Day 148

The men behind the Runabout!

August 21st, 2010

Meet Roger (left) and Buddy, the guys who designed and built, respectively, my extraordinary Runabout stroller. I've pushed that poor thing 3000+ miles across some extremely rough terrain, never once oiling it or performing any other maintenance, and it's still rolling like a champ. Absolutely amazing.

I also spent the night at Roger's house. He took me and his grandson, Bailey, out to dinner at Huber's, the oldest restaurant in Portland. At Roger's recommendation, I had a turkey dinner (their specialty) and a Spanish Coffee (the preparation of which involves, among other things, the tableside ignition of booze). And not to be outdone by some restaurant, Roger cooked up an enormous feast for breakfast this morning before I left.

Roger and his wife, Jan (who was unfortunately sick during my visit), used to run the well-remembered Ice Cream Saloon in Beaverton for many years (in fact, our host at Huber's remembered going there as a kid).

A man of many ideas, Roger built a vertical (to drain the grease without mess), infrared (to cook the meat evenly) hamburger broiler for the Saloon. Among other works-in-progress are a kitty litter scoop and a truck-mounted sawbuck. And in addition to the Runabouts, Roger and Jan are also currently making BMX seats (they used to run a BMX track next to the Saloon) and fruit syrups. Quite a diverse line of products!


  1. April from CA says:

    My turn to be first? :)

  2. charlie says:

    OMG….like ‘NOMAD’ from STTOS, you have met ‘THE CREATOR’

    • Joel Archer says:

      Nice…and I’m thinking this is the right group for a Star Trek reference. It could also be equated to being a warp field physicist and meeting Zefram Cochrane for the first time…

  3. Joel Archer says:

    Portland is truly a beautiful city. Enjoy your exploration and keep on truckin’!

  4. Karen Too says:

    Incredible track record for Matt’s Runabout.

    Roger and Buddy two truly Renaissance men. What a pleasure to “meet” the men responsible for Matt’s intrepid companion on his trip.

    Sounds like a fine time in Portland, and it’s a shame that Jan was sick.

    How funny, given the comment by Joel Archer, and Matt’s title here (and with a runabout being a Star Trek shuttlecraft); there is even a Star Trek reference on the link below. Click on the “Polymath” link for a more detailed explanation of Renaissance men.

    • Ruthie in CA says:

      I wanna go to Hubers for dinner tonight but…alas no transportation…What a special close to the end meal!

  5. Ruthie in CA says:

    Thank you Roger and Buddy for being o part of Matt’s journey, You truly are Renaissance Men, wear that moniker proudly.

  6. Barb V from Michigan says:

    So cool!

  7. Jeff says:

    Pleasure to meet these guys. I suppose we all wonde what will happen to he Green Machine after the walk..I bet it will look just fine in their catalog or shop…maybe even bronzed (liked babey slippers)….I was wondering also about maintnenace….but you answered that one too. Thanks and keep those minds a thinking because without good thinkers (and adventurers) where would be now ???

  8. The “Mattmobile”…they did that???…that is great…congrats…kudos…and so on…and so on…

    It is a real wonder…that machine…

  9. Kherri CLT via PDX says:

    Matt going to Hubers make me happy. He’s getting experience some of Portland’s pride and joy.

  10. Don in Tennessee says:

    First of all thank you Roger and Buddy for your superior knowledge in modifying the Mattmobile to go over 3,000 miles without any hitches. You guys should work for Ford, GM or Chrysler. All of these companies could use your expertise. Also, Matt as an engineer obviously knew that you 2 were the ones to help him complete his trek without a hitch. Buddy, hope your wife gets to feeling better.

    Matt, you have had a Thanksgiving dinner early at Huber’s, the oldest restaurant in Portland. Glad the 3 of you were able to meet up prior to your finish. The three of you should have a high five for the great teamwork!

    I am sure this will live with all three of you as one of your greatest memories!.


    • Christopher says:

      Dude! Roger Berg worked as a designer for GM in the 70s. He is credited for inventing the square headlights while at GM.

  11. Ed says:

    Hubers! i loce that place and their spanish coffee’s are very high octane.. did you see the 110 y/o bottle of cognac behind the bar? for $100 you can buy a shot out of it

  12. Julie in Cincinnati says:

    Many thanks to Roger and Buddy for designing and building such a reliable Mattmobile! I’m sure Matt’s journey was made much easier by this, and not having to worry about it breaking down or falling apart. Great work! And thanks to Roger for taking good care of Matt last night and this morning!

