Midnight Tacos are the Best

I feel like I’ve been shirking my duties in reporting all the fun things Tara and I have been doing lately. I apologize. I hate to shirk anything, especially duties.

The past four days were hectic. We had wristbands (thanks, Tracy!) for MusicfestNW, an indie rock music festival that is Portland’s answer to SXSW, and that kept us hopping every night for hours. Literally. The music was infectious! But it meant late nights and little sleep (even when I had to work the next day), so as much as we enjoyed it, we’re both glad to finally have an evening where we don’t have to go anywhere and can get to bed at a respectable hour. The rock ‘n roll lifestyle wears you out, even if you’re not in a band! It didn’t help that the weather turned unbearably hot late last week; Thursday night we found ourselves surrounded by hundreds of sweaty hipsters on a wooden dance floor that bounced and swayed with every gyration from the huddled masses, and there were lots of them gathered in the Crystal Ballroom to see Passion Pit. The energy and excitement were through the roof! But it had to be 90 degrees in there, and Friday night was even warmer. We found ourselves walking down 3rd Street in downtown Portland well after midnight to cool off, and we stopped by a food cart (who knew they were open so late?) for some late night Mexican food that was really, really good. Saturday night’s venue was smaller, more intimate, and air-conditioned. Ahh, sweet relief! Last night’s finale was an open-air concert in Pioneer Square featuring Silversun Pickups. Mercifully, the day had been overcast and cool, and we actually wore long sleeves. All in all, we ended up seeing eleven bands over four nights, most of them local Portland groups with fervently passionate but small fan bases that really deserve recognition. Bands like Helio Sequence, And And And, Radiation City, Holcombe Waller, and – especially – Typhoon. I love the music scene here, and am proud of our local talent! I believe that Portland today is close to where Seattle was twenty years ago in terms of rock ‘n roll, and I mean that in the best way possible (for a fuller review, click here).

Last weekend, we finally made it up to Windy Ridge for a close-up view of Mount St. Helens. It took Tara three tries to make it there. Last time, the road was closed and we ended up rescuing an elderly couple who were stranded in the snow. Ten years earlier, Tara and her mom were dangerously low on gas as the sun was setting and had to turn around before reaching their destination. This time we made it there without a hitch (although the kids were feeling carsick thanks to the winding mountain roads), and the weather was perfect. There was a mixture of wildflowers and early fall color, which gave us some fantastic photo ops.

Speaking of fantastic photo ops, the weekend before that (seems like ages ago now), we went up to Seattle for the requisite visit with family. You can’t stop a baby from growing, and Tara wants to see as much of her nephew as possible while he’s still cute and small and innocent rather than the bratty teenager with an attitude he’ll turn into one day. Whoops, pardon my cynicism. Anthony is adorable. So cute he makes my ovaries ache. Ahem. After spending the day with him, we headed downtown for dinner along the waterfront and a visit to the Space Needle at sunset. That was the plan, anyway. The dinner part happened without a hitch (though it took us forever and a day to find parking, one more reason why Portland kicks Seattle’s ass); we ended up eating fish ‘n chips, clam strips and chowder on a bench overlooking Elliott Bay. But sunset was fast approaching, and even though we made it to the Space Needle with twenty minutes to spare, the wait to get to the top was an hour and fifteen minutes. So we decided to head to Kerry Park for the best view of the skyline in the whole city, and weren’t disappointed. Then we drove to the Denny’s where Tracy works to kick back in the bar and listen to live music. Yes, I said Denny’s. Yes, the same Denny’s that’s well known for the Moons Over My Hammy. I had never seen one with a lounge before, but the place was happenin’ and we had a great time! Turned out to be the highlight of the trip. Go figure.

The weekend before THAT…

…was hiking and The Moondoggies. So I’m all caught up now. Yay, me. No more shirking over here.

Interestingly (and fondly), one year ago I was in Ely “to see about a girl.” That was a magical trip, and I’m happy to report that things turned out very well. But I’m sure you figured that out long ago.

