I have, in various fora, mentioned that back in April I ventured across land and sea to a magical place in the US, a place of damp and rust and wonderful people. I have mentioned those people before, both local and tourists, and even provided you with evidence of their existence. This time I shall provide evidence of the existence of the place through images that, I hope, capture the essence of that land.
Given that I am writing this on a wet November night in the UK, rather than immediately after the fact, I feel less constrained by chronology than would normally be the case. With that in mind, I start with a few images from Portland. Portland is well known as a land of doughnuts (not Voodoo though...at least not if you are local), beer, food, coffee and rust. OK, so the rust bit might just be me but I have to say I saw a lot of it. On bridges, cars and buildings. I like rust!
Portland also has an incredible community of photographers (as does Seattle, and I believe they occasionally smack each other down...but that's probably another story). Near to all this rust lies the magnificent Blue Moon Camera and Machine. I was well aware of the legendary status of Blue Moon before I visited, and the shop didn't disappoint. Magnificent cameras, patches and, most importantly, wonderful staff including Zeb and a pretty boy who some of my compadres got very excited about. Also...there was the wonderful St John's coffee roasters nearby where Carla and I retired to after too much rust. The coffee was good.
I also spent time wandering the streets of Portland and discovered many wonderful things. I was too excited to take pictures of the stores (shops for those of UK bent), but at least I managed to capture some of the cars...along with a little more rust (see, there is a theme here). I guess if you were to press me (and please don't, at least not physically) then I'd probably say that you need to visit Powell's Books, Selfedge (although I prefer the SF store), and the very wonderful MadeHere which is possibly my favourite store of the whole trip (and I really like to shop).
I think I've already mentioned that I loved the people of the PNW, and at this point I need to introduce, or at least mention, another that I spent time with...the very wonderful Roger Porter. We hung out in between WPPD events and made some pictures together, and I have very fond memories of that time. I have to confess that I also got very excited when I spotted the Galaxie 500, for reasons which I hope are obvious to music fans of a certain era (and if not...listen...and yes, I do know its a damn cover).
Following chronology in the correct way we find ourselves suddenly in Washington state, well away from those pesky Oregonians. To be fair, the uninitiated might find the following few photos lacking in charm and excitement after the joys of Portland. After all, what can really be said about small town America to excite the casual tourist. Two words, I will give you two words. Twin Peaks.
Snoqualmie and North Bend are two small towns (probably called cities in the US of A) that contain little more than a main street and some really rather fine food offerings. I am deliberately ignoring the railway museum as my photos were crap. Anyway, back to the food...I have to report I have never eaten quite so much for breakfast as I did at the North Bend Bar & Grill...and I still couldn't finish.
North Bend and Snoqualmie really do, for me at least, encapsulate what the tourist should expect from small town America. Family owned stores, friendly people, big trucks and cars, retro Americana and a damn fine cup of coffee. OK, I need to come back to that earlier comment and remind you that Twin Peaks was filmed in the towns and surrounding area. If you're a geek of certain age that will excite, although sadly Sherilyn Fenn didn't seem to be around...perhaps she was shopping (or in a box).
Talking of small town America. As a tourist I also expected to see medicine men and others offering me miracle cures for all my ills. I might not, quite, have met the real thing but at least I saw the aftermath. I can think of few other places where barns would be used for advertising cures for weak women, but fortunately the dissolute of Washington State have Dr Pierce's Favourite Prescription. This image was made somewhere near Toledo WA, which readers of Pinholista will have already discovered was a place of great excitement and joy for me (and if you have not, then take a little look over here...remembering that it is a two part story).
I guess I should end this little snapshot by noting that a lot of time was spent on tarmacadam, within a gold coloured Toyota. Thanks are always due to Jana for taking me places and indulging my excitement.