Thursday, February 12

happy birthday abe lincoln

Pictures here.

There are twenty-eight breweries within the city of Portland making it the microbrewery capital of the United States. There is also an array of bookstores, one of which we visited during an evening in the city.

Powell's is the bookstore's bookstore. A 77,000-square foot monstrosity that
spans an entire city block with nine color-coded rooms and four floors, it also houses approximately four million new and used books. One could easily spend days lost among the endless bookshelves, unfortunately we only had a couple of hours. However, I did walk away with a couple of new books to add to the exponentially growing unread collection.

Afterwards we wandered downtown Portland searching for some grub and stumbled upon the Lotus Bar & Cardroom. A prohibition-era speakeasy, the Lotus has a terrifically interesting history that dates back to 1902 and includes alcohol, prostitution and gambling in smoky back rooms of the bar. The actual bar--where you set drinks--was built in the 19th century by a English company and was discovered and shipped to Portland before the Panama Canal was built (A rather long voyage). Today it's a tad less exciting and illicit, but the food was good and the beer was even better. On to Washington!

The next morning we drove to Mount Rainier National Park and prayed the Vibe would make it up the snow covered mountain roads. Just a few days before all roads through the park, and even to some of the small towns outside the park, were closed due to record levels of snowfall. Fortunately, the Park Service does a superb job of plowing and the road to Paradise, and the visitor center, was mostly clear. The visitor center and lodge were closed, but the sky was blue and the massive volcano loomed in front of us, hibernating underneath an equally enormous amount of snow. In an instant I was reminded of memories from my ascent and summit of Mt. Rainier in 2005: slogging over seemingly endless glaciers, hopping over bottomless crevasses, the woman who went blind from altitude sickness, and leaning against the side of the mountain, exhausted and convinced I couldn't climb the final hundred feet to the summit. I desperately wanted to pack the gear in my car, say adios to my friend, and attempt a winter summit.

Instead we left and had lunch at the restaurant that was my reason for coming to the park: The Copper Creek Inn. My father and I ate at the inn,
probably a hundred times, when we climbed Mt. Rainier in 2005. Our fixation revolved equal parts around the fantastic food and the phenomenally attractive waitress who served us. The inn is known for its blackberry-based products. Blackberry butter, blackberry vinaigrette, blackberry syrup and blackberry pie to name a few.

This time around we had a full three course meal, including pie for dessert, and I can say without reservation that the Copper Creek Inn is the best restaurant I have ever dined at. Alas, the waitress was not there.

With our stomachs full and eternally grateful, we headed to Seattle where my friend and I parted ways and I rode to the top of the Seattle Space Needle. The view was incredible and Mt. Rainier could be seen in the distance. However, I soon realized it was almost four and that rush hour would begin any second. I promptly left only to sit in an interstate parking lot fifteen minutes later.

One of my college friends lives and works in Olympia, the state capital, and my plan was to spend the night with him. He lives with his twin brother and the only significant difference between the two is that one is the faster runner and the other is the faster drinker. While his brother was out running, my friend and I went to a local bar where they served beer by the quart--Awesome!

And if you were not aware, I misplaced my glasses at the hostel in Charleston over two weeks ago. After days of phone tag, I finally got the manager to ship the glass here to Olympia. Since they did not arrive yesterday, I am spending the day here hoping the glasses show up this afternoon. Either tonight or tomorrow I will be heading to Idaho and then to Utah for a week's worth of camping before a ski trip in Park City. I'm not to optimistic about computer access over the next week and it will be a miracle if I post anything.

1 comment:

  1. All hail Powell's bookstore! Next time you're there, peruse the rare books room on the top floor. They've got first editions from the 14th Century (for hundreds of thousands of dollars) all the way up to the present. We spent at least an hour in that room alone when I visited last month.

    Be safe!