Friday, 24 August 2012

From YVR to PDX: Our first family bike vacation...Day 3

Well, today was a much calmer day then yesterday. Well, calmer to us. We started off the same, with breakfast in our rental suite, then it was off to the Pearl District via the Broadway Bridge, where we parked our bikes at Jamison Square. The plan was since it was expected to be a warmer day, we would spend the day at the fountain, splashing around. However, when we arrived around 11am, it was a little cooler than we expected. So we took advantage of the free downtown streetcars and headed into the city centre for some late birthday shopping for Coralie. What a fabulous idea, offering free transit within the downtown area. Not only is it great for visitors like us, but it encourages locals to hop on the tram lines instead of into their cars to get from one side of downtown to another. I can only think that such forward thinking is a great way to move beyond car dependence.
Enjoying our sunny morning ride to the Pearl District

Free transit? Thank you, Portland!

After a bit of shopping, we headed back to the Pearl District for a picnic lunch in the square and lots of splashing around, mainly for Etienne who seems to have no issue with cold water. He also made some friends and ran around with some local boys. It's always so great to watch kids adapt so quickly and meet new people without feeling shy or out of place! And while the kids played in the water, Chris and I relaxed and just enjoyed some quiet time. This is actually something we're trying to force on ourselves. When we travel, we naturally try to be moving constantly, and seeing as much as we can. But since having kids, we've realized this is much more tricky, as kids just don't have the same attention span as adults, and to ask them to continue from one place to the next with no rest or play time just doesn't work. It's a work in progress, but we're accepting it more and more.
Etienne splashing around in the falls at Jamison Square
Chris learning to relax and just take in the
The kids at the gate to Chinatown
In the late afternoon, we decided to head home for a rest before dinner. We took the route past the gate to Chinatown, stopping for a quick photo opportunity, and then it was back across the Steel Bridge. That's when my worst fear happened. Etienne fell asleep halfway across the bridge while sitting on the trail-a-bike! Those familiar with Portland would know that we were in the middle of what Chris and I would call "no man's land", in that there were no parks, fast food restaurants or coffee shops really close by where we could stop while he had a power nap. So, I improvised. I plopped Etienne into my rear basket, let him sleep as best he could, and we made our way up the ramp from the bridge on foot towards the Rose Garden Arena and hopefully some refuge. Thankfully, once we reached the top Etienne appeared to have had just enough rest, and woke up and pedalled the rest of the way to our apartment. It's a good thing, too, because that little boy has been known for naps that have lasted up to 3 hours, and that's a long time to sit around in a cafe, even for coffee lovers like us!

Coralie enjoying a cool, refreshing drink at an
interesting water feature
Steel Bridge - this was a shot we meant to get yesterday 
An improvised resting place for Etienne. Proof
kids will sleep almost anywhere.
This evening, we went for dinner in the Alberta Arts District, stopping in at the Mash Tun Brew Pub. We've been to Portland three times now, and this was our first brew pub, if you can believe it! The beer was fantastic, and we got to connect with an Instagram friend, who happens to also work for the Portland Timbers. It's always weird when you put a face to a social media friend's name, but it was nice to chat with a local, while also talking "football". It made us all excited for tomorrow, and the main reason why we decided to choose Portland for our vacation destination this summer. Tomorrow we join 750 fellow Southsiders/Whitecaps fans to cheer on our boys as they take on their Cascadia Rivals, the Portland Timbers. It's going to be intense!
The brewing kettles at the Mash Tun...I recommend the
Red Ale

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