Downtown Portland and 3 Things Everyone Should Know

From a bicyclist somewhere along the Tom McCall Waterfront Park:

There are 3 things you need to tell everyone about Portland when you get back home

  1. Portland Sucks
  2. The Weather is Horrible
  3. The People are @$$ holes

Keller-FountainI don’t think I can agree with the 3rd one. We met several different people today and all of them were some of the nicest people I’ve ever met anywhere.

The Bicyclist – What he said was all in good fun, but it stems from a reality. Portland is a victim of huge population growth. It’s probably one of the reasons Oregon has one of the worst unemployment rates in the country right now. From what I understand, people from southern california and other places with high taxes (*cough* NY *cough*) are flocking to Oregon in droves. People who live in Oregon now like it the way it is, and don’t want it to change. Naturally, the more people Oregon gets the less like the current wilderness it will become.

Keller-BikerThe Trick-Biker – We wandered the city a while until we happened upon the Ira Keller Fountain. It’s probably one of the coolest fountains I’ve ver seen. It’s very abstract and modern, with many different levels and cascades, as well as many different viewing platforms of various sizes, orientations and locations. Just as we were about to leave 2 kids showed up on trick bikes and started jumping from platform to platform while doing tricks. After chatting for a bit we learned that they like to come down at least once a week by bus just to ride around the city. Keller Fountain is one of their favorite spots. I asked if I could take their picture and they were ecstatic, especially after I showed them the result. I got their e-mail address and told them I’d send them copies.

Zweigles man – Zweigles hot dogs are definitely a local Rochester NY thing. I didn’t even think anyone outside of our area had heard of them, or would even care. However; for some reason SuperDog in downtown Potland OR carries them, claiming in their menu: “Zweigles white hot – direct from Rochester.” When we saw that it floored us, and naturally we had to eat there. While doing so I struck up a conversation with the cook who was just as shocked as we were to find out we were from Rochester NY.

mills-endWe struck out with the goal of seeing Mills End Park, the worlds smallest park and we saw it (don’t blink, seriously, one square foot of park is easy to miss) however we saw and learned much more along the way. Just the way we like it.

The Ride In

IMG_4488 On our way to Portland we flew through Newark (New Jersey) and for once we didn’t miss our flights because of it… Of course, once we got on the plane to Portland we did sit on the runway for an hour …sigh

Ahh well, once we were finally in the air Rachel and I watched Kingdom of Heaven on my iPhone and we were then graced with some magnificent views of the Mountainous west coast.

After being in Portland for all of 30 minutes we had a few observations:

  • It’s very green.  There’s huge Ponderosa Pine Trees absolutely everywhere and they’re gorgeous.
  • It’s very green-conscious.  We probably saw 147 bikes between the airport and our Hotel.  There are bike lanes on literally every street, and bike paths next to every highway.  There are “Please Conserve Water” signs everywhere.
  • The flowers are amazing and they’re everywhere
  • It’s Claim Jumpers not Clam Jumpers
  • Shopping is great here.  Lots of outlet stores and no sales tax!  This doesn’t mean we’ll be doing any this trip, but it certainly is a good place to go if you’d like to.  The pearl district seems to be where all the higher class shops are.
  • Unemployment is bad here, we saw beggars on pretty much every major intersection between the airport and the hotel.

We had a great trip in and a nice relaxing first day.

Genesee Bike Ride

Preferred Care is putting on what they call Nature Nights every Tuesday at 6pm from May 26th through August 25th.  These nights include biking, (canoe) paddling, hiking and walking in the different areas Rochester has to offer.

Tuesday Rachel and I, along with my mother and several other of their coworkers, participated in a 10 (ish) mile bike ride along the Genesee River.  We started at the Seneca Park Zoo parking lot.  From there we crossed a walking/riding bridge to the other side of the Genesee.  We rode along Lake ave for a short distance and then through Turning Point Park.  From there we rode on to Ontario Beach Park.  We took a short break at abbots and then headed back along the same route.  Some people got a longer break than others, due to a lost rider… but that’s a story for another day.

I intended to record video of the whole thing.  However; the battery in my camera died after crossing the bridge so this is all I got:

The pace was very leisurely (a bit slow for my taste) but it was a great ride with a great group.  Everyone was very friendly and we’ll probably participate again.

