Category Archives: Oregon

Yeti Eats: Rudy’s Pizza

My sister kept excitedly mentioning a place called Rudy’s. I didn’t really care–we already so many places to go to, both old favorites and new places to try. But her enthusiasm would not be denied, so one Sunday, she and her boyfriend and I drove halfway across the city and tested out this place.

It’s about as unassuming as can be from the outside.20170326_163026

But the inside is cozy, the servers are friendly and well-informed (if not actually vegan themselves) and there are signs with all kinds of vegan information.

Not everything is vegan, but there is an impressive array of options. You can choose Follow Your Heart or Daiya cheese–I don’t really know the difference but they’re both good.

 

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We showed absolutely no restraint and ordered vegan wings, cheese bread sticks, pesto breadsticks, and a half-and-half pizza. A lot of food and all of it awesome.20170328_001644

The vegan wings were not something I would have ordered but they were tasty. And it comes with a choice of vegan Ranch, Vegan Blue Cheese, Vegan Creamy Sriracha,
or Vegan Garlic Butter.20170328_001708

The pesto breadsticks only came as a mistake but were maybe the best part of the meal.20170328_001736

Finally the pizza! With 3 people there were dissenting opinions, but we went with my sister’s dream of taco pizza (which had beans on it, in proper fashion) and Vegan BBQ-Ru. Other than a lot of black olives there were no complaints at all.

Not having had pizza for a couple of years, I was really jonesing and this place was perfect. I think it leapfrogged Sizzle Pie and HUB as my favorite portland pizzeria. I’ll definitely be back.

Not always probable, or likely

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Alis volat propriis

It’s a fifteen minute walk from my sister’s to Fred Meyers, that bastion of Oregonian grocery stores. Each day I go there, I pass squirrels jittering across the street, crows cawing from dead winter trees, rusting basketball hoops and evergreen trees. There are signs of modernity for sure–two different ganja dispensaries, a hip coffee shop filled with people on their laptops, an escape room. This is the Oregon of hipsters and yelpsters, of Portlandia fans and transplants so fresh they pronounce Couch Street like it’s furniture.

But most of the area around my sister’ house probably hasn’t changed for decades. The weathered auto repair shop, with the name spelled out on the door with fragments of duct tape. An appliance store. A combination Chinese restaurant/dive bar with a sign advertising their 5 dollar breakfast special. Burly men in baseball caps who probably wouldn’t ever be the inspiration for a Portlandia character. This is the Oregon of the past, of small towns and farmers and descendants of those who came over on the Oregon Trail. These things–even though they’re in the same city, are found next to each other on the same block–belong to a different, slower world than the modern Portland.

It’s probably true that Portland is no longer a little big city. It has grown up and grown out and grown across and is now just a city. Perhaps it’s not just any city, but most long-term residents agree that it has lost most of that je nais se weird that defined the city for so long, left with the dichotomy of small town, blue collar detritus floating beneath, partially supporting, the decadent layer of hipster institutions.Sure, she flies with her own wings but it’s not just her up in the sky anymore.

What does this all mean? I’m not sure, other than as a reminder that it’s not very useful to stereotype or generalize. But it’s interesting to me, to see these two oregons, these two times, blending together. Does that happen everywhere? Regardless, I think portland has reached the end of an era. And yet the older era is still here.  There’s a lot to think about, but my fifteen minutes is up. I have reached my destination and so thoughts on the nature of reality can wait until next time.

 

 

 

10 Reasons I Can’t Live in America again

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged here. I’ve been writing and developing games and running an RPG here in Seoul which claimed much of my free time. Plus I think all bloggers go through a point where they wonder if the hours spent blogging might be better used on … almost anything else. But this is a subject that has been percolating in my mind for a while now.

Before I go any further, I’ll clarify by saying that the reasons I do have to go back–family and friends (and burritos)–outweigh these. Okay, Mom?

 

Consumerism: buy buy buy

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This has been covered before just about everyone, but the longer I live out of the US, the harder it is to come back to the bombardment of “buy X=happiness” messages that make up so much of day-to-day life. (The part of the world I live now is arguably just as consumerist, but not speaking the language or belonging to the culture makes it feel far less so.)

Buying into the culture gets harder too–“new” things like uber and Spotify and smart phones and well who knows what gaining popularity since I lived in the US lead to a disenfranchising feeling. (For me at least.) On the flip side, going back is often a process of discovering a new culture, which I do appreciate.

