Travel Series: Portland, Day Two

This is day two of my series about my trip to Portland and Seattle. See day one here.

Friday, Oct. 3:

Interesting plant life by a bike path in NE.

Interesting plant life by a bike path in NE.

I slept fitfully Thursday night. On Friday morning, I woke up in a panic, feeling so worried about my wallet. After some thought, I texted my airbnb hostess to let her know she’d be getting an envelope from my bank in her mail with my new debit card. I hadn’t wanted to say anything about my wallet to her for fear of worrying her or maybe making her think I was a chaotic person to whom things like this happen constantly, but I knew I needed to ask her to watch the mail. Minutes after I texted her, she called me to offer assistance. I thanked her but told her I was handling the situation and doing everything I could.

My airbnb was a fully furnished, finished basement suite with a bathroom, kitchen, small couch, a huge TV, and a very comfortable bed. I had a private entrance and lots of space. The kitchen had a microwave and a coffee pot, so I made some oatmeal while some coffee brewed.

Bikes-only area in NE.

Bikes-only area in NE.

It occurred to me that morning that an old Microcenter retail credit card I rarely use might have been in my wallet, and I hadn’t thought of it the day before when I cancelled my Chase cards. I sipped my coffee and called Wells Fargo. The balance on the card was still zero, but I cancelled it anyway just in case.

I decided I’d better tell my dad what had happened, now that things were looking like I hadn’t had my credit cards compromised. He said he’d had a strange feeling something bad had happened. It was true that I hadn’t been posting the cheerful Facebook updates he’d probably been expecting during a trip I’d been looking forward to so much. He offered to help me pay for a flight out of Seattle a day or two later if I needed to wait for my passport. I hoped it wouldn’t come to that but thanked him. He told me he was proud that I’d been able to handle a really awful situation on my own and not have a complete meltdown.

“Oh, believe me, the meltdown’s coming,” I said.

Brunch at Tasty n Sons

Brunch at Tasty n Sons

I rode my bike to Tasty n Sons, a place I’d read about for good, not-crazy-expensive brunch. I proudly said “just one today” to the hostess and was seated at the bar. I ended up next to a woman named Patty, who was from eastern Washington, and two of her friends. They were all in their 40s or so. One of the friends, Colleen, lived in Portland and gave me her cell number in case I needed anything during my stay. They invited me to a happy hour that night but when I looked it up later I saw it was probably a little further than I should bike.

I walked around a street full of shops by the brunch spot after the women left and I was on my own again. I went into a coffee shop there with my laptop and the two baristas gave me tips on where I should go in Portland. One of them had recognized my Ohio necklace and asked if I was visiting. I told them I grew up in Ohio, but was visiting from Chicago. I told them I’d be going to Seattle next.

“Watch the guys throw the fish!” one of them said. So many people said to go see the fish get thrown at Pike Place Market.

Laurelwood Brewery in the Hollywood District.

Laurelwood Brewery in the Hollywood District.

While I was at the coffee shop, Jaimi texted me to let me know a friend had told her if I got a police report for my stolen/missing wallet, proper documentation might help coax the airport into working with me. The coffee shop was within a mile of a precinct so I rode over there. I had to wait a while, but after about 45 minutes an officer took down all my information. He even printed a copy for me and waived the $10 fee, since I’m traveling. I didn’t know if my airbnb host had a printer, nor did I want to bother her and ask.

I rode back home and tried to worry less about the airport situation. Losing my ID was far worse than losing my debit card, thanks to the helpful banker who let me get cash out. Relying solely on cash was nerve wracking, but it was also making me much more conscious of my spending than I usually am.

I thought about taking a nap, but stayed up anyway. I ate a breakfast burrito from Jack In The Box for a quick dinner. Jack In The Box was the closest food to my airbnb and I remembered being surprised by how much I liked it when I visited Eileen in San Diego in February.

My brother called, having talked to my dad earlier that day, and he wanted to make sure I was okay. I told him what happened, but again stressed that I didn’t want the wallet incident to overshadow all the great stuff I was getting to do and see in Portland. He understood.

I texted Adele to see if she knew when the passport was supposed to arrive in Seattle, and she told me she’d overnighted it there and was promised it’d get to Evan by 3 p.m. Saturday. I thanked her profusely and texted my dad and brother to tell them.



I looked online for a local brewery near me and found one a mile and a half away. I scouted out their menu and decided to get their beer flight to try a sampling of what they make. I grabbed only enough cash to pay for the flight, a pint, and an order of nachos plus tip and biked over.

It was called Laurelwood Brewery, and I was at their NE Portland location in the Hollywood District. I ordered the flight and as the bartender grabbed a set of tiny glasses, he asked if I had my ID. I grimaced. I told him no, and to never mind the flight. I told him my wallet had been stolen, but I knew it didn’t make any difference. I apologized and he did too. I walked out of Laurelwood, unsure of where to go since I’d picked that place after researching it. I saw a dive-y looking sports bar up the block. I decided to try my luck, and ordered a cider from the bartender without incident. Relieved, I stopped to look around. I was sitting in between two very cute guys watching the Dodgers/Cardinals game. It was the bottom of the 9th and the Cards were up 10 to 9, and the guy to my right wore a Cards jersey.

A chocolate potato donut from Tasty n Sons.

A chocolate potato donut from Tasty n Sons.

After the Cards won, I got to talking to him. His name was Kyle, he looked like Ryan Gosling, and he lived nearby. The night was suddenly looking up. He had to leave to go see a band play in SE Portland, but he asked for my number since I told him I didn’t have set plans yet. I gave it to him, not really expecting him to text me later, but thinking that it was nice to be asked all the same.

I sat and finished my cider before walking outside. I saw a tall man and a blonde woman sitting at a picnic table outside the bar and sheepishly asked them which way was south. They told me, and then politely asked where I’m from since that was clearly not a normal question Portland residents typically ask each other. I ended up staying and talking with them for a couple of hours. We even stayed after we were forced back inside the bar when the outdoor seating closed around 11, when karaoke began. The blonde girl, Anastasia, killed it with her rendition of Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” and then asked me to text her my number so we could meet up the next day. She works for Voodoo Donuts and told me to stop by and see her at their second location, Voodoo Too, before her shift ended.

Anastasia and her friend Michael were probably my favorite people out of everyone I met in Portland, even though I liked everyone a lot. They just took a lot of time talking to me about the city and themselves and they were eager to help and make sure I had a great time in Northeast Portland.

The weather in Chicago for Friday, in contrast.

The weather in Chicago for Friday, in contrast.

After I felt like I was winding down for the night and ready to leave the bar, Kyle texted me. I decided to go meet him and his roommate since they were so close. We all sat on their porch talking and drinking before the roommate went to bed. Kyle and I stayed up talking for a while longer and he just turned out to be a really interesting guy. He’s a St. Louis transplant so we talked a lot about the Midwest. He’s in Portland working 40 hours in his field but also going to grad school so he has hardly any free time. I wondered how old he was and asked — he was 24, which made me feel a little old. I left his house and went back to my airbnb, happy to have met so many people who were willing to entertain an out-of-towner.

It was fun being invited into Portland homes and seeing what they are like. It sounds like almost everyone lives in a house rather than an apartment. Kyle rents a huge house with four other people, which sounds a lot like college to me. Anastasia shares a house with several roommates too. The bike couple in Ladd’s Addition was a little older, maybe in their 30s, so I suspect they own their huge, beautiful home.

Portland, Day Three will be posted later this week.

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