Kim's Travel Diary Part V: The End of the Road

Kim Hastreiter

California is one long, stretchy state and we finally finished it off early this morning when we left the Sea Ranch Lodge and headed to the Rogue River in Oregon. It would be a long drive so of course my road trip partner Laura and I had to plan the perfect spot to stop. Although many told us Mendocino was beautiful, we decided to forgo the prettiness and stopped in Garberville because its pot farm country and we thought there may be some good shopping! (Not shopping for pot of course, but rather shopping for the fashion and accessories that go with American pothead culture.) We rolled into town and lunched at the local diner which, of course, was across the street from the most fab store, Hemp Connection. I was in heaven. I bought the most beautiful tie-dye hemp tee that id ever seen as well as some amazing "legalize" pot leaf patches. They even had pot leaf ice cube trays and a magazine rack packed with mags called BUD and WEED and, of course, High Times. Supposedly everyone in this town is in "the business" and believe me this was NOT a young town. I saw many, many elferly, pony-tailed men and women with long braids wheeling around their grandbabies while were out and about. We tore ourselves away from shopping, hopping back in the car to finish the seven-hour trip to our next stop, the TuTuTun Lodge outside of Gold Beach, Oregon. We arrived at this gorgeous spot in the middle of nowhere about 6 p.m. -- just in time for cocktail hour. The innkeeper Kyle (a cutie) rang a bell and the guests in the 16-room lodge all convened to schmooze. A communal dinner followed and after we collapsed in our glamorously appointed rooms (each with roaring fire, huge 600-count covered goose down comforters and luxe terraces facing the river) where I slept cozily with the sliders open listening to the wildlife noises all night thru the screens. The lodge itself is a gorgeous redwood building built by a wonderful family and architect in the sixties. The look was super Japanese-modern-Shaker and the furnishings were done in super-good taste. The original family who built the lodge sold it to Kyle. Hes a sweetheart and we hope he keeps the aesthetic of this gem of a lodge pure. (He seems to be doing a great job so far.) After a delish breakfast outdoors, we sat on the big front lawns and stared at the river looking for otters and bears for hours, barely seeing a soul until it was time for our 85-mile whitewater jet boat to pick us up from our private dock and take us up the rapids of the Rogue River. The six-hour trip was outrageous and the pristine nature was only interrupted by our guide pointing out the otters, bald eagles and the ospreys diving for fish right in front of our noses. I don't really know how to describe this experience and photos couldn't capture the beauty and hugeness of it all. Major.

After a fabulous Sunday morning massage right on the river banks by a nice woman who also asked if I wanted her to give me a "jewel tattoo" on my toes (I politely declined), we hopped in our car and began the six-hour drive to Portland! After seeing many herds of ELK (swear) on the side of the road we hit Portland late afternoon. Searching for our hotel, we passed our first "pod" of food trucks (hilarious) and hipsters slackers hanging around them. My New Yorker friends tell us no one likes to work hard in Portland. They even have t-shirts saying, "Portland, the city where young people come to retire." We checked into our hotel, the Nines, which turned out to be an odd spot with an insane design that looked like a parody of what a hip hotel should look like. At first this was a shock, but I must say after the third night I got used to  the glittery chandeliers, purple walls paisley rugs. The beds were giant and comfy and the people were really nice, so we were happy. Plus my dear friend Paige Powell curated the art for the hotel so there were familiar great pieces all around which made us feel more at home.

An hour after arriving we met my friends Chris Johanson and his wife Johanna Jackson (both artists) for dinner at the most fabulous restaurant called Ned Ludd. We ate outside at picnic tables. The amazing food  was grown in their garden and served to us by a super fun-looking woman with a giant tattoo going up her entire arm that read RIESLING.

