Twilight on a Bridge in Portland
This summer for Independence Day, I decided to leave the crappy sauna that is NYC and head out west to visit my family and friends in Portland, Oregon to escape the torture that is known as an East Coast summer. I usually go back a few times a year and summer is a very good time.
West Coast summers are so different than its East Coast counterpart. The West Coast has a dry heat during the day and during the night it cools off leaving you with a wisp of light crisp breeze. On the other hand, NYC says good morning with a slap in the face of unbearable heat and humidity and sends you off to bed in the same manner. Not pleasant at all!
Unfortunately the majority of the trip won’t be included in this blog because most people don’t really dig the mundane things such as hanging out with my father and watching Court TV (he loves it).
Look Far into the Distance - Mt. Hood!
My first free time to hang out with friends was on a Tuesday, not the best night, but who cares! It was a beautiful evening in Portland; picture book perfect, actually. The day had been warm, 85 degrees, but the night had cooled off to one of those breezy West Coast nights that I was raised on. A night like that can only mean one thing to me and my best friend Angie. Time to go to Waterfront Park!
I met up with Angie and headed towards downtown. The sun was easing into the west kissing the sky with a lovely orange pink glow. We rolled down the windows letting the fresh air surround us and cranked up the K103.
Now K103 won’t make sense to people who haven’t spent a lot of time in Portland.
K103 is that cheesy music channel that every major city has that plays mostly love songs; especially at night. I don’t normally listen to this type of music, but when in Portland with Angie, we crank it up. Why? Because we like to laugh!
Own the Bird Poop, Dude!
As we got closer to Waterfront, we were surprised to see a parking space open right across the street. It doesn’t get any better in Portland…no, seriously…it really doesn’t, but I am getting sidetracked.
After celebrating our parking victory we exited the car and headed to the Waterfront walkway, but not before I spied the back of Angie’s car. Bird pooh everywhere! It was as if a group of kamikaze birds had gone crazy and hit the back of Angie’s car over and over.
Why she was picked, we will never know, but it made for a great photo op!
When it gets warm everyone goes to Pioneer Square or Waterfront, it’s just the way it is. So the place was crawling with all different types of people. There are a lot of nutty people in Portland so Angie and I blended right in.
The walk along Waterfront Park brought back a lot of memories for the both of us. Getting hit on by the homeless guy, fleet week and the soldiers scoping the grounds for chicks, hiding from ex boyfriends we spotted on the walkway; the list goes on and on.
Waterfront is a place I would recommend to anyone who visits Portland.
It is a great place to people watch, ride your bike, walk, skate or sit and talk with friends. Angie and I did the latter since we hadn’t seen each other in a while and decided to take a portrait of the both of us to remember this moment. Not easy to do at night. So we set the camera down on part of the railing and prayed it didn’t fall into the water. The camera was new so this was a dumb move. The camera gods were with us, the camera was spared and the photo turned out well.
Enjoying the Sights of Portland!
An hour or so later, we decided we were hungry so we headed towards Clackamas. Everything we passed was either closed or a strip club. In Oregon there are strip clubs everywhere; that and Fred Meyers and churches. But we didn’t want to go to a strip club; we just wanted to eat without being disturbed.
Every place I suggested along the way home was closed.
How could this be, it was only 10PM? Angie had to gently remind me that I had been spoiled by NYC. Nothing was open at 10PM on Tuesday in Oregon; except bars, but we weren’t feeling that for the first time in our lives. So we had to settle on a Shari’s Restaurant which is pretty much a Denny’s with a “homey” décor.
The Clackamas River on the 4th of July
I used to go to Shari’s all the time as a teenager, but only because it was the only place that was open all night, not because it was any good. Well, it was still as lousy as ever. The service was slow and the food was as I remembered it, nasty with a side of yuck. A Banquet Frozen Dinner would be better than Shari’s and it only costs a buck!
We paid the bill as quickly as we could (which isn’t fast at Shari’s) and headed to Angie’s car so she could drop me off.
We were discussing our plans for the Fourth of July the next day as we were dive bombed by a huge moth that had snuck into her car. I hate bugs and I ran out of the car screaming. Portland has its own way of saying welcome back.
The Mighty Clackamas River
There is nothing better than Fourth of July in Oregon. Okay, that was an exaggeration, because every Fourth of July ends up getting a good dose of rain without fail! But a miracle happened the summer of 2007. There was not a drop of rain to be found let alone clouds. Could Al Gore be right?
Around noon I headed out to meet Angie in Clackamas.
Yes, the town is really called Clackamas. Has a nice ring to it, right? Indeed! Angie and her family had invited me to spend the afternoon at the Clackamas River before Angie and her husband and I celebrated the Fourthof July our own way for the evening.
People Only Thought She Existed in Myths...
The part of the Clackamas River that we were on is where you will find many people intertubing on the water. It isn’t that deep, but it has a decent current so hundreds of people go there on the weekends or Fourth of July to escape the heat. I passed as I am not a fan of water; in fact only two members of the group decided to go down the river.
The rest of us stayed on the porch at the house as hundreds of intertubers drifted by.
The current was so strong that 75% of the people would end up caught up on the rocks below us because they underestimated the distance between the rocks and the rest of the river and didn’t leave enough room. We laughed as we enjoyed our chicken, potato salad and corn. It was even funnier when we spotted the two members of our group and they ended up stuck on the rocks. We pointed and laughed as they crawled up out of the river and onto the deck to grab a beer and some chicken before heading back out on the river to finish the run.
...All Hail the Beer Goddess!
But before they left we were granted a visit from the “Beer Goddess.” Yes, she does exist and we spotted her on the Clackamas River carrying a cooler on her back and a cold one in her hand. Her owner was watching her closely because every man was eyeing her; every man wanted her. She was desired by all! I just hope the beer wasn’t Pabst.
As evening descended things on the river started to slow down, so Angie, David and I said goodbye to the others and went back to Angie’s house to celebrate Independence Day.
We hadn’t really prepared, so Angie had dug through her car and found old fireworks from the year before. The amount of fireworks we had was dismal. We had around 16 sparklers and 12 blooming flowers…wow! But I didn’t care! This pyro loves fireworks and I began lightening them up and soon Angie and David joined in the fun. The grand finale was when I put two sparklers in my hands and twirled them around. This amazing display took all of 10 minutes.
The Grand Finale!
When our last sparkler died, we heard loud booms tearing through the sky. We turned to see the most brilliant and beautiful display of fireworks just two blocks behind us. At least someone on our block wasn’t lame. Sure those type of fireworks are illegal in Oregon, but they sure are pretty to look at.
After the fireworks were done for the evening, we decided to fill the void with some Chinese food.
We had to waste some time because I had to wait for the drunks to go home and it would be at least a few hours before the roads thinned out from the traffic from the huge fireworks display on the river, so we decided to get crazy and pulled out the trivia games. Oh yeah, Portland! Life in the fast lane…
Sure Beats Our Sparklers!