I Left My Heart in Oregon – Part 1

In 2004, we drove down the magical coast of Oregon. I was reminded of this enchanting vacation while flipping through another of my little spiral notebooks (see previous post).

As we were driving home, I’d made a list of all the incredible things I loved about Oregon:

  1. Leaf blowers are outlawed! I saw people RAKING their own leaves in Portland!
  2. You can drink the water from the tap. It tastes good!
  3. They pump your gas and…they wash your windows!
  4. Wild salmon available everywhere!
  5. Vegetarian options on the menu everywhere!
  6. No sales tax!
  7. Powell’s Books!
  8. Super friendly people!
  9. Foggy and cloudy!
  10. Breathtaking coastline!

Our Trip (highlights):

  • On the drive up: Dinner at Lalo’s in Mt. Shasta, CA. Looks like a lodge. Wood-paneled, wood tables, brass chandeliers, an outdoor deck. Alaska Amber ale and 2 burritos. Watched a freight train motor by blowing its whistle.

Lovely Mt. Shasta

  • On to Jacksonville, OR – brunch at the beautiful, historic Jacksonville Inn:

(Eggs Benedict with fresh smoked salmon)

A group of war veterans were staying at the Inn for a reunion of sorts. At the table next to us, I overheard (as you’ve probably guessed by now, I’m a chronic eavesdropper) a conversation a between two men. An ex-Navy veteran from Texas talking about a war veteran he had met earlier, a musician who was there with his wife:

“…I still don’t know where he stands on the death penalty. I know where I stand.”

On the way out of town, we saw a group of senior citizens holding up signs at the side of the road, stumping for John Kerry.

  • House of Mystery, Gold Hill, OR (north of Jacksonville). Site of the Oregon Vortex:

15 magnetic lines run through the area. I felt light-headed and lead-footed standing inside the house. Lots of optical illusions. Worth a visit? YES!

  • Drove through Roseburg searching for a cup of coffee. None to be found. A sad, depressed town that fell into ruin due to the “spotted owl” controversy v. their logging industry.

  • Rolled into Portland, OR. Got a room at the Mark Spenser (which seemed like a little apartment, it was great – room 413); free N.Y. Times  in the morning. Walked up Burnside for a while; then, down 6th, made a big loop on foot. Ate at the India House restaurant (one of the few that were open). Across the street was a drag club. Saw two queens walk by in wigs and cocktail dresses.
  • Coffee and tea and vegan muffins at Peet’s and then off to the Pearl District. Wow! Homes right out of Dwell magazine.
  • The Chinese Gardens!! Stunning, serene, not to be missed.

While there, stop in their Tea House. It overlooks the pond, which is teeming with exotica from the Orient. Such plants as the Roseum Plenum (a type of lotus) below left,  and Perry’s Giant Sunburst, below right.


We ordered Jasmine Pearl Tea and 8 Treasures Tea with Mang Gong cookies (legendary “blindman” cookies, according to what we read) and sesame chips.

An altar is at the far end. Incense is burning. You are at peace.

Part 2 coming up next…stay tuned…

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