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Portland is a shoestring

August 3rd, 2004 · 2 Comments

It was my fault. Next time I will sit down with my map, with attention and effort worthy of Lewis and Clark, and I will plan how I will navigate the streets of Portland, Oregon. Instead, I glanced once at the map and another time at the mapquest directions. I loaded the car and drove for hours. I was late. Arriving in the city, I needed to find the way to Ted’s hotel.

But the city reminded me of a shoestring that crosses back and forth through eyelets. Want to get to the other side of the river? Find the appropriate bridge! Easier said than done…

It took me three hours to travel from Bainbridge Island to the outskirts of Portland, crossing Puget Sound and into another state. It took me nearly another hour to drive a few miles down 99E and cross the correct bridge, take the right turn on the one-way streets – oops, take the wrong turn and then go around the block again….

The kids and I were restless. I called Ted, asking if he could meet us somewhere else. I was desperate. Lost. I prayed.

Thank heaven for little girls. I mean it. Abigail noticed the Red Bull Flugtag arches near the hotel (which Doc Searls investigated) and saved me as I panicked while trying to drive and find Ted.

All cities have their idiosyncracies. I’m not saying Seattle or even Bainbridge Island are immune. I wouldn’t want to get stuck anywhere unfamiliar. Haste makes waste and I made a wrong turn. More than one wrong turn. It’s my fault.

All cities have their characters. Portland reminded me of a shoestring. Stretching from one place to another. Like a shirt or corset. Or gambling. Who would build a city straddled across a river? Will this street lead me to the bridge? Portland reminded me of chances taken, turns taken, both wrong and good, left and right, hopes and dreams and desperate prayers…

Tags: travels

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 emily // Aug 4, 2004 at 11:48 am

    Sorry you had such a hard time getting around our beautiful home city! Come back, try again and let us be your guides. Great to read you stopped at OMSI, a favorite field trip destination for our crew. Those bathroom tiles definitely caught my eye the first time around too…

  • 2 Julie // Aug 5, 2004 at 1:45 am

    Thanks, emily. I was waiting for a denizen of Portland to come to the city’s defense 🙂 We’ll see about giving it a second try sometime 🙂