Friday, December 30, 2016

Hello Portland: Tiny House Adventure #3

We just spenT two epic days in Portland! This is our third family vacation at the Tiny House Hotel and our first time biking all together. I have biked in Portland on my own. Tween was enticed by the promise of flat roads. Mr. Peyos was slightly intrigued by the BikeTown bikeshare. He has yet to use Pronto and doesn't find it convenient. When we go, we stay at the very fun Tiny House Hotel. Our whole family loves to hang out in one spot in the house so tiny house living doesn't seem so odd. It might even be our future. Not yet, Seattle has those laws where you can't build tiny houses because it will RUIN the character of blah blah blah. FYI, we're still renting and the housing market is wacko.

So, we go to Portland and live out our dreams until this becomes a reality where we live. For our third stay we were fortunate to stay in the newly made Zyl Vardos "Pacifica" house. Compared to the other houses this one was really livable for us and worked for a two night stay.

We also brought the tween's bike with us on the train and I had set up a bike rental through Splinster. Our two previous trips includes use of public transportation and walking. I know, the horror, WALKING.

Okay, so here's our journey.

As soon as we left the station promises of watching a movie were granted. After the movie the toddler looked out the window a lot and then for about half an hour stood up and glared at the guy behind us while he tried to enjoy his sandwich. So, it meant our kid needed food so we fed him the many food items in my food cooler. He finished off his refreshing meal with a cucumber. At this point he stood again to show the guy behind us that he was eating too but he was done with the cucumber so he threw it him. At least the two men behind us laughed and I confiscated the deadly cucumber and said, "we are not playing catch the cucumber". End Scene.

After arriving we waited for the Trimet Max yellow line and lookie lookie, the pancake dispenser works now. Seriously, you had to go with a logo that looks like a whole pancake chain. REALLY? We put money in the vending matching where our tickets were dispensed. I let Mr. Peyos handle that task since I was in charge of toddler wrangling and knowing which Max line to catch and how to get where we were going. 

Here is the tween's bike on the Max. She tried to lift it even though the hook is lower.  I tried but ended up hurting myself so Mr. Peyos did us a favor and put it up here. The Max is more spacious than our Link Light Rail so the space worked but I did notice the handlebars did stick out a little. It's okay, nobody got mad. 

On the other side is the same hook and a good spot to put luggage or a stroller. On the way to the Amtrak we were pretty squooshed so this was refreshing. 

We walked along NE Killingsworth which was under heavy construction last year. Many curb bulbs were added, speed limit lowered. Walking was fine. I did spot a mattress. Hey look, garbage, let me take a picture. If you only PBOT had some kind of Find it Fix it App I would have totally reported it. Maybe they do, I just never checked. 

Home sweet tiny home loft. Tween got the loft but look at the wood on the ceiling. This tiny house is a work of art. Curious about it, here is the link 

3rd night of Chanukah meant lighting our menorah. Bringing our gigantic oil menorah was just out of the question so we settled for a more travel friendly version. 

On our walk we passed this place. Hi Bob!
After dinner the tween and I walked in some heavy rain to pick up my bike rental. I rented the Metrofiets from Phillip and it worked out well. Splinster was a better option for us and while I could have rented a bike from another place, this was more convenient. It has no assist and I figured that for our use it would be fine. If you are Metrofiets curious I highly recommend trying this in Portland. 

Portland has something we lack in Seattle, LOTS of bike parking. It's everywhere and in abundance. It makes it easy to get places and even go grocery shopping which is my main issue. The Alberta Co-Op had lots of staple racks and I didn't even have to struggle. The tween is so used to our misery she was about to lock her bike to my staple rack. Lock to your own, little lady. 

Oy! You call this a vacation?

Toddler needed real sleep so we turned off all the lights as soon as we got back and the snoring began. My view from our bed. 

Helpful online maps. Thanks BikeTown.

After breakfast the tween and I plotted our bike attack. I brought paper maps. You can get them free from PBOT here: free maps. BikeTown bike share has a great map so we used that too but stuck to memorizing how we would bike and use the paper map when needed. 

Having a tiny kitchen meant we could make meals and coffee. We brought our camping set but we should really upgrade gear for making better coffee. You would think that we would go out and get coffee but it never happened, neither did beer drinking. <insert tears here>

Just because we were on vacation didn't mean daily davening was on hiatus. Mr. Peyos davened and because of the high ceilings didn't wack his head into anything. The space also meant we could move past him and around him when we left.

