Sunday, July 18, 2010

Road Trip to Comi-Con 2010: Victoria to Portland: Vintage Cars, Cinemas and a Drive-In Cinema

We left Victoria on the Friday, the very day the Coho was unloading dozens to hundreds of classic auto’s, to join those who were already here, lined up all around downtown. I had wanted to stay and photograph them but just a taster of the classic car weekend of Victoria will have to do.
Like I said, they literally covered each block, from 1920’s Model T, Coops, to 1950’s Caddies. On the way down we passed a group of 13 classic MG’s travelling together.

We stopped at Cheryl’s overnight where besides repacking everything Linda amused herself with giving my hair a braid while I looked at the new Japanese Art Book which had arrived. I do like braids.

The only downside to braids is that they come apart, and the rougher the day, the more they sort of halo your head with strands of hair. Here I am as we are about to leave Portland, having gone to Starbucks to find a bathroom (important when on a road trip), not quite as fresh as a daisy. Well, I am, since I don’t sweat, but I pass out a lot more (I wilt?).

It was foggy and cloudy on the way down but on the off road leading down to the freeway we found..a genuine functioning Drive-In Theatre!!!
Yes, I went to one as a child and there was one where I dated Linda, but it is now closed, so hunting the elusive Drive In is quite difficult. Open Seven Days a week if you want to drive from Seattle??

Entering Portland there are a series of steel girder bridges, with a classic truck up ahead (we saw a lot of classic trucks in Portland – and bicycles, tons and tons of bicycles!).

Our First stop was Powell’s Books of Portland which was a semi-organized book store 10 years ago when we visited Portland on our ‘mooch’ tour of the US and Canada by train (going north to Churchhill to the Arctic passing through a forest fire, and down to Florida in time to be inside a hurricane, plus Portland, New Orleans, Washington DC and so many other places). Powell's had changed. Now it had a parking garage for one. It was ‘accessible’ if Borges in a whimsy designed it. I asked one of the managers if this was Borges’ Library as there were MANY elevators and each went to different floors and each floor had floors like floor 2 in Elevator 2 but Elevator A went to floor 2B but not to 2. Make sense to you? Not to me either, it meant a lot of up and down and reminded me of the Borges short stories called the Library of Babylon where people live entirely in a library, some search for the impossible way out, some determine that god IS the library while others that god is a BOOK in the library and different sects defend different floors. That pretty much sums up Powells on a Saturday. What was more surprising is that 10 years ago, they had been working toward this multi-elevator master plan where people are directed to the ‘red room’ and others to the ‘rose room’ (and of course people get them mixed up), and the ‘purple room’, ‘pearl room’, ‘gold room’ and many more.

Was there any purpose to those names? I asked.


Powell’s turned out to be a very overpriced used bookstore with mostly new books, sort of a Chapters Book Store PLUS. So we left, but not before I got a shot of this fine ink/tattoo of a thorny vine which wrapped around a young female’s leg.
We went next in chase of Gorey’s Details, based on the illustrator Edward Gorey (Museum in NY by the way, met his….lover? Intimate Friend? There who took us around). It was in one location, no it had moved, so we chased it to another. It had moved. But everywhere we went we saw Victorian Houses and old 1930-1950’s cinema’s/theatres. Portland has a LOT of community cinemas. We passed the still working Bagdad, which had added a cafĂ©.
Then there was the Aladdin with the attached bar, The Lamp. The Aladdin didn’t seem to show films any more but did music and other gigs with limited seating, a sort of intimate audience experience.

When we came to the THIRD location where Gorey Details was supposed to be…there was another working small cinema, the Moreland. I have a great love of small cinemas since in Pasadena there used to be a retro cinema (showed movies by theme per month) and a dollar cinema showing old and er, unusual films (known as box office BOMBS!). I remember sneaking into my first horror film, CHUCKY IV…and 15 minutes later sneaking out again.

During this chase we stopped for lunch. Since gas/petrol and lodging are the highest costs we are brown bagging it and have yet to buy meals, so we made a sandwich in a lovely neighborhood of Victorian houses, street after street of them (in Victoria they would have been turned into condo’s, bah!), with an old Elementary school in the middle (named after some dude no one knows, except a mountain is named after them somewhere). It was the kind of ‘community’ I grew up in, a school in the midst of housing, and a place where I can imagine kids still going trick or treating at Halloween. In Victoria, with the condo developments, there just aren’t really any small communities where parents know each other and feel safe enough to let kids go from house to house. Over the last years, the trick or treaters in Victoria have dropped to 25% of the last year, each year. Sad.

Here we are, having found the street Gorey Details was on, or the giant retro store it was in. The owners were away, many things they said they needed to back order we found and left in a bag for them at the front. The overall place manager said they would only be on hold until tomorrow. Sigh. (next time, BLEEP Gorey Details, we are hitting the farmer's market!)

