With bellies full of delicacies and hair that has not only been washed but conditioned as well, we write this blog post. For we’ve been livin’ the high life we’ll have you know. Mingling with the civilized folk. Sleeping in high rises and dining in establishments that require shirts AND shoes to be worn. What has lured us out of the woods and into the populace you may be wondering? Please read the following with a boxing announcer’s voice and incorporate the appropriate amount of echoes and crowd noise: First we saw them internationally in Greece and now with an appearance stateside in Seattle and Portland, it is no other than the (now) two-time Rootless and Roaming special guest stars; visitors all the way from the East Coast; the creators of a certain Marianna “Moose” Manousos…. Without further ado, I present to you… Marianna’s parents! (And the crowd goes wild!) Possibly concerned by the dangerously low drop in our chocolate consumption, or that too many nights have been spent in the back country eating cans of baked beans, or that baths in a creek bed don’t always cut it, Marianna’s parents decided to fly all the way out to the West Coast to spend a little time with us. Aren’t parents the best.
From deep within the mountains of Olympic National Park we emerged to make the journey to Seattle. Our destination was a high rise located in the heart of the city on First Ave. Around mid-morning we arrived and navigated the hilly streets of Seattle searching for the very posh building that was to be our domicile. Once located, we parked the truck right in front of the skyscraper and to the looks of some very confused concierges we asked for the keys, which to our surprise they obliged. With only a short amount of time before her parents’ plane landed we were in dire need of a shower to wash a few days/layers of mountain dust off the skin. Although it can be a challenge these days, we still try to look semi presentable when the mood strikes. They walked in just as we were putting the final touches on.
The reunion was epic and the city of Seattle treated us great. Seattle has got some good things going for it. For one, it’s a city full of some amazing food. We definitely did our best to sample as much of it as we could. I feel like half our time was spent shoveling some sort of deliciousness into our mouths. We ate at a restaurant called Local 360 that sources all their food and alcohol from within 360 miles of the restaurant and makes a mean filet mignon. We chowed down at a breakfast spot called Bacco that still has me craving their biscuits. And we visited the iconic Pikes Place Market to buy some fresh fish and veggies for a home cooked meal. The taste buds and the bellies were happy. Aside from all the food, there are plenty of things to keep you entertained in Seattle. To get a perspective of the city from the water, we took a boat tour through the Puget Sound. From the aquatic, the view looking towards the city is amazing. A backdrop provided by the Olympic Mountain Range, a cityscape featuring the Space Needle, and a towering Mount Rainier all fit into one epic frame making for quite the photograph.
After seeing the city from the water, we figured the only logical thing to do next was to see it from the sewers. Down under we went. We joined in on this really cool walking tour that took us through the underbelly of the city to learn the story of how Seattle came to be. Prepare yourself for a tale… 1852 is the year. The west is still wild and homesteading is the name of the game. The wagons of thousands of white Americans are loaded full of their possessions and rocking along in the pursuit of riches. A time when the threat of being scalped by a Native American is still a very real possibility. This is when a fella by the name of Arthur Denny, the future father of Seattle, decided to head north from Portland to start his own town in an area known as the Puget Sound. In actuality, starting a town was not his goal at all and just sort of happened for him as Arthur’s only concern in life was fattening his bank account. Through a series of failed attempts that included a devastating fire, multiple attacks from Native Americans, faulty wooden sewer pipes which resulted in erupting toilets and streets of flowing feces, and an ill-advised first town location that ended with a new town being built on top of the old one; somehow Seattle survived the test of time to become what it is today. The more you learn of Seattle’s history, the more you realize that it is a miracle that it still exists. If you were wondering, the city is named after a powerful local chief of the time (Chief Seattle), who especially hated the idea of having a city named after him and said that it would cause his spirit in the afterlife to be in constant turmoil. However, a few bribes from the founding fathers (funded by a special “Chief Seattle tax” to the residents of the city) eased the Chief’s worries enough to grant them permission to use his name. He decided to cash in while he was still alive and let his spirit deal with his actions for the rest of eternity. I wonder if he is still happy with his choice?
From Seattle we convoyed south, with the conceivers of Marianna, straight out of Washington and into Oregon. Next up for us, the self-proclaimed weirdest city in the US – Portland. The arrival of our truck to Portland undeniably helped to “Keep Portland Weird”, as the city promotes. For five days we tried to blend in with the hippest of the hipsters and get the real Portland experience. Just as we did in Seattle, the first order of business was food. We chowed down yet again. Even Apollo partook in the food frenzy and was served his own individual plate of food at a local restaurant called The Tin Shed. Judging by the feverish wagging of his tail while dining we think that he enjoyed the experience. The only downer is that it turned Apollo into a food snob and now we can’t go anywhere to eat without him leaving detailed Yelp reviews about his experience.
Portland is a lot like Seattle in that it is a major metropolitan area surrounded by some spectacular nature. When we could drag ourselves away from the dining tables we spent much of our time exploring the organic side of the city. Washington State Park (located in Portland, Oregon) is where we went for this. As far as public parks go, it is top notch. During our visit, we toured the Japanese Gardens to balance our chi and from a hilltop within the resplendent garden looked out upon the famed Mount Hood 100 miles away in the distance. We then walked through the park’s renowned rose garden to… you know, stop and smell the roses. After that we moseyed on over to the Oregon Zoo, also located within the park, to take a walk on the wild side. This is where a beaver and I shared a special moment and formed a bond that was unbreakable. That is until he lost interest in me and swam away to play with a young child tapping on the glass. I’m still shaking that rejection off. Getting ditched by a beaver hurts.
The city of Portland itself is great. It’s refreshing to visit a place where the people think a little differently and aren’t afraid to be their true selves. Portlandians take great pride in their home and are connected to it in way in which gives the city a certain feel or vibe that can be found nowhere else. It’s weird but it’s a good weird. For us, the weirdest part of our visits to Portland and Seattle was that the notoriously rainy cities only rained down a fresh dose of sunshine on us the whole time. A really nice surprise that made the experiences that much better. A huge thank you to Papa and Mama Moose for coming the many miles to see us. Your love and generosity is truly appreciated.
Well that’s a wrap on the developed side of life for now. Back to the woods we go. But this time we will be bringing an additional familiar face with us. Dropping in from a stint in Canada, another (now) two-time Rootless and Roaming special guest star – my brother, will be joining us as we descend through Oregon into California. Two bearded gingers, a Moose and a food critic dog all packed into one Ford Ranger – things are about to get much weirder.