A Perfect Day

If you remember the whining about last year's 4th of July heat, then you'll understand why yesterday was such a perfect day. It was rather cloudy, but there was no rain. It was at least 30 degrees cooler than last year. The cloud cover meant there wasn't even much chance of a sunburn, and my family relished in it during our annual trek to the Willamette River waterfront.

We had a pretty good crowd with Erik, Mae, and Matthew and a good group of Erik and Mae's friends from their college days. By the end of the day Mike was looking pretty chill while we waited for the sun to set.

We arrived fairly early in the afternoon, unpacked our chairs, and prepared to wait. Since I'd accepted a Fitbit goal day challenge, I decided to go for a walk along the Eastbank Esplanade (which is a fancy name for a rather fancy sidewalk along the east bank of the river). As I was walking, I realized that Portland's newest bridge had opened since last year at this time. Knowing it was a pedestrian footbridge, I decided to walk across and back. A lovely way to get in my 10k steps, wouldn't you agree?

As you might guess, I took pictures of every blooming thing along the way.

As you cross the bridge, you see this sign with the bridge's name: Tilikum Crossing, Bridge of the People. It's basically a mass transit hub that carries tracks for the Portland Streetcar and Portland's light rail system, known as MAX (for Metropolitan Area Xpress)

And this is a truly fabulous bridge suspended by huge cables across the Willamette River, which is a pretty good sized stretch of water.

Each side of the bridge has lanes for pedestrians and bicycles (two-way for pedestrians, one way for bicycles).

The middle is reserved for mass transit in the form of streetcar, light rail, and buses.

Here comes the streetcar now!

And there's one of the MAX trains.

Along the way, I spied this sign built into the bridge's railing. "The first transit, bike, and pedestrian-only bridge in our nation." Cool.

There were some other informational signs that gave more information about the bridge, to-wit:

Tilikum Crossing connects two portions of Portland's Innovation Quadrant which includes vital higher-education and research institutions, cultural centers and private sector businesses previously separated by the Willamette River. The bridge enhances collaboration among these entities, offering direct connections for pedestrians, bicyclists and transit riders. The bridge itself has several unique features that reflect Portland's innovative spirit. The 14-foot wide bicycle and pedestrian paths were wider than any other multi-use paths on Portland bridges in 2015. Stormwater is gathered from the bridge deck and delivered to two stormwater treatment swales located adjacent to the MAX stations on either side of the river, a feature not found on any of the other Portland bridges in 2015. The transit station shelters at either end of the bridge . . . integrate solar energy arrays within their canopies, which helps offset energy use by the electrical systems at each station.

Cool. Another of the many reasons that I Portland.

Traveling from east to west across the bridge, this is what you see when you look north. That's the Marquam Bridge ahead, which is the Interstate 5 bridge across the river. Just below, you can see the Hawthorne Bridge off in the distance. Beyond that, and not really visible, is the Morrison Bridge. 

Here's an interesting bit of information about how Portland's many bridges have assisted in recovery of Peregrine Falcons. (Remember that you can make the image larger if you click on it.)

There's my family just on the other side of the Marquam Bridge. That submarine there is a part of the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, just outside the frame and to the right.

As I was approaching the Tilikum Crossing bridge, I noticed this mandala.

Just below it was this plaque that explains the whole thing. Interestingly, one would have to cross a rocky ditch and a landscaped area to read it. While it was tempting, I wasn't in the mood for a broken neck on this particular day...hamburgers in my future, and all...but I got the bright idea to try zooming in with my camera and hoping it was readable for my later viewing pleasure.

As it turns out, it was quite legible, and rather interesting. I'll let you read it for yourself.

It appears to be a copy of a page from an astronomy textbook. Here's the diagram that would have appeared on the page beside the text.

I walked all the way across the bridge and back. Looking south, here's a view of the Ross Island Bridge and (as you might guess) Ross Island on beyond. That's the Spirit of Portland dinner cruise ship below the bridge.

When I arrived back to where our little group was camped out, I only had 7k steps. Clearly I needed more, and so I talked Mike into making the walk with me. Amazingly, when I took the pictures off my camera, I discovered that our shadow selves had been taking selfies. Such a nervy pair, they are.

The last thing I want to tell you about the bridge is that our streetcar and light rail system are electric, which of course means that there are cables and other electrical paraphernalia above one's head. At the end of the bridge, we noticed a high voltage sign above this big switch. Think of this as a light switch in one's home where one can turn off and on the lights. Right here...if you had the key...you could shut off the electricity to mass transit. And that is one big MFing switch, let me tell you.

