Portland: As we entered the city, parked, and walked throughout the city I felt at home. It wasn’t terribly congested like NYC but still had decent foot traffic and patrons at restaurants to make it not feel like a ghost town. It was extremely clean (I only smelled garbage once in our entire day and a half in Portland), and extremely young. The average age was late 20’s-early 30’s. They were our age, and some had young kids, and many of them were walking dogs or riding bikes. I felt like I was on a completely different universe. I was walking in a city run by kids my age, and running it much how I would want to run it.
When we walked by a solar-paneled trash compactor, I was floored. I’d never seen anything like this before but it makes so much sense: it’s why the city doesn’t smell like garbage.
I HAVE to say a few words on the brewpubs. We almost skipped over Portland. We almost went from Crescent City CA to Seattle WA. It would have been a long drive, and I woke up very cranky in Crescent City. So I suggested that we stop in Portland, completely forgetting about it being THE brew city. So we decided to pub crawl, and did samplers all night. Here’s why I love brew culture: it’s young, smart and creative. Folks enjoying good microbrews are generally well-educated, like to have a good time, but aren’t in it to get trashed (like in Vegas, for instance). The end of it: we want to go back to Portland on our next vacation, there are so many brewpubs we didn’t hit.
On our travels up into Washington: It’s been wonderful. The northwest air is cool and moderate. Much like home. But it’s mountain air and it feels clean in my lungs. We drove up I-5 listening to tunes with the windows open, letting in that refreshing mountain air and life felt grand.
We got into Seattle around 2:30 and decided to do a self-guided walking tour. We basically saw Pike’s Market Place and that was enough. It was fun, bustling, and the cool air coming off the water was refreshing. Driving down to the waterside was interesting: each block toward the water was like a giant stair-step at a very steep decline. Walking down a (perceived) 45 degree angle street was interesting. Walking back up it was a test to my lung capacity.
Next up: we start camping as we head back east – Idaho, Montana, the Dakotas.