A Visit to Portlandia

Last month, with a soon to expire plane voucher in hand, I made reservations to visit my brother and his new bride in a little town called Portland.

runway
A quick stop in Denver

Made it past TSA and found 3+ ounces of liquid and bite to eat.

aisle
On time for a fun time

Once in town, I caught up with my brother and started getting to know my new sister-in-law at their cozy little house in Lake Oswego.  Joe and I ran to The Circuit the next day while Caroline slaved at work.

joe
Brother Joe sending V3 off the couch

I really enjoyed The Circuit, we hit the NE venue.  The place is expansive with hundreds of problems of every grade on flat walls, slabs, dihedrals, overhangs, and top outs.  It’s about four times the size of the co-op at home with some nice training walls, hangboards, rings, and multiple slacklines.  This is what a bouldering gym should look like.

rail
V3 rail problem

One of the best things about The Circuit is the abundance of fiberglass features bolted around the gym.  The rail on the V3 pictured above was one of my favorites.  I’d like to see one of these at the MNCC.  I was psyched to be sending V5 in a new town, though I was shut down on a blue problem that I worked several times.

That night, I got to catch up with a couple of friends making their home in the PNW (pronounced pin-wah) while avoiding fights with locals.  Shoulder bumping me over a booth?  C’mon!  I’m the booth whisperer, get over it hipster.  The Other Sean filled me on his meat jacket and his new space for Vertigo Cycles, his custom titanium bike frame business.  Kevin and I talked Meetup groups and juggling, a topic we frequently return to.

octupus
No flash photography!

The next day, Joe, Caroline, and I drove down to Newport on the kind of cloudy, wet day Oregon conjures in your mind.  We stopped at the Hatfield Marine Science Center and read about tsunamis and saw actual debris that floated over from Japan.

frog
African Bullfrog in its (not) natural habitat

Just next door to the the science center is Rogue Brewery.  We missed the tour, but found the restaurant.  Chocolate stout was tasty, but I opted for Captain Sigs Red Ale with lunch.

rogue
Dead Guy was my only previous experience with Rogue
taps
So many to choose from, who knew?!?
deal
Sadly, I only had enough for 87

We planned for a long hike the next day with my buddy Kevin, a Minnesota transplant.  While Joe and Caroline poured over hiking books and websites, I lazed about.  It was my vacation, after all!

books
Found on bookshelf; accidental arrangement?

Joe dug into his box o’goodness and threw some cams my way.  Better in use on my rack than waiting for his return to trad seemed to be the logic.  Thanks, brother!

cams
Big brother looking out; it’s a charmed life

We settled on a trail that Kevin later described as the Mall of America of Oregon hikes – a place you take your out of town guests, but with less Gaps.  Eagle Creek sees a lot of visitors in the peak season, but on a 40 degree day, not as many.

falls
Waterfall along Eagle Creek

We did about 11 miles, maybe 12.  Joe’s GPS was a little wonky and had us at a pace of 17 mph.  I’m thinking it kicked on during the drive and our hiking pace was dragging down the average.

group
Group shot

It was the perfect day for us to get out and perhaps the first time I’ve seen extended sunshine in Oregon.  We stopped for food on the way home and made fun of the drunk ladies’ drama at the table next to us while discussing the magic red onion box (band name!).

The next day was travel day.  Time to venture back to reality.

blue
Elusive V5 fell at last!

With a couple of hours to kill, I bid Caroline adieu and hit The Circuit again with Joe.  I unlocked the blue V5 that bested me days before and my trip was complete.

Fare thee well, PNW, I will see you again someday.  Thanks for the hospitality!

*****

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