Briefly in Portland

In honor of today’s rest day in Portland: a shorter post. Y’all deserve a break from my windbaggery and there’s a bourbon on the upper deck porch waiting for me. We took it easy today — and did no vehicle maintenance or repairs of any kind.

This morning, we had coffee on the boat, then Bloody Marys and brunch at the marina cafe.

While we were having brunch, our AirBnB host brought over homemade brownies and a neat message.

George drove us into downtown it the Bumblebee for Powell’s City of Books (the largest independent new and used bookstore in the world), and then into Washington Park for the Japanese Garden.

That was very cool to wander through. Apparently it gets high marks for authenticity.

While we were trying to return to our vehicle, we sidestepped through the rose garden as well.

We had dinner this evening with George’s sister, Jenny, at the Bollywood Theater, an impressive Indian restaurant with killer vindaloo.

Then we did a nightcap round at the Bye and Bye pub before she headed home and we returned to our boat.

Tomorrow, we head out from Portland to Evan’s family home in Indianola, Washington, by way of Astoria on the US 101 again.

Well and everyone does it, too, even people in good cars.

George. Talking about how we three and all those around us speed up when approaching a passing lane.

Wait, you think I can take my 1991 Cabriolet to a VW dealer here in 2015 and they’ll honor the technical service bulletin about the starter solenoid? That would be perfect. I’ve gotta try it.

George. He found a PDF of it.

Welcome Aboard


Our morning in Coos Bay was short, but we did take time to sit on the porch and watch the tide roll out as local wildlife feasted. I have now actually watched a seagull hunt; all this time I’d thought their only function was pooping on things.


On our way out of town, we stopped at the first diner we came across, Mom’s Diner. And Mom was serving! (She could be identified by the golden brooch that said Mom in sparkly letters on her apron.) All of the restaurant guests seemed to know her. It was wonderful. The meal was your standard counter-breakfast diner fare, and it was quite good, but when served by someone who so reminded me of Granny, it was extra special. She had a big smile and was incredibly friendly and wanted to know all about us.


She fed us like Granny, too… after we rolled ourselves back to the cars we set out for Thor’s Well on Cape Perpetua.


That stop was a little longer than usual because George’s starter went out again. We assumed the issue was overheating since some genius engineer at Volkwagon decided the starter solenoid should sit next to the exhaust manifold. So we took a walk along what I think is a massive deposit of volcanic rock along the shoreline.


As waves crashed into it, they would splash upward creating geysers.


There were also creatures living in many of the tidepools.


It was such an impressive display, we just sat and watched for a while, using the molten starter motor as an excuse.


Ultimately, the correct fix for the starter was to “jiggle that cable there” and the mighty Bumblebee sprang back to life and we headed into Portland through the Tillamook Forest.


Our AirBnB host met us in the parking lot of our lodgings for the night: a 41-foot yacht in a Tomahawk Bay marina. She was just as entertained by the tales of our arrival in three separate vehicles as we were at the novelty of living on a boat.

She explained that it is a growing trend here, with rising rents in Portland, to live on one’s boat. (People who own multiple yachts can have financial considerations?) She and her husband live in the next slip, and there are about a dozen “live-aboards” on this ramp of about forty boats. The couple purchased this yacht to move onto, but after the finish-out it didn’t really suit their needs, so they decided to sell it. But first, they wanted to try AirBnB hosting for a few weeks. Two years later, they’re still renting her out regularly. At $135 per night, split three ways, it was a surprisingly economical option for us, too; hotels in this city are usually ruinously expensive.

After bringing aboard our luggage and getting the full tour (including a remarkably thorough tutorial on how to use the boat-potty), we headed out to dinner down the island.

That was a treat because it was the first time since the rental car in San Diego that we rode together. And since George’s car was the only four-seater among us, he was elected driver (they both declined to ride in the bed of the Nissan). This is when we discovered that his rear seats have no seatbelts, the passenger belt doesn’t retract, the headliner is covered in mold, the headlight controls confuse him, the power windows barely function, and numerous other notable points about which Evan and I could thoroughly chastise George all the way to the restaurant. Wish we’d picked somewhere a little further away.


After passing the 1,500 mile mark in the middle of the afternoon, we’re all looking forward to a day of rest and relaxation in Portland tomorrow.

Morning fluids check reports no oil floating in the radiator, no milkshake of doom on the dipstick, and no signs of a coolant leak. Ready for Portland! For as much as we’d feared the truck’s days were numbered, it does seem to have mostly mended itself.