Over-Regulation and Bureaucracy

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Renting an apartment requires background checks and credit checks and promises of first-borns. My mom moved for the first time in years and was shocked at all the hoops she had to jump through. From checking into a hotel to registering for school, everything is so needlessly complex.

This might be more an Oregon thing, but it insane to me that a thirty year old person cannot necessarily buy a beer if they don’t have their ID. A non-ending series of permits are required for far too many things, from opening restaurants to painting your house. Everything is needlessly more complicated than it should be, and that’s no way to live.

Gun Culture

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See the guest post from 2015 by liberal anarchist and gun enthusiast Bob Swan to demonstrate that even educated people can hold very bad ideas. Selling guns in stores and online is, if the rest of the world is any sort of system to judge, a bad idea and a key ingredient of a toxic culture.

 

 

“I Deserve” Entitlement

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This one is harder to articulate–it’s a more a “I know it when I see it.” But it permeates everything; the decadent “I deserve” mentality and the counterpart, the prevalent “you should sue” mindset. This is a refection of rampant consumerism and while there’s nothing objectively wrong with those attitudes, they are pretty much 180 degrees from how I live my life.

Undereducated Populace

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Socialism is still a bad word. People don’t know it’s not the same as facism. I should note this does seem to be changing now, but there are still plenty of people who think that socialism=lazy people asking for free stuff. This goes far beyond the political. It’s a society that glorifies money and fame for their own sake.

 

Driving Culture

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The ultimate symbol of freedom in America? A machine that kills or injures over 2 million people a year, and includes costs for insurance, gas, repairs, and registration. Even Portland, famous for bikes and public transportation, requires a car to get anywhere out of it. Intercity options like Greyhound are stigmatized and inefficient for anything other than big cities.

Politics

puppets

They suck everywhere but in the US they are a special flavor of suckiness. (And I wrote this sentence a year ago, well before this year’s singular madness of an election process.) I haven’t commented much on the election this year, but I’ll say this. For me, the candidates rank like this. Bernie Sanders (he’s not actually as liberal as I’d like but still the best by far candidate), and then Green Party candidate Jill Stein (better than Sanders but with even less of a chance), then a tie between Trump and Hillary (both of which are disasters) and then Cruz (the worst case scenario).

But part of me wants to see Trump in the White House. He is the president that “Honey-BooBoo”-watching, mass produced pop listening America deserves. The mirror image of the culture. And it would make for way better comedy shows. (Inherent in this opinion is that he wouldn’t be any worse for the people of the world than Clinton.)

Anyway, one of the problems in my opinion is that the US is too big and too diverse and the solution of splitting into separate countries  still seems too radical.

Measurements

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I actually defended our wonky system for years, but I can’t do it anymore. It would be hard to go back to funny old Fahrenheit and miles after the nice conciseness of the metric (almost) everywhere else in the world. It’s the 21st century and a system based some English King’s foot probably isn’t the best system imaginable.

Fear culture

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The USA is good at big portions, and that includes the buffet of fear-mongering options that citizens chomp down on with glee. Fear of other countries. Fear of germs. Fear of immigrants. Fear of the other. Fear of the Other. Fear of Republicans and cyber-predators and flying and terrorism and so many other ungrounded fears.

Even in relatively safe places like Portland, people knocking on doors is a cause of fear. And yes, a fearful populace is a more easy to control but is that all there is to it? It would be exhausting to be afraid all that time and, quite frankly, I’m afraid to be that afraid.

Portland is a Hard Place to Live

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Most of the reasons on the list are philosophical. This is purely practical though. It’s so hard for me to find a job in Portland. I have applied in my life for several hundred jobs in Portland (over a period of almost 20 years now) and heard back from fewer than 20. I’ve been rejected from Powells 3 times. And I only apply to jobs where I fit all the criteria. I always thought it was just hard to get a job in Portland but my sister has no problem doing it so maybe it’s just a me thing. It’s definitely discouraging to come back and be *lucky* to get a job temping or in a grocery store.


So that’s my thinking. From afar all of those things seem kind of terrible. But as I said, with so many good friends and family there, I probably will come back.

 

 

The Best of 2014

I’ve been doing this for  2009, 2010, 2011,  2012 and 2013. How does 2014 stack up? While not without blips, it had some of the highest highs (literally).. When I look back on this year though, however, I will remember another amazing year on the road.

