Back in Flag, Bob and I wonder if our trip to Portland might have been a little too short. Could it actually rival my favorite city of all time, Chicago, for the title of Favorite City of All Time? It takes a lot to possibly shake a near 20 year devotion to the Windy City but Portland is awesome! (Though rest assured, Chicago will always be in my top 2 American cities.)
Portland rules, and Portland has rules. Rules people seem to live by for getting along better. Rules for creating a community. No, the city hasn't overcome homelessness, graffiti, litter, or the economy but people who live and work there seem to know they have something pretty good going on.
It all started at the airport with the Max Red Line light rail, which for about $5 took both of us almost straight to the door of our hotel. Those unfamiliar with often worry about a) safety and b) how to get find your stop and get off at the right time. With respect to safety, along with the Planner Guy and I, our car for some reason also carried a large group of fencing competitors. With car mates armed with swords, we felt utterly safe. The other passengers seemed to mostly other travelers, students, and people going to and from work - all seemed completely harmless. A security guard climbed on board near our last stop and exchanged pleasantries with us as we pointed our camera at this or that sight. As for the logistics of the route and exiting the train, each stopped it announced in both English and Spanish, including which side of the train from which to exit. An easy to read map over the windows indicates the stops to follow and each stop is clearly marked.
Bob made reservations for us at the Hotel de Luxe, located at 15th and Yamhill, fairly near PGE Park. We were greeted by the most helpful and friendly doormen and front desk staff one could ever want. They offered maps, suggestions on things to see and do, dining recommendations, and assured us that yes, they love Portland, and oh, that's great that we want to rent bikes and that bike shops will deliver and we can store them there for daily use. Goody! Goody!
For anyone thinking about visiting Portland, Hotel de Luxe is sheer glamour. The old kind of sheer glamour, which is the only kind of glamour. Simple and elegant. Modern conveniences are included like WiFi but we were too taken with the snugly robes hanging in the closet and the comfy bed to think about logging on. Oh, yes, and they provide complimentary Aveda products in the bath.
Hungry after a long day on airplanes, Planner Guy and I hit the street and made our way to the Pearl District and found a nice Irish pub for a little bar food. As it was only about 4 p.m. the atmosphere was subdued; a nice mix of people sipping beer while reading or working on laptops and others sitting in small groups talking and watching ESPN. Two young men sitting outside the pub gave us suggestions on nearby bike shops and gladly allowed me to photographs their bikes. Yeah, they admitted they were bike guys. I suspected they might have built their bikes themselves but decided against interrupting their conversation further. Plus Bob really needed to eat.
We had our late lunch and moved on visiting the Patagonia store, several urban parks, and a couple of Powells booksellers. We stopped for coffee several times and I listened to Bob explain the finer points of urban planning as evidenced all around us. It is at those times that I am grateful that Bob is not an accountant. Or a mortician.
Naturally, seeking content for sherideabike.com I kept my eye out for bikes and bicyclists. Excited as I was, I did my best approach people for photographs without exposing myself as the crazy woman with a camera that I am becoming. I'm getting quite used to explaining myself to perfect strangers. As I explain my intentions, ("Oh, I have a fashion and bike commuting blog and your outfit is great.) the fear and uncertainty disappears from their faces and they consent to appearing in my blog. Thanks to all my willing subjects! One subject told me exactly where to find Clever Cycles and the Friday morning bike and breakfast in Hawthorne (which we unfortunately missed due to the unfortunate news that the Jade-dog was in the hospital).
I'll continue expounding upon Portland's greatness tomorrow. Unfortunately, I got a late start due to the discovering a horrible spelling error throughout my blog. Strangely, the Planner Guy (aka, therunningbob) noticed the spelling error weeks ago but decided against pointing it out to me. Clearly, he is still smarting over his bitter defeat in Scrabble several weeks ago (see post entitled The Agony of Defeat, and a Toothache).
The Jade-dog has been tranferred to another hospital and we hope is making a good recovery. We hope to have her back with us in the next day or two.
This Saturday, I'll joing about 20 other bicyclists in the day long bike safety class offered by the Flagstaff Biking Organization and the City of Flagstaff. The class is one step in becoming certified as a League Cycling Instructor through the League of American Bicyclists. First and foremost, I need this training for my own safety since I have found myself making some careless and dangerous mistakes on the road. Oh, yes, and lunch from the Main Street Deli. Yum!