Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Portland Land.

Warning. Nothing really soccer related here, just a trip update. Safe to skip, for sure.

For a better account, check out what Ben wrote up.

Well then, that was a fun little trip.

I actually hadn't planned on going at all in the first place until I found out I could actually piggy back the whole thing on top of a business trip, which worked out great. I flew out on Thursday, routing through Chicago, unfortunately. I hate flying east to go west. But it worked out mostly fine in the end. Got into Portland late, opted to eat at a Buffalo Wild Wings by my hotel instead of going downtown, which may have been a mistake. Not that anything was bad (for the record, Thai curry wings are excellent), but I'd later learn that downtown Portland was awesome.

Also, apparently, there was some sort of convention in town and no hotels to be had anywhere, so I was sort of stuck out by the airport. The good news was, they were overbooked and had to stick me in a three room suite. Oh the horror.

So Friday. Woke up very early. Like, 4:00 AM early. 6:00 AM Central, true, but even with a new kid I can usually make it until at least 7:00. So I sort of forced myself to lay in bed, with mixed results, but I was up and wide awake, so I made my way out to the harbor. This trip was scheduled real well actually, as the Dred Essayons was actually in port. We do a lot of the harbor and channel work along the West Coast, and let me tell you, the Essayons is a really impressive vessel. Bigger than I thought, even, and in great shape for something that works as hard as it does.

So work went well. Went out after and had a meal at the Bridgeport Brewing Company and would definitely recomend. Great pizza, excellent beer.

Afterwards I met up with the rest of the Cauldron crew that had made the trip as well as the girls and guys from the Timber's Army at The Bitter End. And yes, I am just link bombing at this point, but these places deserve a notice if you're in the area.

Yes though, much love to everyone with the Timber's supporters. Great bunch of people, very welcoming and inviting, and I'd love to buy em each a beer in Kansas City next year.

Hotel, then sleep, then up again at 4:00. Groan. Wound up walking around Cascade Station by the hotel for a little bit. Accidentally wandered into a car show. Not a big car guy or anything, but it was sort of cool.

Wound up getting a nice bottle of Oregon wine for the wife out there too, but by then it was time to head downtown. I thought I had big plans, but the light rail got me off in the middle of the Saturday market and I had to wander around. Their market reminded me of essentially taking each small local market Kansas City had and combining it with City Market, and then moving it a bit closer to the river. It was really cool. Actually, a lot of Portland reminded me of just a more condensed version of Kansas City. Nothing really seemed bigger or better, everything was just closer and more condensed, which I definitely liked.

After the market I started to wander towards Jeld-Wen and saw a bar with GolTV on, so I figured I had to stop. Admittedly, I normally wouldn't venture into a place called the MVP Sports Bar, but I was really impressed. They had the River Plate game on, great beer, and apparently their food menu was mostly Thai food, which was awesome. Met a cool girl and her boyfriend who were soccer nuts and wound up talking to them for longer than I meant to (missed a chance to see the Japanese garden) and a few beers later it was game time.

Met up with everyone back at The Bitter End and we started our long meander towards the stadium. We took the long way (3.5 blocks around instead of 0.5 blocks the other way.. and not short blocks...).

It was worth it. I guess? No matter.

Jeld-Wen itself was really cool. It had kind of a Wrigely feel to it. Which in one way is really cool. In the other way, it definitely felt old and in need of some love. I actually think I'm just spoiled by Livestrong. And I don't mean to take anything away from Jeld-Wen. It's gotta be one of the best parks in MLS and I'd love to go back.

So the game. Yeah... maybe the one low-light of the trip. Not that I even mind the loss, but it just wasn't a well played game by either side. I think we looked poor because we were gassed. I think Portland looked poor because... well, they just didn't look like all that great of a team. Chance Myers with the only goal of the game, an own goal, to seal it 1-0 for Portland. I do think the Timber's Army should send Chance the hunk of wood they cut for the goal though. Nice little parting gift.

And I will say, seeing TA out there doing their thing was really impressive. I'd definitely love to see what the Cauldron could do at Livestrong given a bigger stand, but Portland really is a soccer city and they represented well.

Game over, back across the street for a few more beers. Totally packed with Timber's folks again, and 99% of them awesome to talk to. The one negative was that by 11:00 I was ready to head back and started asking for cab advice. The few people I talked to insisted I take the light rail back, to save money and it wouldn't take much longer and so forth... well, I was a good dozen beers into my night at that point so took their advice and headed off to the red line station. No one mentioned the red line stopped running half an hour ago.

So, between walking, waiting, realizing what was up, finding my way back, and grabbing a cab, I wasted an hour of sleep I could have used. Finally slept till 9:00 though, which was great.

Good flight home, happy to be back, and would love to go again. All around an excellent trip and one I'd love to make again in two years. Really, there's a bunch of more detail and minutiae that I didn't get into here. Just wanted to dump some photos. And much thanks to Sam Pierron and Sean Dane for everything they did to coordinate things.

No comments:

Post a Comment