Monday, January 22, 2018

Before We Say Goodbye

Last month we said goodbye to front desk staff, Leah Rainer. This month Eddie Barnheart is also moving on–what?! Does it smell here or something?! And though Eddie has only been with us a few months, we’re sad to see him go though excited for what he’s up to next.


So here are his thoughts on working at the hostel:
Why are you moving on? I accepted a position with Habitat for Humanity in Portland! I wish I could do both jobs, but unfortunately, I also need time to eat, sleep, and search for Sasquatch.
What has been your favorite memory of the hostel? Probably pranking Courtney by making fake reservations for birds like Al Batross and Ray Vans. But also staff outings, open mic night, and the Bike in Movie event we had last month!
What will you miss about working at the hostel? All the great staff and guests of course! The constant encouragement and positive feedback I got from Steve and Shawn will be missed.
What made you decide to work with us in the first place? Well, I just got back from South America, so I wanted to stay in the travel community back in my home town. I was hoping to able to use my Spanish which I did with a few guests from Colombia and Spain. I got good vibes when I visited the hostel in the past.
Have you learned anything working here? If so, what? Yes, I was surprised to find out how diverse hostelling is here. I love the young back packing crowd but I enjoyed getting to meet the families and all the other types of folks who passed through. It’s also improved my multi-tasking skills as I answered phones, folded laundry, and gave directions all at the same time.
Digital Camera
I’ll still be in Portland so I hope to see everyone still!
We hope so because you’re family now.

Eddie was also a guest blogger for our hostel page a couple times–did anyone read his review of Pickathon?–so we thought it’d appropriate to end this post with his description of riding out to the Vista House and acknowledge how hard core cool this cat is. Thanks for all your hard work and enthusiasm, Eddie!


Like many of our guests, I don’t have a car. So when I want to get out of town- which I’ve wanted to do a lot during this particularly epic summer- I need to get a little creative. Fortunately, Portland is relatively close to beautiful places. Thanks to public transit and policies that limited growth during the suburban sprawl boom of the last few decades, you can get to rolling farmland and wildflowers in just a few hours. During my last day off, I set off on bus and bike to check out the Vista House in the Columbia River Gorge.
Bike touring in this area is pretty common. This usually entails a very expensive bike, lots of spandex, and driving a car to your starting destination. I wasn’t interested in any of those things, so I hopped on the bus with my city bike and Marca Del Escorpion. It’s about an hour bus ride so I took the opportunity to keep up my language skills by reading some young adult fiction in Spanish. After getting off in the Gresham Transit Center, I was quickly out of the city and pedaling through easy hills along the Sandy River. Soon enough there is a significant climb to the Crown Point; you have to earn that pretty view. I managed the big hill by stopping a lot and eating huge blackberries growing by the side of the road. I also stopped to pick up some smoked salmon in the sweet little town of Corbet.
After about an hour and a half of riding, I got to Crown Point. I’ve been up here tons of times, and it still is awesome. The Vista House is a relic of the golden age of automobiles, when the Columbia Highway was a major destination for cruising. The road was dotted with restaurants and fancy hotels. Today I-84, handles most of the traffic going east and west which suits me just fine. That leaves the old scenic route to all the car-free adventurers.

Do it yourself: Google maps is your best friend when it comes to planning these trips. It is fully integrated with bike paths and public transit. It will even tell you when the next arrival is. You can rent a bike from the hostel. Make sure to wear a helmet, obey all traffic signals, and use caution, especially while riding on roads shared with cars. Traffic is generally light in the country side outside of weekends, but many of the paths are shared use. Remember to bring lots of water and a swim suit if you want to take a dip in the Sandy on your way home.