Tagged: Portland

Portland, Oregon: A City I Could Love

After running the Eugene Half Marathon, I spent a few days visiting my daughter and her fiance in Portland. Despite the cold, rainy weather, Portland is a city I could definitely learn to love.

I did almost no sightseeing in the city itself, mainly because I had just run a half marathon and my legs were a little trashed. And did I mention it was cold and rainy? We’re talking 40’s and 50’s, which is like winter for this Texan.

While in Portland, we had dinner one night at a fantastic Thai restaurant called PaaDee on Burnside. It was, hands down, the best Thai food I’ve ever eaten. I loved it so much I even took my friend Hari there for lunch the very next day before he flew back home to Dallas. We even took pictures of our food–it was that good.

The only time in my life I’ve ever photographed my food in a restaurant.

Hari blissfully eating in all his Eugene paraphernalia.

One afternoon my daughter and I walked (I hobbled) up to Mt Tabor. I can’t believe there are such beautiful places in a city the size of Portland.

View of downtown Portland from Mt Tabor

They don’t call me a tree hugger for nothing.

Walking path and trees at Mt Tabor

One thing I love about Oregon is the incredibly tall trees. They make our Texas trees look like bushes.

Right in the middle of the city, next to parking lots, are these huge trees. I almost got rear ended looking at the trees.

The tree in a parking lot that nearly caused an accident when I saw it.

11 random observations about Portland:

  1. It seems to be a young city. Maybe it’s because I spent most of my time with my daughter and her friends, but everyone seemed to be young.
  2. The houses are fantastic. Historic, full of character, charming. These are houses I could live in.
  3. It seems to be trendy to dress like a Victorian. We saw a few guys dressed in bowler hats, bow ties, and old fashioned pants. Interesting. I expected to see a lot of granola types, but this I didn’t expect.
  4. The homeless people have cell phones. I saw quite a few walking around town talking and texting on their phones. And there are a lot of homeless people in Portland.
  5. The bridges are scary to drive across. I’m not afraid of heights, but driving across the Willamette River on the freeway bridge made me feel like the girl in Clueless who accidentally gets on the freeway.
  6. You see a lot of old, beat up cars in Portland. You rarely see old cars in Dallas. People there pride themselves on their new, expensive, immaculately clean cars. I liked seeing the old cars still out there, being put to use.
  7. Recycling is serious business, and the city even picks up compostable items.
  8. People drive more courteously than they do in Dallas. I never had anyone tailgate, or cut me off, or drive aggressively.
  9. Cars and bikes share the roads. The cyclists actually stop at red lights and stop signs. They even wait until the light turns green. Road signs and signals seem to be optional in Dallas (and that goes for cars, as well).
  10. Everyone expects changing weather and brief rain showers. They dress in layers and carry umbrellas. But they still talk about the weather all the time.
  11. I could work for Nike. The Nike world headquarters in Beaverton is an awesome space. The buildings are surrounded by trees and various running paths, trails, and tracks. Everyone going into the building was dressed very casually in jeans, t-shirts, and running shoes–Nikes, of course.

I loved visiting Portland, and could definitely see myself living there one day. Even with all the chilly, rainy days, I suspect I would eventually adjust and learn to layer up. When the temperatures start hitting the 100’s down here in Texas in a few weeks, I’m going to remember there are cooler, more habitable places in America–like Portland.

Channeling My Funky for Portland

Tomorrow I’m jet bound to Portland, Oregon! I’m running the Eugene Half-Marathon on Sunday, but the best part is that my daughter and her fiance live in Portland, so I’m making a week of it.

My bags are packed, training is under my belt, and I’m ready to go.

I’ve only been to Portland twice, both times very briefly. Once was en route to Seaside and Astoria to meet some runners at the end of the Hood to Coast Relay, and another time for a wedding.

As I told someone when I was there, “These are my people.” I feel at home in Oregon. My mom even told me afterwards that I was probably conceived there, so I guess it is a true homecoming when I visit.

I’m having to live some of my unrealized dreams through my daughter, who’s worked as a park ranger in Yellowstone, a geologist in Jackson Hole, and now lives in Portland. I guess all those summer road trips out west to the national parks influenced my daughter more than I thought they would.

Dallas should reach a high of 90 degrees today, so it’s a good time to head north. When I called Dominique to ask what kind of clothes to pack, I was told to “bring a little of everything” and to dress “funky.”

Just what I wanted to hear. I’m the type who packs everything but the kitchen sink, but funky? I’m anything but.

Are Converse sneakers considered funky? Maybe they are if you’re my age.

For a race, it’s pretty easy to pack. All the sacred running items go in the carry-on, to avoid having to scramble for race gear at the last minute if the checked bag gets lost.

Now that I have a Kindle I’m traveling much lighter. I usually pack three or four books, and buy three or four more when I get to wherever I’m going–and keep my fingers crossed when they weigh my luggage.

But I rarely have (or make) time to do much reading anyway when I travel. Too much to see! Too much to do! Too many adventures to be had!

About thirty of my running friends and acquaintances are traveling to Eugene to run the race, though most are running the marathon. I would be running it as well if I hadn’t lost a full month of training back in February after a trip to the ER, then a pulled calf muscle, and then a stomach virus.

Sometimes you have to be realistic and scale back. I’m looking forward to running “just” the half marathon.

And if you’re a runner, or you saw the movie (actually, there were two), then you know about Steve Prefontaine. Eugene is where he lived, trained, and was killed in a car accident. The race finishes on Hayward Field where he trained.

After running with Dean Karnazes last Friday, it’s kind of like meeting two running heroes in one week.

So here’s to sunny skies in Oregon, a smooth, uneventful flight, fleet feet and lots of laughs with friends, precious time with my lovely daughter–and most of all, to running. Funky or not, here I come.