Collin Donnell

April 19, 2021

Getting back to Portland

I’ve been trying to blog everyday, but I’m going to give myself a pass on the last two. The last time I posted, I was writing from a hotel room in Cupertino, California. Tonight I am laying on an air mattress in an empty house in Portland, Oregon.

I spent Friday finishing up the things which needed to get done, and then driving as far as Grant's Pass in Southern Oregon. Here's something weird: in Parts of Northern California — and apparently Southern Oregon, although I’ve never seen it there — you’ll see signs all over the place for something called the State of Jefferson. As far as I can tell, it's a bunch of people in the far north of California who wish they were in a red state and do this kind of weird cosplay pretending they have a movement. I think there's some racism mixed in there too, but I haven't done enough research to know exactly what the deal is.

I saw one of the signs in Yreka while getting gas. I didn’t stay long because there were a bunch of crazy sounding drunk people yelling loudly nearby, but I did manage to take this photo:

Seriously, though: that whole part of California is just the worst.

After Yreka, you’re pretty close to the Oregon border. I didn’t think it would be too hard to find a place to stay one I got to Medford, due to the whole pandemic and no one going anywhere for the most part, but I was extremely wrong. Every hotel was full up. I drove to Grant’s Pass, thinking it would be a different situation, but it was not. Finally, I was able to find charming boutique accommodations at a lovely place called Sunset Inn.

There were mystery stains on the sheets, and I think I heard a drug deal go down outside my room at like 4 a.m. Not. Great.

After a short and restless sleep, all I wanted was to drive the four hours or so to Portland, get my keys, and stop driving. I did mostly succeed in that, although I wish I would have considered needing something like an air mattress to rest on sooner, and not thinking I’d want to go straight to the furniture store and figure all of that out as soon as getting settled.

Driving further into Oregon, I started to see signs of Northwestern things. I stopped at a Fred Meyer, which is like a Pacific Northwest version of Target that's mostly better. I also ate at a Burgerville, which is the Pacific Northwest regional burger chain, and which is totally slept on by the rest of the country not knowing they exist. The truffle fries and bliss-shakes  — vegan milkshakes with a coconut base — make them noteworthy, but also their actual burgers and stuff are great too.

Between that and picking up keys, the drive was uneventful. I’m happy to be back, my place seems great, my favorite Thai restaurant still rules, and things don't seem to have changed too much in North Portland since I last lived here, but it’s definitely a weird feeling coming back to somewhere I've lived before. I’ll talk more about that later. Now I must sleep, because holy crap it's been a long few days.