I arrived in Portland Oregon about a week ago and it has been a whirlwind 7 days, especially when you take into account the simple life I have been living. The first couple of days I was introduced to this beautiful city and some of its finer things. A cool bar scene with great micro brews; a wonderful food culture with awesome restaurants; and lastly the very eclectic food cart scene. All in all I would say my senses were in stimulus overload. Good food, some nice wine, city riding and friendship all conspired to shake my senses and dizzy my mind. To say I was slightly overwhelmed is definitely an understatement.
Since I am a glutton for punishment, I then hopped on a plain to Chicago to see my daughter graduate from Law School. The hustle and bustle of Chicago is always both beautiful and overwhelming to me. It was a joy to see family and watch my daughter successfully complete another milestone in her life, however, by the end of 2 days I was ready to return to the relative calm and peaceful energy of the Pacific North West. A 3:00 AM wakeup call and early walk to the L, got my senses really stimulated as I experienced a bit of Chicago night life all while walking a sleep and caffeine deprived state of mind.
I must admit that years ago I was getting tired of traveling by plane and now I just have no desire whatsoever to deal with that chaos. Everyone rushing and stressed out is such a stark contrast to the quiet solitude of my current existence. It was good to navigate the airways and make it back to Portland with no travel issues other than the extreme sensory overload of being around that many people.
Back in Portland I am continuing to enjoy the city, its people and its wonderful culture. It is so nice to be able to navigate an entire city by bike and have the necessary amenities to make it easy and safe. While Portland has some biking issues that are a result of the mixing of cars and bikes, it is by far the nicest bike city I have had the pleasure of visiting. I am going to spend the next couple of days here relaxing and exploring before I get back out on the trail. I have been able to fix some of my bike issues and replace some of the broken gear, although I am still without a working sleeping pad solution. My new ultra-light setup is finally coming together and it looks like I have resolved my tire issue once and for all.
The Pacific North West is really a special place and I am excited to explore a bit more of the region before heading to points unknown. I am currently behind in getting images and video on-line due to some hard drive issues, aka, I need a new one and can't afford it yet, so be patient and eventually I will get it all sorted out. I have also started to do mini personal videos which I hope will give everyone a more intimate connection to my travels and what life is really like on the trail. Stay tuned!