It’s not every day you get to wake up in a 24hr Safeway car parking lot, having spent the night in a peaceful sleep with the assurance of the local police force ‘keeping an eye out for you’. But that’s exactly how it played out for Phil and I on Thursday morning.
We hit the road early, keen to make our way to Portland to explore a city that has a reputation for quality beer and a sense of pride in being weird. Just our kind of place. We made great time – the RV has a powerful engine – and arrived downtown around midday, which is about when our day turned pear-shaped. Don’t try to park a 30 footer in Portland! After a few failed attempts and near-misses we decided to find Dave and Mel’s house and try our luck there.
We met Dave and Mel on a ‘Rimu’ trip in November last year, two wonderful people who share a passion for the outdoors, good food and hoppy beers. Parking in their neighbourhood, in North East Portland, was no problem and we were soon relaxing in Dave’s living room listening to vinyl jazz. Dave was ‘working’ from home… 🙂
That evening, once Mel returned from work, we set out for a bike ride through the leafy suburbs of Portland to a classic micro-brewery – an awesome experience I’ll remember for a long time. One of Dave’s hobbies is to restore old bicycles, so we had a choice of 10 steeds in his garage, each with its own quirky personality, I think at one point I was riding ‘living on a prayer’, aptly named due to the aging frame!
Everyone knows that Portland is the home of craft beer, but it really needs to be consumed to be believed. Aside from the usual IPA’s, you may expect IPX, sour ales, pale reds, saison, imperial and the list goes on. We can definitely recommend Ecliptic Brewing for a good beer and meal. I forget the name of the second place we went, but I do remember the array of bike frames hanging from the ceiling.
Friday dawned with grey skies and strong coffee. We drove the short distance to the Angel’s Rest carpark where we were greeted by a dozen or so smiling Active alumni. Soon more arrived and we were just over the moon to have a group of around 20 people, especially considering the ominous weather. What a great experience! We hiked together up a steady track through beautiful green foliage with cedar, douglas fur and blooming wild flowers. Phil and I thoroughly enjoyed hearing stories from our Active travellers and meeting with prospective future adventurers. After lunch, with chipmunks and a good view, the rain set in and we all set off back, some of us opting to do the loop, which took us past some impressive waterfalls!
Later that evening we joined everyone at the Green Dragon Pub, another classic establishment positively jostling with people and good beer. Luckily Mel had made a reservation for 20, and yet more Active folk turned up as the evening went on, making for a really fun night. One of the cool spin-offs from this was to see people from around Portland meeting each other and swapping contact details – it’s all about bringing like-minded people together! One of the highlights of the evening was seeing the ‘Pedal Lounge’, a 20-odd seater bus where each passenger provides human pedal power (no slackers please) and the driver steers the group from pub to pub, beer and music included. What a great idea!
A huge thank you to everyone who shared our Oregon experience with us, especially Dave and Mel, our gracious hosts. Now we’re headed south to San Francisco!