Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The city of Portland and I have a love/hate relationship.

Let's start with the hate.

Portland is the meteorological equivalent of Mordor.

A pretty nice Portland afternoon.
It never stops raining.  Ever.  Which is a real issue when your primary (read: only) mode of transportation is a road bike.  As I write this, it's been raining for 96 consecutive hours.  To my knowledge, it's only stopped raining this week for about 10 minutes, which conveniently was enough time for it to hail for about 10 minutes.

Despite my recent investments in some pretty rocking wet weather gear (which includes but is not limited to bike fenders, two rain coats of different thicknesses, neoprene shoe cover booties, and two pairs of gorton's-fisherman-yellow waterproof pants), I show up for work looking somewhere between a drowned rat on a good day and Captain Jack Sparrow on a bad day.

Mornin', boss.
Wasn't kidding about the Gorton's Fisherman thing.
The locals - Portlandites, if you will - assure me that the summers here are beautiful, but I just can't be sure if it's beautiful on an absolute scale, or beautiful relative to what they're used to.  I figure that when you're used to getting your ass kicked every day, somebody stealing your lunch money three times a week probably seems like a pretty good deal.  We'll just have to wait and see.

But for as sadistic as the weather can be, the people, culture, and geographical beauty of the Portland area make it an awfully enjoyable place to live, albeit wetly.

The folks here have created a funky, artistic, laid-back environment in which the only thing they love more than brewing delicious hand-crafted beers is drinking their delicious hand-crafted beers.  Carlo and I have been checking out some really awesome Portland activities during our time off from Nike - hiking, Trail Blazers NBA games, and drinking delicious hand-crafted beers to name only a few - and there's a seemingly infinite amount out there left to do.

My wife, Karen, was also in town this past weekend, and we got to indulge in another of the Pacific Northwest's outdoor wonders - skiing on Mt. Hood.  For all the trouble the rest of the country's ski resorts are having keeping their mountains under snow, Mt. Hood could maybe even stand to get rid of some.  There are feet upon feet upon feet of fresh powder, and another 20" has fallen since Sunday.

We also explored Hood River, a very cute, very sleepy little town at the base of Hood which boasts (surprise!) some awesome breweries.  We had a terrific time and are very much looking forward to her next visit.

There's at least 3,000' of vertical climb behind that cloud!
Karen is a ridiculously good skier, which means she spends
a lot of time at the bottom of mountains waiting for me.
All things considered, Portland and I are getting along.  But just barely.  The internship at Nike is going very well, though.  With any luck I'll be back soon with more fun stuff to share!


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