We crossed under the bridge on the way back to the family. You can see where the big cables attach underneath at those concrete "teeth".

The barbecue chef was hard at work with his able assistant Mae in the background preparing hamburger fixings.

That's what I'm talking about...my Fourth of July is very nearly complete.

The clouds began to break up as the sun was setting. The Blues Festival gathering was on the far side of the river. You can see the big flag right in the middle of that image below.

And when the sun went down....oooooooh, aaaaaaaaaah.

While we were there, Mae shared a picture of my new grandkittens. Erik and Mae lost their male kitty earlier this year. These two are littermates. The one on the left (possibly to be named "Cricket") joined them last week. The one on the right still needs to make weight so that she can be spayed. She'll be joining them later on this week.

Not to be left out, Sadie posed for her pawtrait yesterday morning. This one is pretty good pawtrait material. My friend Dana suggested checking Tonga batiks to find something that would approximate her flecked fur. I found some pretty good possibilities on Fabric.com. My friend Sally even offered up some hunks of fabric. You guys are great. For now, I'm still mulling over my fabric selections, but I think Sadie's pawtrait is not far off.

Sadie was being my lap cat while I finished stitching the hooped area of the Gingerbread Square block.

It's about half done now.

I'll pick it up here this morning.

It's a day to recover, and it's also a CSA pick-up day, which seems crazy since this is my Monday. I have to keep reminding myself that it's actually Tuesday, and the veggies are waiting.

It was another wonderful Fourth of July. I hope you had a nice weekend too.

12 comments from clever and witty friends:

works4me said...

Sounds like a great day.
Love the new kitties. So adorable.
So happy Sadie has posed for her pawtrait. It IS possible to find a batik that works for a torie.
Good luck. I can't wait to see the result.

CJ Smith said...

Those grandkittens are just TOO CUTE! You'll have to show us proud Grandma photos as they grow up.

Robin Shepard said...

Oh Yes! That is an even better photo of Sadie for the pawtrait. Can't wait to see it. I'm going to try some of the baking for two recipes from your earlier blogs. I love to bake but it's just too much sweets for two old people to indulge in when I bake a whole pie etc. And we are trying now to just have a sweet treat once a week only. Absolutely love your blog. It's my favorite of my collection of "Oregon" blogs I read daily. Thanks for the lovely, interesting blog and the lots of photos you share. Robin in Portland Oregon.

Arlene Adams said...

I really enjoy your blog Barbara. Loves all the information about the bridges. Next time I am in Portland I will definitely take the walk across the bridge. Those kittens are so adorable!

Anonymous said...

Glad you had such an enjoyable day and perfect weather, too. Those burgers look sooo good!

Interesting info on the bridge and transit system. Enjoyed the pictures, too.

Such cute grandkitties! Love how Cricket is holding the tip of her tail in her paws. And yes, I think you found the perfect picture of Sadie for pawtrait.

Teresa F.

Anonymous said...

Oops - perfect picture for HER pawtrait

Vroomans' Quilts said...

Oh, what cute kitties! Do we see some more pawtraits in the future? That is a grand photo of Sadie - those eyes just go right thru you - she's a soul reader. Looks like you had a fabulous 4th.

Kate said...

A very cool bridge and a fun walk. Glad to see your 4th of July celebration went well. Love the photo of Sadie, that one will work great as a pawtrait. Your grand kitties are so cute! I have to agree with Sharon, I see more pawtraits in your future.

ana-ane said...

Precioso todo lo que has mostrado.


Dana Gaffney said...

Happy 4th, it looks like the family had a great time. That bridge is really beautiful, I bet lots of people are using it to get their steps in. Congrats on the grandkitties, they're adorable! I'm glad my tip helped.

gpc said...

What a lot of fun and busy-ness. The wee ones are adorable and Sadie's pawtrait is lovely. I've never spent time in Portland but it looks well worth the trip -- what a fun place to explore! And I'm impressed that your Fitbit has been so persuasive. I do an excellent job of ignoring mine. :(

Wendy Tuma said...

My electricity has been out for almost 24 hours; I was so disappointed this morning when I realized I would miss reading your blog with my morning coffee. What a fun post to read tonight! Thanks for taking us on your walk and your day with your family!