Tuesday I flew to Portland, Oregon, where my friend Dan Morrow, an Episcopal priest, had invited me to give a presentation as part of his Philosophy and Faith Lenten lecture series. I had never been to Portland, to Oregon, or to anywhere in the Great Northwest. Which is why it was so much fun, after he picked me up from the airport, that we drove up the Columbia River Gorge.
The highest concentration of waterfalls on the North American continent is in this gorge, and we saw quite a few of them, including the stunning Multnomah Falls. The Columbia is quite lovely, living up to one's expectations. Though it was rather placid that day -- no "Roll on, Columbia, roll on."
We drove as far east as Hood River and stopped for a brewery tour. When he learned that I'd never been to Washington state either, we crossed the river at Bridge of the Gods and spent a little time in Washington (state number 36 for me, with Oregon being 35).
The next day, my 39th birthday, I hung out with Toni McDowell, who also resides in Portland. We went thrift store shopping, ate good food, and saw the theatre she works for. My brunch that morning, at a place called Toast, was pork belly on a bed of Brussels sprouts and sweet potato with a duck egg on top. Delicious.
That evening the presentation went very well, with around 70 people in attendance. They had purchased a birthday cake for the occassion. Afterwards Dan, his wife Theresa, and I went for Scotch.
Thursday was food, books, and art. A Reggie at Pine State Biscuits, also very delicious, followed by Powell's Books. I only bought ten books, mostly philosophy and religion. Tasty fresh fish blue plate special at Jake's (with beer of course) followed by a Voodoo Donut. Then we spent a little time in the art museum and took a peek inside the First Congregational Church across the street -- they have a fascinating Venetian-style tower unlike anything I've ever seen on a church.
For dinner we all went to Pok Pok, a fun, creative Vietnamese place most famous for their very hot chicken wings.