Portlandia

We left Seattle late in the day and pedaled towards a meeting we had organized with the people who make our bike panniers to organize a replacement for our broken bar bags. About 35 miles outside of Seattle we setup camp directly outside their factory in a piece of industrial land with far too many mosquitos and went to sleep. In the morning we went around the corner and met with the guys at Ortlieb who kindly replaced our bar bags and fitted them to our bicycles, thank you!

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With all the equipment business taken care of we cycled on down through some beautiful tree lined roads and quaint American towns until we reached a very un-quaint industrial estate with a taco bell. After a flavorless dinner (not big fans of taco bell) we setup camp around the back of the industrial estate, this time with less mosquitos but more dog shit, cant win really.

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After another night sleeping out in a less than picturesque setting we found a campsite located on the map in a town called Kelso about 85 miles away, a distance we were more than happy to travel for a shower and a safe camp spot. We cycled in torrential rain for the whole day, cycling through the forests of Oregon in the rain was quite a incredible experience. We reached Kelso at around 9 pm after a long days cycle and rode into town to find the campsite that was marked on the map.

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After cycling around for a little while we found the place marked on the map and found it to not be a campsite but a mobile home site in the middle of what can only be described as an ultra sketchy ghetto. With sunlight disappearing quickly we rode around in the hope that there would be somewhere we could set up our tent, the darkness only made things harder and left us feeling more vulnerable.

After stopping at a local petrol station for some water and being told to leave town for our own safety we cycled away and attempted to knock on someones door to see if we could camp in their garden. The man who came to the door holding two small barking dogs looked upset before we even spoke to him, asking if we could camp in his garden he said no with his grumpy shriveled up face and slammed the door on us. Making our way to another Taco Bell we walked through the drive thru and then cycled out of town back the way we had come to a spot we had seen earlier on.

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We realised that this town had some serious issues with homelessness and drug abusers, almost every corner was occupied by someone with a gaunt and toothless face with a vacant look in their eyes. So, after cycling over 90 miles in total including our lovely tour of Kelso we setup camp once again behind some industrial buildings overlooking the Columbia river. Sleeping with everything we owned piled up next to us in our tent we got some much needed rest.

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The morning came and we cycled out of Kelso excited with the thought of reaching Portland, seeing Joe and Peggy and having a shower. Leaving town we noticed that their were a lot of buildings with the word Rehab in their title, a good indicator to some of the issues that this town faces. Also, we have an addiction of our own, Mexican Food!

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Cycling over the Columbia River into Portland we cruised to Joe and Peggys house on one of the many cycle lanes that make Portland the bike capital of the US. We got to their house, showered, got some food and went out for a beer, everything was good in the world.

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The next day we sorted out a destroyed bearing in my pedal at a local bike shop called Cyclepath, which is one of the nicest bike shops we’ve ever been in, the guys who work their were really really great.

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That evening we went out to a street carnival with Joe and Peggy, an entire road, miles long gets taken over once a month and turned into a place of music, art and beer.

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With a heatwave upon us in Portland Peggy took us to a great little spot along the Columbia river with a beach. We spent the day swimming, playing frisbee and hanging out with Cali (Peggy and Joes cool dog) That evening we got tacos from a tacoria, visited some great bars and then cycled over a bridge to watch the sunset.

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The next day we sampled many good beers at a local organic beer festival and then rode into Portland central. On a recommendation we visited a classic video games arcade and a truly incredible book shop that we both agreed was the best book shop we had ever been in, honestly it was bloody good.

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With our departure looming we plotted with Joe and Peggy to meet 500 miles further down the road in California and camp together in the Redwood forest. Thank you Joe, Peggy, Cali and Cassey for having us, you made us feel at home and showed us the best side of an incredible city.

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We left Portland on July 1st in the blazing afternoon sun, next stop San Francisco!

Location

Portland, Oregon USA

Date

1st July, 2013