Alberta Street Fair

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Every last Thursday surrounding the summer months, NE Alberta Street hosts an open fair or market for artists to show off their stuff. It is free for anyone who has made their own items, so we tried making a few things and took them up there by bicycle. This last month’s art display was painted horseshoe crabs by Seth with a small input from myself, as well as a small display of leather wallets I hand sewed.

We like traveling by bike as much as possible, which is pretty easy here in Portland, and traveling with art is pretty fun and rewarding although it certainly is full of effort. It takes us about 45 minutes of riding to get up to Alberta Street from the Powell area with fully loaded bikes and trailer.

When we got up to the fair, we found Seth’s friend Tom who builds cargo bikes and sells doll head planters at the street fair. Setting up beside him, the two guys had fun bouncing ideas off each other as Seth showed off his creative skills in erecting a rain canopy over his bicycle horseshoe crab display, utilizing tent poles and a large sheet of plastic that let light through from the street lamp just above us.

A bout of bike jousting broke out right in front of us in the middle of the street and belly dancers flirted their hips in bright colours with bells and jangles to the tunes of live gypsy music. Food carts spot the street corners, filling the night air with fragrant smells. Music beats out over the smells, teasing the ears like the smells tease the nose.

Exciting night for yet another family adventure!

Crazy And We Love It

Last night I had another one of those “my family is awesome” moments. 

Marin and I had cycled across the river to meet Seth as he got out of work and then we were going to check out the concert by the Weezers that Microsoft was putting on. 

The trip started with a delay by the princess, so Marin and I were a little tight pressed for time to stick to our prearranged schedule with Seth. That meant that I couldn’t take my time riding downtown, I had to push it. Do you know what it’s like to ride a slow, loaded three wheel cargo bike from 39th to Pioneer Square in 30 minutes? Your legs get a wicked burn just going up little inclines like the ramp from the esplanade up to Hawthorn bridge, and did you ever notice that most of the bridge itself is an uphill ride? 

I forget which road we turned up from the river side (maybe Taylor?), but the first light you hit is always a red. Once you get the green on that though, if you can keep your speed up it is a straight shot with constant green all the way up the hill to the square. I love that shot. It is a small adrenaline rush for me, surrounded by traffic, pushing the muscles hard to stay with the flow and not miss a light.

Breathing gets fast and heavy, calves yell with the effort and that’s when Seth called on my cell! Fortunately I keep my phone in a little pocket on the bike just below te handlebars, so I could access it without breaking rhythm. 

“Hey, I’m out of work.” Seth told me.

“Great! Sorry I’m late, but I’m almost there. On 5th and coming your way.” 

I think it was easy for him to figure out from my heavy breathing that the conversation had to end right about there, as I was too busy to focus on chatting about anything else, so he said bye and went out to the street corner to wait for me.

Huffing, puffing, smiling big and giggling, I found my man and we took some time to let me catch my breath before grabbing a bite to eat at Freshii and exploring around the concert area for a while then we both at the same time called it quits and said we were uninterested in the music they were playing. 

Somehow we almost always seem to be on the same page with stuff. We like similar styles of food, with each of us coming down to the same two dishes we want to try at restaurants, so we just get both and share them! Or like last night, we were both curious about the concert, but both lost interest at the same time. Then on the ride home we stopped to admire some live-aboard sailboats and we both liked the same one. Sometimes I think we must be a crazy couple, but then, it’s probably better to be crazy and love it, then sane and hate it!

Sunday’s Adventure (also happened to be Father’s Day)

Father’s Day. Yeah, everybody is writing about it aren’t they?

Well, I think Seth had a decent day. It started by chatting with the house guests that arrived almost unanounced the previous night (they turn out to be pretty cool people) and then off we went as a small cute little family to check out a Pedalpalooza group focused on riding bicycles with small children. We had thought that it was going to be everyone riding their bikes with kids, but we found it was more of a sit down talk session at one of the bike shops where a lady gave was explaining the diferent options for carying kids. So…. we continued on down to the weekend market instead. I’m sure we probably could have picked up a few tips or something, but Marin is fairly well set in her carseat on the trike, so we didn’t feel the need to stick around.

