Hello Portland! – Portland, OR

Somehow Edna knew we were going to Portland, and she just couldn’t not be hip – hence the mustache she grew.

Yes! It was a BIG step for our 2+ North American Tea Tour to get here. The one big string that was still attached that hampered our no-itinerary/go-wherever-we-want,-whenever-we-want modus operandi was Freddie the horse trailer (mobile shop/storage unit). I’ve been collecting tools and building materials to build Edna for years. This trailer followed me from WA to CA to OR to CA to WA for the purpose of hauling my things from shop to shop, and some gear for festivals like Rootstalk. And now it has followed me to Oregon. But this time it stays.

Owen's shop
Owen’s shop

My firefightin’ buddy Owen just bought a house in Portland with not only a shop, but a warehouse too. He offered me a place to park Freddie indoors for the duration of the Tea Tour. I am here now to help him out for a month or more, setting up his shop, putting some of my tools (like my welder) in his ship for use, helping him organize, bouncing ideas and plans for the homestead, etc. Unhooking Freddie here was one of the most relieving things I could possibly hope for.

After such good (and exhausting) run of serving tea down the I-5 corridor in Washington, I decided to take it easy (at least in the tea serving realm) for a little bit. Instead I got right to work helping Owen scrub his exterior shop walls, replacing ballasts and bulbs in the shop lights, fixing the glass sliding porch door, organizing the shop, etc.

Tea time at First Thursday Art Walk in downtown Portland
Tea time at First Thursday Art Walk in downtown Portland

On the 2nd of May, I ventured off to downtown Portland to serve tea at the First Thursday Art Walk. Part of the Art Walk is a street market of awesome handmade things, which I so conveniently found a decent parking spot right in the middle of. Showing up early (like 1-2 hours early) is the best way to find parking for these events. However, once I got set up, a traffic enforcer came by and informed me I had to move because the bus was blocking a STOP sign. Hesitantly, I agreed.

There was another spot across the street that was even better, and I had seen which vendor was parked there, so I wandered over to her booth to see if she’d switch. She semi-hesitantly agreed, but just then her friend walked up and said that the Kind Bar people (who were giving out free bars) wanted their spot. We schemed a three way parking spot swap, but before I could get turned around, someone snagged my spot. My new friend Sean (who had learned about the tea bus because of this Reddit post) was quick to jump in and explain to the parking spot thief what was happening. The guy was stubborn and wouldn’t move, but the Kind Bar guy came to the rescue and offered him a box of bars. They guy took it and moved. It was a pretty intense situation. It was weird because the guy who took the parking spot just couldn’t get it through his head that the only reason the spot opened was for me to take it, otherwise it wouldn’t have opened. It is so crazy how selfish people can be. Only when he was offered something did he move – he couldn’t just move out of courtesy or understanding. A BIG thank you to the vendor, Sean, and the Kind Bar folks. The kind bar folks even gave us a box of bars!

The swapped parking spot at First Thursday
The swapped parking spot at First Thursday

The parking spot was prime. It was a little slow for an art walk, but we still got many visitors. Highlights include making a pact with a couple other folks to make a reverse book club, where we’re all writing and reading and critiquing each other’s work, having many people who were sent there by friends in other cities, providing a place for some concert goers to relax after an intense show, chumming it up with an ex-drug addict who was roaming the streets for recycling. I love the variety of people that come with cities. It was a late night, but I don’t care!

I am so excited to spend some time in this city. We will probably be here until early June, but who knows! We will both be working on Owen’s homestead and Edna, as well as cruising a bit to serve tea at different events and places. Keep your eyes out for us at some Village Building Convergence events. Definitely the best way to know where we’ll be is to befriend Edna Lu on Facebook. Yay!

Edna at Owen's warehouse
Edna at Owen’s warehouse


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