Great American Road Trip: Part 3


July 20–26, 2018

Portland is one of my favorite cities in the United States. The reasons I like Portland are some of the same reasons why I found Berlin such an wonderful place to live. Portland is quirky, weird, eccentric, liberal, accepting, and has a lot of fun little neighborhoods with all sorts of food and beer to try. Portland boasts one of the highest number of breweries per capita in the United States.

I arrived in Portland on Friday evening and met up with an old college friend of mine from Tallahassee, who has graciously shown me a good time on my last three visits to Rose City. This time, I stayed in his guest room (my first time sleeping in a house in over a week). The weekend was largely centered around celebrating the marriage of two friends from Berlin, at McMenamin’s Edgefield. Saturday consisted of a par 3 pitch-n-put golf tournament (I ended up +16 on the 10-hole course), some midday beers, then off to the Portland Timers match.

My friend Barrett is a huge Timbers fan, and treated me to an extra ticket for the match against Montreal. The game ended as a draw, but was very exciting. Afterward I had the pleasure to talk with the infamous Timber Jim for about 30 minutes about my fire truck, fighting fires, and building schools in Tanzania.

Providence Park from just next to the Timbers Army

On Sunday after brunch at Miss Delta in Portland’s Mississippi District, I got all dressed up and headed to the Wedding reception. It was a lovely evening and beautiful celebration.

I clean up well for a guy living out of a van.

The Portland 4-T trail

Portland is a rarity in the United States, in that they seem to build infrastructure for public transportation and cycling before the city reaches a critical need for it. With options to take a trail, trolley, tram, or train; it’s no doubt that there is the possibility to do all of them in the same day! The city has planned out what they call the 4-T trail, which takes you on a tour of all four.

You start downtown Portland, and hop on the train up to the Oregon Zoo. From the zoo, there are several trails that take you to the highest point in the city (Council Crest Park at 1,073 feet) and then onward to the Oregon Health & Science University campus. On the day we visited the park, they had a small farmers market and several food carts. We opted for a tamale and some watermelon juice before heading to the air tram.

View from the upper platform of the tram, looking northward.

The Portland Aerial Tram is a suspended cable car (similar to a ski gondola) that connects the University’s two campus locations between the upper hill and the South Waterfront area. The ride is only about 2 minutes, and free to ride down the hill.

The last part of the 4T trail is taking a street Trolley back to downtown Portland. We took a few hours to complete the whole trip.

Multnomah Falls

A touristy trip to Portland should usually include a trip to the heavily-frequented Multnomah Falls. While I had wanted to ride my bike to the Falls, US-30 is still closed for repairs after the damage caused by the Eagle Creek fires last year. The fires also closed a lot of the trails near Multnomah Falls, so unfortunately, our trip only included a bus ride and about 20 minutes taking in the sights, before heading back to the city. Still… it is one picturesque waterfall.

Multnomah Falls, Oregon

After visiting the falls, I got some good news that Bob was running well and did not need any fluids or brake pad replacement, so I was free to hit the road the next day. We had some tasty beers and delicious vegetarian food at Sweet Hereafter (did I mention Portland has some great breweries??) to celebrate a great time spent in Portland. Next stop: to the coast where it isn’t 90+ degrees!

Data scientist, musician, and adventurer with a passion for the environment and outdoors. Recently left Berlin to travel through North America in a fire truck.