Western Oregon is paradise during the summer, and even though it’s looked like it’s going to rain every morning, we’ve been blessed with cool, mostly-dry, weather and a comfortable cloud cover. It’s been a multi-sport week as we’ve been mountain biking, climbing and kayaking. To cap off a full week, we relaxed with a leisurely bike excursion of Portland’s river front urban trails to celebrate Aminda’s brother’s fab new touring bike.
We were happy to skip the Clif Bars & Gatorade on our city ride, in favor of free ice cream samples at the neighborhood grocery store and drinks at the local pedal-in bar. Just a few of things that make Portland one of the coolest cities in the world. (see below for more)
In our down time we’ve also enjoyed hanging out with the family; playing games, going to church, trying out local restaurants and gorging ourselves on cherries faster then my parents can make jam out of them. Now, thanks to mom, we’re well fed and ready to continue on our way.
Our mountain biking standards were set high and our small sample of Oregon trails in the Mount Hood and Tillamook National forests didn’t disappoint. Beautifully designed, creek-side single track cuts through verdant forests and rides are punctuated by views of waterfalls or of majestic Mount Hood which proudly keeps watch over the surrounding valley. Wildlife sightings include deer, squirrels and pride of the Northwest, the banana slug
The climbing, on the other hand, has been a little different. Outside of Smith Rock which is in eastern Oregon, the west-side rock is dirty & polished (hoards of people heavily chalking up on humid days). Portland’s biggest local crag, Broughton Bluffs, was reminiscent of northern Arizona’s Overlook, short basalt cracks that require creative, bouldery moves to overcome a lack of positive holds. Respect must be given to the local hardmen, though as we do have to confess that even coming from the Valley, we found the ratings to pretty serious.
Top 5 ways that we’ve seen locals working to “Keep Portland Weird”.
1. A couple fully decked out in pirate garb peddling down the waterfront on their cruiser (She) and BMX (he) bikes. We later found out they were part of a much larger gathering of like-minded folks.
2. Playing simultaneously at the local street festival were: two young Beastie Boys wannabe rappers, an energetic urban gospel choir and a dreadlocked freestyle poet. (these were just the scheduled acts, amongst many others workin’ the scene)
3. Also at the festival was the first street-side lingerie booth we’d ever seen.
4. A couple of our favorite section heading stories in The Oregonian newspaper include: “Star Trek in the Park” (Trekkies gather to recreate their fave scenes on the same day as the pirate gathering)
“Tree-sitting protests on the rise” (OK, that wasn’t really the headline, but kind of what we took from the article and the accompanying photos of the agitated young eco-terrorists being marched through the forest in handcuffs)
5. A group of about 40 hipsters outfitted in serious golf attire playing a competitive 18-holes using real clubs to drive tennis balls down the street into cardboard targets.