Monday, June 25, 2012


We’re going to Shanghai…
By Jeremy West
Unfortunately, not China. But we are riding to a destination with a shady history, and what biker doesn’t love a city with a sordid past? We’ll be stopping in Portland on our ride to Sturgis, and hidden beneath the rainy Oregon city, is a secret many don’t know about: the “Shanghai Tunnels”. The tunnels start underneath Portland’s popular Hobo Restaurant, which is where we’ll stop on our epic journey.
            The term “Shanghai’d” came from a practice that started in the 1850’s and would last until the 1940’s and upon first hearing it, is almost too much to believe. It became a fairly notorious practice in Portland to “kidnap” unsuspecting men and sell them into slavery as crew for ships anchored in the bay. Many bars, boarding houses, and opium dens had built in trap doors, where the unsuspecting “sailors to be” were literally dropped through the floor, and into the “Shanghai Tunnels”. Here they would be drugged and held until they could be sold to unscrupulous ship captains for around $50 a head. They were eventually sold and put onto ships, often bound for far away lands, such as China, and never to be seen or heard from again… Unfortunately, the same fate awaited many women and children. It’s not known exactly how many people disappeared or died in these tunnels, and many have told the tale of seeing and hearing the ghosts of the missing, walking the tunnels, looking for a way back to the world.
            So while we definitely want to see this legend in person, we’ll be sure to keep an eye on our drinks, and the floor! After all, we want a long ride, not a long voyage to Orient. Stay tuned for our next stop and another LRS Myths, Legends, and Tales from the Road…


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