Monday I met my friend China Forbes, the amazing singer in Pink Martini, for lunch at cute spot The Little Bird. China has recently taken a leave of absence from the band because of voice problems and has been giving her voice a break as she preps for surgery on her vocal chords this August. It's not uncommon for singers to go thru this -- the prognosis is great and we know she will come out of this good as new! Then our good friend, ex-pat New Yorker and former PAPER girl Karla Arias Devoe, who now lives here running the awesome bakery Saint Cupcake, swooped by LB to pick me up and give me a driving tour of her Portland. We met Laura and her friend Fawn who were checking out the latest food trucks on 43rd street and drove around seeing the sights. That night, Wieden+Kennedy ad agency director Susan Hoffman threw a great dinner party for me at her home, where Paige Powell stopped by fresh off the plane for LA. There were more great PDX characters there including Wieden+Kennedy creative director John Jay, to celebrated artist Storm Tharp to Courtney Taylor-Taylor from Dandy Warhol fame and some other really fun peeps.

The next morning Paige, a longtime animal activist, brought me to tour her favorite animal rescue center the Pixie Project, run by her friend Amy Sachs. They focus on giving care to the pets of Portland's homeless people who all seem to have dogs in tow as they wander the streets. She also rescues, fosters and finds homes for endangered animals. After the most amazing coffee I've ever hand at her favorite spot called Courrier Coffee, Paige and I grabbed some broccoli soup and spicy chickpeas at the Ace Hotel's fab eatery Clyde Common. I then headed to Wieden+Kennedy headquarters where I spent the afternoon meeting up with one of my number one, longtime heroes, the visionary ad-man and thinker, Dan Wieden. Then I did a talk for the WK12 kids led by my friend Byron Oshiro. It was fun and W+K is an amazing agency that seems at the heart of a lot of Portland culture. That night, my friend Abby Guyer hosted a dinner for me and my Portland crew at a wonderful restaurant called DOC owned by a fun ex-New Yorker named Dayna Erlean. Late night, lots of fun, wine and excellent local food. 

WEDNESDAY, JULY13th- FRIDAY, JULY 15th: Vancouver
Up early, crammed my suitcases shut and checked out of Portland for our six hour drive to Vancouver. We decided to stop in Centralia, Washington along the way because an old friend of ours lived there and we kept hearing about this crazy sculpture garden and this amazing Mexican located in an old Dairy Queen that would blow our minds. So of course we stopped in, visited Amy who gave us a tour of her great house and garden filled with poppys, raspberries and blueberries, checked out the crazy sculpture garden which was a few houses down and grabbed some posole and a chile relleno at La Tarasca, a few doors down from that. Afterward, I grabbed a triple espresso to wake up at a drive-through (that is the biggest new trend I have seen in America... drive-through espresso spots are EVERYWHERE) and sped straight to Vancouver where we checked into the super-nice Loden Hotel downtown. We ran to crazy VIJs for dinner (AH-MAZING Indian food) and collapsed when we got back. I slept 12 hours. Refreshed, we hit the streets and scoured Vancouver from top to bottom starting at the Granville Island Public Market (fresh berries, fish, and local produce) stopping to grab a salmon taco at famous fish shack Go Fish. We then cruised around every single neighborhood, from high to low, including the super-huge, dicey neighborhood near Chinatown, the size of which was a total mindbender to me. We ended up driving all around the huge amazing Stanley Park which was incredibly beautiful. Vancouver is something else. As our trip winds down, were getting psyched to stop in and get a traditional thai massage near the hotel so we can be totally relaxed Friday for our trip back to Seattle by boat. In the morning we ferry over to Vancouver Island where we'll spend the day tooling around and catch another late-night ferry headed towards Anacourt, Washington a few hours outside of Seattle. This trip is supposed to be spectacular and what a better way to end this crazy road trip than with a crazy wonderful boat trip looking for whales and breathing in the beautiful pacific Northwest air.

TOMORROW: Seattle to Tacoma to JFK 
It's been real, but I have to get back to New York to play the cymbals Sunday night in Central Park with PINK MARTINI!Come one, come all. It's the free summer concert series and we'll all be there --  from Ari Shapiro to Joey Arias (who will be performing) to Storm Large to little big old me clanking on the cymbals.

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