The Heart of Portland

September 10, 2011

Words by // Photography by Nita Breibish

We had finally arrived after a longer than expected day on Thursday. A handful of minor detours extending our road time and made for an adventurous 6 plus hours on the bikes, that began just after 8:30am.

By 5:00pm we were battling our way through highway 84 rush hour traffic. Everyone was jockeying for position all around us. The overpasses seemed to appear out of nowhere from left to right bending around us, over us and back again. It’s an interesting place to be after the earlier mornings vast, open asphalt and wide sky, so calm and serene. Yet it was just the type of shock to the comfort zone I’m sure we need to experience every now and again for the life on two wheels we are looking to lead.

My shoulders began creeping quietly upward, achy hands now pleading for some signs of relief, all the while my super supportive inner dialogue with its “you’ve got this girl” cheer followed almost immediately by the all intrusive “holy crap this sucks” type mantra, had me drifting back in time. I was suddenly 16 again playing River Raid on my brothers Atari, determined to beat my own high score. Somehow this thought seemed to keep me relaxed enough to face the challenge. The destination was Uncle Ahmed’s family retreat for a two day rest. This was the cherry on the whipping cream, on the candy, on the chocolate on the cake and kept us moving onward through the 90+ degree heat.

When we arrived, once again we were greeted whole heartedly with open arms by Issa’s Uncle and his up for anything (but camping) wife Wendy. Time for some brilliant Libyan style home cookin, nights chatting in the on-site Hookah Lounge {aka the garage}, Adventure Time with Mr. Rashad and a couple of days to fall even further in love with Portland.

Pitching our tent on the soft grass in the backyard left us with huge grins on our faces. What a great idea! All Issa. This would ensure a “cat-free” allergy-free sleeping environment and maintain the sense of adventure we were looking for on this trip, minus the prowlers. Getting a solid sleep when you are travelling the way we are is so important and having left Calgary three days earlier with a nasty cold made rest time even more crucial. I had two of the best night sleeps ever.

Of course, cats know when you’re trying to avoid them. Perhaps it’s a sixth sense or that some believe they dwell partly here and partly elsewhere. Either way, since we had decided to tent in the backyard, this little kitty decided it was time to demonstrate its climbing skills while we sat with our morning coffee. Issa commented on how great it was that the cat seemed totally disinterested in the tent just as the little devil decided to claw it’s way to the top of the tent, under the fly. Screams and hisses met a flailing cat as tried to flee the scene – only to get caught in a guy line and nearly drag the tent across the yard. An inspection of the tent revealed about a hundred small holes all up the side of the tent. Damn. Still, we were thinking of a different tent rather than this heavy behemoth from MEC – so perhaps the cat was just helping us along. Probably not :)

The next couple of days only made us wish we had more, but it was back on the Road for us. Somewhat bitter sweet but all in all we are always so excited to get back on the bikes. Today is September 11th and my thoughts are with my friends in New York. I sent my blessings their way, pushed it into the back of my mind and packed up. It was 12:00pm by the time we set off. A nice late start was all too welcome. Next destination, somewhere on the Pacific Coast Highway, Oregon stylee.

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I’ve two passion-driven wheels, two small hands and one big nomadic heart. With my weather-beaten camera I’m looking to change the world one click at a time. In constant awe, I’m a professional dabbler, world traveller and the photographer-half of We Love Motogeo. I love breaking down barriers, challenging travel misconceptions and uncovering new notions of home. Thirty-seven countries and counting…

1 comment

  1. Comment by Jan Thain

    Jan Thain September 12, 2011 at 1:44 pm

    Isn’t it amazing how “kitty’s manage to seek you out??
    Hope the tent holds together until you get to Monterey..Great Pics!

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