Portland, Oregon. RIP City. Bridgetown. The city of roses. PDX. Stumptown. Portlandia. Homeless folk central station nation. Ok, the last nickname was given to the city by us. But after we drove RedRammer through several piles of human feces while attempting to park in order to go check out the Saturday Market, I think it might be fitting. (Poor ‘Rammer smelled putrid for the remainder of the day). Because homelessness marked the landscape so prominently, I did a bit of research into why Portland seemed to have so many more people living on the streets than other places we’ve visited. I found this read interesting. And since my stash of dollar bills was running down quickly, the services which Portland is attempting to provide made me feel a bit better (albeit not much) about the situation. I’m a terrible sucker for those who live on the edge of our society; Jake has to hide our ‘Red Rammer emergency cash’ because I would a.) give a bit to each panhandler I see until it was gone or b.) spend it on ’emergency’ candy.
Ok, enough about Portland’s homeless problem; let me talk a bit about our ‘home’ in Portland for the bit less than a month we spent there. As we pulled into the first park we stayed in, we spotted our friends Brittany & Eric in their rig, Meriweather. Yay! We enjoyed daily walks, a trip to Fort Vancouver (where Brittany and I decided that beaver pelts would have been our choice for fashion if we lived back in the day), and a trip to Eric’s childhood pizza place (delicious- for West Coast pizza). We also enjoyed bopping around town in their sweet new Rubicon. Since they had to leave a few days after our arrival, we called up our friends Scott & Tricia and had them fly out to visit. Because we wouldn’t want to get lonely. (Ok, Scott & Tricia’s trip was planned for a few months, but it sounds cooler the other way).
So, Scott & Tricia came to Portland. And lived with us in Dyna. And it was a freaking blast. Scott has been out to play a few times (Colorado Springs, Austin), but this was Tricia’s maiden voyage. Yep, Dyna virginity taken.
Clearly, our first destination was VooDoo Doughnut, seeing as Portland is the birthplace of this delightful little sugar shack. You can eat donuts & get married at VooDoo, but make sure you bring cash for both- it is cash only. Strangely (or maybe not), Scott has only come to play with us in Dyna in locations that have a VooDoo Doughnut nearby (i.e. Denver & Austin). I hope they open more shops soon so he’ll continue to come adventure with us.
After fueling up with a few rings of sugar and sprinkles, we stopped by a dispensary. Because it’s legal in Oregon. I’ll let you decide what we did or did not do or buy in this shop, but what I can tell you is that dispensaries are an experience in themselves. And if you get a chance, it’s totally worth swinging by one that appears semi-legitimate and checking it out. We had checked a few out back in Colorado, and though small differences were noted, Oregon’s take on the dispensary was pretty similar.
And then, because we weren’t feeling ‘Portland’ enough after delicious donuts and a stop at the cannabis shop, we hit up the Naked Bike Ride (PDX edition). There was much nudity. And many bikes. Together. We participated, although I’ll admit we didn’t partake ‘fully’. But we partook, more than ‘partially.’ This is how our first day as a tribe of 4 in Portland ended. Mostly naked, riding bikes, smelling of MJ from our visit to the dispensary, veins pumping sugar from VooDoo. No complaints.
Over the next 2 weeks, we camped and hiked in the mountains and explored the coast for hours. We played in tide pools that were even more abundant in life than the ones Jake and I played in while on the California Coast (awesome!). We walked, waded and swam up creeks walled off by mossy cliffs to reach waterfalls where we jumped off boulders into frigid water. We ventured into Vancouver, WA for breakfasts at diners and sat on the sidewalks of Portland drinking beer from the many respected breweries which dot the city. We ate at either VooDoo or Salt&Straw (non-arguably the best ice cream ever) everyday. Sometimes we chose to eat at both in a single day; carpe diem, kidneys. We strolled through the various neighborhoods of the city checking out the tchotchke offerings (Scott’s favorite part of the trip). We spent a few afternoons grilling and imbibing under Dyna’s awning. We kayaked the murky waters of the Columbia River and spectated a rodeo in the very small town of St.Paul to celebrate ‘Merica. We drank our way through the booths at the Portland Brew Fest and ate our way through the ‘must eat stops’ in the city (here’s looking at you and your delicious globs of sausage gravy, Pine State Biscuits). About 1/2 way through the trip Scott began sleeping outside in his hammock; he claimed it was because he is allergic to cats. I think it might have been that he’s allergic to Tricia. Regardless of why he did it, he was pretty adamant about sleeping outside in the hammock, even though the lawn sprinklers sprayed him nightly and a chorus of RVpark cats and passenger jets (the park was in PDX’s flight path) sang him to sleep.