  13. Dorinda from Mentor, Oh. says:

    How incredible is that for the man who designed your Runabout to actually get to see it in use, albeit a different kind of use. That had to make him happy to see that. And how nice he took you out to dinner and all. This must have been one of your more special evenings, not that they aren’t all special, but this being the inventor of your Mattmobile. How lucky you all are. Great minds. Great people.

  14. MN Roxanne says:

    WOW- to meet the creators of the Mattmobile- awesome! Roger and Buddy you did a great job on Matt’s cart… I got to push it when he stayed at my folks and it was so smooth to operate, I was impressed! Thanks for hosting Matt to a great night on the town Roger- you rock!!

  15. John in MI says:

    Great job guys. And now we know… “The Rest of the Story.”

  16. deanna valenti meyer says:

    That is just a wonderful story!! Many thanks to Roger & Buddy (and Jan too!) for taking good care of Matt…not only for the evening/morning, but also with your great “Mattmobile”. His journey should definitely help you sell more of them! :)

    And Hubers? Oh man…that place is tops! It’s gorgeous inside (there is a domed stained glass ceiling…really!), marble on the floors…and the architecture! Superb! The food was great too…although I cannot vouch for the Spanish coffee’s. Saw a lot of people around me having one though…

  17. So, Matt did go to Aloha! I thought he would. My husband read on the Rockaway Chamber site about WHO made the Runabout, and told me it was Roger! We lived in Aloha for years and met Roger when he and Jan had the famous Ice Cream Saloon on Murrya Blvd. My daughter worked for him one year when in high school. We ate there often. (They served great sandwiches, too). Roger was always an inventor, so he went on eventually to bigger and better things! Roger is extremely gifted as you can see. Anyway, my only clue that Matt was going there was when I saw Matt was heading in that direction by his street names….and then I emailed Roger who said he was expected at some point!

    Thanks to Roger and Buddy for inventing the Runabout a.k.a. Mattmobile! And even more thanks for the Huber treat and that huge breakfast! I think Matt is enjoying Portland! Now to the hills….and Coast Range….then……Rockaway!!!

    Sorry Jan was not up to par, but am sure Bailey was a good substitute!

  18. Gigi says:

    A man of many talents .. thank you Roger and Buddy, too, for the Mattmobile. Oh, the stories it could tell! Thank you too for taking Matt out to dinner and fixing him breakfast. I’m sure his time with you was very memorable.

  19. Candice in Alabama says:

    At first, all I can say is, I WANT A MATTMOBILE tailored to my height!

    • Candice in Alabama says:

      How wonderful to actually meet the creators of the Mattmobile. It must be wonderful to have the vision and then the expertise to bring the vision to fruition.

      Thanks Roger and Buddy, for taking such good care of “our” Matt.!

      Hope Jan is feeling better soon!

      Best Wishes, from Candice in Alabama

  20. Linda says:

    it must have been an honor to meet the inventor of your walking cart. Roger is one of those pioneers that make this country great. an inventor who really change so many people’s lives. including yours, Matt.

    I wonder how it feels to be coming to the end of your long journey? I guess you’ll be in Rockaway Beach any day now

    safe trip

  21. Mom says:

    Thank you, Roger, for all your kindness to Matthew. Your cart is amazing!

  22. Lynn in RI says:

    I think a great place to “retire” the Mattmobile would be the Smithsonian in Wash., D.C., along with a signed copy of Matt’s book about his trip! Then the Hoboplanet could meet annually to reminesce.

  23. Doug says:

    Hopefully, they will soon have your cart featured in that website,too.

  24. katzien in austin says:

    “Of all the gin joints in all the world…” Great stories here about how all our paths and lives seem to be innertwined from time to time. Love the ST lingo too.

  25. Janine says:

    Makers of the Mattmobile! Incredible job!

  26. Todd says:

    Very cool! I passed Matt as he was walking through Beaverton and instantly recognized him and his cart… had to turn around and go back and say hi. Walked a ways with him and talked about his time in Oregon and his plans for the last few days of his journey. So random to see someone I had read about in the national news, much less get to talk with him. Matt is an awesome, amiable guy and I wish I’d been able to walk farther than a couple blocks with him. Best of luck on the last leg, Matt!

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