It turns out you can take your appliances on vacation. (btw Stephan – even if Anne has to eat her words, the trip was well worth it).
We have been trying to get to Portland for a childless getaway for awhile. The stars aligned this past weekend and we were able to get the grandparents to watch the kids so we headed down to the Rose city to celebrate our anniversary.
We ended up driving our VW van after much discussion of trains (no go since we read you have to box odd shaped bikes) and Zipcars (we didn’t think our bikes would fit in any of their cars). To complicate matters, we had to pick up our kids at the grandparents house in the suburbs at the end of the weekend and driving simplified all of that.
Did you like all of those excuses for taking the stinky car?
As soon as we rolled into town, we ditched the car (parked it in front of our friends’ house for the weekend), unloaded the bikes and pedaled off to discover the city. We were car(e) free and unencumbered the rest of the weekend.
Portland is really a great cycling citytown. It’s flat: the Oma was made to roll down those flat bike boulevards(we’re pretty sure Tim only pushed Anne up one hill the entire weekend), the bike infrastructure is enviable, the people are welcoming: small-town feel with a great community atmosphere and Portland has great food. We thoroughly enjoyed our visit and are looking forward to going back soon.
Our local friends passed on some great food and drink tips. We were well fed the entire weekend, everything they recommended was most excellent. We didn’t make it to all of their favorite spots, but we did some pretty impressive culinary damage. We’ll have to pedal a little farther this week to work off all of our indulgences.
Some of our favorite spots:
¿Por que No?: yummy tacos, heated outdoor seating, on–street bike parking, all around great spot to enjoy a casual dinner
Sahagun: Delicious chocolate shop in NW Portland. The salt carmel is oozy deliciousness
Ristretto: Excellent coffee, cool modern building.
Pix Patisserie: Pastries, Coffee, Chocolate and Beer What more could you want?
Portland Farmers Market: Great community atmosphere, nice gathering place for locals. Live music and live pepper roasting? so festive! We spent a couple of hours at the market sampling the local fare stuffing our faces with good grub.
Voodoo Doughnuts: Anthony Bourdain has sampled their doughnuts on national tv—Voodoo is officially a tourist destination. Tim really wanted to sample the Bacon maple bar so we stopped before heading back to the hotel on Saturday. Nothing like sugar and bacon right before bed.
Amnesia Brewing: Warehouse atmosphere – the way a working brewery should be. No nonsense, decent beer, outdoor seating and tons of available bike parking.
5th Quadrant: Excellent last stop before heading home. Beautiful fall day, plenty of outdoor seating, tasty IPA and a yummy salad, what more do you need?
Check out the rest of our trip photos here if you are so inclined.
– Anne and Tim
yeah! Portland! It is flat isn’t it? (compared to Seattle) I’m sorry you thought you had to take your car. All of the Amtrak Cascades can handle bicycles without boxes. They have a bike hooks in the luggage cars.
How’s Voodoo measure up to Top Pot?
oops didn’t realize you were taking your dump truck, Aaron had a hilarious (to read not experience) about taking his x-tracycle apart to get it on the train.
Aaron told us he had to box his Xtracycle and they made him get it down to 50 lbs. We didn’t want to deal with that.
Does anyone know if Amtrak has changed that policy.
Voodoo is a thousand times better then Top Pot, the name comes from when tthe were orginally only open at night.
chiggins – The doughnut was pretty unremarkable. I’d say Top Pot is tastier. But you can’t go to Top Pot at 11:00 at night and mingle with a bunch of drunk people so Voodoo has that going for it…
I had a cherry cake doughnut at Top Pot last time I was there that blinded me with ecstatic doughnut-synesthesia. I have to imagine that any doughnut that’s 1000 times better than that would be a federally regulated schedule 1 drug.
Sounds like your trip was soopah doopah, happy anniversary!
We took Amtrak to Portland a few weeks ago, and Amtrak told us they could load the Xtra, just like a regular bike. Gene at King Street (in Baggage) said it was no problem.
We took the Talgo (Cascades) and not the Coast Starlight, not sure if that makes a difference.
Hi AJ — I sure wish Amtrak would get their story straight. Is that too much too ask? Oh, yeah, it probably is. Oh well, between kid drop off/pick-up, the train timing would have been quite a stretch.
Its our first tank of gas since we went camping more than a month ago, so I’m trying not to let it bother me too much. Maybe the train will work next time when I have my _new_ (shorter) bike, eh?
dudes: bromptons. glad you enjoyed granola disneyland.
i would add biwa (http://biwarestaurant.com/) to your list of cool places.
Hey, happy anniversary. Glad that you can take your Oma on vacation, even though she really is a heavy old homebody. Hope she didn’t burp or fart too much on the way. Speaking of well fed, I just had a lamb shank plate delivered to the shop for lunch from Baba Pita. Yum.
It was good to see you – thanks for the directions!
Biwa was on our list – we were planning to go there on Sunday but didn’t know they weren’t open for lunch. Next time.
And you’re right about making different bike choices (at least for Tim). Again, next time.
Thanks! It was a good one.
The Oma burped and farted and dropped a mudflap on I5 but made it nonetheless.
mmm – lamb sounds good. you’ll have to make us a list of good places to eat and drink when we wander out to Chicago…we’ll probably just rent bikes from you on that trip.
Tim – Yeah, it would be nice if they got their stories right – I didn’t trust them when they said it until he let me write his name down and another employee gave me the pen to do it.
Looks like you had a blast in Portland! It was a nice weekend to go.
Amtrack hasn’t really figured out what their story is, though they’re working on it. Going to Portland, we have been able to load XtraCycles on several occasions without disassembly, and have seen tandems loaded similarly, even though the official policy is that all bikes must hang from the hooks provided. The boxing requirement is for longer distances, such as on the Coast Starlight. It really depends on the individual in charge of the baggage car; on one trip, we loaded the bikes in ourselves, and everyone was happy. When we got to our destination and tried to unload them, we were told that only the baggage car attendants were allowed in the baggage car, and that we should tell them which bike, and they would unload it. Once they actually tried to lift our bikes, they allowed us in the baggage car, grudgingly. I get the impression that it’s an evolving system. Let’s give them plenty of reason to allow more, yes? All aboard!
It was super fun having you and Ann down. I’m glad the eats worked out well and heckling while you loaded up the van was a bonus.
tfahrner: Go Biwa! But I’ll the ante with Pok Pok
Just took an Azor Transport (big but not long dutch city bike) down on Amtrak to Portland. Had a friendly interaction with Seattle baggage folks who still suggested I not bring such a beast next time. The guy in Portland was mighty crotchety, and was aggressively shooing me out of the car as I bungied it to one of the side rails. For some reason, they didn’t want to hang it (“too heavy for the folks on the other end”). So not sure what I should do next time … will probably try again, since it was such an excellent adventure.
Full disclosure: I do have more bike geek paraphernalia bolted to that bike than is reasonable (front kid seat, le Veltop windshield and bike-tent, front rack with wald basket, etc). I’m approaching Val territory. In fact, they asked me if it was a motorized vehicle.