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The Busboys' Big Northwest Adventure


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Next week the four of us fly into Portland to explore colleges for the eldest of the younger generation and maybe pull a steelhead out of the North Umpqua River.

We were a bit surprised when Dylan decided to break mom's heart and look at schools so far from home, but it's great to be getting back to God's Country -- where I had my only farming experience (moving irrigation pipe one summer near Albany, Oregon) and my best politcal experience, on a Washington Senate race.

At this point the itinerary runs something like: Portland=> Eugene and/or Corvallis=> N. Umpqua Valley (near Steamboat Creek)=> Portland=> Miscellaneous Washington=> Seattle. We might try to get into the Olympics if the weather is good. Money is tight, though we'll probably do a blowout or two, and we'll be doing a lot of camping.

I'll be cruising through existing threads (including Daddy-A's recent post, sorry about stealing your title :laugh: ), but wondered if there were any last- minute updates or suggestions, back-country festivals, obscure farmers markets, good food in the backcountry, under-explored rustic inns, wineries, etc. Since we're travelling almost the whol length of the two states, we're wide open, though more than 40 miles from I-5 is pushing it. We could also use suggestions for cheap hotels in Eugene, Portland and Seattle and the name of someone who helps people from Back East catch fish in the greater Roseburg area. And, we'd be happy to grab a beer.

Thanks in advance.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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The best, cheap hotel in downtown Seattle is the Moore Hotel at 2nd Ave and Virginia. It's near everything, the rooms are big, clean and serviceable, and there's even a view of Puget Sound from the upper floors. The staff is great and very knowledgeable about Seattle, with insider tips that you won't get at big chain hotels. Plus, you'll find a towel folded into a swan in the bathroom!

Here's their website: http://www.moorehotel.com/

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If you're travelling from Portland to Seattle via 'miscellaneous Washington', and looking for places to camp, I'd suggest heading west from Portland out to Tillamook, then north along the coast to Long Beach/Ocean Shores. Camping is more spectacular in Oregon, but great in Washington as well. Plenty of mention lately on this board about coastal eating and things to see along the way. East from Hoquiam, north up the east side of the Olympics on Hwy. 101, across the Hood Canal Bridge (closed 8/11/05 8PM through 8/15/05 4 AM) and into Seattle on one of the state ferries. I can't think of a more spectacular entrance. For you, not for us. We probably won't spot you coming in.

North from Portland to Seattle on I-5 takes about 3 hours. The route described above would take seven or so, but you'd see the ocean and some cool rural areas (including some great spots in the Olympics, like Lake Quinault and the eastern foothills) vs. boredom on the interstate.

Wow, this is one slow site! Oh, Oregon.

This one is much faster. Thanks, Washington.

If you're looking for a beer, by the way, you came to the right place.

In Portland:

http://www.nwbrewpage.com/McMenamins.html

http://www.nwbrewpage.com/orbpubs/Bridgeport.html

http://www.nwbrewpage.com/orbpubs/RoguePort.html

Along the way:

http://www.nwbrewpage.com/orbpubs/Pelican.html

http://www.nwbrewpage.com/orbpubs/BillsTav.html

http://www.nwbrewpage.com/orbpubs/WetDog.html

http://www.nwbrewpage.com/wabpubs/Maxwell.html

http://www.nwbrewpage.com/wabpubs/SilverC.html

In Seattle:

http://www.nwbrewpage.com/wabpubs/Elysian.html

http://www.nwbrewpage.com/wabpubs/BigTime.html

http://www.nwbrewpage.com/wabpubs/JollyRog.html

http://www.nwbrewpage.com/wabpubs/HalesBP.html

http://www.nwbrewpage.com/wabpubs/DiamKt.html

Well now I'm thirsty and I want to go on vacation...

If we aren't supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?

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Any opionions on ClarkLewis in Portland? Can we sneak in with jeans, if we are otherwise un-scunged?

Is there an Asian neighborhood, for food and for cooking supplies (Our "burner in a box") that we take camping seems to be a common tool in Asian restaurants, but the aerosol can-like fuel can't be taken on airplanes, so we need to stock up.

Looks like we won't get down to Ashland as we are culture-phobic, as well as for other logistical reasons.

Any food or other highlights in the Mt. St. Helens and north through the Cascades sector?

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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Well, sorry about your culture aversion, but I was thinking of your son's college experience

for the next 4 years, + your food options when visiting him. It's also an outdoor/adventure center and one of the only NW small town college settings. Plus it only rains 20" a year and we have palm trees, but ssssh, don't let that out.

