This is the catalogue of my journey from LA to Seattle and back again. I hope you enjoy sharing this experience with me.
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
A Month To Portland
I was bookin! The road from Tillamook to Portland is pretty stinkin fun. There's probably a 600 foot elevation climb in the middle but it didn't really phase me. I was spending the whole day going East. Which is important because... The wind was at my back! All day! All glorious day! I was riding by a river, the sun came out, I was jammin' to some tunes, I passed by a bunch of touring riders going the opposite way that were having a hard time which made me look like a super awesome riding stud for the first time. It really has been one of my favorite days of riding so far. It became a little hairy when I got into the greater Portland area because the road actually turned into a highway. Not that it was really dangerous, or anything, but these really trafficked roads have tons of debris littered on the sides of them. Both my front and back tires got punctures. Fun stuff. The strange thing was, though, was when I was getting near the city I couldn't see it. I knew I had to be less than two miles out and all I could see were some big rolling hills. I kept on going and the road took a downward turn and I went through an unexpected tunnel and then BAM! Portland. Apparently Portland was right on the other side of this hill the whole time... Silly Portland.
Portland is a really neat place. It is incredibly green. It seems as though people there have been really intentional about planting and making sure there are plenty of trees and foliage to go around. As I was looking for the home I would be staying at that night a gigantic shadow passed by me. I felt like a little fish on the ocean floor that just realized a shark was looming over me and had only seconds left to live. When I looked up I saw this giant, silver 50's space ship hovering over me. This isn't science fiction. It's the monorail that goes from the bottom of the hill to the top where the hospital is. It was super cool. It just felt like the future. A short time later I arrived at my destination and met Mia. Mia is a really cool free spirited woman. Currently she's a full time volunteer. I would try to list back all the organizations she's either started or helped get off the ground but there's no way that I could remember them all. It was great having conversations with her because she has opinions different than anyone I've met on the trip so far. She definitely has concern for the wellbeing of the future of the human race and the planet. For me to talk to someone like this was eye opening and inspirational. She gave me directions to all the hot spots and great coffee shops in the city and we bid each other good night.
The next morning Mia and I had coffee together and then we separated to achieving or own separate goals for the day. My main objective... COFFEE!!! YEA!!! Have I had too much coffee yet on this trip? NEVER!!! Actually I took it easy as far as coffee goes. It was a beautiful day and Portland is such a bike friendly city that I had a lot of pleasure just riding around. I did visit two amazing shops though. My first stop was a place called Cellar Door. It was unassuming and was located on the corned of an intersection. It had a mostly wooden homey feel and they roast in the basement of the facility. The girl behind the bar made me an amazing cappuccino. I haven't really been getting the milky espresso drinks very often because I don't just trust anyone to make them for me. It's so easy to mess them up. But she did a great job. My next stop was Heart Coffee Roasters. This place was sleek. The roll up, hanger style doors opened into a futuristic looking black and chrome rounded off shop. They had every way to prepare coffee imaginable. They had all the usual traditional drinks but you could also get your coffee made from a french press, a chemex pour over, a siphon or even cold brew. Cold brew! Cold brew is a method for making iced coffee that involves steeping coarsely ground coffee for 24 hours. Not introducing the coffee to hot temperatures allows it to extract in a completely different way than removing the flavors quickly with hot water. Avoiding all the potential acidic flavors hot water can extract, it only captures the nutty, rounded, sweet tastes of the coffee. It's amazing. It was so warm outside so I got some cold brew and it tasted like i was in coffee heaven. Heart has got it going on.
I did stop by the downtown area to check out what had brought me to Portland in the first place. The Blues festival. It was cool but to be honest there were sooooo many people and there was nowhere to sit. Although the music was good it was just hard to enjoy it so I only watched a couple acts and then checked out. I'm not totally bummed because the festival did bring me to Portland which, after seeing it, would have been a shame to leave out of the trip. The good thing was that it was located right next to downtown Portland so I was able to just walk around and see the sights of the big city. Afterwards I went back to Mia's place, packed up and got ready for the next day which would take me out of Oregon. I was thinking about it and I'm leaving Portland on the 5th of July which is exactly a month after the day I started the trip. Looking back it doesn't feel like I've been traveling for a month. Looking ahead it's hard to imagine that I'll be traveling for almost another month. I'm not really sure how I feel about it. Some days I feel an almost uncontrollable urge to hop a bus and get back home. Other days I feel like there is nothing better than what I'm doing right now at this moment. I simultaneously miss home and love the journey. It's a weird feeling to have. I can't say what I'll do for the trip back from Seattle as far as sticking to the bike or not. Either way I'm thankful for what this all has been and everything I've learned. But... I still have a couple hundred miles to go.