DAY 64: Portland, Oregon
Miles traveled: 8,553
States visited: 21
Weather: 70, cloudy
Portland’s nickname is Stumptown, which is quite possibly the lamest city nickname ever. But everything else about the city is epic.
This was my second trip to Portland and I experienced massive bike envy this weekend. Besides the fact that Portland has the highest percentage of bike riders in the country, it turns out my visit coincided with Pedalpalooza, a bicycle celebration with all sorts of events going on. There were bike movies, bike parties, bike races. If only I’d brought along a bike!
The capper was the World Naked Bike Ride. This is an annual event that happens in different cities all over the world, and Saturday night was Portland’s turn. Hundreds of (mostly) nude cyclists crowded through the streets at midnight. Ostensibly, this was a form of protest against humanity’s overuse of cars, but I think most people just showed up because it’s fun to ride naked through the streets.
Also this weekend was the city’s gay pride fest, so on Sunday folks gathered for a march in the park. I was surprised how many families came out for this event, though I shouldn’t have been since Portland is one of the more liberal cities in the U.S. There was a marching band – they played Dancing Queen.
Earlier, I took a visit up to Mt. Tabor, which is supposedly the only volcano within any city limits in the U.S. It’s an extinct volcano, so no worries. I drove into the park and hiked to the top where you can see the Portland skyline.
I stopped in Powell’s Books, which is a must for anyone visiting the city. It’s one of the largest bookstores I’ve ever seen. I didn’t make any purchases because I’m still working on the three books I brought with me.
Another must-see was Voodoo Doughnuts, which I didn’t know about the last time I visited the PDX. They are known for their wacky creations like a maple roll with bacon on top. I got a chocolate donut with chocolate icing and Cocoa Puffs on top.
My Portland friend Renee, an ex-Pittsburgher, was actually back in Pittsburgh most of the weekend but we got to hang out when she returned on Sunday. We discussed the fact that she got to witness the Penguins winning the Stanley Cup in Pittsburgh the night it happened, while I was stuck watching in a quiet sports bar in Portland. I would much rather have been part of the ruckus in the streets of the South Side. Maybe next year!
oh and boy was there a ruckus!!! you know with the super bowl how they bring out the riot squad at like 1 and then its pretty quiet after that? not this time! they had Carson blocked off from car traffic but people were out there partying til like 4! it was crazy.
I read that the crowd at the penguins parade was more mellow then the steelers parade, which doesn’t surprise me. There aren’t as many drunken yinzers among pens fans!
If you enjoy watching naked bike rides, you should check out Seattle’s Summer Solstice parade. Actually, I’m not sure when it’s scheduled to take place, but I’d imagine it’ll be THIS SATURDAY. In addition to naked bikers, there are usually crazy puppets and generally revelry. And it’s in a cool part of town called Fremont, which is where you can also find the 1600 Phinney chocolate factory–a tour of which I’d totally recommend!! BTW, I’ve put out emails to my friends about your visit and am waiting to hear back…
I’ve heard of that event. I looked it up and I think it’s not until July. Thanks for the Seattle suggestions & stuff!