A few weeks ago I jumped on Amtrak's Coast Stralight to travel through the Northwest.
I got on at Emeryville, CA for the first part of my trek to Portland, OR. As it was around ten at night and I wasn't due in Portland until about threePM the next day I got comfy in my chair. I must say the chairs/seats you pay for on overnight trips are damn comfy like those of flying first class. The seats recline with a foot pad and foot post as well as electronic sockets at every seat and table tray. They provide a pillow as well but I suggest bringing your own blanket as these are not provided. I woke up to the sunrise around Mt. Shasta and took a walk to the "viewing car" which has all glass siding and roof. I got my cup of coffee from downstairs and have to say despite all the other great offerings it was the worst cup of coffee I have ever had and I've done my fair share of middle of the highway/interstate coffee drinking. So maybe bring your own instant if you like coffee. Anywho, I sat down with my coffee and shortly after two older gentleman sat down next to me as we stared off at the amazing views. We began talking about old cars as I noticed every time we past a barn or piece of property and cars were visible they were looking with a look I am familiar with....the search for old cars. It turns out they were on their way to a small town outside Portland to pick up a seventies car they discovered. I have inserted a photo below of a junkyard full of old cars I saw later in the morning like one of the ones you discover in the California and/or Arizona desert. I wanted to jump off and explore but didn't have time. Later on I had lunch in the food car/diner and an older couple sat down with me. The gentleman had a cool old rose forearm tattoo from his military days during the Korean war but I didn't have my camera with me, damn it.
I arrived in Portland around threePM where I quickly got settled in and made my way to eating. I can not recall the places I ate at but all I can say is I did lots of it and it was great. Portland has happy hours from afternoon to late at night.....these were new happy hours to me as they were not drinks but food! I guess if you serve booze you have to have something like at least a five item menu so the places offer food at affordable prices. This eating and taking advantage of the happy hours was what I did the whole two days or so in Portland. Burgers, sushi, fries, desserts, pot pies, prime rib....!!!
I was staying at the Ace Hotel which has bicycles for free to any guest. Before I get to the bikes let me say it was my first time staying at an Ace hotel and it was rather impressive. The rooms were New York hotel size but the level of well thought out space consumption was impressive. It reminded me of this video I saw once of this guy in Japan whoms apartment was like a transformer....making the most out of the smallest space. Back to the bikes, so if you are staying at the hotel they have bikes you can use for as long as you please. I'm not much of a biker but it seemed like a great cheap way to go surprise a friend and roam the city.
The moment I got outside the rain began but that didn't stop me at least from going to surprise my friend. The hotel was a block off Burnside so it was a direct route to visit/surprise an old friend Ms. Mikki at her new tattoo shop Fortune Tattoo Shop (1716 East Burnside Street, Portland, OR). I hadn't seen Mrs. Mikki in a few years since she relocated to Portland and the shop is badass (see pictures below). It is an open layout with a loft balcony for drawing in the back overlooking the floor. I wish I would of had a tape recorder going for part of my talk with her as she was just spilling rich Portland tattoo history where I learned so much. After shooting the shit with Mikki for a few hours I hoped back in the rain and went to a shop I became familiar with through LST. I used LST's search feature before I for the keyword "Portland" and saw user Henry Rodriguez worked at a shop called Scapegoat Tattoo around the corner (1223 Southeast Stark Street Portland, OR). I walked in and asked for Henry who I then sat down and talked with for a few minutes (pictures below). I explored Portland for another day or so and observed the "city that works" (their motto they put on everything) was a mix between SF and Vancouver(BC), beautiful!
So after some time in Portland I hoped back on the train for a few more hours and headed to Seattle for four days or so. This short train ride was absolutely amazing with its views riding along the water for most of it. I was looking forward to the seafood so the first place I stopped for food was sushi. I stayed at The Paramount in Seattle and the room was spacious plus the CA King bed was damn comfortable competing with Sofitel Hotels (which are my favorite hotel beds..if you have stayed in one you know what I am talking about!). Seattle was full of eating, eating, and more guess what...more eating thanks to the food happy hours being there as well. Vietnamese, sushi, seafood, burgers, fries, desserts, italian, sandwiches and on and on. The hotel was a perfect location as everything was walking distance. I prefer to walk as much as possible when traveling so I can see things that I may miss when using public transit, taxis, and/or rental cars. I didn't visit any tattoo shops in Seattle but saw a few. I did manage to enjoy the cheese festival they were having and discovered a new cheese maker that I loved, Sartori Cheeses.
So after a week break from the Bay Area it was time to head back...I hoped on Seattle's public tranist which was beyond convenient as I jumped on two blocks from my hotel and it dropped me right at the airport for under five dollars in about forty-five minutes.
Thanks Mrs. Mikki and Henry for spending sometime with me.
Until next time......