2014 will be characterized for me by the hospitality of so many people who took me in, cooked vegan dinners, showed me around their home towns, and just were genuinely nice. It’s a year that I’m very grateful to have had.

January 2014

Life of Pai

Life of Pai

Pai is one of my very very favorite places in the world. For me, it’s nearly a perfect town–filled with vegan cafes, surrounded by nature ( waterfalls, gorges, and hot springs) and moving at an easy pace of life. If I could move there tomorrow, I just might.

February 2014

Back to Kuala Lumpur

Back to Kuala Lumpur

February was a great month for me. I saw Ayutthaya and Sukkothai, spent some time on the resort island of Langkawi, and rediscovered Bangkok. The return to KL, where I stayed at my home away from home Agosto Inn, though, is what I’ll remember the most. KL is my favorite city in Asia and it remains a great place to wander for hours.

March 2014

The High Himalaya

The High Himalaya

The hardest hike of my life, but so incredible. 3 weeks in the Himalaya, with highlights including Everest Base Camp, Gokyo Ri, and thousands of Yak sightings.

April 2014

Kathmandu Tattoo Convention

Kathmandu Tattoo Convention

While not quite as low-tech as Burma, the Kathmandu convention does experience several power cuts a day.  It’s also great to walk out to the posh Yak & Yeti hotel, where international businessmen give the stink eye to the scroungy backpackers who trek in one weekend a year. I was lucky enough here to work with Nic Pretty Ink, who designed and delivered an Ent tattoo in less than ideal working conditions.

May 2014

The tea plantations of Bali

The tea plantations of Bali

Though I didn’t really enjoy Indonesia, there are a lot of beautiful places there. I didn’t really have a camera during this time, only a 1 megapixel phone camera. So this picture does not do the reality justice. Another thing I do love about Bali is the preponderance of Hindu temples everywhere. They’re beautiful and unlike other temples I’ve seen.

June 2014

The almighty Trolltunga

The almighty Trolltunga

My first weekend in Norway was close to midsummer. My friends and I drove to the west coast in one of the most beautiful road trips I’ve ever been on. After some stealth camping on the side of the road, we got up, mountain biked to a hiking trail, hiked to a cliff, climbed a via ferrata up the rock wall, and then made our way to the Troll tongue (long one of the places in the world I most wanted to see). Just an average weekend for the hardy Norwegians, but for me truly one of the best experiences of my life.

July 2014

Rocking at Roskilde

Rocking at Roskilde

I’ve raved about the festival already, but it was a chance conversation with a Canadian and a Dane at about 13,000 feet up in Nepal that brought me there. Not only did I see bands like the Rolling Stones, Jack White, Stevie Wonder, Outcast, and Les Claypool, but I made so many awesome new friends.

August 2014

The Streets of Stockholm

The Streets of Stockholm

Of course, I shouldn’t have even been there. My plan was to go to the UK, Ireland, and France. I even had flight tickets and places to stay.  UK Immigration had other plans though and to be honest more time in Denmark and a chance to meet with friends in Sweden was a pretty awesome backup plan.

September 2014

Autumn in Portland

Autumn in Portland

I had just been back in Portland last summer, but lacking a proper autumn for years made the pumpkin crazy time so nice. Portland is so walkable and always changing and though I don’t get to NE that much, I do enjoy that area quite a lot.

October 2014

Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon

A grand road trip has to culminate with the Grand Canyon right? Though I saw Zion and Vegas and the redwoods and Lassen and Shasta, the Grand Canyon was damn impressive. I wasn’t really expecting it to be so vast and incredible and I’m so lucky to have finally seen it.

November 2014

Hiking the kalmiopsis with Mom and Storm

Hiking the kalmiopsis with Mom and Storm


 
A good deal of my time in the States was spent at my mom’s place in Southern Oregon, where we cooked, baked, played games, and went on lots of walks. This day, a hike with Storm the Wonderdog, was one of the best as we had chickpea salad sandwiches and dill pickle chips plus the day was so clear and beautiful.

December 2014

Olympic Park in Winter

Olympic Park in Winter

December should have been my first month on a 9 month contract in China, but I had to call an audible and ended up back in Seoul. Catching up with old friends and realizing that Seoul is sort of a second home to me–plus finally getting a real winter after years in SE Asia–made December a great month.

