with me, his hair looking a little choppy but generally alright, we headed to a macaroni and cheese restaurant called Mac! before heading out of Portland to Multnomah Falls.

Multnomah Falls is the tallest continuously running waterfall in North America at 627 feet, and it’s located only 30 minutes east of Portland. We did the full hike up to the top of the falls (allegedly only a mile, but pretty much entirely uphill with 11 switchbacks). Now, these types of challenges are a key area where Tim and are quite different. Tim enjoys a physical athletic challenge. I generally dread them (at least at the time- but afterwards I’m always glad I did it). So, while Tim set out to run the entire way up, I trudged along the path next to a four year old boy with a walking stick and his dad, who were on the same schedule for rest stops every 2 switchbacks or so. Red faced and admittedly panting a bit, I finally got to the top and met Tim at the overlook. We took some of the typical photos, then walked back a bit over to the stream that feeds the waterfall. We sat on some large rocks and enjoyed the scenery for a bit. I thought it was striking how peaceful this area was, but just 100 feet away, it plummets into a violent roaring waterfall.

We eventually made our way back down the trail, exhausted and happy. Next stop- Seattle!

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