Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Trip to Portland

Around this time last year, I went on a trip to Portland.  It was about time, I was finally able to see the city everybody's been telling me I should move to.  While the city's motto is "Keep Portland Weird", I was surprised to find that this was easily the most normal city I'd ever been to.  I arrived with the expectation of a city full of hippies, with farmers' markets on every street all day and lots of guys obsessed with craft beer, handlebar mustaches and riding fixies... For better or for worse, my expectations fell far short.  I cannot stress how much of a regular city this is.
satellite view of portland downtown

On the flight up from socal, this may have been Mt. Shasta.
Mt. shasta from airplane
It didn't take long for me to find how I was going to get around.  Biketown is the city's bike share program (sponsored by Nike).  It's similar to the "Nice Ride" system I'd used in Minneapolis, except they didn't have 3-days all you can ride for $10, so I had to settle for paying $2 per each 30 min ride.
Biketown PDX
Can somebody show me where the chains are on these things?  Turns out they use shaft drive.
Biketown PDX shaft drive no chain
More random bikes strapped to a pole.
portland bikes pole
Checking out the legal cannabis scene, coming soon to a California near you.
Zion cannabis portland
Went to the Wells Fargo museum downtown.
well's fargo museum portland
I guess this was my metalcasting education for the day.  How did they get that ladle to float in mid air?
well's fargo furnace casting display
I really loved the public transit system they had.  There were 2 different light rail systems; the MAX (more long distance) and Streetcar (more downtown).  To add to the confusion, they're managed by two different agencies yet have tracks which overlap at points.  I didn't get a chance to ride the MAX, but the streetcar was extremely convenient given the hotel was right next to a stop.  Biking downtown took some getting used to since there are tracks in the street to negotiate, and of course 1-way streets.  The Streetcars also have to wait in traffic too which I'd imagine would make driving confusing.
portland street with tracks
At the farmers market.  I was extremely underwhelmed at the size of it compared to ones back home, but this was on a Monday, so I figured the "real" farmers' market was elsewhere and on a different day.
portland farmers market
Got some delicious berries and melons too.  I think I ate all of the blackberries before even getting back on the streetcar, they were really good.  I also noticed that the Whole Foods downtown had an incredible selection of grains.  I don't think I'd ever seen rye or spelt flakes anywhere else.
berries from portland farmers market
View from inside the Streetcar.  I'd never seen a Plaid Pantry before.
plaid pantry from portland streetcar
On the Tilikum bridge, the one with no cars on it.  This "Bridge of the People" is for only pedestrians, cyclists, and light rail.  The Streetcar has a convenient loop line which traverses both sides of the river, crossing south on the Tilikum, and north on the Broadway Bridge (the northernmost in the top picture).  There are also generous bike trails on either side of the river, so getting around was not a problem.
Tilikum Crossing Portland
View looking south, the bridge in the distance is the southernmost in the top picture.  You can tell I'm trying really hard in the photo to look uninterested in everything, or maybe I was just disgruntled at having to stop to take a picture while the 30 minutes on my bike was still counting down.
tilikum crossing south view
Much better.
tilikum crossing south view 2
View north toward the 5 fwy. bridge and downtown.
tilikum crossing north view 5
The 5 fwy. bridge up close.  Traffic goes one way on top and the opposite direction inside.
5 fwy over willamette river
"Wow, that's a lot of rivets" I thought, only to realize they were bolts after zooming in.
lots of bolts on 5 fwy bridge
Looking back south at Tilikum Crossing.  Clearly the newest looking bridge of them all.  To the left was the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, which I didn't get a chance to visit.
view of tilikum crossing OMSI
On the eastern side of the river, I found this rail museum.
Portland rail heritage museum
And right across the street, a bike shop... but not just any bike shop, an adjunct to the legendary Rivendell Bicycle Works!  I stopped in to buy a new bottle and some pine tar soap.
Rivelo Portland
A record store built into the front of somebody's house.  I told you this was a normal city.
Future Shock records portland burnside
Got some good finds here and at Everyday Music, also on Burnside St.  They don't know Jack, Tehun-Zuj...
Professor X Tehun-Zuj They Don't Know Jack
A group rowing on the Willamette river.  For those not from the area; it's pronounced "will-lamb-ette" not "will-a-met".
rowers on willamette river
That concludes our journey to Portland.  I had a great time, it felt good being in a normal city for once.  As for moving there, I could see that happening, though I hear is there's already enough people moving there jacking up to property value...  There's got to be more than one normal city out there people!!!
Diecaster D. Portland
and can somebody please tell Southwest that the green cross already means something else! unless that's actually what they keep stashed with the AED.
southwest airlines medical cannabis

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