A Quick and Dirty Guide to the City of Roses

I wrote this for a friend of mine who was visiting Portland, but I thought it was worth expanding on. And so here is a quick introduction to Portland, OR.

The 5 quadrants

The 5 quadrants

Portland is basically a four part grid, with the Willamette River and Burnside Street splitting it into 4 quadrants– Northeast, Northwest, Southwest, Southeast. (There’s a fifth part, called North Portland, but I haven’t been up there much and as it’s not walkable from everywhere else, it sort of doesn’t count.)

Each area has something to be said for it.

Brewery Sampler
Northwest is the home of the Pearl District–lots of outdoor stores, cafes, parks, etc. It’s a bit yuppy, a bit corporate but a nice place. Lots of the “big” stores in Portland are here. Powell’s Books is the largest bookstore in the world, and you could easily spend an entire day (or more) there. Deschutes and Rogue Brewhouses are both nearby, and both worth some sampling.  More breweries are opening all the time, or you could just go to Henrys and sample over 100 beers on draft.

 

Downtown

Southwest is basically downtown–which is not the highlight of portland. It’s worth walking around, visiting Pioneer Square as well as all the food carts. The waterfront is very nice in the summer but might be rainy and chilly in winter. You can get food from about anywhere in the world for not too much money.

NE

Northeast is a huge area, but streets like Mississippi and Alberta are some the best in Portland. Lots of cool places to eat, drink, shop, people watch, etc. The Bye&Bye is one of my favorite pubs, but you can’t really go wrong anywhere.

SE
And then Southeast is sort of the portlandiest part of Portland. Hawthorne, Belmont, Division, Clinton, are all close together and have more bookstores, pubs, microbrews, teashops, brew and views than you can shake a stick at. Apex Brewpub on Division has a lot of tasty beers and you can get cheap & tasty mexican food from the place next door.

That’s a pretty basic overview. Biking is easy–you can bike just about everywhere. There are a couple of bike only trails as well; these will be easy to find.

More importantly, hiking.

URBAN.

Washington Park

You can take the bus or max to WASHINGTON PARK, which connects you to more than 30 miles of trail in Forest Park. It’s nice up there, and there is a tree arboretum with redwoods and other cool stuff.

Mt. Tabor

In SOUTHEAST, it’s an easy climb up to MT. TABOR, but it’s one of the greatest places to view the city.

There are quite a few urban hikes available–the city is half forest and it can be quite easy to get out of civilization.

OUTSIDE THE CITY.

Portland has three great outdoors areas within an hour drive.

Oregon Coast

The Oregon Coast is beautiful and the town of Astoria (where Short Circuit, Goonies, etc were filmed) is great. There are tons of great hikes out there; some flat coastal, some mountain climbing, giant wandering elks, misty mountains.

Columbia Gorge

Even better than the Coast is the COLUMBIA GORGE. The famous destination here is the Multnomah Falls (which could very well be frozen over in the winter). But there are hundreds of hikes in the area. All of them are at low enough altitudes that you can hike them year round. Salmon Creek is nice, and Latroull falls is as well, to name a few.  Take the old highway and just stop at any hikes that look nice. A lot of them are pretty much the same–some climbing through forests, some waterfalls, and then loop back to the parking lot.

Mt. Hood

But the best place to hike in the Portland area, in my opinion, is MT. HOOD. The hikes here are out of the world. However it might be too snowy to get up in the winter. Nonetheless, a visit to TIMBERLINE LODGE (exterior shots for the Shining) would be a great day.

A Dane on Toad: Roadtrip USA. Oregon, Nevada, California, Arizona and Utah.

This is a guest post from my friend Jeanette, who came all the way from Denmark to visit some places in America she’d always dreamed of.

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I’m sitting on my couch and enjoying my ice-cold self-imported Root Beer from Portland. I had been traveling in USA for the last 19 days, and now I’m home. It seems like forever ago I ecstatically backed my suitcase and went off to sees a long lasting dream of mine. And It seems as if, it only was yesterday I got to the airport of Portland, to get picked up by my dear friend Ahimsa. Besides entering a country there in all ways simply just blows your mind., The greatest surprise of them all was the people there. Never before have I felt this much at home and welcomed. The greetings and welcomes you meet – the politeness and smalltalks that appear out of nowhere. And now I get it when people find the Europeans and danes to be a bit cold and not that welcoming. I wish I could import some of the polite-everyday phrases to Denmark.

