Vacation Portland, Oregon and San Francisco, California

South Silver Falls, Silverton Oregon

This is what we saw the on our first night in Oregon. We flew out there for a family wedding. I’ve never been to Oregon; both the wedding and these water falls made for a fantastic first leg of our trip. The south Silver Falls are about 200 feet with a semi-circular cave/cutout behind the falling water. There is no real indication as you cross a wooden bridge over a quiet, gentle stream that these incredible falls are less than a quarter mile away.

You can walk behind the falls once you make your way down the trail.

We were staying about 40 minutes outside of Portland, which was mostly farmland. I was surprised at how quickly the city disappeared into rural farm landscape. We were surrounded by poppies, grasses, fruit trees, grape arbors and what appeared to be endless miles of squash.

Red poppy field with boy who thinks he's pretty cool

While I do appreciate the bounty of farmland and love a good look at where my favorite foods come from, I am, at heart, a city lover.

Downtown San Francisco

I think it’s the variety and life of an interesting city that intrigues me.

More buildings in the grey, cold fog.

The weather didn’t add much to this trip. We had to buy a jacket for the young fashion plate (a fleece San Francisco jacket looked pretty good after he froze the morning away in a t-shirt).

Sculpture in front of the US Mint provides protection from mad drivers as well as an interesting diversion for the eyes

San Francisco is a mecca for artwork and sculpture through out the city, free of charge, providing inspiration or controversy depending on your definition of art.

The amazing Vallaincourt Fountain installation near ferry building. To me it looks like the bent and broken rebar after the 1989 earthquake

Although my sister is probably deathly tired of the “tourist traps” of her fair city, we had to go to Fisherman’s Wharf. It’s the best place to get a fleece jacket for less than 20 bucks and then there’s the rest of it:

Giant crab on Fisherman's Wharf. And no, that is NOT me when I am forced to go into a shopping mall.

The sea lions mysteriously took off a while ago (but didn’t leave a cell phone number or post any updates on Facebook) have just as mysteriously returned, in smaller numbers. Some believe it was the recent earthquake. I would put my money on the fat, happy life they lead on these rafts.

Fat and happy sea lions. Good thing there isn't a smell feature in this post--they do stink!

You can see Alcatraz very well if you can squeeze through the mob to the railing along Fisherman’s Wharf. We didn’t take the ferry out to Alcatraz for a couple of reasons: we were experiencing a record-breaking cold day and you have to book your ferry trip at least one month in advance. Don’t fall for the ferry cruise around Alcatraz unless you like long, cold, damp boat rides. Those are never booked and it’s a poor consolation prize to exploring Alcatraz.

Alcatraz. It's like being in prison getting over there on a cold, damp day but honestly, it's worth it. Definitely wear sea bands if you get seasick

The lobbies of hotels and business buildings are also treasures for incredible architecture and beautiful paintings. You can also find plush, immaculate bathrooms in these buildings as long as you don’t look too touristy or desperate.

Atrium of the Palace Hotel

This is a gorgeous mural by Maxfield Parrish at the sports bar “Maxfields” in the Palace Hotel–a sports bar!

Just walking around any part of San Francisco is an opportunity to look at interesting houses. They are everywhere in the city.

Painted houses near Haight Ashbury

Yes, there are plenty of interesting people. Quite a few beggars and hobos and some seriously strung-out druggies, especially in the Haight district. And then there was this guy:

Street guy showing us how his dragon flies (when it's not ejoying a ride in a grocery cart)

You can definitely tell the tourists from the residents, especially on a day in July. The tourists fling themselves out in the early morning dressed in brightly colored shorts, flowery or patterned t-shirts, also brightly colored but of a different color than the shorts, sunglasses, sun hat and sensible hiking shoes (everyone knows it’s a walking city). The poor things can be found huddled together in frozen masses on street corners by noon clad in newly purchased “San Francisco” sweatshirts, windbreakers and/or fleece. The natives all wear black, grey or tan clothes with either black leather shoes or boots. They all appear fit and minimally stylish–almost receding as background to this star of a city. Everyone, everyone uses the crosswalks to the letter of the law. Therefore both scofflaw pedestrians and evil cars get verbally abused by upstanding citizens if they violate the rules of the crosswalk. This is very embarassing if you’re sitting in a car that’s blocking a crosswalk at a red light. “Hey! What the hell do yah want! I’m from Massachusetts and this is how we drive ouwah caaahs!”
There are tons of bicyclists, all cycling with a purpose–the only Lances* I saw were outside of the city.

Ouch! Bad day, San Francisco cyclist!

It is a city of peril, I admit, but my nephew kindly showed me how to assume the earthquake position should we suffer one on the spot:

Never fear an earthquake, assume the earthquake position!

There is so much more to this city, I’ve just shown you a small sample of this trip. I’ve been here 6 times so far and haven’t tired of it yet but here is the main reason I leave the comfort of my east coast and as long and she’s on the left coast, I will go there.

Beloved sister Kate

*Lance: A bicyclists who dresses and rides like Lance Armstrong because he/she is Lance Armstrong. They are prolific during the Tour de France.

About EF Sweetman

writing, reading, pretty much everything noir
This entry was posted in 1, bicycling, Blogroll, essay, Fashion, Observations, Portland OR, vacation, writing and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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