Oh my... I hate myself for hinting that I am going to fork your idea and create a new branch but I think that I can work with this idea and maybe keep it from turning into a Stargate clone---

What I am seeing is this portal ship landing in the Pacific Northwest, SW Washington to be precise. A blue collar conspiracy-theorist logging truck driver (my cousin's husband to be precise) happens on the portal. He examines the thing and figures out nothing on his own so he brings along a geek friend, a junior college professor or something and takes her out to examine the thing with him. They come back with all sorts of weird geeky data but reach no conclusions except maybe that it has something to do with the recent Bigfoot sightings in the area or something. They go back out to the location as the government is setting up their stuff in the area and they end up stepping through the portal and end up at the cosmic bus terminal...

This could be fun! Sorry, you triggered my writing gene