Watching too much TV and talkshows from America – The most important things I learned, one of my big prejudice of Americans being overweight slightly stupid consumer – failed totally, and luckily prove me all wrong! I never seen so harmonizing a city as Portland! A city built in a Forrest! Where there still is room for nature- and one respects for trees and all green! I could never seem to find a trashcan- I needed to carry my trash for blocks sometimes! And yet I never saw trash in the streets or in the nature of the states I visited. And they recycle in great manners! Portland is truly a cultivated city, of intelligent, where kreativitiv blossom. Don’t miss the Saturday market, where the rules are, that it had to be made in Portland and sold by the artist himself. I never seen so many vegan/ vegetarian restaurant, I think you could stay vegan by mistake there! Vegan or no vegan- you must try the bbq tempeh burgers of dicks kitchen, and spend a relaxing hour or two, in the house called Tao of Tea. If you don’t know what to order – I’ll recommend the 8 Treasure Tea. And further down the street is Wonderland, just waiting to show you a good time, in the gambling halls of no age! Here mr and miss. Packman come to live, air-hockey tables, quist and car races against friends! Beat your friends in guitar hero, or capture the treasure of the pharaoh! It cost 2-3 dollars to get in the game arcade – and then you can buy bags of nickels – for 2,5 or 10$.

In summer season you will wish to see the street fair in Portland, every last Thursday of the month. Tons of local artist are showing and selling there work, and lots of good food. If you can find it – don’t miss out on a maple bar (from a bakery), spicy pumpkin latte, and root beer! Especial the last one has become a great new love of mine!

My advice to you, if you are going to the States – Rent a car, and get around to see the country! (and don’t save money on insurance, get a good insurance on the car (+collision damages!), as well as and good health insurance and home transportation for yourself).

 

The list of what I have seen and will recommend from my road trip is so long; the variety of the nature just from one state to another is speechless. I have seen and done things I only dared hope for. We camped at Jacobs Lake, near the North entrance to the Grand Canyon – I camped 8000 feet above sea surface! (the highest point in Denmark is 561 feet.) We fall asleep to the howls of the coyotes and the hooting song of the owls. Later I would see bears in the wild – standing on the lake side hoping for a meal., and learning their cubs the last lessons of fishing. I faced the heating dessert that beat down the comfort of the aircon in the car. I have seen the wind of the desert toying with big trucks, knocking them into the wrong lanes. And I saw the wild rain of the mountain sides, making it impossible to see 5 feet in front of the car, forcing us to slow down and use every energy left in us, to focus on driving.

Don’t miss out on the beautiful nature the country has to offer! You can’t go to Portland without visiting the Columbia Gorge. Drive the Historic Highway (Route 30). Stop and inhale the fresh air and the taste of freedom, take a short or long hike, into the magic deep of mossy trees, playful light and fantastic waterfalls. See Columbia River from The Vista House, and reload your batteries. If you like the Gorge, you will love Zion in Utah. Zion is all your heart can desire, but where the Gorge is free to enter, Zion costs 25$ for a car. Then you can take the free shuttle bus, which runes every 10 min, until 7.45 PM, and “get off’ get on” from hikes on the routes, you will get close-up to wild life there, where deers just grazing few feets from you. But it will be nothing compared to the nature sights, where (small) mountains hills surrounds you and lure you into the deep of silence, still riverbanks and enchanted compressed meadowly ambiance. You can even camp in Zion, but you need to be there early or reserve in really good time. When you have seen and digested the Gorge and Zion, you will be ready to let the Grand Canyon in Arizona blow you sideways and out of reality – the Canyons are magnificent and some of the wildest nature I ever have seen, no picture will ever come close to reproduce its scale of magnitude, it a sight that should be on every ones “to see list”!. Even though the south side is by far the most pretty sight, you must go to the north side while you are there, and see the meadows of fall, before you enter the north side. It cost 25$ for an car to enter, but you can enter both north and south side on the same ticket, and the ticket is veiled for 7 days, just like the ticket from Zion is.

The nature is excellent, but don’t spare yourself for a trip to one of the dollar stores, where things only cost one dollar! Or the big outlet stores where everything is under half price. Do yourself a favor an only travel to the USA with a half loaded suitcase! – and come home with a full (or overloaded!).

