A much needed update – Portland, Oregon!
I apologize for neglecting this website for so long. When I’m not actually bicycle touring, I don’t think there’s much point to writing on here, but I know that some people have been curious about where we are now and what we are doing (and when we are planning to hit the road again!). I will add some more posts to fill in the details about the summer later, but for now I will write about where I am right now.
After pedicabbing in Newport for the summer, Dallas and I purchased a one-way flight to Portland, Oregon. We flew directly from Boston to Portland on September 11th, and we plan to stay here until the end of the year.
While Dallas was able to get to work immediately on a construction project remodeling an apartment building, I spent the next 6 weeks looking for a job. It wasn’t easy, but fortunately the weather stayed nice for a while before the rain moved in. I printed out a bunch of resumes and biked around town for days, dropping resumes off, mostly at bike shops. I also spent a fair amount of time performing online searches and applying for gigs on craigslist. It took nearly 2 months before I finally landed a seasonal position at the Columbia Sportswear outlet in Sellwood, just a few miles from where I live (and all downhill).
Dallas and I ran the Portland Marathon on October 7th, and Dallas impressed me with his time of 3:32:14. I’d like to see Paul Ryan beat that! In his first marathon, Dallas ran faster than I have ever run a marathon. He’s definitely a keeper.
One thing I noticed about Portland, which is one of the only platinum level bicycle cities, is that everyone here is pretty good at bicycling. There’s a whole network of bike paths and lanes throughout the city, and the local cyclists (of which there are thousands) zip by with purpose at intimidating speeds. During the morning rush hour, cyclists stream towards downtown dressed in cool rain gear and all carrying some sort of cycling bag either on their backs or bike racks. I have honestly never seen so many cyclists in this country and so many fast bicycle commuters in any city (including Amsterdam). I’m not used to being passed on my bicycle by other cyclists, but during my first few weeks in Portland I had trouble keeping up with most cyclists of all ages and genders.
Aside from the predominantly cold and rainy weather, I have enjoyed living in Portland. It has a great outdoor culture, and accommodates runners and all sorts of outdoorsy people in addition to bicycle commuters. Our roommate, Gerrit, has been generous to lend us his car on occasions when we want to get out of town – and usually he will go with us. We’ve been trail running in Washington and Multnomah Falls, camping on Mount Hood, and most recently ran a trail race in Eugene.
Before I was hired at Columbia, I was in search of gigs I could do through craigslist. I ended up putting the pocket trumpet I bought in New Orleans to good use and performing in a play, The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade (Marat/Sade, for short). Having never played trumpet for anything before, I was nervous, but the show went well. Being part of the play inspired me to audition as a singer for a Winter Solstice performance, but I did not get called back for that.
Also since moving to Portland, Dallas and I decided to audition for the Amazing Race. We had our friend, Justin, help us put together the video for our application, which you can see here:
We have had friends visit us here in Portland, which is always fun. Dallas’s friend, Linus, and his friend Vito, came to town for work one weekend and cooked us fettuccine Alfredo with veggie sausages. My friend, Ashley, came down from Vancouver, BC with a bunch of friends for a weekend. One of Dallas’s friends, James, who he met while cycling down the coast before he came to New Orleans, was bicycling up the coast with his mom, who was on her first bike tour. They stayed for 2 or 3 days, and explored the city while it rained the entire time – and James made incredible Bengali lentil soup.
My friend, Adam, from Rhode Island, was visiting during Halloween, and we made him a costume like ours. We searched for a place to buy cheese curds so he could make poutine, but had to resort to buying poutine at one of the food trucks. And most recently, Duffy and Kara, friends from New Orleans, stopped in for a few days on their way to a job that was waiting for them in California. Kara cooked delicious vegetable soup and made salad, which she served with bread and ginger snap cookies for dessert. To any friends who are reading this, you are more than welcome to come visit as long as you give us a bit of notice to make sure we’ll be home – and cook us dinner one night! (Dinner is not required, but always appreciated).
Dallas has reunited with his band, Lowenbad, and will be playing a show on December 14th at a bar called Scandals. I may get to play trumpet or trombone in a few songs! (We picked up a trombone on craigslist for only $25). If you are in the area, it’s worth checking out.
We plan to leave in the spring on our bicycles and head for South America. I will try to update again before we leave Portland, but for now, I think I’ve caught y’all up to everything we’ve been doing here!