We've been on the road for a few days now, and have made it to Portland. The driving was pretty intense, mostly because it took us a bit longer to pack than we expected ... to be exact, eight hours longer than we expected. We also had about two times more stuff than we'd originally thought. This forced us to spend three hours buying and installing a roof rack and cargo box on top of my little VW Rabbit in the REI parking lot during our first day in Portland. Anyway, within a day and a half of hitting the road, we had made it to Ashland, Oregon, town of Renaissance Fairs, Shakespeare Festivals, and funky park yoga. It's almost the type of place we'd love to live in - beautiful homes studding a hill overlooking a valley and an earthy yet upscale downtown - but it's far away from everything, unfortunately.
By midnight on Thursday, we had found ourselves a hotel south of Portland by Lake Oswego. From a quick walk around and a momentary check-in to the farmer's market down the street, we realized it's yuppy in this southern corner of Portland. This was confirmed later at a friend's housewarming party in NorthEast Portland where they consider their neighborhood to be up-and-coming. The NE may be a little too much on the early side of gentrification for us, but we definitely saw the potential.
The mix of people at the party was the perfect melange of Portlanders, or so they said. Everyone was brought up elsewhere - Tennessee, Mexico City, Massachusetts, Michigan. Everyone had made their pilgrimage to Oregon and stayed, citing the openness, the easy access to "nowhere," the perfect combination of the calm and the fun that the area provides. Everyone had at least one visible tattoo.