A lot of Portland reminded me of Easton, PA. At least, the Northeast sections of Portland where our gracious host, Jill Meisner just moved. Jill will be excited to hear this, because she won’t stop mentioning how much she wants us all to move out here. So far, I haven’t come up with a great argument not to, except that moving really sucks.

No matter how much I knew of Portland’s much ballyhooed “bike mecca”-ness, I was still surprised at how many people ride out here. There were huge bike racks in front of every place we went to. If New York had bike parking as accessible as Portland, so many more people would be welcomed to ride. And that’s just one small aspect of the balance of car/bike/pedestrian infrastructure that makes Portland so good to ride in. The acceptance of bikes as a mode of transportation seems inculcated in everyone here. So much so that we hardly experienced a sidways glance from anyone, whereas in pretty much any other city I’ve ridden in, most people think we’re a maniacal nuisance.

There’s so much more to praise about Portland. I got in two games of Bike Polo with some of the people who can claim to have facilitated it’s current conception. We ate a delicious brunch at Tin Shed on Sunday – sure, it took us a few hours from start to finish because the place is so popular, but it’s not like we really had anything else to do. Afterwards we hit up the polo grounds in Alberta Park. Portland Bike Polo has a shed behind a house a few blocks away from the park where they keep spare bikes for out of towners. (These bikes are not really just for out of towners, but because I feel like being generous, I am going to let Portland claim that they really are that welcoming). Another note on polo: just like i noted in Seattle last summer, the general skill level out here is better than it is out East. MORE people can play very well. In the 9 months since I’ve been in Seattle though, I’ve witnessed my own gameplay and the gameplay of everyone else I play with improve enough to easily rival the West Coast. OK. Polo done until Milwaukee.

Bjorn moved back to Portland after 8 months in NYC. He & I visited Powell’s bookstore, the largest bookstore in the world. Again, this is another piece of slightly inaccurate propoganda about Portland that I’m not going to bother to correct. I picked up Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass” and Bjorn is going to let me borrow “Walden” by Thoreau. I was about to pick up some Emerson when I realized that might be a little bit of America overkill, so I grabbed “Lush Life” by Richard Price. I recommend Richard Price to you. All that other Americana? What better time to read it than on this trip? It never had much resonance when I was reading it from my Brooklyn apartment. And it turns out that Quinn picked up Emerson’s self reliance along with “World War Z” (about the pending zombie apocalpyse). A very apt combination.

I got to meet Steve Benoit, who owns studionumbernine.com – not to be confused with studionumbernine.net, which I own. Steve has gotten a lot of email for me over the years, and he kept on buying me beers on Saturday night. Awesome guy. We’re now following eachother on Twitter. BFF’s!

The weather was unbelievable out here, and should be for the first week of our trip. Near record high’s were reached, as we watched Portlanders stroll the waterfront. The sun set over the rail yards beautifully before we got gen-u-wine West Coast burritos (propoganda note: San Francisco has more genuine West Coast burritos than Portland.) I really wanted to go to “Stripperoke” (strippers + karaoke), but even though the concept blew my mind with it’s brilliance, I barely had the energy to do that, so we watched onDemand movies back at Jill’s place while we did our laundry. On Monday, we ate some cart food on 4th ave, got some fantastic coffee at Stumptown, and had my bike worked on at River City Bikes. Thanks again, guys, for getting this done for me today. It was the first nice weekend of the year, and everyone had been bringing their bikes in.

This relaxing life is going going to end. Real soon. But it’s going to be so worth it. Expect to hear from us less, because THINGS ARE GOING TO DIE. Particularly, cellphone & laptop batteries. But
when you do hear from us, expect to be delighted by the things we’ve seen and are showing you, and enlightened by the reflections we make on three thousand, five hundred miles of America by two wheels.