Here are some pics from the last few weekends.

Mount Rainier looms over downtown Seattle.
Ivar’s Acres of Clams overlooking Elliott Bay.
Not at all disappointed we didn’t make it up to the observation deck of the Space Needle. The view looking toward it was phenomenal!
A family of miners perished in the 1980 eruption of Mt. St. Helens. This is what remains of their car.
Spirit Lake, Mount St. Helens.
Striking colors along the Meta Lake trail, Mount St. Helens.
Mount St. Helens crater as viewed from Windy Ridge.
Silversun Pickups playing in Pioneer Courthouse Square, Musicfest NW.

Published by Mark Petruska

I'm a professional writer and editor living my best life in south central Wisconsin.

25 thoughts on “Midnight Tacos are the Best

  1. Gosh…no wonder I’m so stinkin’ tired!!

    You make life fun and wonderful and I love our adventures. And I love planning our adventures! Camping, Fruit Loop, football, costume parties. It’s gonna be another busy month!


    1. Your ASS. I’m whooping your ASS at Words. You can say it. 😉


      I’m just kidding. I enjoy playing you and am always up for the challenge! You’ll beat me one of these days…mark my words.


  2. My husband and I were just talking about a boondoggle/ I mean business trip to Seattle either later this year or next spring. I’ll be looking out for tourist travel tips. It’s always great to get the scoop from the locals! Nice post!


    1. I love playing tour guide! The great thing about Seattle is, we go up there about once a month and never run out of things to do. Drop me a line if your boondoggle becomes a reality and I’ll give you the inside scoop!


  3. Sounds like you all are literally rocking and rolling. Have to confess, Sara and I didn’t make it up into the Space Needle when we were in Seattle, but we had a hell of a view of it from our hotel room. Love the Mount St. Helens photos.


    1. I’m convinced the view OF it is better than the view FROM it. Plus, it costs $19 just to ride to the top. Per person. That’s a lot of dough! Still, you’ve gotta do it at least once, just to say you’ve done it.


  4. ” So cute he makes my ovaries ache. ”

    Bwhahahahahahahahahaha! Mark, I HOWLED when I read that!!!!!!!

    Sounds and looks like you and Tara had some AWESOME adventures!

    Mark, these photos are absolutely stunning! I love each and everyone of them, but the one of Mount Rainier took my breath away! The mount is so beautiful, that it looks almost painted. It has such an ‘ethereal” quality!

    Well done, buddy!

    Wishing both you and Tara a wonderful week!


  5. Thanks for the catch-up…although I already knew most of it…one of the perks of being your girlfriend’s Mommy.

    I truly enjoyed the pictures. I have not seen all of them so the one of the car and Spirit Lake were very interesting. I had no idea that Spirit Lake had gotten that big!! I was very saddened to see that car. It just makes it all to real all over again.

    Thanks for the shout-out!! I truly enjoyed having you and Tara at my place of biz and I’m happy you both had such a great time. It pains me whenever I see someone else sit in the chairs you two sat in. I think they should be immortalized.

    Love you both!!


  6. What a “jam” packed weekend! Hahaha. I had to, sorry.

    Your skyline photos are amazing! So wish I was there! One of these days…

    But I can’t believe I forgot to tell you! I finally saw Portlandia season 1! The library got it in. Would you be surprised if I told you my favorite characters were the clerks of Women and Women Now?


  7. Reading your blog always makes me realize how I need to take the time and just go out and DO more things. Of course, here in Maine I don’t have a lot of the opportunities you do, but I’m sure our Portland has a funkadelic music scene–I just never think to check things out. Plus working 3 jobs this summer puts a bit of a kibosh to spontaneous excursions………but I’m thinking I NEED to take more time to just enjoy what Maine does have to offer!


    1. You had to go and say that, didn’t you, Carl? Next time we’ll arrive 90 minutes early! Of course, the sun is setting so early next time we’ll have to get there no later than 4:00 to catch the sunset.


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