As much as I love NYC and New Yorkers and the ultimate big-city stimulation and delight and inspiration, I get an almost punch in the stomach when I come over the mountain and see the Pacific Ocean. Home! I just barely got back into California mode when I took off for Oregon. Coming down yesterday, everything looked so green, especially compared to parched California.
Portland is as sweet as ever. It’s so mellow for a city. In fact, Oregon and Oregonians are mellow. The Feng Shui of the whole state is right. (When I first came here in the late ’60s a long-haired guy came up to me when I was getting gas and handed me a freshly-rolled joint.) After coffee at Stumptown Roastery yesterday, I headed out to the coast, where it was windy and wild. Miles of sandy beaches, off-shore rocks, and a medium-sized swell.
I decided to head back to McMinnville, followed a curvy rural road west, checked into McMenamin’s Oregon Hotel, a venerable 4-story brick structure built in 1905, then headed out to the Golden Valley Brewery, where they make all 10 or so types of tap beer they serve. The bar (shown here) was salvaged from a hotel that burned down in Portland. The owner, Peter Kircher, has a nearby ranch where he raises vegetables and beef for the brewery; they feed spent barley from brewing to the cattle—nice cycle.
The playoffs were on. Those guys are so beautiful. LeBron exudes power (and seems to be a fine man to boot) and the Warrior’s wizard, the guy who chews on his mouthpiece like a cigar, is a fox, a coyote, a trickster. Not too shabby an evening, with a couple of glasses of chocolately* porter and local beef and incredible basketball.
Oh yeah, the bar was playing Otis Redding songs and “A Change Is Gonna Come” came on. I’ve heard it dozens of times, but somehow never like this. Maybe because I was alone in the bar, or the beer, or whatever, but it was a bit like being on acid, Otis and the horns…lordy! Speaking of beautiful men…
McMinnville is a special town. It’s just got it. It’s Friday morning and I’m at the Cornerstone Roastery, getting ready to head out for today’s adventures. Tomorrow (Saturday) and Sunday I’m doing appearances at the Mother Earth News Fair in Albany.
*On a BBC program recently, an English actress referred to a dog as “bitey.”