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Shattered! A Portland Connection; Powell’s; A Thirsty Hydra? Pioneer Square; Portlandia; Reflections; Daniel from Oz

One of the road hazards we have encountered while driving out west is that of flying rocks. I had not encountered rocks with wings back east, but west of the Mississippi, they are very common. Our Honda CR-V took a bad one recently while driving through a construction area – not only did we get a chip in the windshield, but it quickly developed into a three foot long crack. We had to schedule a Safelite mobile glass repairman to replace the windshield; fortunately, he came to our campground to do the job while Suzanne was giving a reading. Stacey did a superb job, pulling and replacing the glass in less than an hour.

After the glass repair and reading, we drove to Portland to meet Suzanne’s nephew John and his lovely girlfriend Beth. After getting a tour of their house and fabulous garden, we adjourned to Bollywood, an Indian restaurant, for a delicious meal. Although we harbored some misgivings about ordering fried okra, it proved to be as good as the rest of the meal; what amazes me about Indian food is that it is yummy and healthy. Very cool…

Beth had to work that afternoon, but John graciously took us on a tour of downtown Portland. When he asked, “Have you been to Powell’s?” We responded with deer in the headlights looks… and he was astounded that we didn’t know about one of the largest bookstores in the world. My Lovely Bride and I both have a weakness for books, and you might suspect from this photo that her weakness is just a bit “over the top”… after an hour or two, we left with seven books between us.

While grabbing a coffee and cookies at Powell’s cafe, we noticed these paper flowers that an unknown patron/artist had created from paper napkins. They were beautiful, and for the 20 minutes we sat there, he/she never returned…

While walking through downtown Portland, we came upon this water fountain. It’s perfect for two couples walking around together, or a thirsty four-headed Hydra… the last reference is for fellow Classics scholars.

Another tourist attraction was Pioneer Square, also known as Portland’s Living Room, where we found Weather Machine, a bronze sculpture that has a weather beacon and prediction device. This day was clear, so it showed a golden sun (helia). Misty days are indicated with a blue heron, and rainy/stormy days with a dragon. Temperature is shown with a row of vertical lights. At noon daily, the Weather Machine starts its day with a two minute fanfare of Aaron Copland’s Theme for the Common Man, accompanied by spraying mist. An engineer named Dick Ponzi designed the device. It is not believed that he also invented the Ponzi Scheme… 

Speaking of bronze sculptures, this one will take your breath away. Portlandia by Raymond Kaskey is the second largest copper repousse statue in the US, after the Statue of Liberty. Unless you have visited Portland, you have never seen Portlandia, unless in a photo. The artist maintains all rights to his intellectual property, so there are no commercial reproductions of Portlandia, much to the chagrin of local souvenir stores. She resides in front of the Portland Building, appropriately enough.

I’ve always liked mirrors. Especially large mirrors. Like those on buildings. But you can’t find them in small towns or back in The Villages. But in cities… well, sometimes cities have their positive aspects.

I first saw rickshaws and pedicabs in Hong Kong back in 1970. Now you find them in almost every major city in the world, operated by healthy young men and women, often students looking to pay their outrageous college tuition. This pedicab was parked outside a cafe, the operator enjoying a few minutes of rest before his next fare arrived. Sports aficionados will recognize the logo as the mascot of the University of Oregon Ducks superimposed over flowers identifying the Portland Rose Festival.

Portland was a great stop, and we appreciated John and Beth’s making us feel at home. But our time there had drawn to a close, and we packed up our tent (figuratively) and moved south to McKenzie Bridge, Oregon, where we hope to do some extreme mountain biking. (More on that tomorrow, although My Lovely Bride has let the cat out of the bag via Facebook before I could explain what really happened via this blog.)

I will finish today’s blog with a brief story of a very interesting traveler we met on our arrival at our new campground. Daniel Baxter is a thoroughly charming Australian who is biking across the US. He is only two weeks into his adventure, and just happened to be staying in our campground. Suzanne met him on the way to the office, and we invited him to dinner in The Coach. It was a tough choice, because Daniel said he had just bought dinner at the grocery, but we convinced him that Suzanne’s Thai chicken fried rice and a Magnum bar were preferable to his planned can of refried beans heated over a Sterno tab. Here you see Daniel fully loaded and ready to ride. Unlike commercial bike tours and professional bike racers who have a “sag wagon” to carry spare bikes, parts, tools, food and clothing, he carries all his gear in panniers and handlebar bag.

Daniel is a physical therapist in a small town near Adelaide, and has three months for this bike trip. His girlfriend Katie supports him completely, even researching his route on the Internet back in Australia. Daniel’s next day’s ride would be 50-60 miles with a 4,000 foot elevation gain over the Cascade Mountains. He plans on riding to Maine, and said that if we would like to volunteer The Coach as his sag wagon, he wouldn’t mind… 


  • Beverly G
    Posted July 7, 2014 at 3:25 pm

    Thank you for another great blog, Ty. I don't comment on each one, but want you to know they are the highlight of my morning 🙂 I learn more about our wonderful country from your blog than I did in 11th grade American history and geography!

  • Ty and Suzanne Giesemann
    Posted July 7, 2014 at 11:21 pm

    Bev, Thanks – I've always loved history and geography, so it's fun for me, too.


  • Unknown
    Posted July 25, 2014 at 4:38 pm

    After all this time I've finally got the chance to have a good look at your blog…love it! I must say that it was a real thrill to be mentioned in such a nice way and to see the photos from that day. Katie was also very excited when i told her about it.
    That was such a wonderful evening and it's something I will never forget. You two are great people and I can't thank you enough for your hospitality and kindness.
    I'm amazed how far you have travelled since we met…it makes me realise how slow bike travel is, especially when I'm doing the pedalling!
    I have just arrived in North Dakota and I've now cycled about 1800 miles. Today I'm having a rest day as there is a ferocious headwind.
    I look forward to following your blog as you continue your road trip.
    Send my warmest regards to Suzanne.
    All the best,


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