Can you believe that this visit to Portland is a first for the Traveling Twosome? How did we ever get to our current ages without visiting this incredibly bike-friendly, quirky, funky, green, and all-around cool city? I have no idea, but we're so glad we were finally able to rectify the situation.
Portland consistently ranks at the very top of all "bike-friendly" surveys and is one of only four cities in the US to be awarded the "platinum" status by the League of American Bicyclists. So naturally we couldn't wait to put Portland's bike-ability to the test on our first full day in the city. And Barry had another objective as well; to find Voodoo Doughnuts and gorge himself silly! This incredibly creative doughnut shop has been featured on multiple "foodie" TV shows, and we couldn't wait to check it out for ourselves.
We started out from our hotel in northeast Portland in the morning and pointed our wheels south towards downtown. There were marked bike lanes on pretty much every street, and we were soon joined by hoards of commuting cyclists. This was the most cyclists we'd ever seen commuting to work other than on Ambergris Caye in Belize!
There are bike road signs all along the way as well, so it's easy to get around.
It got a little confusing as we approached downtown with its many bridges and roads going this way and that, but we were able to get directions from a passing jogger on how to cross the Willamette River. We could see our target area from the other side, and it looked fabulous!
Here's a zoomed-in view. Love the sign!
And here's a wider view showing a huge barge approaching the bridge we needed to cross. As we did in Seattle, we'd wait for this guy to go through first, but that was okay -- it gave us more time to look around while on the bridge!
The bridge we'd soon be crossing...
If you look near the lower right of this photo and squint, you can see Barry in yellow riding across....
We first rode up and down the riverfront on the multi-use path. It was amazing how many other cyclists, walkers, and especially runners we encountered. I don't think anyone works anymore, as this was mid-week.
Soon thereafter, we ventured onto downtown roads, and most were very easy to negotiate. The ones with green bike lanes are especially fun! They don't all have these, but most at least have a bike lane. We felt very safe and almost honored riding here with all the facilities to help keep cyclists safe. Go Portland!
We saw the metro, called "Max". We'd take that later in our trip, but not today.
And here is a large group of food trucks and carts that Portland is also famous for.
But here's what we came for: Voodoo Doughnuts! Barry was a happy man, even though he had to wait in line. This place is popular!
I stayed with the bikes outside and enjoyed people watching. The funniest thing I saw was a stretch limo pull up outside Voodoo Doughnuts. The formally dressed driver waited while someone inside got their doughnuts and loaded two of Voodoo's traditional pink boxes into the trunk. I didn't recognize if it was an actual celebrity (maybe just his or her lackey), but I thought the entire situation was definitely befitting of the sign above the limo!
Meanwhile, Barry was able to check out the lively, colorful interior of the shop while waiting in line. Love it!
Their incredible menu...
And just some of the incredible creations...from the sublime to the downright bizarre.
Here is one happy man!
Top tier are the voodoo doll doughnuts that made this place famous. Each one is slightly different. They are filled with raspberry jelly "blood" and are oh-so-delicious.
And here's the rest of his dozen, of all shapes and sizes. Oh my!
We managed to polish off several while at the shop, then put the extras into a huge ziploc bag I'd brought along to take with us. Needless to say, we rolled away several pounds heavier and a whole lot more sluggish than when we arrived!
So, needing to do a lot more riding if we hoped to work off all those evil calories and carbs, we headed back to the riverfront trail and rode south.
This time we crossed the Hawthorne Bridge to get to the Springwater Corridor, which travels along the Willamette River for a ways, then continues east to the city of Gresham and beyond. Check out this great wide bike/ped corridor on the bridge. It's as wide as the lane for motor vehicles!
Below is my favorite image from this day; Barry took it looking back over to the other side of the Willamette River, where we'd just been. I love the way all the colorful buildings are reflected in the river. The water was beautifully glassy at that point.
Along the Springwater Corridor, what did we happen upon but a Voodoo Doughnut cart here in "Cartlandia". Too cool. We walked around but couldn't possibly eat another bite of anything, no matter how delicious.
We stopped in a city park along the trail in Gresham for another doughnut or two, if you can believe it.
Eventually it got Boring and we decided to turn around.
JUST KIDDING! The trail ends in the town of Boring! Too funny!
On the way back, we turned off the Springwater Corridor and headed north on the I-205 Trail to head back towards our hotel. We rode near the Max (metro) line for a good part of the way. This interesting sculpture was at one of the metro stations.
This bike path runs alongside I-205. I love that they made the signs for the bike version look like the interstate signs. There was a lot less traffic on the bike path than on the interstate road alongside us. I bet we were having a lot more fun than most of the motorists on the highway.
Although most of this trail is urban and not very scenic, a short portion of it runs through this incredibly green and quaint neighborhood. I think it was called Maplewood. The houses were adorable, and everything was quiet, green, and manicured. It felt like we were a million miles from the interstate, yet it was actually very close by.
There was even this adorable sculptural water fountain for people and their four-legged friends along the trail in this charming neighborhood. Wish Paisley had been along with us!
The plane in the above photo clued us in to the fact that we were very close to the Portland International Airport. We had a good view of it when we passed by on the trail.
Almost back to the hotel -- I think we'll make it!
I ended up with just under 65 miles on the day (I think Barry got a bit more as he always does extra here and there while I take breaks). It was a super fun, varied ride, and definitely proved to us that YES, Portland is supremely bike-friendly and very easy to get around. We can see why there are many people living here car-free. Between the metro, buses, bikes, and walking, you could get just about anywhere you need to go in the city without a car.
That's almost as sweet as a dozen Voodoo Doughnuts!
Emily & Barry
We're a long-married, early-retired couple who are currently traveling as nomads with no fixed home base. After years of living in North Carolina (Emily's home state), we spent 18 months living oceanfront on Ambergris Caye, Belize, a year road-tripping the US in a Honda CR-V, a year in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, and are now roaming North America in our 32' motorhome, Pearl, following warm weather whenever possible.
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