Sunday, 23 September 2012

Portland - voted by the Wearins as the coolest city so far - maybe ever

Massive 10 hour drive from Boise, Idaho to Mount Hood, Oregon (highest peak in state and only place in the US with year round skiing) which is just out of Portland (couldn't quite make it there in one day in Sheila!). Woke up and had a quick hike before heading into town and discovered this vista!

Grant practising a bear encounter with his Bear Spray
Mount Hut... And some fella with very orange hair and jacket to match!

Arrived in Portland to their typical overcast and chilly day but that didn't stop us getting out and exploring for the afternoon. First stop was Pittock Mansion within Forest Park (5100 acres of temperate forest full of hikes right in town) which was built by Henry Pittock in 1914 who ran the local paper, the Oregonian. Henry and his wife only moved in in their 70's and then it was inhabited by two more generations of Pittocks. I guess the money must have run dry because it was abandoned and in disrepair when the City of Portland bought it and handed it over to the people. Nice pad though.

I think it suits me - yes?

Then of course it was time for some brewpubs. Portland has about 30 brewpubs within its borders - more than any other city on earth. And this is where i have to handover to the expert - off you go GW.

First stop was Bridgeport for some award winning ales (ales all the rage here, much to my delight). Happy hours of $2.50 pints of delectable grainy affair coupled with US staples like chilli buffalo wings with blue cheese dip. Heaven. They had a seasonal pilsner of a whopping 9% ABV which was my favourite and had me feeling as though Portland was my beer oyster.


So back on the bikes for another microbrewery... ( the city is the most bike friendly city I've ever ridden in: separate bike lanes on all roads and bridges, bike parking everywhere and a driving attitude that is far more pleasant towards cyclists than the one I practice at home but I digress).

Zoom into the wharf. Is it what I want it to be or not?
My 2 favourite microwbreweries were

1. Amnesia: garage / car park with picnic benches with the best beers in the whole city as voted by me. The French connection was my favourite, a Kolsch with more hopps and oomph than a typical Kolsch style beer. This was also the place where I saw the first human half clone. He was 50% my mate Ring (he knows who he is) and 50% my father in law. Freakily funny. Only a grainy picture as he got a bit uneasy after the 3rd photo.

Half n Half
2. Hair of the Dog: aptly named garage style "tasting cellar" which also aged some of their beers as you would wine using various oaks and whiskey barrels. Heavy beers but different and extremely tasty. My favourite was the mid strength ale called, simply, Greg. Back to you Yacker.

Grant sharing with the hairy dog

Before I finish on our final day in Portland, I have to share with you the nightmare night every RV-ER dreads. First night in Portland we are in a lovely suburb called the Pearl District. If I ever move here - this is where I would reside - great loft apartments, funky eateries, breweries and bars and of course good shopping. But being the Captain Safety GW is we needed to trek 15 miles out of the city into the back blocks of Portland because Walmart is the only place GW will stay in unless he is in a campsite. I did quietly mention that I am sure we would be very safe on the streets of the Pearl District than the rather dodgy outskirts of Portland, but alas there we were at 12am in a pretty shady Walmart. Sleep for no more than one hour before we hear a knock at the door. Its a security guard asking us to move on very persistently. Bugger. Grant has a mini tantrum from sleep deprivation and too many hops. We then realise we have no petrol. Manage to roll into a 24 hour petrol station. Homy G,s everywhere. Very shady with all kinds of deals going on. Including One G convincing the petrol agent to put just $1 in the tank (you can't put your own petrol in the car in Oregon) so we high tail it our of there and trek back to... Yes where we were originally. Sleep for no longer than 4 hours before a business owner decided to gurney his front pavement - right out the front of our van. EXCUSE ME don't you realise we are trying to sleep on the street here!! Another move into the North Western district and we finally get some sleep. Actually end up sleeping three nights here on the street and Grant is now comfortable with street dwelling. We are getting there with Captain Safety... Anyway back to Portland.

After an awesome two days bike riding around we spend the last day on a great hike through the Forest Park which lead us to Portland Rose Gardens. Must be a great climate for roses because I have never seen such perfection!

Green green everywhere
Hiking through Green Park which is right in town - not that you would know it
Picnic in the Shakespeare's Garden

Then it was back along 23rd Street where alas - there was shopping - not planned at all. Managed to drag Grant around two where I got some sneaky snaps. A great street of many.

Residential block on 23rd St
Preparing for Halloween
Oh hello

Finished off our Portland stay with a cheeky Mexican - you can't judge a city until you have had their Mexican! Now we head to Oregon's wine district, Willamette Valley. Oh our poor livers - I need a detox already!

Sorry GW not the most flattering - but good Mexican!

No comments:

Post a Comment