Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Gorge Us

The Fried Piper has entered Oregon, a new state and new fates. Gone are the days of covertly sleeping in unzoned areas, for we are now enjoying a comfortable life in Eliot Tower. An 18-story high rise condominium in downtown Portland, we rub elbows with professionals on our daily commute around the city.
Overlooking the Portland art museum, a place in the Tower was loaned to us by Delores Custer. A professional chef and food stylist in New York, “Dee” has kindly provided proper digs for our time in the city at the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia Rivers.
Our first weekend in Oregon was spent on the banks of the Columbia, upstream in the Hood River/White Salmon area. A land rich with whitewater rivers, fruit orchards, kite boarders and old friends, we enjoyed catching up with many of the latter and staged a bit of a Misty Fjords sea kayak ranger reunion. Our friend Jonathan Graca, who runs a nonprofit overseeing land use in the area, joined us for breakfast and a run down the Big White Salmon. Will Cole, who worked with Matt as an outdoor educator and is now a firefighter in Redmond, OR, also joined up for the run. River levels were low, but we managed to run the river and had fun in the numerous rapids. The photo here is Jonathan’s textbook run down Husum Falls.
Our hosts in White Salmon were Riley Dopler and Claire Tenenbaum. Riley was out in the mountains doggedly stalking elk during the brief hunt opening, but he came back briefly and we caught up over Claire’s wonderful green chile chili. Recently engaged, the “Doplbaumers” are friends of Natcho’s from his time in Misty Fjords and they were great hosts. We enjoyed the last of the garden’s bounty, eating grape tomatoes and cucumbers on salads, and Claire worked her seamstress magic, hemming pants and repairing torn elbows on our clothing. Thank you so much Claire! We’ve noticed the residents of Eliot casting furtive, admiring glances at our newly mended duds. We also visited the Skamania Lodge, where Claire and Riley will be married in the spring, and scored grease from the stylish lodge. Heading into Portland, land of grease wars, according to a report on NPR’s Splendid Table, we had full tanks. The one dumpster we have scouted, at the Rogue brewpub, backed up the NPR report. It was padlocked and affixed with a sticker threatening would-be grease thieves with a year in jail and a $5000 fine.
Yesterday we kicked off our first four-university week with a visit to Reed College on Veteran’s Day. It was a stormy Monday with high winds and rain buffeting Oregon. A storm from the coast, where 82 mph winds were recorded, whipped up into the Willamette Valley leaving much of Portland without power. Reed was also impacted and the line in the dining hall was slowed to a crawl, with students waiting patiently for an $0.85 bowl of beans and rice. Power returned just in time for our slideshow and we glided back to the Eliot feeling alright.

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