Portland – Day 1 – Travel Day & Portland By Night

This weekend I had the wonderful opportunity to visit the beautiful city of Portland, Oregon. Before we dive into what I did lets take a brief look at the history of Portland to understand how it came to be where it is today.

Portland is Oregon’s largest and most populated city with a population of roughly 650,000 people. Portland was founder in the 1830’s by pioneers who travelled via the Oregon Trail. The Oregon Trail is a 2170 mile (3490 km) East-West wagon route that was used by pioneers and fur traders in the early to mid 1800’s. Portland was originally referred to as Stumptown and The Clearing because of the many trees that had to be cut down to allow for the growth of the settlement. In 1843 William Overton saw potential in the new settlement but lacked the funds to file an official land claim, so for a mere 25 cents he agreed to share half of the site with Asa Lovejoy from Boston. In 1845 Overton sold the remaining half to Francis Pettygrove from Portland, Maine. Both Pettygrove and Lovejoy wanted to rename The Clearing after their hometowns, and the renaming was settled with a coin toss. Pettygrove won in a series of two out of three coin tosses, and The Clearing was renamed Portland after Pettygrove’s hometown of Portland, Maine. The coin used to make the decision was declared the Portland Penny and is on display in the Oregon Historical Society headquarters.

Portland was officially incorporated on February 8 1851 and had a population of 800 people. There was a major fire in 1873 which wiped out about 20 city blocks. The city rebuilt and by 1890 the city had a population of 46000 people. Portland’s access to water made it a major port city for the timber industry and helped provide a major boom to the city’s early economy. This also helped earn the city the unfortunate reputation as being a dangerous city with organized crime and racketeering. It took a while to shake this rough edge but Portland came out of the 1960’s with a new lease on life with its progressive political and environmental views. The city operates with a commission-based government guided led by a major as well as four commissioners and a directly elected metropolitan planning organization. The city is recognized internationally as one of the world’s most environmentally conscious cities due to its ease of walkability, large number of public parks, large use of bicycles, public transportation, and inner-city farming. An interesting fact is that this city is also ideal for growing roses and Portland has also been called the City of Roses. Portland also has various other nicknames such as Bridgetown, Beervana, and Brewtopia.

I started out my Portland trip by arriving at Portland International Airport (PDX) on an Air Canada Express Bombardier Q400. The flight was a direct flight from YYC to PDX and took roughly 2 hours. PDX has an iconic carpet that features geometric shapes on a teal background representing what the birds eye view of the airport as seen by the air traffic controllers from the airport tower. The original carpet was installed in 1987 and received a ton of media attention and was loved by travelers and locals. In 2013 the Port of Portland announced the replacement of the carpet and this caused quite the stir on social media. The original carpet removal began in January 2015, with the airport recycling the extremely worn out portions and the remaining pieces were sold to local retail vendors. The new carpet design places more of an emphasis on modern design and features natural and man-shape shapes found around the airport, including references to flight, nature and structures such as airplane wings, hiking trails, leaves, runways and waterways. Installation was completed in November 2015. The carpet replacement ended up costing roughly $13 million. Personally I’m a fan of the old design, compared to the new design.
The old carpet design has inspired designs in socks, tie’s, sneakers, underwear, etc. Portland Trail Blazers basketball team point guard Damian Lillard released two Adidas branded shoes with the design between 2015 and 2016.

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After arriving in Portland there are a few forms of transportation to get into the city center; the MAX Red Line LRT ($2.50 USD), Uber ($22/USD average), Taxi ($35/USD average), and Rental Car ($35/day USD average). In order to align with my frugal ways of travel I opted for the MAX Red Line LRT, which should have taken roughly 40 minutes to go from PDX to Pioneer Square North, which was close to the hotel I was staying at; Hotel Radisson RED. Unfortunately, after just a few stops the train stopped and the transit operator told us to take a cab, Uber, or bus since the train bridge was having trouble getting locked in the down position.

The MAX LRT system is comprised of 5 lines spanning over 60 miles (97 km) and has 97 stations. Construction of the MAX network started in 1982. The MAX system was conceived after a series of anti-freeway movements by locals in the 1970’s. The system utilizes 750 Volts DC overhead wires similar to Calgary’s very own LRT system, except ours utilize only 600 Volts DC. Rolling stock includes five different models; simply called Type 1 through Type 5. The original Type 1’s were a joint venture project with Canada’s Bombardier and La Brugeoise et Nivelles from Belgium. The Type 1’s were high floor type trains that did not allow wheelchair accessibility. After the passing of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990 the requirement for low floor type trains were a must, which lead to the Type 2 low floor trains that were developed by Siemens, dubbed SD660’s. Type 3’s were also SD660’s. Type 4’s were Siemens S70’s. Type 5’s were essentially improved S70’s. Trainsets are typically only 2 cars, and Type 1-3 are interchangeable and Type 4-5 are interchangeable.

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Anyways… back to the trip. We got an Uber ride from a guy named Dustin, who was super friendly. He was originally from Oklahoma and ended up coming here to study Business and Economics at Portland State University. He was doing some Uber driving on the side. After getting dropped off by Dustin we checked into our hotel. The Radisson RED Portland is a brand new hotel that just opened in November 2018. The hotel has 180 rooms on 8 floors, while the remaining floors in the tower are consumed by office space. The room was massive and very hip with all sorts of retro art murals. The room had a king size bed, work area, ample storage, and a luxurious bathroom with white tiles with red grout and a lobster mural in the shower! The hotel even has an arcade and games room on the second floor loft that overlooks the foyer area.

