Thursday, 23 August 2012

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

Phew! What a night yesterday! But I am happy to say that after a bagel breakfast from the local New Seasons and a quick stop at Revolver Bikes for a new inner tube and an extra one just in case, we definitely moved onwards and upwards for our bike vacation. Looking at the weather forecast, it was clear today would likely be the cooler of our four days in Portland. So we decided to make today the day we did our longest planned ride, and ride we did!
Just starting our day, everyone smiling and bikes running smoothly
Our first trek would be the 12 km ride along the calm Bike Boulevards to Mount Tabor Park. It was a trip we had meant to do on our last visit, but due to weather and the fact that we really wanted to see Cathedral Park at the time, which was a 30 km, day long ride, it was left for next time. If you haven't heard about Mount Tabor, it is a volcanic cinder cone on the East side of the city. It was pretty neat to see, although I'm sure the kids enjoyed the playground much more...typical. 
At the top of Mt. Tabor and still smiling...sort of 
See-Saw in the park
Cliff-side near the cinder cone
I will admit that while I was quite excited to finally get to the park, since I am a closet geology nerd with no formal training, the most enjoyable part of the journey was travelling along the quiet streets, seeing all the homes with such character along the way. I realize that character can be found in the homes in some of the neighbourhoods throughout Vancouver, but riding along knowing that these homes were much more in our reach financially makes them seem more...realistic I guess. At any rate, I think riding through these calmer areas may just become a highlight of my trip.

Coralie passing the counter, #3214
After a picnic lunch in Mount Tabor, we headed west to the Hawthorne Bridge and their new Bicycle Counter - if you click the link, for the numbers on August 22, we are 4 of those 7000+ riders. This counter is the first in North America, and since it started counting on August 8th, it has already counted over 94,000 riders. It's a pretty cool idea, and really shows how many people do ride their bikes every day which I think can only be seen as a boost to the cycling community. So, Vancouver, what are we waiting for?!

View of the Tram from the top
After passing the counter, we headed south along the water to the Aerial Tram that takes 6000+ people from the waterfront up to the OHSU daily by crossing over the I-5 and up the steep hill to the medical centre. For tourists like us, it gives us a chance to see the view east, and on a clear day, you can see from Mt. St. Helen's all the way over to Mt. Hood and beyond. Sadly, we never seem to luck out when it comes to aerial views and clear skies, but the ride is cool nonetheless. What we could do is see how far we had travelled since lunch, pointing out Mt. Tabor, a 9km ride in the distance. It reminded Chris of our honeymoon in Barcelona, when we walk all the way from the waterfront to Park Guell, which, if you haven't been, is a fair distance, up hill the whole way. Apparently, nothing has changed in our travelling style, except we now have two children with us!

The free bike valet at the base of the Tram...
I've never seen so many bikes in one place!
Etienne checking out the view

Crossing the Willamette on the Steel Bridge
Once we returned to the waterfront, it was time to head back to our "home" for dinner. We rode along the water on the west side of the Willamette River, crossing at the Steel Bridge. We had actually planned to ride all the way to the Broadway Bridge, which we had taken from the train station yesterday, but as we got closer to this massive steel structure, we saw a walking/cycling path running underneath the main car and tram traffic, and we decided to change our route. We're glad we did! Seeing the old train lines and marvelling at all the steelwork is something we would have missed had we taken the main roads. It's just one of those things people can miss vacationing mainly by car, and so we appreciate these moments when we get to experience something out of the ordinary simply because we choose to ride our bikes.

Nearly home after a long day.
Still smiles all around
What to choose? Inside Voodoo Donuts.

So, we clearly had a busy day. but there was one last thing to do as a treat after a long day of riding. We hopped on the MAX Line after dinner and headed downtown for some Voodoo Donuts at the flagship location on SW 3rd Ave. It's something we've done each of our visits, and I, for one, have never had the same one twice. It's the little things that count, and a yummy, sweet treat after riding a total of 30 kms around the streets of Portland. Now the kids are all nestled into bed, it's 10:30pm, and Chris and I are enjoying a glass of local red wine to finish off our day. Tomorrow, it's off to the Pearl District...stay tuned!
All tuckered out after a long day

1 comment:

  1. Love it! The bike counter is really neat - I wish we had one in Vancouver! Everything about biking in Portland sounds amazing, especially finishing the day with a donut ;) Hope the rest of your two- (eight?-) wheeled vacay continues to be awesome! Love Bee