The car was dumped at the Park Lane Suites and Inn as the travellers headed out on foot towards the trendy Pearl District and Deschutes brewery for the first taste of Portland beer flights served up along with a tasty meat and cheese board. Then on to the Rogue Distillery and Public House for some more flights (the selection was very different compared to that in Newport) and finally to 10 Barrel Brewing, where the 10 beer flight was accompanied by a tasty vegetarian pizza.
Saturday morning began with a walk up to the 100-year-old International Rose Test Garden in Washington Park. Many of the hundreds of roses were already in full bloom. So many different colors and sizes!
Portland has a relatively new bike share program, Biketown, which turned out to be very easy to use for tourists as well. The orange Nike-sponsored bikes were a bit on the heavy side but nice to ride once you got it going. $2.50 per 30 minutes of riding and plenty of stations around town makes this a very easy way of getting around (especially compared to driving in Portland traffic).
The bikes were tested by riding down to the Saturday Market by the Burnside Bridge, an interesting collection of food stands, arts and crafts, and old hippies. The nearby haunted taproom of Old Town Brewing was a good place for a pizza lunch and a couple pints. Then back on the bikes and across Willamette River to East Portland and some more breweries.
Saturday included flights and tasters at the following craft breweries:
- Lucky Labrador: dog-friendly with an outdoor terrace area, but really in need of cleaning their taps since everything tasted moldy
- Scout: a tiny place serving good beers with the flight including a glass of goldfish
- Cascade: specializing in sour beers, no flights but all beers available in small taster sizes ar varying prices
- Fat Head’s: a big and loud place with quite a heavy emphasis on IPAs
- Back Pedal: a small garage-type taproom of “Portland’s smallest nanobrewery” and home of the Brewcycle tour bikes
The Portland Rose Festival Starlight Parade overtook downtown for the day. In between breweries, wonderful and imaginative donuts from Voodoo Doughnut were enjoyed along with some Starbucks coffee in the North Park where performers were preparing for the evening parade, an enormous event with school marching bands even from neighboring states.
On Sunday, it was time to head back on the road for a tour around Mt. Hood along the loop formed by the Columbia river historic highway and the Mt. Hood scenic byway circling the peak. The route headed first along the Columbia River gorge. Great views were admired at the Vista House before proceeding onwards to the waterfall area.
The most well-known waterfall along the route, Multnomah Falls, was so overflowing with visitors that it was impossible to find room for the car, but luckily the nearby Latourrell Falls weren’t as crowded. The 1.5 km hike to the upper falls was worth it.
The road the turned away from the river to loop around the Mt. Hood peak. There weren’t any good viewing points along the road, but nice views were found by Trillium Lake. For lunch, a stop was made at Rendezvous Grill in Welches, with good burgers (including a veggie one with a quinoa patty) and friendly service.
Sunday evening began with a bike ride again to eastern Portland and Burnside Brewing, which offered up a flight of their entire taps range (18 in all) for a mere $20! Then finally to Base Camp for some final pints along with yummy food truck burritos. The last evening in Portland before heading north toward Canada couldn’t have ended any better.