Thus ends Portland, except that after I used the bathroom and we headed out of town, I was up 10 hours already and punked, then passed out a lot, and stopped breathing for over a minute says Linda. That is usually a bad sign. On the way to Eugene when I was passed out in the van (80% of the time), my body was shaking or bouncing which indicates strong heart erratic, so I had a pill when I was conscious.

Now to sleep and tomorrow the Redwoods. I don’t know what hotel we are in but I wish we were staying longer, as when I first came in I immediate saw these and went, “SCORE!” Imported from England, these are going with us. Then the agony of needing soap and do I unwrap the oatmeal soap (so good for facials) or the aloe soap (so good for sun burns) – Luckily Linda had some soap she brought with her. So we get to steal them ALL! I mean, I don’t know where those soaps and shampoos and lotions went?


wendryn said...

Sounds like a reasonably good first day! Physically hard, from the sound of it, but from the pictures you look like you are doing ok. I hope the trip gets easier!

FridaWrites said...

Sounds like things are going relatively well. The classic cars are really nice! I'm wondering what the view is like around Portland--I hope lots of trees and water. Safe journeys!

Powell's sounds Escher-like, at least with the elevators!

SharonMV said...

thanks for the reporting & pictures of your travels. Two of my sisters & Dennis' uncle live in or near Eugene. I hope you have typical cool, foggy-morning days in the Redwoods. Can you stop somewhere cool & shady & have a lie down in the car? Ten hours is an awfully long time to be on the go.

You mentioned Yosemite in an earlier blog. Are you planning to stay there for a couple of days (or more?) I guess San Francisco is next after the Redwoods?

If you drive through the Santa Cruz mountains (down highway 9) you'll pass right by one of Dennis' & my former apartments in Boulder Creek and very near a house where we lived in Ben Lomond. If you're taking the freeway (101/1) through Santa Cruz, you'll be able to catch a glimpse of the house I grew up in.


Lorna, Bob and Liam said...

Great pictures, love the commentary, don't worry if you need to cut back on writing, though. Better you enjoy yourself and we hear about it in smaller amounts,if necessary. So far so good!

(And lord, yes, I love those hotel freebies more than is healthy.) *grin*

Anonymous said...

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On an earlier entry (first?) you mentioned you had an autoimmune problem. I am interested if that is still the case and info you may have about it.

My wife has Gluten Ataxia (decidedly autoimmune) but has lately been seeing some Parkinsonian symptoms that are worrisome - so was her second MRI.

I do have some links/suggestions on the autoimmune side. I also have a few that probably apply to any Ataxia and probably many other neurological diseases. They are readily available and relatively cheap (under $1/day or so) but we don't sell them, we just use them.

If you are interested send an email to "ataxiabear" over AT It may take me a while to respond as I don't check it every day.

P.S. No miracles or silver bullets

Tom P. said...

Great pictures. I've never been to that part of the country so I love hearing about it from other people. By the way, I think you look great in glasses.

Neil said...

Yay for getting to Portland! Lots of bicycles=sensible people.

Please don't forget to look after yourselves, dears. Getting somewhere in a condition to enjoy the arrival is a good thing.

Your braid looks terrific, Beth, as did the tattoo on the ankle in Powell's.

I'd say "Less blogging, and more enjoying the journey," but I realize this is your memory of the trip, too. So blog as you will, and thank you for taking us on yet another road trip!

Love and zen hugs,

Lene Andersen said...

I love how you sneak in the heart erratics at the end, after describing the kind of day that would bring an Olympic athlete to their knees. Amazing photos - thanks so much for sharing the trip with us! that bookstore sounds pretty psychedelic, but like heaven, as well. A very confusing heaven, that is.

hopefully, you'll feel better for your second day. Yes, the chances are that are probably slim to none, but maybe that occasion gods will look kindly upon you...

Raccoon said...

Road Trip!

And "appropriation" of high end soap samples.

Powell's would get me very annoyed. Go down one floor to go up two? Grrr.

Some of the old cars are absolutely gorgeous, aren't they?

Lisa Harney said...

I am so behind, trying to catch up.

I had to comment on this post, though:

The Baghdad is two blocks from where I grew up (until I turned 11 or so). I'm positive I've seen movies and played videogames at the Aladdin, back in the 70s and 80s.

Powell's Books is where I went while cutting class in high school to learn everything that let me ace my GED. High School and I just weren't getting along. I blame my counselor during my senior year. Oh, and mental health stuff, but you know.

It's kind of strange to see places I grew up around pictured here. Strange in a good way. Looks like you had a mostly good trip (I saw the fall in the Redwood forest...another place I visited frequently while growing up).

A. J. Luxton said...

I'm so sorry I didn't get to see you when you were in Portland! If you'll be coming through on the way back up, I'd love to take you all out to tea.

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