Although guilty of meandering, we managed to visit four of the tiki-themed locations on the map we created to commemorate our first road trip down to Tiki Oasis.
Note: a number of people have emailed to ask how we chose our route and narrowed down our list of tiki road stops. As luck would have it, we recently found a pre-Interstate road map of the West Coast and, as fans of old highways, decided to trace old Hwy 99 from Portland to Los Angeles then Hwy 101 to San Diego.
With the help of some great resources including www.critiki.com, Tiki Road Trip, 2nd Edition, and Tiki Central, we picked twelve locations along our route with distinct tiki flavor, either past or present.
We're happy to say that the first three of our twelve tiki road stops can be found in Portland: the Alibi, Thatch, and Velveteria.
One of the most striking features of the Alibi (4024 N Interstate Ave) is the enormous sign planted on the roof - a sight impossible to miss if you're driving along Interstate at night. We can also attest to the friendly staff, huge food portions, great mood lighting, and tasty cocktails.
Transformed into a Polynesian paradise in 1947 by owner Roy Ell, you can still enjoy an abundance of tiki decor including masks and shields by Oceanic Arts, carved wood tikis, and a mural of dancing hula girls.
Our second Portland stop is the Velveteria, a velvet painting museum where we've spent a number of memorable hours talking with owners Carl and Caren about subjects ranging from the history of velvet painting to the merits of unicorns versus Chihuahuas on velvet. Although not strictly tiki, the Velveteria does have a fantastic collection of Polynesian art by artists such as Edgar Leeteg and Tyree and is well worth a visit at 2448 E Burnside.
Thatch, the second Portland tiki bar on our list, is much newer than the Alibi but has a great connection with Portland's tiki past through its decor, some of which once decorated the Jasmine Tree and Portland's Kon-Tiki. You'll find Thatch at 2733 NE Broadway St.
The last tiki stop of the day is more about the remains of tiki. A Chinese restaurant with an attached but closed tiki bar, Ming's in Yreka, CA is worth a quick look as they still have some of their original tiki mugs on display behind Plexiglas.
A little puzzled by our request to take photographs, the restaurant's host couldn't have been friendlier. We didn't stay for dinner this time, but promised to swing by on our way back.
Along with our tiki road stops, here are two more sights from the day.