Enjoy some  of the scenery the Genesee Riverway Trail has to offer below.  Please note, these were shot with my iPhone so the quality is a little… well the quality is little.

Dog excercise – A New Method

We found a new method of keeping the dogs worn out. I’d been eying our bikes for a while but the proposition was a bit scary. For whatever reason, I got it into my head to give it a go today and I’m glad we did. What fun! The dogs love it ALMOST as much as we do.

They got into it so much, they started pulling to make us go faster. The only tricky parts are turning, but they’re picking up on ‘right’ and ‘left’ commands pretty quickly.

This method seems to be far more effective at wearing them out than anything we’ve done until this point. A 15min bike ride has had them sleeping for 4 hours now. Not bad!

Biking in Downtown

No matter what people tell you there is a lot to do in downtown Rochester. There are lots of museums, parks and weekend activities. Last Saturday Rachel actually had off so we went downtown on the bus and took our bikes along for the ride. The idea was to ride around and see some things we normally take for granted in Rochester. This was the first time with the bikes on the bus and every time we hit a bump I peaked my head up over the seat thinking I’d get to witness them shattering all over 490. Luckily they made it in one piece.

Our first stop was the Center at High falls where we got an awesome 10 minute taxi cab tour of the city including the now closed silver stadium! The Center also hosts a photography gallery on the 2nd floor which we took in and learned that Rochester’s main street completely flooded in 1865. From there we headed out across the footbridge to take in High Falls itself and then we were off for lunch.

While eating inside, the Hail started and WOW! I went outside to grab a few pictures and got nailed with one in the leg. It left a mark! Don’t worry, as always in Rochester Ny, If you don’t like the weather just wait 10 minutes, it’ll change. It did, but not much. We decided to play it safe and hop the next bus.

This trip was short, but not for lack of things to do. Next trip we’re heading to the Eastman House, Memorial Art Gallery, Susan B Anthony Park, among several others. We’ll also be making the trek up to the lake along the river if we have enough time. If not, we’ll catch it next time!

Utilizing the bus and our bikes to make these trips is very satisfying. I only wish they ran on Sundays too.

From Sunrise to Sunset

Haleakala, House of the sun. apparently the best way to see it is: to be picked up at 2am by bus, taken up the 9,740 feet to its overlook and wait for sunrise. the 2 am part was brutal but boy it was worth it. When walking out to the edge you don’t see much except the top of a few clouds (because you’re well above them). As the sun begins to rise the horizon begins to take form around you. Purple, blue, orange and red bounce off the surrounding cliffs making it more and more apparent what 9740 feet up really looks like. A few couples thought it was a good idea to cozy up on a rock outside the protective guard rail. once there was enough light to see the distance to the bottom of the crater they were gone, hopefully by choice. Once what we and many others besides us called the most beautiful sunrise on earth was completed it was time to make our decent.

Us on our bikes

The company we rode up with, Maui Mountain Cruisers, specializes in the cruel game of roll the tourist down the mountain. They dress you up in a bright blue jump suit, give you a goofy helmet and a rickety bike probably older than the mountain itself and push you down the Guinness book of world records steepest road. It’s like a high school science experiment gone bad. As a matter of fact the question is on the Hawaii state regents exam. All kidding Aside it one of the best thing you could ever do, as long as your brakes work (and Randy’s didn’t at first). the ride down the mountain is literally a coast. only 400 yards of pedaling in the whole 40 mile ride. The views were amazing. The cold wind on your face while you zip around sharp bends really made you feel alive.

At the bottom a hot breakfast was waiting for us (it was only 10AM although we had been up for 9 hours). after about an hour the bus brought us back to our hotel. It was just before noon and we decided to take a short nap. about 430 we woke up and got ready for dinner.

Sunset at Ka’anapali

A few minutes walk from our room was the barefoot bar at the Hula Grill. we got a table in the sand so we kicked off our shoes and enjoyed a few drinks before the meal. Our table was up front near the Hawaiian band and hula dancer. We listened to the music, sipped pina coladas and ate as we watched another spectacular sunset over the beach.

wish you were here (but on a different island :-)),
Rachel and Randy