This week we left our home of Portland, Oregon to begin a 2-year around the world adventure. This Umbrella Man statue, titled “Allow Me” was placed in Portland’s Pioneer Courthouse Square in 1983 and is one of many Portland icons. As a teenager, my friends and I would often go downtown Portland in the 1980’s and “decorate” him. I remember one incident where we left a large marshmallow on his extended index finger. Goodbye Portland and Umbrella Man!
Our last week in Portland was a busy one filled with farewells and severed ties. After all, it will be a few years before we will travel back to the Rose City after our round the world trip, and we most likely will not choose to live and work there again once we decide to resettle. Friends and family wanted to get together for goodbyes and to wish us luck in our travels, but there were too many people and not enough time for everyone. So what were we to do? Throw a going away party, of course!
We sent an open invite on our Facebook accounts and on our newsletter for a casual get together on Sunday at a local kid-friendly brew pub in Portland. We really had no idea how many people would show up, or if anyone would show up at all. On Sunday we arrived and were surprised to find Kerri’s cousin and her family had drove 3 hours from Washington to say goodbye. Soon after, other family and friends arrived and we spent hours talking and enjoying good Portland craft beer.
Monday was Kerri’s last day working at the Oregon Health and Science University. Her co-workers threw her a very nice going away party and that was that. She was unemployed by choice; something that left her feeling uncomfortable.
On Tuesday my co-workers at the City of Oregon City threw me a very nice “Bon Voyage” party and Kerri and I gave a presentation about our trip. The presentation went very well and you can see a copy of it here, sans commentary: http://prezi.com/1vo5slg6wn-l/our-rtw-trip/
On Wednesday, which was Halloween, Kerri and I dropped Sydney off at school, which was her last day, and then Kerri dropped me off at City Hall for my final day at work. I spent the day cleaning out my desk and organizing files. After 11 years, 8 months, and 26 days of working for the same employer, I was unemployed by choice. It was definitely a strange feeling, especially in this economy and high unemployment rates. Kerri and Sydney came to pick me up and I left for the final time.
After we got home we had a quick dinner and then I took Sydney trick-or-treating around our neighborhood while Kerri stayed at our apartment to pack. This was probably going to be our last Halloween for a few years, and we wanted to make sure Sydney had a really good one. It’s one of those great kid holidays and we didn’t want her to miss out. After a bag full of candy, we came back and then went to visit our old neighborhood to say goodbye to our former neighbors. Sydney was also excited to see our neighbor’s kitten and see how much he had grown in the 6 weeks since we had sold our house. She loves animals and it’s probably good that we got her rabies vaccination, as she cannot resist animals. After the old neighborhood, we went trick-or-treating at the grandparents, a yearly tradition. Back home we packed and cleaned our apartment until we could not keep our eyes open any longer and went to bed.
Thursday morning we awoke early and made a run to drop off unwanted items at a local charity and then packed our SUV with still way too much stuff. I am so sick of “stuff.” It has been a non-stop battle of ours for months. Everywhere we look, we had more stuff. We have had a couple of people ask us what we were going to do if we found souvenirs that we just had to buy. To be honest, I never want to buy another trinket again. Stuff sucks! We drove our overly packed SUV to a friends house where we left them our computer printer and food, and then headed to U-Haul to pickup our 5’x8’ trailer that would carry the stuff inside our 5’x10’ storage unit to Idaho. Yes, more stuff. We were down to only photo albums, well-packaged framed art, and family heirlooms, but it still seemed like too much stuff. We loaded everything up and came across a large container full of crap that was supposed to be brought back for our estate sale and sold. Oops! After one more trip to the local charity for yet one more donation, we were on the road and finally heading east; the direction that we will be heading for the next 2 years!
As we drove through the rainy Columbia River Gorge, I could not help but notice the beautiful scenery, massive waterfalls, and the changing of the leaves. Western Oregon is a very beautiful area to live, and it was bittersweet to be leaving after living there all my life. But a great adventure awaits us. And it will be nice to search the world for a different place to resettle for the next chapter of our lives.
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Since we will be starting our round-the-world adventure next week and every upcoming photo of the week will be of someplace far from home, I thought I would post one last photo of our lives here in Oregon. Our daughter Sydney loves horses and has been taking riding lessons for the past year. At her lesson, this past weekend, her riding instructor thought she would have a little fun and let Sydney ride backwards. It was pretty funny!
Before we leave on our two-year round the world trip, we have been blessed with getting together with friends and family to say goodbye. Typically this entails good food, good company, and good conversation. Food can always make any get together more interesting and pleasurable. This is also one of the things that I am most excited about traveling is trying new foods. So before we leave, I thought I might share some of my favorite breakfast restaurants in Portland. I was hoping to list 5, but could not think of a 5th restaurant worth recommending. If anyone has other suggestions, feel free to mention it in the comments section below.
Fat Albert’s is located in the Sellwood district. There is nothing pretentious about Fat Albert’s; it is just good old breakfast food with omelets, pancakes, biscuits and more. The biscuits are light and fluffy, the jam is delicious and the prices are fair. The service is quick, and most importantly, the food is consistent. Fat Albert’s is small so be sure to arrive early or eat something before you go, as the wait on the weekends can be a little long. Be sure to bring cash or check as debit and credit cards are not accepted
Genies Café is located at SE Division Street and 11th. The breakfast is good and the prices are fair, but what really makes this breakfast place phenomenal is the Bloody Marys. Genies Café has a bacon Bloody Mary that comes with an assortment of hot peppers, and instead of the traditional stalk of celery, it comes with a cooked strip of bacon. This is by far the best Bloody Mary I have ever had. On the weekend, the wait can be long but is much more enjoyable with a bacon Bloody Mary. And for those of you that are vegetarian or don’t eat pork, the regular Bloody Mary is also outstanding. The waiting area is comfortable and has bit of a bar type of atmosphere, which is probably the reason everyone is drinking a Bloody Mary at 9 in the morning. There is also plenty of unique art on the walls and on the wait staff to enjoy. It seems that having lots of tattoos is a requirement to work at Genies. Genies Café also stocks Aardvark Hot Sauce, which my husband swears is the best.
Bertie Lou’s is also located in Sellwood. Jason always judges a breakfast place by the eggs benedict they serve up. Bertie Lou’s offers multiple renditions of the eggs benedict from the basic to the ranch biscuit benedict. But even the basic eggs benedict is delicious as it is served on a croissant. While selecting what you would like, you can have a good laugh just reading the menu. Bertie Lou’s is tiny, has good atmosphere, and is a good place for breakfast. Come early on the weekend or expect to wait. One trick I saw was people ordering at the counter and then taking their food over to the bar across the street to eat.
Le Petit Provence
Le Petit Provence has several locations, however, the one location in Portland closest to us is located on SE Division and 48th. We recently had the pleasure of being introduced to this wonderful restaurant by family and it now ranks as my favorite place for breakfast. This is the essential French Patisserie. The food is heavenly and the portions are generous, and will not break the bank. The eggs benedicts are excellent, and highly recommended, and the hot chocolate is out of this world. I do not think I have ever tasted such rich and creamy hot chocolate before. Le Petit Provence is also a French bakery and offers baguettes, pastries, and other treats to take home.
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This past weekend we took a family hike in a forest preserve south of Portland, Oregon. Being Fall, the leaves have started to change color and Sydney found a leaf that she really liked and wanted to pose with for a photo.