As if we weren’t lucky enough to have our friends Trish & Scott visit/adventure with us, my dear friend, Abby (A.Crain) and her man, Kevin were also (conveniently) in town for a weekend. So, we became a pack of 6 for a few days. A pack of 6 with a voracious appetite for beer. Beer with a side of hiking.
And then everyone left. They just hopped on their planes and returned to the East Coast. And Jake & I were about to cry, when, out of the blue, my college buddy RobNazty (real name) and his lovely wife, Jess, informed us that they too were in Portland. Woohoo! Another afternoon spent sharing beers and good convo, this time at Breakside Brewery, which was my personal favorite brewery in Portland. They had a beer called Rainbows&Unicorns on tap while we were in town; that pretty much sums that up. We got to (briefly) introduce RobNazty & Jess to Dyna post Rainbow&Unicorns drinking. I’m pretty sure we have them convinced to come stay a bit longer with us next time we’re in Colorado (hey Trish!).
We had a brief
reprieve break before Jake’s sister Emily arrived into PDX to spend some time with us. We took full advantage of our 2 days alone, cleaning, napping, restocking our food supplies, and enjoying a meal at our (new) favorite Thai Food truck. We also had tickets to attend the final day of the Track & Field Olympic Trials down in Eugene, so we headed down (in Rammer) to Hayward Field for the day. On the way, Jake surprised me with a stop to a lavender farm & festival. Jake & I have a great relationship; until lavender starts creeping in. I love lavender. Jake loathes it. But, I guess he loves me more than he loathes lavender, because I ended up in a field of the most beautiful, fragrant, purple flowers. And he didn’t even complain (too much) when Rammer smelled delightful for the remainder of the day’s drive, which was 4 hours round trip. The trials were awesome. We got to watch Molly Huddle run for the second time in a month; this time she annihilated the field in the 5k, earning a berth (which she later declined so that she can focus on the 10k) on the 5k Olympic team. Other amazing athletes performed also, like Jen Suhr and some other really fast and bouncy folks. But Molly has my Track & Field heart (gotta stick with the hometown favorite).
After an exciting Sunday, we met Emily at PDX, and showed her around Portland a bit (now that we had been there almost a month, we had some ideas. She and I spent a morning at Powell’s while Jake slaved away at work, then we all headed to the city and checked out the Rose Test Garden (beautiful). We got a bit sidetracked and paid a bit too much money to hang out with some cats in a cat cafe beforehand (opinion: cat cafe is boring because cats mostly just like sleeping). We spent the next few days doing short, nearby hikes, picking the abundant blackberries which grown throughout the area (yum!), riding on the aerial tram (eek!), and checking out tourist traps such as the Peculiarium (worth your $5) and Stark’s Vacuum Museum (worth your $0). We spent an afternoon/evening driving out to Astoria, eating seafood at a hole in the wall (literal hole in the wall), buying candy at every candy shop in the town of SeaSide, and leisurely driving down the coast. We attended the Portland Berry Fest (which was much smaller than I expected, but berry filled all the same), the Robin Hood Fest (in the small town of Sherwood, just South of Portland), and returning to poke around the Saturday Market for a second time (Emily bored quickly of this). We briefly met a man who goes by the handle of ‘Doctor be Dancing’ dancing along the river near the market; he was on vacation from Boston, but was out there dancing (and sweating profusely) and raising $$ all the same. If you see him, he’s worth a moment to stop and watch and a few bucks (for good causes)!
…and yes, we played PokémonGo. And will probably continue to do so (if those darn crashing glitches get fixed!) as we head up towards Seattle.