View Full Version : A most excellent Thanksgiving in Portland!

11-27-2006, 08:54 PM
LeeBob and I packed up our bikes and headed north in the wee wee hours on Thanksgiving morning, destination Forest Grove, a suburb west of Portland.

The drive itself was uneventful, except for the momentary panic we experienced as we were heading north of Yreka into the Siskiyou mountain range near the Oregon border, where we started seeing “chains required” signs. Oops. It never occurred to us to bring chains. Luckily we never needed them, because although there was good amount of snow just over the OR border and as far as Ashland, I-5 was relatively dry. We did enounter some very heavy rain from Eugene up to Forest Grove, but heck, we were in Oregon, after all.

We checked into McMenamin’s Grand lodge in Forest Grove well in time for our Thansgiving dinner reservation. What a great hotel! We need to have a TE Reunion here, gang! This used to be a Masonic old folks home but it was vacated in 1999 and McMenamin’s converted it to the hotel in 2000. The rooms are very reasonably-priced, and although most of the rooms have no private baths, there are many guest-only bathrooms throughout the premesis so it was never an inconvenience. The rooms are very comfy and are decorated with very nice painted stencil work. There is a large in-ground jetted hot tub, and a full-service spa. Oh, and there are at least four bars … :D and supposedly they make a mean Lemon Drop martini, with fresh squeezed lemons I might add, but I never got around to sampling one. So Snap, you’ll just have to try one yourself.

We stuffed our faces at the delicious Thanksgiving buffet dinner, played a couple of games of (bad) pool in the Doctor’s Office Bar (yes, it used to be the Doctor’s Office of the old folks home, but you wouldn’t know it, really), and that was it for us. zzzzz.

On Friday we drove the route of the populaire we were riding the next day since we didn’t know the area at all. It was wet and cold and funky and we assumed we’d have more of the same the next day, but we were prepared, with fenders on our bikes and lots of wool and rain gear. After our drive along the route we then pulled out the map and headed for Hillsboro, and paid a spur of the moment visit to the Mother Ship, aka TE Headquarters. Both Susan and Jeff were there along with a couple of other employees (whose names I’ve forgotten, sorry!), busy working on the pre-Christmas orders. Susan was so sweet, she gave us a tour of the premeses. Very impressive setup they have there! The rest of the day we hung out back at the hotel, cozying up by the fire in one of their many public rooms reading newspapers and novels and sipping their own house-roasted coffee. I spent some quality time in the soaking tub, but there were no appointments available at the spa for a massage, alas.

Later that evening I met up with Kitsune06 – hi Ronnie! – and we had a nice time in the wine bar yapping about life in general and TE in particular. It’s so fun to meet TE’s in person, and I’ve been lucky to get to know so many of you. That’s my belated Thanksgiving “thanks” – for all the good friends I’ve made on account of TE. :o

OK, where was I...

On Saturday we got up bright and early for the OR Randonneurs 100K populaire, which took us through the wine region to the south of Forest Grove. It started out damp and cold, and stayed cold (by our wussy Califoria standards anyhow) for most of the day, but we were ready for whatever the Pacific Northwest threw at us. Except, Lee was wearing only one pair of socks idjit and he forgot to bring along an extra pair double idjit. By the twenty-mile checkpoint his feet were frozen. I knew he was bad off when he actually accepted my offer of my spare socks – he never accepts anything, he’s kind of, um, stubborn that way. :rolleyes: But his toes were actually white when he peeled off the socks he was wearing ! Then one of the other riders with us, a really nice lady named Marilyn, became Lee’s New Best Friend when she offered him her spare package of chemical foot warmers. Between the extra layer of socks and the foot warmers, Lee was soon a happy camper again. Afterwards he told me that if he couldn’t get his feet to thaw out soon he was going to have to abandon the ride, my poor idjit bunkie !

Well, as it turned out, it never rained during the ride, and the sun even came out for a good amount of the time. We met up with Susan and Jeff and their friends Lynne and Jason at the midway point and they assured us this weather wasn’t at all typical of the last few weeks. I had promised one of the organizers that I’d try to bring up some nice CA weather for the ride so looks like I came through, heh heh.

Lee and I finished the ride near the back of the pack, typical for us, but I still had time for a quick soak in the hot pool before dinner. The OR Randonneurs hosted a fun group dinner where they recounted their accomplishments over the past year (this is a fairly new organization, btw), volunteers were recognized and thanked, and a couple of finishers from PBP 2003 shared their wisdom and enthusiasm for the event.

After dinner ended some of the folks were heading off to the bar so I thought I’d join them (naturally), but I first stopped by the room. The bed looked soooo inviting, I thought maybe I’d lay down for a quick nap … and I woke up about four hours later ! By then the thought of moving really had no appeal so I just hunkered in for the night. So much for my reputation as Jo Party Animal. I think I slept nearly 12 hours that night … :rolleyes:

The next morning we had a nice brunch with Kitsune and her friend Heather. I’m not sure Heather knows what to make of us but she seemed to accept our oddness. psst … I have a photo of Kitsune sans sunglasses if anyone is interested.

Then, Lee and I checked out of the hotel and headed off to the Portland Convention Center and the Christmas Bazzar, where we would meet Brandi and see her sand sculpture.

Except … there was no Christmas Bazzar at the Portland Convention Center! :( The place was nearly deserted but we came across a small holiday craft fair that was just closing for the day. We asked around but people had no idea what we were talking about. One lady I spoke to said “that’s funny, sombody came by earlier askling about a Christmas Bazzar too.” Aaack! Some people suggested the Expo Center on the other side of town, others had other suggestions, but it was getting to be mid-afternoon and we decided to just cut our losses and hit the road.

So Brandi, sorry we missed you, but we tried !! :( :(

We stayed last night in Grant’s Pass, which was a good thing since it was snowing over the Siskiyous and chains would have been required. Although we purchased some chains in Forest Grove, we didn’t particularly want to have to put them on late at night. :p

This morning, we headed off towards home and stopped at the Rogue Creamery where they sell the bestest blue cheese on the planet. We picked up a goodly stash of different blue cheeses and a couple of packages of Chocolate Stout Cheddar (made with Chocolate Stout ale; beer and cheese, how could I resist). Oh, and SK, we picked up some of the Hillcrest Orchard Pear wine – a couple of bottles for you, a couple for me. I’m enjoying a glass right now, with some Rogue Creamery Oregonzola Blue cheese, and bread and pears. Yummers.

We had such a great weekend, we already made reservations at the Grand Lodge for next year. Looks like the Bobs have a new Thanksgiving tradition. :)

11-27-2006, 09:32 PM
Sounds wonderful! I wonder what the family unit would do if I ditched out on T-Day with them.....

11-27-2006, 09:33 PM
Ooh, the Oregonzola. I think that was my favorite. Thank you for kindly for the pick-up.

Where are pictures? Did you tell Kitsune 'ello from SK? Sounds like a very successful trip.

11-28-2006, 04:56 AM
Sounds like an awesome trip and a good tradition to begin.


11-28-2006, 07:23 AM
wow - what a great trip!!

12-01-2006, 10:11 PM
Yeah, Ms. Bob, you've gotta share the pics! :D