Travel Observations about the City of Roses

Travel Observations about the City of Roses


Did you know that Portland, Oregon, is the City of Roses? I didn’t. I thought that label was reserved for Pasadena and their beloved Rose Bowl. I think this city in the Northwest should instead be called the city of bicycles or maybe the city of environmentally friendly and inexpensive transportation (e-fit)? I think a creative marketing person could do something with that.

We have traveled by train, light rail, trolly, foot and all at very inexplicably inexpensive rates. The train ride from the airport is $2.50 a person. Pedestrians must be alert and prepared to give way to the packs of riders crossing the many beautiful iron bridges, arching over the Wilamette River, entering and exiting the city central ringing warning bells and delivering staccato barks of “on the left.” We purchase, daily, a pass for the Max Line for $5 and no one has yet checked to confirm we have a ticket although the soothing, rather sexy female voice recording, reminds us on each ride that we are subject to a check at any time. This town seems to me to be a little lax on rules. Food trucks and shanty pop-up restaurants are the norm and are packed in all over town. Marijuana is legal and there is no sales tax. Prices for items are even. $5 for a sandwich, $4 for a large coffee, and $1 for a bottle of water. I wonder if pennies are out of rotation in Oregon just collecting on side tables, in quirky liquor bottles and heaped on cheap trays waiting patiently for use during that occasional out of state business trip. We dined at Pok Pok, a highly rated Thai restaurant on Division Street, that code compliance in Forth Worth would shut down in a heart beat. Glad the wind wasn’t blowing the night we dined as I am not sure what was holding up the structure. Rubber bands and moss? But the chicken wings were amazing along with the Thai chili dipping sauces.

Portlanders love books, coffee and craft beer. They wear plaid and sensible shoes and are loyal to the local brands of Nike and Columbia. Tourists use umbrellas against the constant drizzle but residents instead don repellant outerwear, layers, and continue to ride their bicycles through the pools and puddles that line the bike paths. Bike paths and car lanes are creatively divided by beautiful concrete planters full of flowers and plants that thrive in the rain and cool temperatures. We need to copy this technique in the fort.

All potatoes offered here are grown in the Wilamette Valley, all cheese is Tinnahook, and all food is fresh and local. We are having a relaxing time with our nose in a book, a hot cup of java, just hanging out at Powell’s. Tomorrow we check out the country side, Columbia Gorge and Mt. Hood.

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