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Well, sorry about your culture aversion,  but I was thinking of your son's college experience

for the next 4 years, + your food options when visiting him. It's also an outdoor/adventure center and one of the only NW small town college settings. Plus it only rains 20" a year and we have palm trees, but ssssh, don't let that out.

I was just kidding, I promise. I'd love to get to Ashland at some point but, for whatever reason, SOU hasn't come up in conversations with either the kid or the counselors, so we're just not getting that far south this trip.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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PS -- Any suggestions of great wine shops in Portland? I need to bring back some obscure but delicious NW wines to repay debts.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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Charles,

Jeans are okay anywhere in Portland...I've been eating at clarklewis in shorts and flip flops the last few weeks. If you don't have a dinner reservation, go for lunch.

I like my neighborhood wine shop, Great Wine Buys on NE 15th and Broadway.

See you Friday.

Jim

olive oil + salt

Real Good Food

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Mt. St. Helens and north did you say? I'm full of information, apparently, as I went down there from Seattle a bit ago for camping and hiking and relaxing. If you make it across the Columbia into Washington you can head straight east then north into the wilderness, or drive up I-5 to the Saint Helens cut-off and head in there. Spectacular scenery and plenty of huckleberries this time of year, and whenever you see a place to pull over and camp, just do it for free. Or head for a campground, deserted midweek, but maybe full on the weekends, for a sure-fire delightful experience. If your car has a high clearance that would be best, but it isn't really necessary, especially if it's a rental.

As far as food/restaurant selections? Nothing that I've ever run across is worth mentioning. You might find a blue collar breakfast spot or two, but it's kind of barren as far as real dining is concerned. The main tourist attraction for the area isn't really compatible with fine meals, as folks who have just spent an extended amount of time scaling peaks or camping in an RV aren't really looking for something complicated.

Getting back to your original post, if you're looking for camping the route up from Trout Lake to Mt. Rainier is some of the best country you'll ever spend time in, it's close to I-5 if you get the itch to speed it up, and the dining possibilities are endless (if you bring a bunch of good food and wine with you from Portland).

If we aren't supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?

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Jeans are fine for clarklewis. Have only had lunch here, but loved the place. You might want to consider Gotham Building Tavern, also. We had a great dinner here. Wines on Broadway is a nice place to buy/taste wine in downtown Portland.

If you're really into wine, head over to the wine country in Dundee and Newburg. Have lunch at the Dundee Bistro. Archery Summit and Domaine Drouhin are producing some excellent Pinot Noirs right now. Have to get over to the Carlton/McMinville area next visit. Cheers and enjoy Portland! :)

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Any Seattleites about? Is the Mexican food here any good? Any reccomendations, especially towards the south side of town or in west Seattle (where I am crashing)?

Thanks everyone so far for the advice, though we haven't been able to follow up on most of it. Damn kids make it hard to do the micro/winetasting thing. Loved Portland. Best four-night food binge in ages: first night at ClarkLewis, next three nights camping out and cooking up the grub bought at the Portland Farmer's market (and oiled up with Jim Dixon's fine products).

Too broke to hit Seattle big, but hit Pike Place at damn near dawn (is there anything better than a market while it's still coming together in the morning) and rounded up a fine home-cooked feast. Any further low-end suggestions (or, mid-end if they take American Express and have something boring my kid will eat -- pasta, whatever) wil be gratefulley entertained.

Did I say that we loved Portland?

EDITED TO ADD: Make that five nights -- we went to the Pizza Nazi --AKA Apizza Scholls -- in between ClarkLewis and the camping adventure. Thanks, extraMSG for your very useful list.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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Unfortunately, I can't help out with West Seattle but hopefully others will. If you can make it over to Ballard, though, you absolutely must try La Carta de Oaxaca. This place is the real deal, with everything made from scratch, from the tortillas and chips to the salsas. It's really good--and lots of Mexican in Seattle isn't.

It's all good, but a couple of my favorites are the lamb birria, the entomatada with salsa verde (this is a slice of grilled beef with an enchilada--sounds pedestrian, but it's not) and the tacos al pastor. The homemade chips and the posole and their salsas are also excellent. I believe they open at 5:30 on weeknights and it's best to get there then or a bit earlier to avoid lines.

Here's a link to a local blog with pictures: Seattle Bon Vivant on La Carta

and here's an eG thread on it: PNW Mole Thread

Enjoy the rest of your stay!

Jan

Jan

Seattle, WA

"But there's tacos, Randy. You know how I feel about tacos. It's the only food shaped like a smile....A beef smile."

--Earl (Jason Lee), from "My Name is Earl", Episode: South of the Border Part Uno, Season 2

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