Dragon Boat Races and other Delights

It’s Saturday.  Overcast.  Warmish.  And I feel like blogging.

With fear and trepidation in his heart, Rayman agreed to take mass transit into downtown Portland to see the Dragon Boat Races today.  We have never done that before.  Our virgin voyage.  We were meeting our friends, Al and Charlie, for a morning on the Willamette River and we were told traffic and parking would be difficult.  

The City of Portland transit system is a marvel.  A combo of buses, light rail, and streetcars work together to shuffle people here and there using the latest software programs to help passengers.  It is much more progressive than Bart which I rode when I lived in the Bay Area.

They have an app called HOP.  You establish an account.  Figure out how you want to pay. and you’re ready to go.  The app even allows you to put in your current destination and where you want to go and then gives you three options on how to get there.  Nifty.  

Of course, we had trouble but not enough to prevent us from arriving at the river only slightly late.  

Here we are on the bus, on the way.  


The bus ride took us to a transit center where we boarded the light rail system.  When we crossed the river, the train stopped and said there was an issue and that the train was waiting for resolution.  That’s when the police cars showed up.  So, we jumped off and started walking to the meet up location.  Visions of gun violence danced in our heads.  After a good walk, we met up with Al and Charlie thanks to texting with Al.  As Al said, “you’re not lost if you have a phone”.  

We then watched some races.  It was entertaining and colorful.  Think Portlandia.  Here is a picture of the boats post-race.  




Here is one of the many observers of the races.  He came fully prepared.  We didn’t even bring a chair so there was no sitting down for our sorry asses.


The lawn along the river was muddy.  The port-a-potties had run out of TP necessitating tearing the back page off the free program booklet.  So, not ideal but what the heck.

There are ships on the river right now.  Coast Guard ships.  There is even a submarine in the river today.  An actual submarine.  It was lying low if you’ll pardon the pun.  

After a time we grew hungry and left the festivities to go get a pizza at a place called Life of Pie Pizza.  Sat outside because forecasted rain had not yet materialized and gulped down pizza and beer or wine for a fine lunch.  

Rayman and Al at lunch

It was time to leave.  Al figured out how we should get home and it was via bus 24 or 30 or something like that and the bus stop was not too far from where we ate.  He also showed us how to use the app library on my phone.  Very instructive day.  


Our bus arrived, we bid fond adieu and off we went.  When the bus stopped, the driver told us we had to disembark because, we had to ..so we did.  Now what?  Rayman knew where we were.  We were at the Providence Arena, a sports venue and there was a light rail stop a half a block away.  So, we jumped on the next train and basically retraced our steps from there.  



City art and old farts

Now this is not that lively a story but if you stop to consider that we vaguely knew a little bit about the system but went ahead and used it anyway…an old couple of Honored Citizens as the TriMet refers to “older clientele” and took the plunge, we managed.  We were successful.  

That and the fact that we were never lost at any one time for very long, it was even more impressive.

Key learnings:  if you leave the driving to them, there are no arguments, you get to watch the scenery go by, and you don’t have to pay to park, look for a place to park and all that entails.  

It really was marvelous.  


Headed home before the rain




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