About Me

My photo
Portland, OR, United States
I am finishing up my midwifery apprenticeship and plan to be a real midwife early in 2014!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Two Years and Not Quite Ten Thousand Miles

My scooter,Dora, and I have been together for two years this month. It has been quite a ride! I had never ridden any motorized two-wheeled vehicle before I bought her. I couldn't even test drive her, because they only let you do that if you have a motorcycle endorsement and I didn't have mine yet. I remember after I signed all the paperwork, and Dora was wheeled out for me, and me asking, so, can you tell me how to ride it? The owner of the shop asked, well, you've ridden a motorcycle before, haven't you? No, I answered. Never? He asked incredulously. Who was this crazy woman buying a motor scooter at age 39 without ever having ridden anything like it? I somehow got it home, with a friend following me closely behind in her car to make sure I was okay and that no one else got behind me who would be impatient with me.

Dora has been symbolic of many new changes in my life.

That day that I brought her home with me was the first day of my Anatomy and Physiology class at Birthingway. A&P was a pre-requisite for applicants to the midwifery program. I did not ride Dora to class that night, however, as it was way too far and I was way too new and was way too not-licensed for me to do that.

I bought Dora somewhat on a whim. Kind of. I mean, like I said I'd had no experience. And I just kind of liked how scooters looked and rode. I was in great admiration of the small carbon footprint it possesses. Very good gas mileage and, if you have a newer one, very very low emissions. I didn't like driving around in my big old Volvo station wagon all by myself and feeling like I was wasting a whole lot of resources. I thought for quite awhile about how the kids would get around if I bought a scooter and sold my car. Because even if I only used my car occasionally, it was not cost effective to own both when you count in insurance. Finally, I just did it. I wasn't sure how it was going to work out, but I took the risk.

And I've loved how this risk has turned out. So far anyway! The greater risk, of course, is the fact that I am not protected and encased by steel and am out in traffic, riding just as fast as the cars around me. (I do not ride on the freeway however, except twice by accident and twice going to Vancouver--the bridge across is the freeway.) I've gone through several periods of time where every single time I was on my scooter I was thinking about many different possible ways to get really hurt or die on my scooter. Yes, they are dangerous. But wow, this is one risk I am willing to take.

My scooter has 9,203 miles on it. It's not nearly as many as I would have put on a car in that time. And yet, it is a lot of miles to be out in the open, wind buffeting my whole body, in the elements--rain, sun, wind, and on occasion a few snowflakes. I am pretty careful on it, but I do ride it year round. I don't ride when there's ice on the roads, but that didn't even stop me last December when the temperatures were under 32 degrees for a solid two weeks. It had been dry before the freeze occurred, so no precipitation was frozen from the beginning.

Last summer I took Dora out for a very long ride. I'd wanted to ride along the gorge as far as I could on the old highway. But the old highway fizzles just after Multnomah Falls and traffic is merged onto the freeway. So I turned back. I was planning to just go home, but my adventure had been cut short! I decided to go around, and up onto Mt. Hood. I travelled across Mt. Hood and down into Hood River. It was beautiful. But I had to have a shorter way home as it was late (I ate dinner in Hood River) and so I crossed the river and took WA 14 back. It was very windy! I thought I was going to be blown off the road. But what a great trip! I have been wanting to ride to the beach ever since I got Dora but haven't done that yet. Maybe it could happen before I start school.

I haven't done a trip quite like that yet this year. I only just rode out to Sauvie Island for a bit. It was fun though. I love riding especially on dry, sunny, warm days. Those kind of days were just made for scooter riding.

And now, the question lingers in my mind of perhaps straying beyond Dora? She is, after all, only a 125 cc. How much more power could I have at my disposal? I could ride on the freeway and take much less time if I had a larger scooter. It wouldn't get as good of gas mileage but I'd also be able to get up hills easier (I'm slowed to 40 mph or even slower on really steep hills). I don't know. It's a question I'll have to keep pondering but I do love my little Dora.

Here's to many more years of scooter riding!

Better than Potato Champion

OMG!!! Am I actually uttering such heresy?

First, I must address the fact that I am putting this post here, rather than on my food blog. Why? Well....(sheepish look).....because my food blog is a vegetarian food blog. And I? I am no longer vegetarian. And I will be putting up a review that will include MEAT. Oh my.

Now, on to the reason I should utter such heresy?

Well, second I must explain that this is rather a local kind of blog post. Here in Portland, we have a food cart revolution going on. It's really quite lovely, and one can get really good food for quite cheap. There are so many food carts around that one can find just about any kind of food one might want from a cart, and usually there are more than one cart that sells that type of food. These food carts are often arranged in food cart pods. A place where there are a bunch of food carts all together! How lovely is that?

So, a new food cart pod opened recently and I've been dying to try it. I already have one near me--Cartopia, home of the esteemed Potato Champion. Which sells the most awesome french fries with great dipping sauces. But Cartopia does not do a stellar job at actual meal food. I've gone there for dinner twice and what I had was kind of meh. I won't name names, but I just didn't find what I was looking for.

Good Food Here, the new food cart pod, was beckoning. And so, this evening my trusty co-food critic Zac and I checked it out. Oh my.

We decided first to have a tour of what was available. The first place I'd tried at a neighborhood picnic, Namu. Its Korean BBQ was to die for, but I'd already tried it, so I had to pull myself away as I really wanted to see what else was available and sample as much as was reasonable.

Other carts included Mexican, a smoothie place, an Italian sandwich shop, hamburgers/hot dogs/french fries, meatballs, and Thai. Zac and I decided to have a couple of tacos each while we contemplated what else to try. They were delicious. We each had a carnitas and a carne asada taco. Very fresh ingredients, and really took the edge off our ravenous hunger. They were just what we needed and I hope to have more soon, and also try their enchiladas.

We decided to split a burger and fries. Violetta has regular fries, sweet potato fries, truffle fries, and Oregonzola fries (Oregonzola is the name of a local gorgonzola cheese). We opted for the simple, both the burger and fries at the most basic level.

And then is when the mmmmming began. And then, the heresy. When we both confessed our new love for one of the most awesome burgers in Portland (I'd say its only rival is with Slow Bar's burger) and also that the fries just might be better than Potato Champion. I do have to temper all this gushing by saying they were too salty. But. The crispness level just went way over what is achieved by Potato Champion. I believe the secret to this delectability is that the fries are more thinly cut.

The burger had interesting things on it, even just as a basic burger. I think, but am not sure, that the tomato was not just a fresh tomato but was roasted. It was absolutely delicious. Juicy, sloppy, wonderful. Zac said that most burgers just aren't that flavorful, but this one was really flavorful. He was right.

Ah, food carts. How I love thee. Violetta, I'll be back.

Cartopia is located at SE 12th and Hawthorne. Good Food Here is located at SE Belmont at 43rd.