I got up early when Oscar went to work so I could get a head start on the day. I planned to leave Portland the next day so I needed to get everything in that I wanted to see within the next few hours. The air was crisp and cold as I hopped on my board and Oscar on his bike. We were two of only a handful of people up and awake, cruising around near the Willamette River. Immediately, I was woken up as the cold air whipped around me as I tried to keep up with Oscar. Eventually, we came to a coffee shop his friend owned, Kiosko. I got an espresso that combined with the brisk skate, woke me right up. It tasted amazing and Oscar’s friend was nice enough to give me a hand-drawn map of Portland. It actually came in handy during my daytime adventures so shout out to Kiosko!
I walked up in a straight line towards “downtown” away from the water front and Kiosko. As I walked, the city began to feel more and more like a metropolis. Tall buildings rose around me and cars were zipping around. As I walked and skated, I came across numerous parks stuck right between the skyscrapers. Each park had it’s own little theme or abstract piece of art and each carried it’s own particular vibe.
When Oscar went to work, I was able to walk and skate the whole city. There are pockets where sunlight shines through and the whole street is illuminated in light and you see things you normally wouldn’t see within the shadows of the buildings. Powell’s City of Books was one of the most wonderful stores I had ever set foot in. I was in there for three to four hours and came out with three books that I had narrowed down from my basket of ten. – October 6, 2017, 2:05 am, Oscar and Cindy’s, Portland
Powell’s City of Books is something else. An entire store of books: 3 floors, 9 color-coded sections and me standing there thinking “I gotta be out in an hour.” I spent way too much time in there ultimately but it was absolutely worth it and I’d do it again ten times out of ten. I ended up with a book on Portland, a fantasy and a history text on Sir Francis Drake. I could have left with all ten of the books I had originally picked out but I used restraint.
Feeling immensely pleased with the day already but quickly running out of time, I ate a quick lunch then mobbed on my board around the rest of the city. During my ride I passed more parks like the ones I saw that morning. I saw dark alleyways and brightly lit courtyards. I saw packed city streets and I saw streets filled with more homeless than cars. I passed bars and breweries, apartment complexes and skyscrapers. The coolest aspect of Portland though in my opinion was the street art. Perfectly ingrained into city life, it’s easy to take the pieces for granted as you’re walking around.
After my day of exploration, I was ready for my last night out in Portland with Cindy and Oscar. Cindy made us a terrific dinner and we watched the MLB playoffs until we were ready to go out. We took an Uber to this brewery called Base Camp that was across the bridge but still near their apartment. It was setup to look as it’s name suggests with Tibetan flags flying and wooden tables covered with maps of Everest. It was here that I tasted the best beer I’ve ever had. Anytime I see “s’mores” on a menu, I’m automatically getting whatever it is. I have such a deep love of marshmallows, it’s probably not healthy. So I ordered the S’mores beer but kept my expectations tempered. The bartender showed up with my glass and before I could swipe it off the bar, he wedged a marshmallow on the side of my glass, brought a torch up to it and roasted it right in front of me as my mouth began watering…
We finished up at the brewery and ended our night at a Tiki bar. We got some bomb food, some stiff tiki drinks and had a great time just chopping it up. All in all, my time in Portland was entirely too short. I wish I could have spent an entire week up there but I told myself that now I had something to strive for. Gotta get back to Portland.