My co-worker, Lauren, and I had the chance to go to the Society for Public Health Educator’s (SOPHE) Annual Meeting in Portland, and of course we brought our husbands along. (Yay for remote offices!) We got in a day early to give us a chance to explore a bit. A couldn’t afford to take the day off (all his vacation days are 100% booked through December!), so I joined Lauren and her husband, Isaac, on a bike tour of the city.

Isaac and I are the planners in our respective relationships, and since it was their first time in Portland, Isaac had a whole bunch of things he wanted to do/see. So I was happy to take a backseat in terms of decisions and just follow along with his plan. We met up at Voodoo Donuts, and then rented our bikes from Cycle Portland and then we were on our way.

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We headed to Forest Park, which is on top of a huge hill, as in over 450 feet of elevation in less than 3 miles–yeesh! It was a tough ride, but I finally figured out how to work the gears (I haven’t graduated from my single-speed cruiser yet!) and made it up while dragging behind only a few times. This is a shot of the outside of the Japanese Gardens, but the entire park was a forest wonderland. Super peaceful and SO green, which is something I never got over while I was living in Oregon, the wonderful, lovely greenness everywhere. I doubt I ever will get over it, which I’m pretty happy with.

DSC_0037Union Station is so pretty on the inside, and really gritty on the outside, kind of like Portland. =) When we left Portland, we took an Amtrak Cascades train from Union Station and it was wonderful. We take Amtrak all the time in California, but it leaves/arrives in the middle of the night, so we never get to enjoy the views. The Portland-Seattle train was absolutely lovely and was the prettiest/cheapest way to get to Seattle. If only it were a little bit faster…

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On our way to a brewery in East Portland, we were using residential streets that were more bike-friendly. We randomly passed by and saw The Wishing Tree, which Lauren and Isaac had actually seen on the news prior to the trip. It was adorable and full of wishes that were simple, yet powerful. Lots of wishes for acceptance and tolerance, and a stack of wishes on index cards caught my eye. They were from an entire elementary school class who wanted to wish for their classmate, Tony, who has cancer and was about to start a 52 week chemotherapy regimen. The wishes ranged from wishing he would be cured quickly, to wishing him strength. My favorite was that they wished the 52 weeks would feel like 2 weeks.

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Isaac really wanted to go to Breakside Brewery, but when we got there, it was closed for another hour and a half. So we went to the other two breweries in the area while we were waiting, and one of them was a cider brewery! Bushwacker Cider was my haven, and I found a cherry cider that was so tart and delicious. Although I usually will sip A’s beer when he’s doing a flight, I know I’ll never like them. The exception is cider. I usually can drink (and sometimes even totally enjoy!) a cider. When we circled back to Breakside, I noticed this awesome contraption that lets them collect rainwater and have a little elevated garden, which I knew A would appreciate.

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Biking over the bridges was the best and the views of the Willamette River were absolutely gorgeous. We got super lucky with the weather because it was this gorgeous all day.