My vacation was really lovely. I went to Portland for a few days and then I went to Los Angeles for a few more days. I visited friends in each city and enjoyed a fairly non-touristy, insider look at each place. When out-of-towners visit Chicago, I try to convince them to avoid activities that have tourist attraction written all over them. As a general rule, I don’t think I should ask my host to do something that they might not ordinarily want to do. Most of the time, a touristic view of a city is unusually expensive and usually not as exciting as doing something off-the-beaten path.
I rode a borrowed bike most of the days that I was in Portland. It rained on three of the five days I was there. My friend lives on a hill. It was challenging to descend hills. That’s pretty lame, isn’t it? A downhill ride is supposed to wildly exciting, but instead I was terrified most of the time. The wet pavement and slick, skinny tires on my loaner bike made for a fairly harrowing experience. I wasn’t really worried so much about wiping out as I was about stopping since all of the hills that surround my friend’s place have a stop light at the bottom or stop signs mid-way through the descent. (This is why country rides in the middle of nowhere with variable topography are my favorite things to do.)
While in PDX, we ate a lot and went to happy hour daily. (YAY!) This photo was taken with a puppy I snatched from a patron who was hanging out in the same place we were having beers and french fries. I don’t even remember if I asked the owner if I could squeeze her little French Bulldog.
Most of the days, we rode around town and saw things I’m sure I wouldn’t have seen had we been in car. No parking issues, no traffic issues–just pure unadulterated freedom! When you go to new city, seeing the place on a bike is the way to do it, especially a place like Portland that’s a cyclist’s paradise. The driver’s are so polite it’s almost unnerving. Of course, it helps if you’re okay with riding in the rain since it’s bound to be raining a lot of the time.
While visiting Los Angeles, my other pal and I went to Venice Beach and Santa Monica. We rode rental cruisers for the afternoon along the beach. What gorgeous weather–it was sunny and hot! We got sweaty.
A lot of the time I spent in Los Angeles was about reconnecting with my friend and her family. We spent some time hitting the vintage shops in her neighborhood. We ate a lot. We talked a lot. She has two cute kids and a stellar husband. This photo was taken after just a couple of days in LA. Those children wore me out! (I fell asleep holding a puppet.)
I hope you’re enjoying summer as much as I am!
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