A week in Irvington - Vuelta a Iberia - CycleBlaze

August 20, 2019

A week in Irvington

We’ve ended up in a pretty crazy situation this time for our Portland stay: we’re staying in three different airbnb’s in the space of less than five weeks.  It’s even crazier when you factor in the five day interlude when we’ll drive down to Bend to take in the Sister’s Folk Festival and some biking in the high desert.  Madness - we’re in a near-constant state of packing and unpacking.  We’re leaving our current stay tomorrow morning, and we just got here!

It sounds strange, but it didn’t start out this way.  In our original plan, we were going to take a six week mid-summer tour to Victoria and Vancouver, return to Portland for a bit over two weeks, and then leave for Spain just after Labor Day.  We booked an Airbnb stay with that in mind, something like half a year ago.  Later, we thought again and decided that we could afford to stay around for the Sisters festival and push out the dates for our Iberian tour, so we bought tickets for the festival and booked a second stay for the week after our return from Bend.  

And finally, at the last minute we decided that the planned six week Canadian tour was more than we wanted to take on.  After three months on the road we wanted a bit more time, so we lopped a week off both ends and booked additional Airbnb stays to fill the new gaps.  The one week stay we’re moving on from tomorrow was one of these patch-ons.

Which is a shame, because we really like the place we’re staying now, in the Irvington neighborhood.  Irvington is a great inner city neighborhood, and we’re sorry to be moving on tomorrow.  If we could go back and do it over, we’d have been happy to stay here for a month.  

Before showing you the neighborhood though, let me show you my newest friend.  This is one of the three small dogs that live here - they patter around upstairs as a pack, making a cheerful noise above our heads; and they excitedly run to their fence and bark fiercely at us when we arrive or leave.  They’ve started to relax by now though, apparently having concluded that we belong; and this guy loitered attentively while I was reassembling my Bike Friday yesterday (I need it while Rodriguez is in the shop getting a new derailleur).  

I’m pretty slow on the uptake, so it took me a few minutes to notice that he had brought his squeaky buddy with him and was proposing a friendly game of fetch.  Once I figured that out and started tossing the little squeaker back into his yard for him to retrieve, we became friends.  If we return to this spot some day, I imagine I’ll be recognized and invited back for a new round of fetch.

Please?
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So, about Irvington.  First off, the place we’re staying is pretty great - a large basement unit in a large, splendidly restored Victorian home.  It’s spacious, comfortable, has a kitchen and washer/dryer - a unit well appointed for a longer stay.  Plus, it’s in a good location on one of Portland’s east side bike arterials, not far from downtown, has stores within walking distance and a fine neighborhood coffee shop close by.

What really drew us in though is the neighborhood itself.  It’s remarkably diverse, in different ways.  The housing stock is a complex mix of fine old Victorians like ours, early 20th century homes of a variety of styles and scale, multi-family structures, and low income housing.  It’s delightful walking or biking the streets for several blocks in all directions, taking in one fine structure or striking garden after another.

Maybe best of all though are the trees.  It’s remarkable how many different varieties of trees fill the yards and parking strips here, many of them fine, mature specimens that must be as old as the neighborhood.  It’s a bit like living in an Arboretum.  You could get a pretty fair tree education from an extended stay in Irvington, gradually learning the identities of the many species growing here and seeing them regularly enough for the knowledge to take root.

Irvington - a pretty great place.  We’ll have to add it to the list of neighborhoods to seek out on future stays.

A row of lime trees
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Ron SuchanekI'm no Shadypants, but those don't look like limes....
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3 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Ron SuchanekNope. Me neither. Got my photos mixed up somehow. I’ve got to go back and revisit the neighborhood and find the limes again. I know they’re there!
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3 months ago
Some larches
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Some bikes
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A eucalyptus of some sort
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Pecan tree
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House and catalpa
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Just a mossy wall
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Another Victorian, but I’d say not quite as fine as ours.
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A large paperbark maple, I think.
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Bernie believer
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Paper birch
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More eucalypts. Like beluga whales.
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Silver birch
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House and horse chestnut
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A row of horse chestnuts
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A yellow poplar and Rodriguez. I was surprised to learn that this is the tallest growing hardwood in North America, sometimes growing to a height of 150 feet. That’s encroaching on Douglas fir territory!
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Andrea BrownAre you trying to see if we’re paying attention?
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3 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Andrea BrownYou’re right. I got my photos mixed up. This is the same yellow poplar I included elsewhere.
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3 months ago
Yellow poplar/tulip tree. With its helical pattern it reminds me of a barber’s pole.
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Image not found :(
The house next door
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Image not found :(
Big footed big leaf maple. Maybe a different variety than I’ve seen before - Sasquatch Maple?
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Another horse chestnut. I don’t know how three examples of these trees made it in here, but I couldn’t keep them out.
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Rainbow staircase
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Crape myrtle, a new tree to me. I thought this was an oddly colored lilac. Thanks, Andrea!
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Andrea BrownOkay, now you’re trolling us. That is a crape myrtle. I am enjoying the neighborhood photos a lot!
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3 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Andrea BrownHow great! I was hoping I might get corrected if I got something wrong. I was surprised by the color, and have never heard of a crape myrtle before.
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3 months ago
Image not found :(
House around the corner
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Artichoke
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Fuscias and lavender
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Paperbark maple
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Andrea BrownBill, please set him straight.
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3 months ago
Jen GrumbyGreat reminder that we need to take a spin through Irvington during our stay in Overlook.

The cute dog reminds me that I wish I had recommended a stroll up 9th toward Irving Park to see if neighborhood kitties Tex (9th & Thompson) and Princess Buttons (9th & Brazee) were still out and about.

I'll be curious to see Bill's feedback on the lime trees.
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3 months ago