Thanks for coming back for Part II of my West Coast recap! I left you on Christmas night, after which we crashed for almost nine hours…
On Saturday morning, I woke up bright and early for a run along the river in Portland. Knowing that I’d want to get some exercise in on our trip, I’d done some preliminary research on Runners World to find some recommended running routes. Thankfully, Portland is an incredibly runner-friendly city and I had my pick of trails, paths and city streets. Not wanting to get lost in the woods, however, I opted to stay along the river. (I also thought it would be kind of fun to run the bridges of another city, like I used to do on the Esplanade in Boston.) After a twenty minute drive into down in my brother-in-law’s car, with his trusty GPS, I parked and ventured toward the water. WOAH! Apparently not only was the scenery reminiscent of Boston, but so was the wind!! I was pretty well bundled, but the wind blew so hard that it was knocking the breath right out of my lungs. I soldiered north (I think), past two bridges, before turning back to cross over the Steel Bridge. Even though I was afraid of getting blown into the water, I couldn’t help but stop to take in the view. Just gorgeous!
Safely on the east side of the river, I moseyed along, smiling and greeting other runners as we passed one another. The path along the river is so well maintained! When I wasn’t gazing across the river, I was enjoying little pieces of artwork. One, which I saw toward the end of the east side of my run, was called “Shifting Assets” and I just loved it.
Eventually, I caught up to two women I’d been trailing and asked how to cross to the west side of the river. They explained that it got a little tricky and very nicely suggested I turn back and use one of the bridges further north. Many thanks to those two women because my legs grew weary as I ventured back the way I’d come, craving nourishment and water. Finally, I crossed back to the west side of the river and found my way back to the car. All told, I finished 8 miles in 80 minutes, including two brief stops (one to use a perfectly placed loo, and the other to chat with my “guides”).
After a quick shower and small bite to eat, we packed little Luna into the car and headed to my grandparents’ house for Christmas dinner part 2. Even though I was sad that I wouldn’t see my parents for Christmas this year, I felt so fortunate to be able to spend it with my mom’s side of our family! In all, we were 13 people around a table full of love. We started the meal with an African Peanut Soup that is traditionally served to celebrate Kwanzaa. It was subtly sweet from the peanuts and spicy from the hot chili pepper! The main course, served courtesy of my aunt and uncle, included an enormous, tender and juicy roast, a local roasted squash bake, homemade Yorkshire pudding, and all the trimmings. My aunt is from the Willamette Valley so she made almost everything from local ingredients!
We took a break after our meal to open presents. I LOVED the gifts I received and especially loved the gifts from my Granny and Grampa – they donated a goat and a llama in our name to a family in need. They also donated other animals in everyone else’s names (pigs, chickens, geese and goslings and so on). It was the perfect reminder that the holidays aren’t just about receiving gifts. Above all, they’re about GIVING them.
One last recap portion is in store, so check back soon!