September 5, 2015 – Sun and rain, 65 degrees
Miles Today: 55
Miles to Date: 6,486
States to Date: 23
We got a late start pedaling out of Longview. It was 9:30 before I scaled the tall bridge over the Columbia River, observed the two-mile long Weyerheauser plant on the northern shore and entered Oregon. I have now been to all 48 contiguous states – only 25 more left by bike!
US 30 in Oregon proved a easy ride though less spectacular than my route yesterday. I stopped at St. Helens for a Safeway lunch. I am a total fan of their kale super food salad. When I get the $6 lunch combo meal and ask for that as my main portion the staff always says, ‘You can have fried chicken, you know.” Sometimes I get chicken, but I the kale salad is too good to delegate as a side dish.
The overcast sky turned to rain. I sat out the storm and then and continued on through intermittent clouds and drizzle. Northwest Portland is industrial but quiet on a holiday weekend Saturday. I veered into the Alphabet District (so named because the east/west streets run alphabetical from Burnside to Wilson. I don’t know what happened to ‘A’). Immediately, Portland is different from other places. Sure, there is grunge clothing like Seattle. But there are also women in elegant long skirts, coeds wearing facsimile cheerleading uniforms, aging hippies clutching walking sticks as they parade the sidewalk, and guys in pressed khakis. Anything goes doesn’t mean sloppy. It literally means the full range of personal appearance is embraced.
I happened by a lovely branch library to take a writing break, then meandered down 23rd Street past boutiques and cafes. I could have pedaled my own smoothie, but I had cycled enough, so I made my way to the stately Biltmore Apartment building on Nob Hill where my warmshowers host lives on the top floor with a broad view of the city.
Mike Riscica is a New York transplant, fellow architect, cyclist and accomplished blogger. We had plenty in common. Mike grabbed a Car2Go and we buzzed downtown. Then we spent the evening strolling back home along Portland streets. We visited The Portland Building (the first true Post-Modernism building?), Pioneer Square, and Union Way – a timber frame version of a Parisian shopping concourse. We enjoyed superb beer and a great dinner beneath the massive trusses at Fat Head’s, and a nightcap at another brewery. An altogether terrific introduction to Portland.