The illusive Mt Hood and Portland

I begin my day at one of Bend’s dog parks and we greet the only other early morning park user. The normal greeting of ‘how are you?’ is met with the tearing reply ‘ my grandmother died last night’, and so we strike up a conversation. It transpires that this guy knows the only other person that we know in Bend, Max King, world champion mountain runner, (well my guy has run with him once).

Reluctantly we depart Bend in bright sunshine and head north on 97, a road that takes us over the fertile plains of middle Oregon with the dramatic 3 Sisters volcanoes looming to the west. The weather forecast for Portland, today’s destination, is not so good, how can that be?! The intention is to take the quicker northern route to have more time in Portland and to view Mt Hood, the tallest mountain in the state. As we travel north the weather closes in and Hood never materialises, cloaked in clouds for our entire journey although Lisa insists that she can faintly see it.

We hook left and enter Portland from the east heading downtown in search of food and parking. We set upon a space next to a square of international street food stalls and as I alight from the car I am accosted by another Dal owner, we swap photos and compare dog notes: smile, shedding, temperament. He does look like me but not quite as handsome and some 20 lbs smaller – I have often been told that I am tall. Another well meaning diner provides vague directions to a series of parks, maps are not her strong point, nor are directions. Vietnamese street food in Portland, just like home.

We begin the downtown walk but I desperately need to go, where is private grass around here? There is none, so I just use the largest paved very public courthouse square in the city. Oh well, needs must. We leave Lisa to tour some shops while we return to the car for kip time.

An idea, let’s go to Ikea, across the river to the north of the city in rush hour when everyone else is heading home. Is Ikea the only store that sells paper napkins? We also buy some lanterns as therapy … and a frozen yogurt which I get to sample! Brief walk in the woods before seeking out the hotel which is deep in the industrial area of the city. Why do you put a jetted tub in the bedroom and not the bathroom?!

The hotel turns out to be next to the largest trail system in the city which we recce for a run tomorrow. The only other person we meet is a threatening insane one – quite literally. If we don’t return from tomorrow’s run look for a long black haired nutter!

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