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After dropping off our bags we walked to Deschutes Brewery. On the way I took multiple photos of Portland at night. Deschutes Brewery is one of my favorite craft breweries. Deschutes Brewery was opened in 1988 with the main brewery located in Bend, Oregon. Deschutes Brewery also has a satellite pub in Portland’s Pearl District, which is the one we visited. The brewery produces a wide range of beers including Black Butte Porter, Mirror Pond Pale Ale, Fresh Squeezed IPA, Inversion IPA, Chainbreaker White IPA, Deschutes River Ale, Obsidian Stout, Red Chair NWPA, Twilight Summer Ale, Jubelale, Hop Henge Experimental IPA, Hop Trip, Chasin’ Freshies, The Dissident, Mirror Mirror, and The Abyss. Deschutes uses an in-house, proprietary yeast strain resembling Wyeast Laboratories, Inc. #1187 Ringwood Ale yeast. Deschutes is the eighth largest craft brewery and fifteenth largest brewery in the US, producing over 29.3 million litres of beer annually. It was time for me to drink a few of those litres of beer!

First up was Hazy IPA. Second up was Fresh Squeezed IPA. Third up was Inversion IPA. The Hazy IPA was my favorite of the three. Catherine ended up having a Cider and tried some of my Hazy IPA. She really liked the Hazy IPA, maybe I’m converting her… just maybe… We also decided to also have some food so we shared an IPA Pretzel served with gooey cheese and mustard. It was absolutely incredible.

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After becoming moderately drunk it was time to go back to the hotel as we had a big day ahead of us. Oh, did I mention we actually had to leave because the bar closed at… 10pm? Yes, that’s right it closes at 10pm on a Thursday.

Check back tomorrow when we explore the beautiful city of Portland during the day and go to a Darci Lynne show in the evening.

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August 29th 2016 – New Zealand Day 9

Today I woke up at 6:00am, without the help of an alarm. I guess I was done sleeping. I made myself breakfast and then started up my camper. It was a very cold morning today, at only 2 degrees Celsius. The camper sputtered to life, albeit a bit miserable. Even modern diesels are not the happiest at cold temperatures. I let the camper warm up a few minutes before taking off on my journey towards Napier.
The trip to Napier took about an hour and a half, covering approximately 130km. I was absolutely blown away by Napier. This was the highlight of my New Zealand trip so far! I love Art Deco architectural styling, and Napier happens to be the best preserved city on earth. In fact it is unofficially the Art Deco capital of the world! It was even nominated in 2007 to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but was denied due to it not meeting all the criteria. Also, Napier, is the twin sister city to Victoria, Canada, but I don’t quite see the resemblance.
Art Deco, also just known in short for Deco, is beautiful style that first appeared in France just before World War 1. It became very popular world wide in the 1920’s and 1930’s, seeing its influence in everything from architecture, cars, furniture, trains, and even ocean liners! Art Deco features geometric shapes, clear and precise lines, and decoration which is attached to the structure, but not part of the structural load bearing characteristics. Art Deco is often represented with luxury, and glamour, but its time came to an end at the brink of World War 2 because it was considered to ostentatious and fancy. World War 2 hit in full force and “Modern” style architecture took over. Art Deco and Mid Century Modern, the successor to “Modern” architecture are my two favorite architectural styles.
I walked around Napier for a few hours taking in all the Art Deco I could get my eyes on. I came across a pie shop and ordered a $4 chicken, cranberry, and cream cheese pie. It was the most delicious pie I’ve ever had in my life. The flavours just melt in your mouth, and one pie is quite filling.
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After my delightful visit in Napier it was time to move on to my next stop, Hastings, which was the twin and bigger sister to Napier. Hastings had a completely different feel to it. Napier had more industrial activity than Hastings, but it felt cuter and had a more cozy feel to it. Hastings had better examples of Art Deco in my opinion, but the city felt a bit cold and I was harassed by a bunch of homeless people, and hooligans hanging around a central park so that didn’t leave me with a good feeling about Hastings.
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After visiting Hastings I meandered my way along Highway 2 towards Wellington. I came across the main Tui brewery so I decided to stop and check it out. The brewery was closed due to being upgraded, but the bar area was still open. I tried a few samples, bought a growler of their brew master’s special, and toured their museum.
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I continued along my journey and found a really nice paid campsite with electricity for $10 in the town of Eketahuna. I setup my camper on a gravel pad in the middle of the huge camp ground next to an electrical pole. I stuck to the gravel because the ground was extremely saturated with water and I felt the weight of my camper would be too much that I would sink in. There were only three other campers besides me. I was hungry so I decided I would use my built-in BBQ to prepare some spaghetti and meat sauce, but the BBQ had some issues. The right burner nozzle was clogged, and the left burner was suffering from some performance issues. I brought the food inside and used the stove.
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The owner of the facility came down on his scooter at around 7:00pm to collect the $10 payment. We chatted for about ten minutes, before he went and collected payments from the other campers. The rest of the evening was spent working on my photo’s and my blog.
Tomorrow I’m heading towards Wellington. Check back tomorrow!
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