Friday, August 9, 2013


Within half an hour of backing the trailer into our site in Portland, we were on the way out to explore the town. We’d chosen the Columbia River RV Park knowing full well that it was a glorified parking lot directly beneath the PDX flight path, but it was the closest park to downtown and we didn’t plan on spending much time there.


Some interesting neighbors tho. This Cayo Motivator was built by the Cayo Brothers who started Avion – the “other silver trailer company” – which was later bought by Fleetwood. Would have loved a look inside, but I never saw the owners. Reminds me of our musings on the best overland vehicle after our time at Overland Expo 2013.


Wynne has been pretty accommodating in the last two weeks, so the first thing on the list was finding her a playground. Driving up into Washington Park reminded me a lot of our Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, only up on a hill and connected to the huge Forest Park that would allow someone with the ability to run something like 30 miles on trail. We didn’t get a chance to check out the Japanese Garden, Rose Garden or Hoyt Arboretum, but instead headed straight for the huge play structure where she insisted on climbing the stairs to the tallest spiraling slide there.

Then we found daddy a playground… a taster platter at the Hopworks Bikebar. I think we ate food there too, but everything after “We’ll do the taster” is a little foggy. I do remember that they had a sandbox with a buncha toys that kept Wynne completely fixated while we causually worked our way around the HUB wheel.


On the way back to the car, we stopped into a store that perfectly matched my expectations of Portland; They sold camping gear, gardening supplies (including plants), pet products, canning and preserving kits and just about everything else you could possibly need for your Portland lifestyle. Wait, where are the mustache groomers and ukelele section?


The next morning, we met a friend who lives in town at the Tin Shed for breakfast. While we were waiting in the little outer garden, I put the word out on Facebook that we were looking for some recommendations on what to do in Portland. 99% of them came back with places to eat, and we did our best to hit them all…


Pine State Biscuits. The Reggie Deluxe. Fried chicken, bacon, gravy and a fried egg between two biscuits. Sorry for the bad pic, but I suddenly became conscious of taking a picture of someone else’s food on the counter. I bought the T-shirt, but I’m a little worried it won’t fit anymore after this week.


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Dinner at the Breakside Brewery was otuside on large shared picnic tables. I got a fried chicken, a pulled pork and a tri tip slider off their happy hour menu and two IPA’s. Okay, now we were really full.

Lunch the next day was spicy wings encrusted with toasted garlic and sweet BBQ sauce along with a Thai ice tea at Pok Pok. This was non-negotiable according to Luis from Lost World Expedition.


And for dinner, we met up with Laura and Kevin from Riveted at Olympic Provision Northwest. While we’d thoroughly pre-stalked them on their blog and will be caravanning with them and several other Airstreamers up to Banff in a couple weeks, this was the first time we’d all met in person. And what better way to do it than over chef’s boards of charcuterie and cheese, bowls of clams and delicious gnocchi? We’re looking forward to spending more time together on the road!

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At this point, we were feeling a little comatose from our Portland comfort meals and needed a walk around. What better place than the Portland Saturday Market, a 40 year old outdoor gathering of local artists displaying their crafts? While there was a section just across the street with some of the usual flea market crap – cheap sunglasses and packages of tube socks – the main market was filled with high quality stuff and friendly vendors. We couldn’t resist buying Wynne a little skirt and yes, because it’s Portland, the artist had “put a bird on it.”

A favorite tongue-in-cheek shirt from the market.


After a vigorous stroll through the market, we’d restored our appetites, so we took on a plate of fresh made papusas while sitting in the steps watching Wynne play in the fountain with the other kids on a perfect summer afternoon.


We probably need to come back to Portland in the dead of winter to get a more realistic impression, but it was pretty utopian while we were there. Maybe it’s the shortage of perfect 70 degree days that makes Portlanders (Portlandians?) set up outdoor tables, tend the sunflowers in their gardens, ride their bikes and play in fountains when they get a chance. I’m starting to feel like we might just be taking that weather for granted down in Northern CA.