Our first morning in Oregon was fairly indicative of what the future months would often bear for us in terms of weather. The sky was cloudy, the rain threatened all day and never really turned into anything.
We were hungry, and had all but forgotten about relics of the more industrious stages of the trip, like our now-semi-functional skillet with the cigarette lighter plug. Eugene offered us a decent selection of culinary selections, from which we selected a spot called Sushi Pure
The two of us drank wine, with still a taste for the stuff on our tongues from Central Coast wine country. An appetizer made us think of Sarah, a sensational small loaf of baked brie with some kind of delicious berry coulis. And somehow, we ate lunch at this sushi without getting any sushi, just a pair of sandwiches. What a strange decision in retrospect.
We thought it'd be fun to be-bop over to the University of Oregon
and poke our heads around, maybe get a look at what kind of people a school like this attracts. We were under the impression that school was in session, but we couldn't really find any large crowds of people anywhere.
The campus is beautiful, however, and very large, so we took a little time to walk around some of the unpaved areas and shoot some photos.
It makes sense when you think about it. Native Americans were generally capable of coexisting with their environs without decimating them and robbing them of all their beauty. We settlers cannot make the same claim. However, it took us some time before we made it to Oregon - about two hundred years more than it took for us to settle many cities on the East Coast.
That time lapse might be the difference in the natural beauty that remains in plain view here in Eugene, compared to the sheer lack thereof in many places back east. Maybe it was just my imagination. But this place felt fresh, vibrant and proud.
C'mon Tom, get to the beer already.
Right. So with no Sarah around, there's nobody to keep us from going to a bar at something like 4:00 in the afternoon to start enjoying the joys of Oregon beer culture. A quick visit to BeerAdvocate
revealed a very desirable establishment in downtown Eugene called the Eugene City Brewery
This lovely watering hole featured a vast selection of beers on tap - about 35 - most of which were products of the Rogue Brewery. Rogue is one of many brewing companies local to Oregon, which take pride and garner much respect in the beer world for their big, powerful brews with exceedingly generous helpings of hops. As I would come to discover in the weeks to follow, thirteen different types of hops grow in this state alone, making it an ideal location for making amazing IPAs and what have you.
During the four of five hours which we spent sitting at the bar and tasting all kinds of mind-blowing beer, a small festival had been brewing outside. We'd been totally comfortable at the bar, and as long as we stayed there, we didn't have to pay for anything going on outside, which featured live music as the main attraction. And by the time we'd had our fill at the bar, we had a significantly decreased interest in taking part in anything outside. So we left the bar and quickly walked past the music, in a fashion quite uncharacteristic of us. I shot this one photo on the way out.
Not a bad day in town. We hit the hotel and geared up for the big day tomorrow - our first day in Portland.