Downtown is a weekend market that consists of artsy-fartsy craft people of high caliber, so we always enjoy checking out what they have and grabing a bite from one of the food carts.

To add to the downtown atractions, there was also a Gay Pride Parade going on as well, so of course we had to stop and watch them for a little bit and marvel at the dress code. Or at least, marveled at the dress code or lack thereof.

Then it was off to work for Seth, so we said goodbye beside our bikes and parted ways, except that after wandering around the crowds for a little while longer, Marin and I went to visit him at Mountain Hardwear for a short bit. I like the staff there, as they are all very suportive of Seth and have no problem with me stopping by and taking advantage of their little sitting area to get off my feet and nurse Marin. I think Seth enjoyed having us there, being able to peek around the corner when he didn’t have a customer to talk to, and see Little Marin fascinated with her own reflection in a full length mirror. She was able to walk right up to it and touch it, not knowing what to think of the cold hard thing getting in her way of touching the other little girl that looked just like herself.

Seth and Marin being goof-balls
Seth and Marin being goof-balls

Yet again, we had another family adventure on bicycles in Portland!

Cargo Bike Rally

My husband Seth has done a little bit of work with Tom LaBonty building cargo bicycles, so when we heard that there was a Pedalpalooza event based on Tom’s bikes, we HAD to go!

Everybody met at Hawthorne’s Lucky Lab pub for, as they say, “you can’t have LaBonty without the Lab”. 

Games ensued…. I think? I actually didn’t get there until well over an hour after their start time, but there was a “slow race” with a bunch of the bikes, to see who could ride the slowest without falling off. I wasn’t allowed in because I showed up on a three-wheeler and that just wouldn’t be fair!

After the games and getting to know people, we all headed out for a group ride up to Lucky Lab’s northeast location way up on Who-Knows-What Street. That was the first time I’ve ever ridden with a group that all came together because of one type of gear. As you can see from a previous post I have ridden in a larger group, but it came together because of one LACK of gear!

At the north end of the Eastbank Esplanade there is a bicycle switch back that I never really thought much about before, but riding with a bunch of people who had 8 foot long bikes, it makes you wonder how they all got up there without crashing into the walls on the corners first! Embarrassingly enough, I hit the wall on the first bend. Oops!

Then there was the corkscrew. One bike at a time. All the way up the bicycle version of a spiral staircase, across a bridge over a busy road, then down the other side on another corkscrew. Riders were doing everything from cussin’ to laughin’ and everything in between.

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At the NE Lab location the bikes all piled up together and looked pretty cool sticking out from the bike racks and half hanging out into the street. Jammed and crammed.

Seth was able to meet us all at the north location just as we got there, so drinks all-round and Tom and him didn’t take too long before they started talking business again. They love it though!

After all that hoopla and fun group riding up, it was a pretty quiet ride going home with just Marin and I on the trike, Seth on his speedy city bike, and a new friend Kathleen on her bakfiet who knew the roads to get us home safely. We even had time to check out some free cycle piles!

Us and the World Naked Bike Ride

Us and the World Naked Bike Ride!

I think I know what you’re thinking.

“WHAT???”

Every year during Portland’s Pedalpalooza, the WNBR (World Naked Bike Ride) throws an event that draws thousands of people. People line the streets cheering cyclist on and giving high-fives to the participants. Bikes and other means of human-powered transportation are lit up with regular lights and intricate, crazy, multicoloured, cool lights.

Cyclist wear shoes. That seemed to be the one and only thing that every participant agreed to wear. Police asked everyone to also wear helmets, but you know people…. some of them skipped that safety item. There were guys in top hats and vests, girls in princess and fairy costumes. Naked people in wheelchairs and on skate boards, riding on cargo bikes and just plain running.

The only down side to riding with no clothing is if on the off chance you have a spill, there is nothing to protect your skin. I saw a cyclist crash when he ran into the edge of a cement lane divider. I didn’t see the in-line skater crash, but I did watch him get back up with a purple/red bruise the size of a cantaloupe on his buttox.