We're off! What is this? This intersection took us across the 4 lane Martin Luther King without getting killed. Drivers stopped which is amazing and nobody looked perturbed to see us. Being on a non-assisted cargo bike meant I was slow to start but we managed. Oh and my toddler weights 45 lbs. The barriers are lovely! 

We made it from NE Alberta to downtown! WOOT WOOT!
Here we are. We managed to bike a tiny bit of the N. Vancouver bike lane which is only magic paint but with enough magic paint buffer for us to comfortably bike. We bike on far worse streets in Seattle so tween was prepared enough for that. Possibly the most interesting thing that happened was we encountered a detour on N. Vancouver. So, we expected a "Bikes Merge with Traffic" sign. Do you know what happened? PDOT took out the parking and made a detour for bikes so nobody had to merge into traffic. What? It happened so fast we didn't realize until we were a block away and this is a one way street so I wasn't biking back to take a picture. 

We had a bit of a transition issue when the bike lane ended and we had to get across to where the Steel Bridge starts. In general it was okay. It was a low traffic hour and tween was prepared but I didn't prepare her enough on our route home which is slightly different since we have to connect to the N. Williams bike lane. Tween had spent many miles riding side by side I failed to tell her to ride behind me at an intersection and a driver did a quick turn really close to her.

In case you didn't know, the N. Steel Bridge has a lower portion for pedestrians and bikes. So, if you hate going across bridges, this one is not scary. It may be a bit narrow but it works well for our kid purposes. 

I have no idea how to navigate downtown so we walked our bikes on the sidewalk. See those cement circles. I want those. I love calming devices that looks sturdy. Battle damage is good.

We didn't even get far into Powell's because the toddler saw the LEGO section first and we were doomed. At some point I picked him up and carried him to the kid's section. The second I put him down he found his way back here. I was a bit bummed I didn't get to look in other sections. Oh well. 

It's such a bad picture, but this is the 2nd Ave protected bike lane. The corners have those round cement blocks. Parked cars work as a buffer. We didn't try it so I can't tell you anything more than I like the cement pillars at the end. 

A little sad we biked over to the Tillikum Crossing. It looks beautiful in pictures but how does it feel when you are biking across? To be honest, yes, it's beautiful but I found the pedestrian/bike space narrow. The biking section was not wide enough to allow us to ride side by side. When you have friend or a tween they want to ride next to you so you can talk. So, the tween biked behind me and filmed us going across. 

Here's out video. I spared you the pain of watching me bike it slowly. It has a pointy incline and so I was working hard to get up to the top. Remember, my kid weighs 45lbs and then the bike and then my butt and then the snack cooler. So... 

We made our way over to Clever Cycles because I needed another poncho. We also found a better way to get there on the way back. I should probably write about my vast poncho collection. I bought Mr. Peyos a Carradice poncho last year and it's so good. He's never wet. So, I wanted one too. It's also heavier than a Cleverhood, which are nice but doesn't work well for me when it's windy. I had it fly over my face once while riding.

Toddler had a great time at Clever Cycles because they have LEGOS! At some point I told him it was time to go and he took some stuffed animals, climbed into the Bakfiets and told me "nap". We have to go little guy. So, crying happened but nobody judge. Remember, I have the snack cooler so snacks were enticing. 

Without proper restraints my toddler was able to stand in the box of the bike and do a couple of dances. This is when we called Mr. Peyos and told him to meet us and take the little guy. The toddler protested but once they got closer to our lodging was excited about the prospect of taking off his clothes and eating more food. 

We navigated ourselves back north in the pouring rain. Good thing I bought that poncho because it was raining. As much as I wanted to ride helmet free. I didn't because that visor keeps a good portion of rain off my face.  I took a picture with my favorite traffic calming device. I love you concrete. Why can't we have them in Seattle?

We did it and now to eat some tofurky sandwiches. It was the best we got!

This is when I realized that I had one cup of coffee and zero beer. What? No beer? We did this vacation wrong. Mr. Peyos took the tween away for an adventure while I was stranded under my toddler. Not even a friendly bike beer meet up for me <insert tears here>.

Toddler managed to stay asleep until 7am. AMAZING because he woke up at some psychotic time of 5am the day before. Kids don't understand what vacation means. It means, leave Mommy alone. 

I managed a whole 10 minutes of alone time before they found out I was up in the loft. 

Those too found out where I was hiding and decided to join me while I ate oatmeal. I snuck out to return the bike. Nobody cried for Mom.