Vegas in Nevada is exactly everything I hoped it would be. Again you have something so unique that a simple photo can’t begin to describe it. I have only one thing to say to you, Vegas, I will see you again someday And the fact that i was lucky enough to top it all of with a long drive on Route 66 in Arizona, visit the redwoods and the coast of Oregon- it’s just make my visit in the western USA complete! It truly was a lifelong dream coming true.

Budget! One May ask what the price was, for reliving my dreams. I got a road trip and 19 days in the stats, as I wanted it to be, I was wild in Vegas, I eat and drink as I pleased – and I visit the pay places I wanted to- both exactly the things I desired and our ride through 3210,1 miles /5136,16km, was a brand new Ford Mustang 2014, V8, (22miles pr gallon! / ca. 9,3 km/liter). I’m sure you can do it more cheap then I did! But the price of my dream and my adventure was 4322$ total! I spend 3095$ on flight, hotel/motel/camping, rent of car, Insurance and gas. And I spend 1227$ on pocket-money, to eat, drink, gift and casino/gambling money in Vegas., pocket money pr.day was 65$.

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A big thanks to my dear friend, guide and travelling companion Ahimsa. For reliving my dream with me, and thanks to his family and friends for being so warm hearted and kind people.

And remember, don’t follow your dreams!- CHASE THEM!!

 

 

Telling Tales in the Beaver State: the Many Narratives of Oregon

Time overlaps itself. A breath breathed from a passing breeze is not the whole wind, neither is it just the last of what has passed and the first of what will come, but is more–let me see–more like a single point plucked on a single strand of a vast spider web of winds, setting the whole scene atingle.”
Ken Kesey, Sometimes a Great Notion

It’s the rain that comes to mind. Oregon, in fact, comes with quite a few associations—tumbling waterfalls, lumberjacks, hippies, microbreweries, vegan food, indie rock, pine trees, and dying oxen in the pioneer game Oregon Trail are some of the more obvious ones. But it’s the ceaseless precipitation—Oregon sunshine, it has been dubbed—that most indelibly characterizes the state. Funnily enough, two-thirds of Oregon is dry desert and the actual rain-is-coming-down-wet days are vastly outnumbered by dreary-gray-but-dry days.

Portland in the Rain

Portland in the Rain

It is an insular state; a place where locals are still afraid that word will get out how nice it is. The slogan of “Welcome to Oregon. Now go home,” is apocryphally said to have appeared on the California border. That’s not correct, but it is true that in the seventies Governor Tom McCall famously told a news reporter: “Come visit us again and again…But for heaven’s sake, don’t move here to live.”

It is also a quirky state, as indicated by the famous mantra “Keep Portland Weird.” This is a state that calls hazelnuts “filberts,” a state that chose not a wolverine, grizzly bear, or panther as its state animal. Nope, Oregon is the Beaver State, and disproportionally proud of it. When 39th Avenue was renamed to honor Caesar Chavez, there was significant effort to likewise redub 42nd in honor of Douglas Adams. And despite the rain, 40 inches a year in the Portland area, it’s a place where carrying an umbrella is seen as a major character flaw. (But to really annoy an Oregonian, pronounce it “Ore-e-gone” rather than Or-eh-gin.)

Beaver State

Beaver State

That combination—idiosyncratic, parochial pioneer stock, kept inside for too many bleak wintry days—has led to the creation of some great art. Being that the great cultural homogenizers in this modern world are film and, to a lesser extent, literature (fine arts, etc are not part of society’s narrative in the same way), Oregon hosts a trove of treasures waiting to be discovered.

A belletristic journey could take you across the entire state, from the Shakespeare Festival in Southern Oregon to Trek in the Park in Northern Portland. A comprehensive list would be unwieldy and unnecessary, but here are some of the top places to visit in Oregon for literature and movie lovers alike.

Portland

City of Roses

City of Roses

Naturally, the biggest city in Oregon has the biggest presence. In addition to current shows “Grim,” “Portlandia,” and “Leverage,” Stumptown has seen its share of cult films like Drugstore Cowboy, Mr. Holland’s Opus, and The Hunted.

Simpsons creator Matt Groening is from the Portland area, and visitors will notice many street names with familiar names (Quimby, Lovejoy, Flanders, Kearney, etc. While we’re on the sidetrack of NW Portland streets, the street spelled “Couch” is mysteriously pronounced “Cooch.”)

