Portland Week 4 and a few days

We have been pretty lazy our last week or so in Portland. We talked about doing a wine drive but haven’t. Instead we have been getting our luggage ready, books loaded onto our iPads, counting pills into envelopes (gosh ain’t old age fun) and otherwise getting ready to head to Asia.

On Sunday we went downtown and walked along the Riverwalk. It was a beautiful day so there was good people and boat watching.

There is a big arts and crafts market held beside the river on weekends. Beautiful flowers and interesting products!

During our walk along the river, we were surprised by the number of geese.

The highlight of the day though was seeing the people powered party barge!

One morning this week, I got up early (well 7:30 which is early for us retired folk) and went to get donuts for us for breakfast. You may have heard of Voodoo donuts before but the folks in Portland say those are for tourist and that Blue Star has the best gourmet donuts ($3.75 each) in town. We tried Apple fritter, bacon maple, buttermilk old fashioned and raspberry rosemary buttermilk. All were tasty but for the price I like the donuts from Queen Donuts in Houston better…and we could have gotten a dozen for what these four cost!

Our stay in Portland has been enjoyable but I don’t think we will consider it for our permanent nest. It’s a little too big and while they have a great transportation system, we would still sorta feel tied to a car.

And we aren’t granola-y enough!

We leave in a few minutes to drive to Federal Way (between Tacoma and Seattle) where we’ll spend the night with our long time friend Andy where our car will be vacationing while we are in Asia.

Tomorrow, he is dropping us at the train station EARLY 😢 for our ride to Vancouver, British Columbia. We spend one night at the Hyatt there courtesy of Mike’s free anniversary night from his Citi card unless a threatened strike happens in which case we will revert to our initial plan to stay at the YWCA hotel. The Y gets great reviews but free wins! LOL

Then on Friday morning we will head to Canada Place to board Celebrity Millennium and leave for Tokyo that afternoon!

Portland Week 1

Portland is the City of Roses (sorry Pasadena!) and boy are there roses and other flowers galore. Walking around our neighborhood everyone has roses, sunflowers and hydrangea like crazy. I guess the relatively temperate climate and the abundance of rain are what the flowers like.

Several have asked how we decided to spend a month in Portland. As longtime readers will know, we have fully embraced the slow travel movement. We enjoy staying in a place for three or four weeks at a time as it lets us see what living in a place is like.

Given we had been spending no more than four or five nights anyplace for over a month (since we left Sarnia in June 26th), we decided we would be ready to be still for a bit. We have always wanted to live in the Pacific Northwest and I tried to get transferred to Heery’s Seattle office several times. Unfortunately when they wanted me, I had a project or family commitment that kept us back east and when I was available, they didn’t need me. So we thought staying in Seattle or/or Portland would be fun. Unfortunately, the Airbnbs available in Seattle were out of our price range (or located so suburban we weren’t really in Seattle). So rather than splitting our time between the two cities we ended up in Portland.

Finding an affordable place here with parking and air conditioning wasn’t easy either and we ended up using VRBO instead of our usual airbnb as we found a place that would rent for longer than 30 days which meant we didn’t have to pay the high tax that Portland has imposed on short term rentals.

Our Apartment here is liveable but sometimes you get what you pay for. It’s in an older building at the edge of one of the trendy districts. Some houses on this block are in dire need of a savior while some have found theirs and are now priced in the upper $600k for a 3/2 renates house. Our apartment is the upstairs unit of a house that has been subdivided into three apartments. Basement (thank goodness we aren’t there!) first floor and us. While it is air conditioned it isn’t exactly what I envisioned!

The poor thing does fine when it’s below 85° but when it’s above that it gets warm. Luckily there are several fans so we can move the cool(ish) air into the bedroom and kitchen. Anyway, enough about our accommodations-#FirstWorldProblems

After our usual first day activities of grocery shopping and laundry we did explore our neighborhood a bit. We found the all organic free range whole grain granola-y supermarket across the street too expensive so we ended up at Fred Myers (think Kroger) and found lots of good things so we could cook in. Poké bowls are our new go-to quick and easy dinner!

Later in the week we headed out to explore the Oregon Coast. It was about an hour and a half drive to Astoria which is a port near the mouth of the Columbia River. It is the site is the last bridge crossing to Washington state

We had a delicious lunch on the waterfront. We shared some chowder and I had pan fried oysters for the first time they were so much better than deep fried ones. (Mike had fish n’chips).

From Astoria we head south along the scenic beach road stopping several places along the way.

The first was in Sunset Beach where after 7710 miles (and 81 days) we finally made of fully across the country to the Pacific. Of course we had to get our feet in the (cold!) water.

We continued down the coast through the little vacation villages stopping several times to get onto the beach.

We noted how differently folks here dress when on the beach. Of course one of the reasons we had come on the day we did was to stay cool. 67° at the coast vs. 94° in Portland made for a much nicer day.

After continuing down the coast we turned east at Seaside and head back to “home”. It was a lovely day and the following week we went back to the southern section. More about that in my next post.

We went to Portland’s Saturday Farmer’s Market which is held downtown on the University of Portland’s campus. It is huge-both sides of a boulevard (so four rows of stands) for three or four blocks. Portland has a farmer’s market somewhere in town everyday (some days more than one) except Tuesday. In a later post I will share pictures about what has become “our” market. But we enjoyed this big one. Lots of veggies and fruit along with prepared food, organic everything including your CBD and other marijuana products. Each vendor had a beautiful display of their wares.

We bought some heirloom tomatoes and had ‘mater sandwiches (on white bread of course but no Dukes so had to use Best mayo instead) for supper! Yum. Not quite as good as those grown at Lois’ church but that might be because these cost big bucks rather than being free for the picking!

So that wraps up our first week in Portland. Be back tomorrow with week 2!