For the past 14yrs, I've had the opportunity to travel the country and throughout those years, I have many different unique stories. I've been to small towns to large cities, checking out sights that most people ignore and met many different people along the way. Every town, every person, every unique thing along the way, tells a different story that I hope to share with you, the reader.
However, before I get started, lets give you a back story. I live in a tiny town of Boardman OR, pop. 3220, that still doesn't have a stop light. Located right along the Columbia River, our town consists of a few gas stations, a few stores and lots of industry. Without going into huge detail, if you live on the west coast or in Asia, chances are you've ate our potatoes, tasted our cheese and received many exports from our tiny community. Agriculture drives our community but most recently data centers are a growing industry. Named after Oregon's first ever Park Director, Sam Boardman, we have a well-visited marina park, several city parks and some great fishing. But drive too fast, and you'll quickly pass us by. Its the place I've called home for the past 36yrs.
The Columbia River makes a great backdrop for our town, as we have some of the greatest sunsets in Eastern Oregon. During the day, you can drive down one of our few streets and get a whiff of fresh donuts at C&D Drive-In or sit down and check out some history of Boardman while you eat some breakfast at Sunrise Cafe. Don't forget your coffee at Cafe Cultura or The Farmers Cup. Bring that coffee on over to our families store, Boardman Hardware and General, and I'll talk about the unique history of our town, something you can't get anywhere else.
When you're ready for lunch check out fresh carnitas at Tienda El Sol. Take a drive down to the Port of Morrow area and you can get great pizza and brew at Burnt Field. Grab a slice of the North American(Ranch Hand if asking the wife). You won't regret it. Or if you enjoy some great Mexican food, head over to Macario's and have some authentic Mexican food. Tell Bernice, that Richard sent you. My favorite is the Chile Colorado w/ extra camarones. When you're all stuffed, take a quick walk down the Columbia River or head to our local rec center and work off some calories. And did I mention a Bozo Burger?
Need some relax time? Head over to Boardman Hardware and General and pick up a fishing license and some tackle, and pull up a chair to the shore of the Columbia and just enjoy some peace. Got a boat? Take your chances trying to catch some of our famous walleye or try and real in a mighty sturgeon, steelhead or salmon. I love smoked salmon. And if that isn't your cup of tea, pick a spot in the grass of one of our parks and just wait for the evening to enjoy some of the clearest skies.
Boardman is the town where I met the love of my life, Natasha. High school sweethearts, we married early and will soon celebrate our 23rd anniversary. We chose to raise our six children(Hans 22, Aristotle 20, LilyAnn 17, Mateo 12, Nikolai 9 and Kaia 5) here because while we both enjoy the big cities, we love our small town much more. Small towns are great for raising a family, as you are more than just a person living in the town and your children are more than just a number in the classroom. You are connected to the everyday activities. We know most everyone on a first name basis and when the schools win, we all celebrate it and when the town loses someone close, we all mourn for their loss.
Riverside is the local high school and it is where I got my start as a competitor in the sport of wrestling. Wrestling helped shape me into the man I am today. It taught me about discipline, hard work, goal setting and eventually teaching that same knowledge to the next generation of wrestlers. It is where I have coached for nearly 24yrs, 22 of those years in Boardman. We have had many greats pass through our program, and along with many other coaches and mentors, I'm proud to say I get to be a part of. All of our sports programs have had some sort of success throughout the years and I'm proud to call myself a Riverside Pirate.
Wrestling is where I got my serious traveling bug started and it has allowed me to travel all over the country as a competitor and now as a coach. Mix in a recent love for hiking and the outdoors and soon you'll see why I began to cronicle my adventures from my humble beginnings here in Boardman.