Where the heck did we park this thing? The Tiny House Hotel has a staple rack next to the house. Yes, a staple rack. I also failed to adjust that seat so the upwards tilt was a bit ouchy in the end. Oh well, next time I will do better.

Aww, once again. nice barriers where bicyclist can get across.

The Going Greenway was low traffic volume and very wide. Speed humps were mostly uniform unlike our variety in Seattle. We have trapezoidal speed humps. Imagine biking over that. You better lift your butt or else. These speed humps didn't hurt. 

Then we have the transition from the Going Greenway to the NE Alberta Ct Greenway. Interesting. It is a raised cement bike lane then some green directional paint to connect.

I had few conflicts with drivers. That was probably the most amazing part. All those things about drivers stopping and waving you across are real.

 So, yes, we went!

Then I saw a lot of this. Small housing. I can dream right.

I walked back to meet my family. Bike racks are everywhere. It's like businesses want people to bike there. Isn't that a crazy idea? CRAZY!

Toddler is asleep, snooze.

BikeTown was temping for Mr. Peyos. He didn't bring a bike and is a great lover of walking. The fact that he was tempted was great because he doesn't even want to use the bikeshare in Seattle. Sorry Pronto. The process to borrow a bike even seemed easier. Also, no helmet required. 

Our train ride home was non-eventful. We were tired and the toddler enjoyed looking out the window and listening to music. 

Mr. Peyos took the toddler for walk but while paying for these delicious waters. He let go of speedy pants and the toddler ran a whole three train cars away. Yeah, he was attempting to return to Mommy but failed. 

That's it folks. Mr. Peyos and Tween tried to play Batman Flux but someone's sticky fingers kept taking the cards. We survived another "vacation". Oh yeah!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Mini Me Disaster Relief Trials/Kidical Mass Ride

We were ready to come to the rescue!
I am a fan of not spending money on crafts. I am not a crafts person. So this called for some creativity. In a last minute effort I thought, hey, let's have a Mini Me DRT (Disaster Relief Trials). I have always wanted to have one and thought combing it with a Kidical Mass Ride would be a great thing.

So, I put the tween in charge of the stations. She came up with these ideas:

Our stops:
-Save a puppy
-Rescue the person from file. Originally bike through fire but we modified it last minute
-Save the alligator from polluted water
-Chase away the zombies
-We had another stop, rescue the sick person, but the tweens were pooped so we didn't do this.

So, what does a $5 DRT look like. All items salvaged from the Goodwill or from free sources.

Save a Puppy:
Originally I had little shoe boxes to attach to bikes to put the puppy in because it seems so cruel to zip tie them to a bike, no? Our participants were on Dad's bike so a quick modification with pipe cleaners.
Some puppies got stuck in a tree. 

We used some sticks to help get them down.

Rescue a person from Fire:
My toddler had taken our hula hoop and broke it. So, it was sitting in the yard with nothing better to do. We taped some streams on the halves and tada, PINK FIRE. Originally, this was to be bike through fire but again modified to fit the situation.
Tweens, they do crazy things like get stuck in PINK FIRE

Oh good, we can keep going!

Save the alligator:
We came upon a cute alligator in some really polluted water. The alligator was immediately adopted by this new family and will be living in cleaner water.

Chase away the zombies:
Apparently the zombies invaded our ride and we were forced to chase them away. How dare they! The tweens had mask and could hardly see where they were running but the little kids thought it was funny. Remember to make holes so you are not running blind.
OMG! Those kids were fast.

Cure the sick person:
Okay, this was going to be gross and I forgot hand sanitizer so we just skipped it but it did involved the tween girls putting candy dots on their face and the kids wiping them off but I forgot the baby wipes.

Pink fire looks really cool when it's hanging from the back of your bike. It also works better than shame flags. Wave one of these around and see what happens. 

We made it to Hub Fest but the tweens were quickly bored so we left. The nice part about using a smaller bike is that we just hopped on the light rail to go home. 

Before leaving we checked out some of the displays including this GIGANTIC scrabble board made by someone at SDOT. As cool as it is, we were not too into it.

Lastly, we got a bit of education regarding waste treatment. So in a real emergency here somewhere to go because all have to use the potty. So maybe next time I will splurge and spend $10, fancy. Most likely I will be repeating this for Team Mama Bears as a test. So, watch out. 

Bike Escape: Fay Bainbridge Park 2019

I went camping without kids. How did I manage that? (insert shrug) One of the old time pedal parents went with me. Our schedules for this ...