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Portland, OR
Miles Today: 0
Total Miles: 14,795
Days on the Road: 276
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Finally, someone wrote to us and accused us of being horrible people. Anthony replied, and a series of hilarious judgements and insults followed. Presented for your amusement, The Jerk Files.
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Last Stop: Portland?
N 34°03.135 W 118°14.620
Tuesday, November 4, 2003 - Day 276

Along the way, when we explain this road trip to strangers (and often to each other when we're feeling excessively adrift), we sometimes tell them we're traveling the states, in part, to look for a new place to live. During the past couple months, our search for a home has become more focused on the Northwest, perhaps only because it's one part of the country we've yet to drive through and summarily eliminate. Without intention, we've placed a lot of hopes on the state of Oregon, and the city of Portland in particular. We're ready to unpack without repacking, exit the shower without an armload of travel-size toiletries and get out of bed without immediately being required to fold up the bedding and the bed to make the car road ready. Somehow, we arrived at the idea that Portland would be an ideal place to make a home, although neither of us knows the city (or more than two or three of its residents) particularly well.

So here we are, in the Rose City, trying to determine if this place feels like home. We haven't been here long enough yet to answer that burning question of where to live, but it has been long enough to develop some first impressions.

  • First night in town, we happened upon trivia night at a nearby pub and, competing against three other teams, our trio of Leen (Anthony's sister), Anthony and Liz finished second to last. Nevermind the results, the trivia was hosted in a never-before-seen style where the host made rounds to each individual team's table to ask questions and score responses, thereby eliminating the social and game-like interaction typical of most trivia nights we've encountered. On a scale of zero to strange, we give it a strange.
  • A few days later, after our hop to New York, we spent the afternoon working at an internet café in the Hollywood District. As the day grew later, the café drew in more and more people, many of them wearing robes, reading tarot cards and eyeing us with shifty smiles. Granted it was Halloween, but still. Creepy, right? Creepy.
  • A couple of days later, at another internet café in a different part of town, we found ourselves seated within easy earshot of more tarot card readers, and overheard this lovely bit:
    Man (talking about an educational children's show): "It's a good use of television, if in fact there is any such thing." Woman: "Oh, sure there is! Star Trek, Alias, Star Trek Voyager, Buffy, Star Trek Deep Space Nine..."

We can only assume this woman owned the minivan parked outside with the "Born Again Pagan" bumper sticker. Then, of course, it was also there where we met the 'naturopathic doctor' who thought Microsoft 'should be shot in the head' because their software (which he believed included Wordpad) is proprietary (our word, not his) and the friendly-but-untrained counterperson who offered us a wire when we asked for the ID required to access their wireless network. Again, strange.

Upon hearing these first impressions, one friend advised us to 'run like hell'. Most other friends and family familiar with the Northwest chuckle and say something like, "Yeah, well, you know...Oregon."

To be fair, we haven't explored much of the city, and maybe the internet café litmus test is not reliable or at all accurate, but it's enough to make us wonder: How about Seattle? Philadelphia?

Enter the Liz

Liz: Reloaded

Liz: Revolutions
plenty more great photos of people drunk and people bowling in the archives »

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yesterday tomorrow