Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Our Lucky Day in Greater Portland

July 18

We are staying in Gresham, a vibrant little historic community just east of Portland. When we had dinner downtown last night, we noticed at least fifty poles along the street covered with colorful shoes, and there were posters in all the store windows advertising Gresham's Annual Art Walk. The Art Walk happens just one day a year, and it just happens to be the day we are here, so it must be our lucky day!

When we return this morning, all of downtown has been blocked to traffic and turned into a pedestrian mall. Blocks and blocks of art vendor tents line the streets, and there are musicians spread throughout the town, adding their notes to the festive atmosphere. We recognize some of the scenes portrayed in the photos and paintings—waterfalls we visited along the Columbia Gorge, views of Mount Hood and Vista House. Oh, if only we had been there when the light was so perfect or the sunset so dramatic, we think.

After we fully savor the art, we head to the Fabric Depot, a huge fabric store with over 11,000 bolts of quality cotton quilting fabric, according to a flyer Dick picked up at the Welcome Center. When we get there, I know this must be our lucky day, because the store is having a sale, and all of their fabric is 35% off, this weekend only. The place is huge, it is overwhelming, and it is packed with wonderful treasures. I wander around in awe and wonder for a while, then start filling up my shopping cart with bolts of fabric I can't resist. Dick tells me we were there a couple hours. I lost track of time.

Our next stop is a place in downtown Portland where we can both lose track of time—Powell's Books. It is the largest new and used book store in the world, taking up a full city block (a big one), with four floors packed full of attractively priced books of all sorts. We browse and read for a couple hours, and buy just a little pile of books, since our car is pretty tightly packed already.

Then it is time for dinner, and taking the advice of our road trip book, we dine at Jake's Famous Crawfish, a downtown Portland landmark for over 110 years. I order salmon roasted on a cedar plank, a dish I remember fondly from my last visit to the Pacific Northwest over 20 years ago. I have been eagerly awaiting the moment when we would arrive at a restaurant offering planked salmon, and here we are, on our lucky day. When our server stops by to be sure all is well with our food, I tell her it is even better than I remember it from long ago. She tells me that kitchen stores around town sell cedar planks, if I want to make it at home, and I insist that I could never replicate the sauce, which is part of what makes the salmon here so special.

Five minutes later, she returns to the table with a somewhat charred well-seasoned cedar plank wrapped up in a bag, and a recipe for the sauce hand-written on a sheet torn from a notepad. If this is the kind of service and food they offer here, no wonder Jake's has been around for over 110 years.

We have had so much good luck on this trip—little rain, good health, accommodations in National Parks obtained at the very last minute, no flat tires or other car troubles . . . the list of things for which are thankful is long every night.

But, we agree that today stands out as an extra lucky day.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, you did have a LUCKY DAY. Sounds wonderful. You should have bought a lottery ticket too!