Waiting for the clutch

Russ Chevrolet, Tigard OR

Russ Chevrolet, Tigard OR

23 November, Monday, Portland Oregon

Headed out at 7:00AM to the dealer in Wilsonville to try to get the clutch fixed. Luckily, I had left-over coffee from yesterday. The Wilsonville dealer said they couldn’t do anything today, so I called Russ Chevrolet in Tigard, south of Portland. The service rep, Robert Murphy, said they could look at it. Diagnosis was clearly what I feared: clutch is burned and needs to be replaced and flywheel turned. They looked for a clutch and found an aftermarket one, available tomorrow. It turns out that GM’s parts depot for Portland is in Reno Nevada and it generally takes 2-3 days to get parts from there. Anyway, estimate is about $1,200 and the car might be ready tomorrow if I’m lucky but Wednesday is more likely. Yuck. I blame Larry Jaques and my brother for jinxing the truck. It has nothing to do with Malcolm’s driving over the track (road would be to generous a term) over the pass to Seagull Creek where we went to sexually harass gentle innocent moose or the steep hills on the streets around Seattle’s Pike Street market

Rented a car (a Hyundai something or other, or maybe some other small Korean job, I forget which, but they all look alike anyhow) and headed to Portland’s visitor centre, which is now open. I talked for a while with a volunteer and he gave me a number of tips and ideas of where to go and where to eat. He also told me about Powell’s book store. I found a room at the Hotel Fifty on the waterfront using Expedia.com, so I headed out there, checked in and parked the car. By that time, it was almost lunch time, so I decided to go to Portland’s oldest seafood restaurants: Jake’s Famous Crawfish Grill. I took the MAX, their light rail system which operates directly on city streets in the downtown area, and then turns into a more conventional system like underground in other parts. The neat thing is that transit is free in the downtown area.

Food Stands

Food stands

On the way there, I saw this series of ethnic food stands surrounding a parking lot. (There was only one non-ethnic one serving gelato and coffee).

At Jake’s I had four different kinds of oysters, three from Washington and one from Fanny Bay in BC. My favourite was the BC oyster, which is from near where Ted, Marilyn’s brother, lives on the Vancouver Island side across from Denman Island south of Comox. After that I had a salmon stir fry, which was excellent with the fish cooked to perfection.

Luigi drinking beer at Jake's Famous Crawfish

Luigi drinking beer at Jake's Famous Crawfish

I had a couple of local brews to accompany the salmon. I noted in their menu that the Arctic Char came from Iceland. ICELAND??? When they could get fresh char flown in from Whitehorse. I talked to the server and got the executive chef’s name (Billie), who wasn’t there at the time. I left him/her a note pointing out that Icy Waters and Ying Allen’s Wild Things could get them arctic char the next day and that the Icelanders probably got their eggs or hatchlings from Whitehorse. So there, I did a little export promotion work.

Luigi eating oysters at Jake's Famous Crawfish

Luigi eating oysters at Jake's Famous Crawfish

I then had an excellent coffee (short double espresso) at Stumptown coffee and headed to Powell’s bookstore, which may or may not be the world’s largest bookstore. Pretty amazing and tempting. As the guy at the visitor centre said, you could spend one hour or one week there. I resisted temptation fairly well, only bought two economics books and one old used Terry Pratchett (Guards, Guards!), which I hadn’t re-read in a long time. I resisted the temptation of buying a hardcover version of his latest. I also found a used copy of Alma Guillermoprieto’s Looking for History, which was recommended to me by Karyn Armour. What I especially like about this store is that used and new copies of each book are side by side and you can choose either, depending on what you want.Powell's bookstore

After that, I headed out the World Forestry Centre in Washington Park on the MAX. it went from being a streetcar to a subway, 300 feet below the park. Some interesting exhibits. I tried the harvester simulator: I will never make it as a machine operator.

I then went back to the hotel & tried to do some work. I have to start getting more disciplined about getting work done. This is supposed to also be a working holiday. The fact that I very little done has obviously nothing to do with the 3 glasses of wine at supper and the half bottle of Pinot noir leftover from last night’s supper.

Anyway, then went for supper at the hotel restaurant (H50 Bistro & Bar) where all they had was a tapas menu. Good tapas at that. I tried three different local whites (pinot Gris, Chard and a sweet Gewürztraminer which I liked a lot), and ate salmon fritters, clam chowder, a Caesar’s salad and “torched” salmon. The salad had an interesting presentation: the romaine leaves looked like a bunch and were held together by a ring or short tube of dried bread. The torched salmon was excellent: crispy on the outside and sashimi on the inside & bottom. I have to try that when I get home. It was served with soya sauce and square cucumbers slices garnished with thinly sliced jalapeños and sesame seeds.

Tomorrow I have to decide whether I go on a drive to the Columbia Gorge and Mount Hood, a wine tour in the Willamette, or stick around Portland.

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5 Responses to “Waiting for the clutch”

  1. Giuliano Says:

    Luigi
    Forse se partivi con il pick up nuovo era meglio….
    Dai coraggio che ce la farete ad arrivare ad Ushuaia per il capodanno…
    Tra un mese esatto partiremo noi 3….Non vedo l’ora.Maria Grazia (insieme ad una sua collega ) è a Bordeaux (sullla costa atlantica della Francia). La Juventus fc (dove lavora) le ha offerto volo, albergo ed ingresso alla partita di domani sera.
    Lo fanno tutte le volte che la Juventus gioca in trasferta , estraggono a sorte 2 dipendenti e gli offrono due giorni di vacanza a gratis.

  2. Bill Says:

    For those of you wondering what Giuliano wrote I am giving you a condensed translation;

    He mentions that maybe had Luigi left with the new P.U. truck
    it would have been better….. (gee, I wonder who else might have said that???) but he tells him to keep it up and that he will make it to Ushuaia for the New Year. He also mentions that in exactly one month they will be leaving to meet up with him, I would assume in Ushuaia…..

    The remainder of his comment is simply sharing some personal information with Luigi.

    BTW, I never JINXED your truck, if anything I said a prayer for you and asked God to help you in your insanity. This I did in a brief moment of going from Atheist to New Born Christian and back to being an Atheist.

  3. Rick Says:

    No midlife crisis/road trip is worthwhile without at least one mechanical screw-up. Hanging around awaiting repairs opens up many possibilities…enjoy them! You’re allowed only one MLC, so suck the marrow out of it………the Great Osso Bucco! To be enjoyed with much good wine.

  4. Wendy and Carl Says:

    Hi Luigi from Ken and Diana (weathering the rain at Wendy’s). Dad is wondering where your map is. (Your route/or lack of progress updated daily!) Give us the VMG also.

    • Luigi Says:

      I have not ignore the map thing. I am still trying to figure out how to do it, a month later. Merry Christmas ans happy new year to all of you.

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