Those who remember Henry Huggins and Ramona Quimby can discover the real Klickitat Street, with statues dedicated to the characters in nearby Grant Park. Ursula K. LeGuin’s classic Lathe of Heaven uses the backdrop of Mt. Hood and other Portland landmarks most memorably. Parts of The Road and The Shining were filmed near Portland as well.

The movie was neither set nor filmed in Portland, but Fight Club author Chuck Palahniuk used Portland landmarks in the book. His nonfiction Fugitives and Refugees is a bizarre travelogue of some of the city’s weirder sights.

The Coast

The Oregon Coast

The Oregon Coast

Moving on from Portland, it’s a 90 minute drive over the Coast Range to the Pacific Ocean. The Oregon Coast is wild, wind-blown, and wonderful. Gnarled pine forests grow to the sea, long stretches of sandy beach have more shells than people, and small-town bookstores and charming restaurants make up the bucolic whole.

Astoria

Astoria

Astoria

The oldest town west of the Mississippi, not far from Lewis and Clark’s winter settlement, this city of one-percenter John Jacob Astor is a capital destination for those who love eighties films. We’re talking Goonies, Kindergarten cop, Short Circuit, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III. (The Ring 2 was also filmed here, but the less said of that, the better.)

Newport

Newport

Newport

The next stop of the entertainment tour is the home of literally the biggest star of the nineties.

Yes, I am referring to Keiko, the world’s most famous orca, who found fame in Free Willy. The film was mostly shot in Oregon, and Keiko was a resident of the Newport Aquarium for some time before being sent back to Iceland. (Where, sadly, he kept hanging out with humans and died of pneumonia.)

Newport, along with nearby Kernville, is also the film setting for maybe the greatest Oregonian novel, Ken Kesey’s Sometimes a Great Notion. This tale of a small-town lumberjack family is as quintessential to Oregon as a cloudy day, and even if the filming locations are hard to find, the towns themselves are surprisingly unchanged from the early seventies.

There is plenty more to see on the coast, but for purposes of our tour we will now take the 20 to the 5 and head inland to Oregon’s most famous hippy college town.

Eugene

Further

Further

This college town is chilled out even by Oregon standards, a sprawl of co-ops, farmers’ markets, and scenic bike paths. The nearby Oregon County Fair, an event every summer, is like time machining back to the sixties, and Cougar Hot Springs are another way to meet some of the real free-thinkers of the world. (The slogan “Make Love Not War” originated in Eugene in the sixties.) Eugene itself is famous for two very different films.

The first, Animal House, was filmed in Eugene and nearby Cottage Grove. University of Oregon parties might feature fewer togas these days, but pre-funking a Ducks game would just about capture the right Jim Belushi spirit. (U of O was not the original setting for the story, but after turning down the chance to be the setting of the Graduate, the University pushed for this one.)

In Stand by Me, Brownsville filled in for the fictional town of Caste Rock. Other scenes were shot in Eugene, Franklin, and Cottage Grove. Recreating the sets of this film would be fantastic fun, but I recommended leaving out the leech scene.

Finally, for the runners of world, both Prefontaine movies were set here in the land of Phil Knight.

Southern Oregon

Southern Oregon

Southern Oregon

Ashland is home to The Shakespeare Festival, which was founded in 1935 and is arguably the greatest place outside England to encounter the Bard. There is outdoor theater in the summer, where you can pack a picnic dinner and get spat on by enunciating thespians. More locally, Neil Gaiman’s Coraline was filmed by Portland’s Laika, and set in Ashland.

Jim Jarmush’s trippy existential tale Dead Man was filmed all over Southern Oregon, including Applegate, Rogue River, and the hippy bastion Takilma. You too can wander these areas with No One, meeting characters too strange for fiction.

And although the film of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest was filmed in Salem (the state capital, between Portland and Eugene on the interstate) and Depoe Bay, a more interesting use of time would involve a visit to Ken Kesey’s farm in Southern Oregon. The infamous bus Further still rests there, dredged from the swamps by his son Zane and surviving members of the Merry Pranksters.

It’s true that using art to form your narrative in this manner, you miss out on places like the surreally gorgeous Crater Lake, the charming town of Bend, the high desert, the Wallowa mountains, and the Columbia Gorge But the variety of film and literature that has been set, written, and filmed, here would make for a truly entertaining entertainment-based visit.