Sailors once again.
It seems like only a few weeks ago that we tumbled off the Amtrak train into Portland and were standing on the esplanade, watching every variety of bicycle whiz by, in awe and wonder at what was going to be our “home” for the next few months. We still remember trying to take a self-portrait of us and the Steel Bridge behind us. We were looking for someone in the crowd of bicycles to take the picture, when almost on cue, our friend Logan from RowdyKittens appeared out of nowhere. Barely twenty minutes in town and we were met with a friendly and familiar face.
Our seven month stay in Portland has been pretty rough weather wise. They are not kidding when they say it rains here. As someone that more or less grew up in Southern California, this winter has literally been the coldest and wettest I’ve ever experienced.
However, we made the most of the rainy season, or the The Big Dark as some call it. We did some rides with CycleWild, a great local group that promotes bike camping. Laura had a table at BikeCraft and still has some Bike Mustaches over at Bikeasauraus. I was able to contribute some multi-media stories to BikePortland, a website that has greatly influenced me over the years. I took part in a photo show with bike pundit Elly Blue and local bike photographer Heidi Swift. I shot a lot of lifestyle imagery for the folks at Klean Kanteen. I got to go fishing for steelhead on the famous Deschutes river. We sampled a fair amount of food carts and local beers. I also became a bit of a coffee nerd, getting into brewing methods and searching for the best cup of coffee in Portland (Coava Coffee Roasters).
Of all the things we did, the most fulfilling was making friends and finding a community. We were fortunate enough to fall into a small group of people that we really enjoyed and spent time with them, doing silly things like riding up steep hills to make Frito Pie. The word friend gets tossed around so casually these days (and has even been transformed into a verb), but we’re distinctly aware of how special the word really is. One of the joys of travel is meeting wonderful people everyday; one of its sorrows is parting ways with those kind souls.
Laura and I had dinner last night and talked a little about the next coming days, but I was distracted and a little melancholic. The reality of moving again was sinking in. I was trying to get myself excited about all the great things we would experience in the coming months, the wide open spaces of Montana, fishing, riding through a part of the country we had never been to. Truth be told, at that moment I was too overcome with the sadness of leaving our friends here in Portland. It was hard to do it in Long Beach two years ago and it hasn’t gotten any easier. It is part of the unspoken cost of travel.
Tonight, we’re sleeping on sleeping pads in the living room. The bikes are readied. The bags are packed. Tomorrow morning we cast off and become sailors once again. We are different people this time, looking at open-ended travel with a different lens. We are a little less giddy perhaps, but far more thankful to have this chance again (we’re doing a once-in-a-life-time trip twice, after all!). Thank you dear readers, old and new, for following us through strange and interesting times of our lives. Thank you to all the people we met on our previous trip who showed us so much kindness. Most of all, thank you to Portland and all the kind souls who graced us with their friendship.
LAST DAY TODAY! If you’re excited for our Big Adventure. Small Wheels. trip and support our goal to invigorate bike and train travel, consider making a donation to allow us to go further and create inspiring videos along the way.
Sophie Lewington May 14, 2011 at 11:23 am
I’m getting emotional just reading this. Good luck for tomorrow. You’ll soon get back into the swing of it. 🙂
Bettina Schaden May 14, 2011 at 1:10 pm
I just found your website a couple months ago and have been excited to follow the planning for your next trip. I’m a wanna-be bike tourist. Good luck and warm greetings from Denver, CO! Looking forward to news from the road!
adventure! May 14, 2011 at 3:15 pm
Aw, we’ll miss you. Though I have a feeling that April and I might bump into y’all somewhere on the road.
As for Portland winter, whatever doesn’t kill you…
And which way are yinz pedalling out of town?
Russ May 14, 2011 at 11:13 pm
It was fun hanging out with you guys a bit. Hopefully we’ll meet up down the road. Beers in Detroit! We’ll be doing a short first day to Ainsworth.
News from the pro world, Signh pleads not guilty, People for Bikes unveils Downtown bike video « BikingInLA May 15, 2011 at 1:22 am
[…] bike plan. Thousand Oaks will soon get 2.5 miles of new bike lanes. Long Beach’s cycling expats prepare to set sail once again. San Diego gets sharrowed. Bike culture rises on the streets of San Francisco. Sacramento is […]
Josh May 19, 2011 at 1:14 pm
Great site! I’ve been watching/subscribed for the last few months and have been enjoying your posts.
I have a random question about the dark green bike (debadged Surley?) in picture 7. What brand of panniers/front bags are on that rig? They look classy… and bombproof!
Keep up the good work, guys!
Russ May 19, 2011 at 9:42 pm
Josh – those bags are made by Swift Industries in Seattle. They’re great beefy bags. Handmade and you scan spec the colors/fabrics you want.
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It was lovely to meet you two here in Portland. I am so looking forward to reading about your next journey!