Exploring The Many Faces Of Portland, OR
I can barely believe it’s been almost 3 weeks since we got to Portland. Of course between kitty stuff and other stuff the time has flown by. By Sunday (RV Gods willing) “the beast” will be back on the beautiful OR/WA coast and settled-in for a month of rest and figuring out what the **** we are going to do the rest this season.
This will be the first summer in 7 years that we haven’t planned ahead and to be honest it’s a little unsettling, but with lots of issues still open on various fronts we just can’t finalize anything yet. It’s not the way we usually like to travel but it is what it is. And besides, we have beach-time coming, so I’ve got faith the ocean will soothe our souls and give us the answers we need. It typically does.
In the meantime I’ve been busy solo-exploring the vast craziness that is Portland, OR.
This is not my first rodeo here, and definitely not my first solo time either. We’ve been to Portland probably 5 or 6 times over the past 7 years, either because we were passing thro’ or because one of us was traveling home to either Miami or Europe. It’s an easy airport to fly out of, and there’s a clean, friendly RV park just ~6 miles away (we always stay at the same place -> Columbia River RV Park), so it’s a super convenient place to stop.
But there’s more to Portland than just convenience.
Like all big cities the traffic sucks (totally) and there’s too much noise and too many people. But if you dig a little deeper and avoid all that (hint -> don’t drive any of the major hwys after 3PM), you’ll find layers of complexity that make this place intensely interesting. Portland hides lots of green (an astonishing amount of green in fact), it harbors a deep affinity for food trucks, coffee and beer, it’s a hot-pot for the creative arts and it enjoys a culture that’s accepting of pretty much everything and everyone that is different.
This is a city where, within 15 minutes, you can be hiking on your own in a dense forest and then, 15 minutes later, you can be dining at a fancy Peruvian restaurant downtown. And no-one would bat an eye if you did either one of those in your 20-year old hiking outfit or your fancy cross-dress and high heels. Portland prides itself on “keeping it weird” and they just don’t care. It’s a message I can relate to.
I’ve already written multiple posts about this area, including my “top 5 awesome things to do in Portland” and a multi-post series on the fabulous (next-door) Columbia River Gorge. This time around I really didn’t do much new. Instead I just re-immersed myself into all different faces of this city that I love so much:
Exploring Green -> Being avid hikers, Doggie and I LOVE all the green around town. There are over 200 parks, gardens and recreation areas within the city itself and we explore at least three or four of them a week. We’re big fans of off-leash Sandy River Delta (pretty much doggie heaven on earth), and totally enjoy getting lost in the vast greeness of Forest Park and Washington Park. Last week I went on a 4-mile hike in the woods just 20 mins from our RV park and only saw one other person. How many other big cities offer that?
Exploring Biking Trails -> Portland doesn’t call itself “bike city” for nothing. With over 315 miles of bikeways you’d be hard-pressed to not find a trail you like. I’m too much of a wuss for thro-city biking (cars make me nervous), but I really love Marine Drive right by our RV park, especially since most of it (once you get to the airport) is completely separated from the main road. Yesterday I caught a break between rain-clouds and spent a happy hour pedaling at lazy Nina-pace along the river. A pretty darn perfect afternoon, if you ask me.
Exploring Food -> Whenever I’m here I throw myself into the immense bucket of deliciousness that is Portland food. Coffee everyday (because they’re serious about coffee here, and it is seriously good), food carts (over 600 of these in town!!), beer (lots of interesting options around town), Salt & Straw Ice Cream (a place everyone should visit at least once in their lives) and just general…well…food stuff.
Over the past few weeks I think I’ve had around 12 Stumptown Mocha’s (yes, I’m well buzzed), eaten several rounds of Thai Food, visited Culmination Brewing (awesome!) and even enjoyed a superb vegan restaurant (Harvest At The Bindery, delicious!) with local buddies. Plus, as a fresh food junkie I couldn’t miss the weekly Saturday Farmer’s Market by Portland State University. A cool spot with tons of cool, local veggies & meats to go with it.
Exploring Neighborhoods -> Portland is not just one town, but several individual neighborhoods loosely sewn together into one big, multi-faceted quilt. Each neighborhood has it’s own distinct vibe and the best way to enjoy them is simply by walking around. From the hip vibe of Pearl District to eclectic Hawthorne or the arts district in Alberta, my fav thing to do is just jump in the car, head on down and check them out. Seriously, just do this.
That, in a Portland nut-shell is what I’ve been up to. Almost 3 weeks of completely uneventful, accident-free exploration. Oh and the BEST news of all? Hubby has finished most of his tasks in Miami and is coming home this week, just in time for the big move to the coast. Whoo hoooo!!! This was faster than we originally expected and a sign that maybe, just maybe things are starting to fall in place. Paws and fingers crossed…
- 5 Awesome Things To Do In Portland, OR
- Blasts Of Color Amidst Grey – Portland, OR
- Columbia River Gorge Part I -> Wildflowers, Lost Lakes & Fruity Loops
- Columbia River Gorge Part II – Biking, Breweries & Waterfalls!
- RV Park Review – Columbia River RV Park, Portland, OR
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