Florida Man on the Run

At Adventure’s End: 48 Hours in Portland

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I believe the saying goes, “All good things must come to an end.” In my mind, there was no better end possible than Portland. The City of Roses (though not in bloom) ultimately was the culmination of more than just a road trip. It served as the final launching point into a new future. Sometimes it is hard to say when exactly you fell in love with something. Love at first sight is such a romantic notion, told in fairy tales but not in real life. Truth be told, however, my love of Portland developed nearly that quickly. We didn’t see everything there was to see in Portland, but at the end of the day it was better this way. We took time to relax and simply enjoy the time in our final destination. I was sure there would be more days here in the future.

A quick note should be made here that unlike my previous posts in this series, I’m not writing chronologically. Our time in Portland was more relaxed and it is better to explain our adventures more categorically. This will hopefully make for easier reading.

A Walk Down Alberta Street in Portland

I currently live in one of the few truly walkable neighborhoods in Jacksonville. Though Alberta Street wasn’t the primary reason for booking our hotel, it instantly became one of the perks. Alberta Street is imminently walkable and we instantly fell in love. The surrounding neighborhood is pleasant and Alberta serves as the heart of it.

Our first night in town took us only across the street from Caravan to the Radio Room. This popular restaurant right on Alberta Street offers some killer food, a great bar and even rooftop seating. With some pretty black clouds hanging in the distance we choose the nice covered lower patio. The portions were fantastic so you’ll need to go hungry. Radio Room also provides the “room service” for Caravan so stopping in to get a taste is a great idea if you’re staying there. The Grilled Cheese Grill is also in front of Caravan and is fantastic if you’re looking for a quick snack during the day.

Get yourself some grub here in front of Caravan!

The rest of Alberta Street is full of shops, restaurants, and bars. Our next afternoon walk took us down to Back to Eden Bakery. Not only does Back to Eden offer some top-notch grub, but it is 100% vegan as well. The bakery even features a dessert bar next door. We grabbed dessert twice on the trip and breakfast once here. Don’t miss it if you’re staying on Alberta Street.

The other little gem we found was the Alberta Co-Op Grocery Store. This wonderful little grocery store is co-operatively owned and worker run establishment. They offer practically everything one might need and do it in a way that serves the local community. They also offer programs to help those in need, making them a real cornerstone of community building. It is exactly the kind of grocery store I’d love to run if given the opportunity.

We didn’t stop into every little store along Alberta Street. However, there is pretty much something for everyone there. Clothes, antiques, trinkets, books; you name it and you’ll find it. Even if you aren’t staying on Alberta, swing by if you have the time to enjoy the neighborhood. You won’t regret it.

Portland’s Nature

Portland is a city surrounded by nature. The city’s reputation as being environmentally friendly is obvious by the dedication to the parks in Portland. Both Forest Park and Washington Park on the west side of town are great places to visit. Having spent a good portion of our trip up to Portland on hikes, we choose to bypass Forest Park.

Even misplaced flowers are at peace here

Washington Park is home to a number of attractions. It hosts the Oregon Zoo, Portland Children’s Museum, Hoyt Arboretum, Portland Japanese Garden and the International Rose Test Garden. Having slept in some, for the first time in two weeks, we did the Japanese Garden and Rose Garden.

The Japanese Garden is simply magnificent. These gardens are really a work of art, one which you can wander through and admire from the inside. Take your time here and don’t rush. It is a pretty popular attraction, so making time away from the crowds. The gardens are a supremely serene place when you can find moments to yourself. The moments of quiet contemplation I found really started to help me make peace that this journey was finally coming to an end.

Multnomah Falls in the beautiful Columbia River Gorge

The Columbia River Gorge is another one of Portland’s wonderful natural features. Though not inside Portland proper, it exists just a short drive down I-84. The gorge offers plenty of opportunities to spend time with nature. There are numerous waterfalls here, making their way into the gorge and on to the Columbia. The Eagle Creek Fire in September 2017 had closed off many parts of the gorge in Oregon, restricting where we were able to go.