Despite the risks, people were in high spirits. There is a thrill in being naked with thousands of other people, in front of thousands more fully clothed people. Exhilaration and freedom!

Seth and I stopped about 2/3 of the way through the course and just watched the other cyclist go by. Everyone so unique and different. An education to be sure!

Where was Marin during this family adventure? Bundled up cozy warm and fast asleep in the front of the trike. She fell asleep right after we left the house and didn’t wake up at all until we were back home and putting her to bed.

Unicycles, tall bikes, cargo and tandems. Hispanic people, Asian, male and female. It was a night for every make, model and size, both for bicycles and people!

Proof we were there and I wasn't just making all of this up!
Proof we were there and I wasn’t just making all of this up!

We Forgot Our Anniversary?

A funny thing happened last night, where I got an email from my mom in which she apologized for not having said “Happy Anniversary” the previous day.

I went; “What”?

A look at the calendar revealed that (heaven forbid) I had forgotten my very own first wedding anniversary! I kinda chuckled at that.

Later that night after putting Marinny-roo to bed, as Seth and I were lounging together on the couch, I sidled up to him and asked, “Do you know what happened yesterday?”

“No,” he responded, with a quizzical confused look on his face. “What happened yesterday?”

“We forgot our first anniversary!”

His frown deepened and he tilted his head a little. “Was that yesterday? I knew it was coming up, but I didn’t think it was so close!”

We just looked at each other for a minute, processing the fact that both of us indeed truly had forgotten the uniqueness of the previous day compared to all the other days on the calendar.

“At least we went out for drinks on our anniversary, even if we didn’t know it!” Seth happily volunteered.

“No, that was the night before. Yesterday we rode our bikes down to the rhododendron garden, remember? Drinks was the night before, when Calvin took Marin for that long walk.” I pointed out.

“Oh right. Well, I still had a fun with you yesterday.” He said as he kissed my forehead.

Maybe we don’t have our days straight and figured out. Maybe we don’t always remember to make one particular day more special than the others, but we have fun and enjoy each other’s company each and every day, loving and being loved. Neither of us minded having the other person forget our anniversary, but rather each found it quite funny.

It has been a good year of marriage, full of adventure. Thank you Sether!

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End Of Day Parade

A good long nap for Marin set the stage for the evening adventures!

Getting ready for summer hikes (I don’t know when we will get out), I loaded Marin up in the big baby backpack and headed across the river with the dog to meet up with Seth after his work shift. Let me tell you, that pack is NOT my idea of comfortable! It fits Seth perfectly and he loves it, but I have found that all the packs I have tried from that particular company have never fit me well enough to make my experience anything other than a complaining adventure.

The legs were feeling the load when we got across the river, and we still had plenty of time before meeting Seth, so I called a halt at one of the big water fountains and let Marin play in the water, splashing herself drenchened and loving every moment of it! But it couldn’t last too long as her bottom lip started to vibrate with a chill, so warming up on the sun-warmed stones was in order for a quick recovery.

Mama got the granola bar and baby got the wrapper
Mama got the granola bar and baby got the wrapper

Then after a break on a green strip to let Marin stretch her legs again and where I could get off my feet, we continued on our way to meet Seth, having to divert around the perimeter of that night’s parade. The streets were crowded and blocked off to vehicles.

When we eventually did find Seth and a bite to eat, we conveniently found a nice little alcove along the sidewalk where we were all able to crowd together along with the bike.

Changing station where Marin could play with the bike pedal at the same time
Changing station where Marin could play with the bike pedal at the same time

The first thing to go past was a foot race. Ten minutes of runners. Some dressed up in goofy outfits… the best was the lady with a doll upside-down strapped to her front so it looked like she was in labour while running!

Then of course came all the marching bands… and more marching bands…. and more. Eventually we called it quits on the bands, but not before we got a quick photo of one….

The last band we stayed and paid any attention to
The last band we stayed and paid any attention to

THAT my dear friends, was our night. Okay, well there was the whole walk home with a baby, a dog and a bicycle, but that doesn’t seem like something you want to hear about!