Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Portland Day 5: Sauvie Island, Savory Noble Rot Food and Sauve Sounds of Julia Holter

We woke up to a little bit of fog here in Portland. That's not too unusual, and by 10 AM it had burned off to one very sunny day. And you don't always get that. Despite it's reputation for being a rainy and wet town, we haven't often had to put up with all that much rain. When we do, it's usually a drizzle instead of an outright East Tennessee downpour.

This is the proprietor's home on SE Orange Avenue. She built the eco cottage in her backyard.

Just beyond her lovely garden is this very cute and stylish eco cottage. Perfect for two people! Notice the blue skies in Portland!
The owner of the guest cottage suggested a number of breakfast/brunch places to us. We chose Junior's Cafe. It is predominantly for vegetarians, but since I was one for 14 years, it bothered me none. The cafe is at 1742 SE 12th Avenue. Not only is the menu all about eggs and veggies (a great combo in my book), but the jams are homemade and the owner is so sweet and kind. We loved the jam, so she sent some home with us. Free.

Order whatever you want at Juniors. There are no bad choices

The Okie. Potatoes smothered in green chili and housemade salsa

Eggs with chorizo. The Miga
After such a filling breakfast and by design since we still had the rental car from the Three Capes tour, we decided to venture to the Northwest section of Portland and walk a bit at Sauvie Island. A couple of notes for anyone thinking they wish to follow suit.

1. You must get a parking pass. There are several locations but the easy one is the Cracker Barrel store right as you arrive. No hillbilly buddies, it's not a Cracker Barrel Tennessee style. It's just a convenience store without gasoline and only a port a john. But nonetheless, an easy access to the pass.

2. You can go to Sauvie Island by bus #16. We chose NOT to since it is about 6 to 7 miles to ANY hiking and about 12-15 miles to most of the hiking. So keep this in mind if you choose the bus as an alternative.

3. The Wildlife Area, our goal which has a lovely 7 mile loop hike is CLOSED for migrating waterfowl from October 1 to April 15. Not a widely publicized fact on their website. Fortunately, there are some other areas to hike, but we didn't find this out until we travelled the 15 miles to the trailhead, so be warned!

We ended up choosing the 7 mile out and back hike to the lighthouse which is NOT in the Wildlife Refuge section, if you ignore the fact that it starts at a nude beach.
The visitor center was unlocatable, the ladies in the store are almost unintelligible in English language skills and the wildlife refuge office is closed, so you are pretty much on your own "ciphering" the island and what is open for your footfalls. Eventually we were able to ascertain, through a good bit of driving over this largely agricultural and quite beautiful island, that the hike to the lighthouse was available. It is right out on the very tip of Sauvie Island and allows you a view of the smallest lighthouse in Portland. And some big ships going up the Columbia River channel.

A view up the channel back towards Portland

Lotsa mushrooms of various ilks along the way

The smallest lighthouse in Portland. We enjoyed a snack right here and watched passing ships.
We also discovered that if you see the name on a ship, you can use Google Chrome maritime traffic app to see who owns it, where it is registered, where it is and what is carrying, as well as the speed, last port of call and the intended destination.

This one was the Fuji Galaxy carrying chemicals
We weren't sure if it was a good or bad thing to let the public know about every ship, but it entertained us while we ate peanuts and watched waterfowl at the lighthouse.
Barge and tugboat
We also beaucoup fisherman out on the river in smaller boats during this salmon season. The walk combined the views of the river frequently, a few meadows and mostly the woods. We thought we might see deer or elk on this spit of land, but the only denizen besides people are pictured below. Oh, and a snake. It was a black racer so it got away before I could shoot it...with a camera.

Slugs creeping along

Woolly boogers
For those who do not like to hike, you can still have a nice visit to Sauvie Island. There are roads all over the place and you can visit a lavender farm, a pumpkin maze, a "naturalist beach," and plenty of farmland.
Pumpkins galore!

A view of Mt Hood on the way out on a clear day

A map for those who enjoy a beautiful drive +/- the hiking
We really enjoyed our day out in Sauvie Island, the hikes, the views. We made a pact to come back when the wildlife refuge is open and do that loop hike. And maybe even stay there. Several folks have rentals through airbnb.

From the island, it was back to the eco cottage to get ready for a night out in Portland. We had dinner at the wonderful restaurant Noble Rot. It is on the fourth floor on E Burnside and has a great look out onto the city. The food is always good, and with a name like noble rot, you might guess the wine is superb. We were surprised to find more wine by a new winery we have come to admire, Patricia Green Vineyards.
Interior of Noble Rot

Cocktails ala Noble Rot

They grew the ingredients to this salad on their roof!

Paul's beef and pepper pasta. I had cod (not pictured)
This place remains on our favorites list. The waitstaff were commendable as well.
Then we were off to see some live music at Bunk Bar Water. It's as you might gather on the waterfront just east of the Willamette River and basically in the neighborhood near us. 
Interior looking toward the small stage. The background depicts the movie Paris, Texas.
Lucky for us, tonight's artist was Julia Holter. She is a young classically trained musician out of Los Angeles. Her music is a little hard to classify, but many would call it a cross between avant-pop and experimental. She was quite talented and had Devin Hoff (who plays some with Nels Cline out of Wilco and has his own band--recently seen at Big Ears in Knoxville) on standup bass and a cellist and drummer who also provided ethereal type vocals. She has a new CD out if anyone is interested in this type of music. 
Here it is! Quite good.
After that it was midnight, so it officially ended the day. Good food, good scenery, good hiking, good music and GOOD night!

Paul's Ponderings:  Another fine day in Portland with quite a variety of activities.   The forest hike out to the lighthouse was fabulous and quite different from the hikes near Tillamook.   We've been to Noble Rot several times for dinner and it's always a pleasure.  Weirdly enough, we stayed in their old place as a condo a few years ago, with kitchen still intact.   Now they have a lovely roof top area with stunning views of downtown from across the river.   We finished it up with some live music on Water Street, an area which is a bit gritty but appears to be starting to gentrify with some restaurants and bars.   We've discovered these Patricia Green pinot noirs while up here and have found them to be quite excellent.   I've not seen them in Tennnessee, so we may find a couple to bring home.

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