For us, the three easiest falls to see were Bridal Veil, Latourell, and Multnomah. Each of these exist along one of America’s oldest scenic highways, the Historic Columbia River Highway. East of Bridal Veil was closed due to the fire, but I-84 remained open to reach Multnomah. For all of the hype, Multnomah Falls lived up to it. The two-tiered fall was gorgeous and easily the best waterfall I saw on the trip. Latourell was really nice too. It drops right off the basalt cliff and you can see where the river has carved into the cliff over time. We didn’t hike to the top, but the view from there would be stunning I imagine.

We did grab a marvelous view of the Columbia River from the top of the Vista Point House. The Historic Columbia River Highway winds around this landmark. The inside is filled with some great history about the road and river. However, the roof is where the magic is, providing a view of the river you simply can’t get anywhere else. Do not miss this view if you are heading into the gorge.

Panorama of the Columbia River from Vista House

Wandering Downtown

Downtown Portland was by far my favorite that we visited on the trip. The city is imminently walkable but also hugely accessible in other ways. We drove into downtown and had no problems parking. We took the time to wander around downtown, gawking at the bike share stations. Our first downtown stop was Pioneer Courthouse Square. Sitting in the heart of downtown, it made everything simply a few blocks away. Our friendly guide at the visitor’s center was super helpful and gave us some pretty great tips. According to him, avoid Voodoo Doughnut and head over to Blue Star Donuts instead. We didn’t get a chance to try them, so it’ll be our first stop when we come back.

Pioneer Courthouse watches over Downtown Portland

We wandered through downtown towards our destination at Powell’s. There is any number of small shops to stop in and grab your attention. There is also quite a few blocks dedicated exclusively to food trucks. Most had started to close up when we walked by, but there are tons of options available. If you’re spending the whole day downtown, make sure to stop by the stands on Alder St between 9th and 10th.

Powell’s is a massive bookstore that now takes up an entire city block! Not the largest bookstore in the world, but Powell’s has practically anything you could want. There are rows and rows of books, many of them used and available at excellent prices. It was really neat getting a chance to explore a staple of Downtown Portland and indulge some more in my love of bookstores. Consequently, if your looking for something specific, Powell’s probably has it.

Overall the downtown area is packed with attractions. Taking our time to relax in Portland meant that we didn’t hit everything possible downtown. There is simply so much to see that downtown really deserves its own day if you can spare it. From museums, parks and galleries to shops and restaurants, Portland’s downtown has it all.

Tiny Home Dreaming in Portland

Our first look at Kangablue, our tiny home!

The real highlight of our time in Portland was our perfect home away from home. Caravan- The Tiny House Hotel, was exactly as we hoped. There are six tiny homes are packed into a single lot, creating a wonderful communal atmosphere. In the center is a fire pit to hang out with your fellow travelers and make s’mores. Oh yeah, that’s right, free s’mores every night!

It has been a dream of ours to downsize and pursue tiny home living. Our stay at Caravan was the first step in realizing that dream. You can’t really get an understanding of just whats possible in 170 sqft. We stayed in Kangablue, their most “traditional” tiny home. What surprised me the most was how easy it was to adapt to the space. It wasn’t the most well designed tiny home, but it immediately spurred our imaginations. We spent a good deal of time talking about what we would change in our home and laying foundations for a real future.

It was a somewhat surreal feeling to have watched countless videos on tiny home living and then actually experiencing it. There is no better motivation to chase your dreams than getting a taste of them. Caravan gave the final kick to really go after what I want and to know that it is possible. It was an absolutely wonderful place to end our journey and I couldn’t have wished for more.

Saying Goodbye to Portland

Saying good-bye to our beloved tiny home.

Leaving our temporary tiny home was immensely difficult. I’ll be honest that more than a few tears were shed at the thought of leaving it behind. This adventure had become everything I wanted it to be and more. We had explored amazing coasts. The redwoods gifted us with immense perspective. Portland gave the final glimpse of what my future could hold. Over 1,600 miles of driving, of adventure, of laughs, and of life. It had come to a close and as we shut the door to Kangablue for the last time, I could hear another door unlock. All I have to do is open it.

Thanks for reading and don’t forget to follow me on Instagram or Facebook to journey along with me live! If you loved this post, then pin it and check me out on Pinterest as well!

I would also like to give a big shout out to Cara and Jeremy from The Magic Geekdom. They took time to meet up with us on our final night in Portland and helped make the final night of our trip a blast. Thank you for being awesome! You can find them on Twitter, Instagram and Youtube!

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