Small House Big World



Anna Edgren • October 21, 2015

First of all, time to brag. A school bus driver complimented me on my driving of the RV. And it sounded like a really genuine compliment too. Yep, that’s right folks. A person who drives large vehicles for a living thinks I do a good job of driving a large vehicle. It was a big moment for me. 

So, we have been in Portland for quite some time. This is partly because Portland was a part of the dream. 8 months ago, curled up in blankets in the midst of a cold and blustery Chicago winter, Kelly and I would binge-watch episodes of Portlandia and count the days until we could start our trip and head west. Portland with its natural beauty and quirky weirdness just seemed like a really neat place. And it is! Our time in Portland has been all about sightseeing, eating way too much food, and socializing with friends. 

First, some food highlights:

Papa G’s Vegan Organic Deli

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From the outside, it looks incredibly underwhelming. But it’s all a ruse. The inside is adorable and the food is out of this world. Every single item of food I had was shockingly delicious. I went once, and then I came back again and brought Kelly. Unanimous consensus: Winner.

AND – 4 kinds of kombucha on tap. Served in a chilled glass.

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The BBQ Tofu and side of potato salad. Not pictured: The coleslaw I scarfed down.

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Also not pictured but so good I have to mention: The coconut curry soup. Ugh. I’m so mad that I don’t have some right now. 

Also in Oregon, as of October 1, marijuana is legal to purchase for adults over the age of 21, which leads to newspaper ads like the one I spotted below:

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Is this real life?

Our friends from Chicago, Carrie and Mike, came out to visit us for a long weekend. We decided against having them stay with us in the RV since the thought of 4 adults, 2 cats, and a dog living in this thing for more than about 30 minutes makes me laugh. We got a lot done in the time they were here, including a trip to the coast for a 1 night camping trip, and also a nice long walk around downtown Portland with a variety of food stops. 

We went to Voodoo Doughnuts with Carrie and Mike on a Sunday afternoon. Yes, we waited in line for a half hour for doughnuts. Yes, someone screamed out the car window, in the general direction of said line: “They’re just doughnuts!!!” And yes, it was worth every minute waiting in line, thankyouverymuch. They were super awesome and had lots of fun creative flavors. 

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Strangers behind us looking bummed about the line.

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It was also adorable inside.

Also with Carrie and Mike, we hit a great dinner spot called le Bistro Montage

Great atmosphere. Great cocktails. Big menu, lots of options, with an entire section dedicated to Mac and Cheese. Need I say more?  AND. AND. When you can’t finish your entire meal (and the portions are pretty big so, yeah), they wrap up your meal in tin-foil balloon animals in fantastical shapes and sizes. 

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Like this big flower. And a giraffe. And Kelly’s was the alien from Alien. Imagine.  

And no, that’s not ALL it takes for me to leave a restaurant a good review, but it sure didn’t hurt. 

Another socializing opportunity: A lovely couple, Jenny and Brandon, reached out to us about meeting up while we were in Portland. They are getting married in April and are planning to spend a year RVing around the country for their honeymoon. What a great idea! (Their blog: Alpha1ontherun)

Together we hit up an Oregon chain called McMenamins, which has awesome craft beer and a killer veggie burger if you’re into that sort of thing. There are 65 locations in Oregon, a bunch in the Portland area. Once you see one, you notice them springing up all over the place. Definitely a great local staple. 

Jenny and Brandon were an absolute pleasure to chat with and I got to spend some time with them over the weekend as well and check out their BEAUTIFUL RV of which I am TOTALLY JEALOUS. They wrote up our visit on their blog (here:  Small House Big World). I will say it is incredibly exciting to know that there are people out there in the world reading what I’m writing and if I can provide any small amount of inspiration for someone to go on their own adventure – well that makes me unspeakably happy. Brandon and Jenny – see you on the road!

And now, a side note, for the nomadic crowd, or those of us looking for interesting new ways to have mail delivered…. Amazon Locker. When you order from Amazon, you can select from Amazon Lockers in your area and have it delivered there. You simply pick it up using a code that is emailed to you and enter it into this giant yellow box of lockers. Such a simple yet brilliant idea. 

Apparently Amazon Lockers only exist in a select number of cities, more heavily on the West Coast. But here’s hoping that they continue to expand the project. I think it is a great idea. 

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And finally, a note on our upcoming plans:

Both Kelly and I have always really loved cities. He grew up in New York, and I caught the city bug after living in London for a bit, and then of course Chicago. But lately both of us have found ourselves whining about the traffic and the noise and OH GOD PEOPLE EVERYWHERE JUST EVERYWHERE whenever we spend much time in the city. I guess we have kind of been getting used to quieter out of the way areas. Portland has been great, but we hope to find some quiet boondocking options as we head south. 

Next up: Southern Oregon and (hopefully) a trip to Crater Lake. Then we will be heading down the coast to California. We are greatly looking forward to dodging winter this year!! I am fully prepared for hate mail from my Chicago friends when we arrive to palm trees and ocean breezes in November…  ๐Ÿ˜€ 

kombuchale bistro montagemcmenaminsmontage portlandpapa g's organic vegan delivoodoo doughnut

Anna Edgren • October 21, 2015

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  1. Alexandra @ Vandy Vagabonds October 21, 2015 - 8:13 pm Reply

    Congratulations on that compliment! I’ve managed to shirk my share of driving duties while we’ve been up here in New England. The teeny, hilly roads are just not my cup of tea. I promised Jeremy that as soon as we make it to Kansas or Iowa or Nebraska I’ll happily get behind the wheel! ๐Ÿ™‚
    PDX! We’re not sure how long we’re going to full-time nomad it, but we hope to end up in PDX at some point. Whether for forever or just an extended visit, we’re not sure. (If y’all return, I highly recommend Blue Star Donuts – we love VooDoo but woah, Blue Star really knows how to pack some serious flavor into their donuts! We love McMenamin’s too, and on our two trips to PDX that we’ve been on, we’ve always stayed at Kennedy School. It’s in a great eating and shopping neighborhood, and the soaking pool doesn’t hurt!)
    Safe travels as you migrate south. Can’t wait to see what y’all end up exploring in the southern part of Oregon!

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