Posts Tagged ‘Columbia’


psychedelic astronaut

When I committed to riding my scooter Vesper Lynd through the Portland winter, I knew I’d need the right gear. It wasn’t until mid-December 2011 that I realized my waterproof shell trousers and fleece/waterproof shell jacket combo was not going to get me through. Portland’s winters, although relatively mild when compared to, say, northern Ohio, can still get quite chill. Temperatures in the upper 30’s and lower 40’s, braved on a bike going 40 MPH could shrivel my hands into blackened frostbitten claws. My torso might be dry upon arrival at my destination, but it might also be blue and racked with convulsive shivering. And so, like the great northern expeditions of old, I headed to the Columbia store to acquire the intense deep winter coverings I desperately needed.

What I came out with is something I’ve taken to describing as my psychedelic astronaut suit. The bright yellow color helps me be seen in the dark December days, when sunlight makes but a cameo. The jacket, a fine Columbia Titanium product, is comprised of two layers – an outer, water- and wind-proof shell and an inner heat-trapping down layer. The pants are Mountain Hardware ski pants, made for all day in the snow and cold.
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Combined with the Columbia Omniheat gloves that keep my precious hands from freezing and falling off my arms, I have built what may be the perfect winter scooter ensemble. It got me through the winter of ‘11-’12 and is delivering me through the ’12-’13 winter. I arrive to work every morning warm and dry.

The suit may be as high tech as Iron Man’s. I certainly feel like Robert Downey, Jr. as I scoot around town. Like the superhero, I feel more powerful while wearing the suit.

So if you see a psychedelic spaceman scooting around town, don’t rub your eyes. It is not an illusion. I exist. I ride on.psychedelic-astronaut3


the sights of sandy

sandy-streetSandy isn’t just a road in Portland. It is a lifestyle, one that hearkens back to the days when the Pacific Northwest was a bit wilder, a bit less gentrified. There are things on Sandy that just couldn’t exist anywhere else in the city. Now that Isis and I have the great fortune of living on this historic street, I can report on the many gifts Sandy imparts on its people.

Fountain.decorative-fountainFountains similar to this can be found in the older parts of the city. They are constantly running through the spring and summer. When it isn’t raining they can really come in handy. This is by far the fanciest of these fountains. Clearly it belongs next to a statue of George Washington.george-washington-statueWhy have we decided to immortalize the first president of the United States? He never came to Portland. I don’t think he ever tried a microbrew (well, maybe. Were they all microbrews back then?). In any case, George looks stoically northeast, as if towards the hated England.

Sandy boasts a thriving entertainment center. One of the local television stations is stationed here.katuAs is the historic Hollywood Theater. Why Hollywood? Portland has been the filming site for a number of huge movies. At least two of them starred Harrison Ford.hollywood-theaterNearer to us is the beautiful one-screen theater, the Roseway. Highly recommended.roseway-theaterAfter a late show, why not head down the street for some live nude girls? Pirate’s Cove is easily spotted due to its shape (a jug) and its inventive message board.
Today’s message? “No Comment.” pirates-coveNo important street is complete without a branch of the public library. Sandy hosts the Gregory Heights branch of the Multnomah County Library.library1By far the most lovely storefront on Sandy is Ed’s House of Gems. It is a rock shop. It is also really big, which leads me to assume Portland is chock full of rock hounds. eds-house-of-gems2eds-house-of-gems1Quality Tires is as advertized, I guess. It used to be a gas station, by the looks of things, but is now a gigantic pile of tires. They lock the tires up after hours behind a chain link fence, so don’t even think of trying to sneak in at night and stealing all these beautiful, precious tires.tires5tires3tires2tires1Only two blocks away from the pile of tires is The Grotto, a Place of Solitude, Peace, and Prayer.
Really, it is a lovely place, tucked into the side of a hill, with space for a service as well as paths for wandering.grotto1grotto2Near the 205, Sandy leaves Portland for the eastern suburbs of Gresham and Troutdale. At this transitional place, there is a tiny hidden cemetery. Some of Portland’s oldest residents are buried here. Someday I’d love to look up a bit more about this place and the people who are buried here. I’m sure there is some major Portland history in this place. Fitting that it resides on Sandy.

pioneer-cemetery1My journey along Sandy ended at the 205. This traveler, looking east, presumably laughing at all the terrible weather he’s leaving behind for the bucolic Pacific Northwest, will be my end mark. Thanks for traveling along Sandy with me.

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