Monday, July 14, 2014

Portland Pens and Stuff

Finally, pens! One of the reasons we came up here after our week in Ashland was the Portland Pen Round-up. On Saturday, while Sharon caught up with a friend she had not seen in several years, I went out to the Lucky Labrador Brewery and managed to connect with pen friends Stuart Hawkinson and Michael MacNeil, who organized the event. It was good to see Brian Johnstone who came down from BC and John Schwab, David Hood, as well as Dave Moffatt and to reconnect with Laurel Kauffman. I’m sure I am leaving out several others to whom I apologise. Susan Thom and I represented the Bay Area

For me, these smaller events, like our local pen club meetings, are a real treat, since I don’t set up and can b e a pen tourist. And into the bargain, I came away with a very nice handful of pens, mostly Montblancs, including two 149s, a 256 and 252 and a very nice Danish 226 in the box. I did get just one Pelikan, a nice M30.

Our hotel for the Portland visit was the historic Multnomah, now a Hilton Embassy Suites. The chain has done a fine job of preserving the historic lobby. Some of you may recall it as the site of the old Portland Pen Show, organized by Carla Mortensen. Sharon and I missed seeing her and Michael Yeats, both good friends who have just left the area.

On Sunday, we went for a walk in the Smith & Bybee Lakes wildlife refuge which was conveniently close to the Portland Expo Center where the antiques and collectibles show was going on. I did not expect to get any pens, since everyone had been through before me, but did manage to score yet one more knife, this from the secondary maker Bear and Son, a nice damascus steel  bone handled modern piece that will make a good carry for when I want something lighter and smaller than a full folding hunter.

I was attracted by the damascus steel blade and bone handle (scales, in real knifespeak)

Today, Monday, we head for home, via Klamath Falls, where we will spend the night.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Portland.2: The Gorge, the Gorge

After we stopped in at Hawthorne Cutlery, where Dan helped me to select a new Benchmade knife, we spent most of Friday in the Columbia River Gorge and on the historic Columbia River Highway, built a hundred years ago by some local visionaries as one of the nation’s first scenic roads for automobile tourists. For the time it was a remarkable feat of engineering and even today it remains a spectacular drive that takes you through the gorge and the waterfalls. We’ve done it before and we will do it again.
My new knife, I really have to be careful about this.

Even with I-84 running alongside Historic Route 30, the Columbia River Highway, remains popular, we drove about as much of it as remains.

The original Oneonta tunnel. Filled after it was bypassed in 1948 and restored in 2009

You can feel, hear and generally sense the power of the waters

Multnomah Falls

The popular Oneonta gorge

The Vista House, built around 1916, bestrides the gorge

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Portland.1: Tea and Books

So Thursday was our first full day in Portland after arriving late
Wednesday afternoon.

Sharon had an agenda. On a previous visit here, she had been taken to the Lan Su Chinese Garden and ever since had wanted to share it with me. I was willing and just barely enthusiastic. I was wrong, this is a must see. Built by traditional craftsmen from China in 2000, this is an extraordinary place. Fortunately we had visited a couple of monastaries when we were in China in 2010, otherwise I would not have appreciated this experience, meant to replicate the home and gardens of a 16th century wealthy Chinese family. After strolling through we enjoyed a Chinese tea service.

The tea house asked that folks silence their phones, which we were happy to do, and Sharon kept hers silenced as we headed to our next stop, a holy of holies for bibliophiles, Powell’s Books.

The tea service, very complex and ritualized. Good tea, though

The tea infused egg was a taste and visual treat

We came upon The Customs House from behind and I was delighted by the eclectic mix of architectural styles. Sharon questioned why I was shooting it from behind and I replied that I liked it from behind, but I had a sense that the front was not as harmonious

And it wasn't. The archway was just one thing too many

Love this elephant in the park, notice the homeless abode beneath. Portland seems to tolerate a large transient population

My warning was that I would carry one book ten blocks or ten books one block, do the math. Sharon ignored me.