January 12, 2016: The first leg of my west coast trip started in Portland, Oregon. I had a short stopover in Salt Lake City, Utah at around 5.30am, which gave me nothing short of a glorious sunrise over the snowcapped mountains and rainbow tinted sky. My photos could not do justice to what I saw outside the airport windows.
Landing into a rain filled Portland, I made my way down to the TriMet ticket machine in the airport to purchase a day pass for all public transport systems. Don’t make the mistake I did and think that buying a 5 day pass meant that you could buy it for consecutive days - I had bought 5 passes for the same day. In the words of Homer Simpson, “doh!”. So my first half hour was trying to find other patrons to take my other tickets. What I do recommend is downloading the app on your phone where you can directly purchase an all day pass to all public transport systems for only $5.00 for unlimited rides! Meaning, you don’t have to find a ticket machine or carry around the pass with you.
I had some time to kill before my AirBnb was ready for the day, so I thought I’d explore a little of Portland. I didn’t really get too many great shots since that day was pouring winter rain, plus I was dragging around my roller carry on and backpack on top of that. A little tip, the Greyhound bus station has lockers for rent if you’re ever in a similar situation. Once my baggage was stored, I made my way around town - spotting awesome art, interesting solar panel sculptures, the Pendleton store, Flanders St (Portland has many streets that Simpson’s characters were named after), etc.
I eventually stopped off at the famous Powell’s Books for a little shelter and to grab a coffee and snack from their cafe. Oh man - was I in heaven! Coming from Hawaii, who are only starting on their coffee connoisseur quests and growing up in New Zealand where they take their coffee very seriously - I was so pleased to have real coffee again, all the while washing it down with a delectable almond croissant.
After resting up, my AirBnb was ready, a cozy little room in a shared house, in a quiet neighborhood near town. I dropped off my bags and peeled off my rain soaked clothes and got into something a little more snug as I would be mostly walking around in temperatures where it had just snowed a few days earlier. Being used to Hawaii’s heat, where we throw on a thick sweater and extra blanket when it hits 72°F (22°C), feeling the freezing temps through my rubber boots and having my hands literally frozen stiff was definitely an experience.
The neighborhood I was staying in had a huge murder of crows surrounding it, (I love that term, and since Hawaii nor New Zealand has crows I’m going to exploit it every chance I get) - I kept joking in my head as they were circling and cawing that they were ready to pick at my frozen carcass any time now while walking around. Those pictures of the crows that appear to be in black and white were not altered into grayscale at all and a perfect visual depiction of how chilly and chilling it was at the time.
I made my way back into town for dinner to try the much lauded Tasty n Alder, boy did it not disappoint! I had the grilled rosemary chicken with I believe a sweet potato and leek puree. I even ordered a grown up drink to go with it, a Moscow mule (I rarely imbibe as I am a grandma trapped in a young person’s body). I’m still kicking myself because I completely forgot to get their famous chocolate potato doughnut, which is the main reason I went! Next time, Portland, next time.
All in all, I had a great introduction to Portland and all the great things I had heard were very real. Tomorrow, Day 2 of Portland explorations!
All photos taken by me on my iPhone 6.