summer events

Soap Box Derby

Every August in Portland, the Soap Box Derby takes place on Mount Tabor. Mount Tabor is a very cool, humongous park overlooking the whole city and if you’re ever in Oregon, it’s worth a visit. There are tons of trails to explore and a beautiful view at night. I’ve been going to the Soap Box Derby for years. The only year I missed was last year because Michael and I were kinda busy biking 72 miles.

The soap boxes start at the top of Mount Tabor and speed dangerously down the curved road, taking tricky corners to loop around the reservoir to the finish line. The costumes and set ups are different every year. A few years back, there was one that is still my favorite: their soap box was a platform on a wheels with a half cubicle wall, a desk and computer set up a la the movie “Office Space.” It was hilarious!

Thousands of people flock to Mount Tabor to picnic and hang out for the four hours it goes on. This year I met up with some of my friends who also go every year. It was fun to hang out with them and it’s also the one time a year that alcohol is allowed in a public park. 🙂 So you can imagine it can get loud and rowdy! But everyone is respectful and there’s never been any issues. You can watch a fun video here complete with in-vehicle cameras!

This is one of my favorite Portland things and I wanted to share a few of the photos with you guys.


The amount of work that goes into these things is impressive! I wonder if it takes them all year long to build them and test them? It’s always a bummer when the ones that crash get eliminated…all that hard work down the drain. I loved the plane (above) but my favorite one of this year was the Fear & Loathing one:

I mean talk about creativity!! I loved this one! And it made me want to reread the book. 🙂 The other good one was the beauty parlor:

The star of the show was by far the guy in charge of keeping people off the track when the races started. He worked some magic with that mega-phone and had everyone cracking up. He called people out and teased them, told jokes.

It was funny and I hope he’s there next year!

Have I convinced you guys to come visit Portland yet?? Between the Soap Box Derby, the hiking, the street fairs, the brewfest, snowshoeing and the good food, I must have changed some minds out there…I’m a good tour guide!! 🙂

I think the guy with the beard in the above photo is an old friend of mine named Tiny but I didn’t see him after the races to say hi. I hope you guys enjoyed the photos!

QUESTION: Have you ever built or driven a soap box car? Do you have anything like this derby in your town?

Summer and Sunshine

Has it been insanely hot in your neck of the woods? Here in Portland it has fluctuated between a nice 75 and 90 degrees. I love it. Warmer weather, sunshine, lots of activities outside–that’s what summer is about. This last weekend, Michael and I met up with some friends at the Alberta Street Fair. I had never been and after having a good time at the Mississippi Street Fair, I thought it would be worth a try.

I started my Saturday with a trip to the gym. Since most of my workouts are on the bike now, I haven’t really been doing much strength training. It’s just hard to fit everything in.  I was having such a good time lifting weights after a break that I lost track of time!

Alberta Street is in NE Portland and there’s a a monthly event “Last Thursday” for the artists that live over there.

The Alberta Street Fair wasn’t as crowded as Mississippi where you could barely walk. I think it was because of two reasons: 1) it was the same weekend as The Bite and 2) Alberta is longer and more spread out. It was much more pleasant not being as crowded.

Michael and I got there and were in search of lunch immediately. We’d both worked out hard (Michael did kettle bells) and wanted to devour our lunch. We ended up at Cascade Burger, a food cart. This was Michael’s burger:

He liked his. I got the one without bacon or cheese and it had chipotle BBQ sauce on it. I liked that they were really small. But my burger was a disappointment. It was overdone and really dry. We met up with our friends and started walking around. There was a bunch of music there and they were all really good.

See the above photo? The band was kids! And they were really, really good. They were singing Queen songs and were incredibly talented.

There was a fair amount of art booths and I liked a few of the things, but it wasn’t as good as the Mississippi Street Fair art. This one was geared more toward kids with kid activities and craft booths.

It was a really hot day without any shade. We all walked around together and then stopped in the beer garden for a break. I got a drink of the Deschutes Chainbreaker White IPA. I didn’t like it very much but it was nice on such a hot day (90 degrees).

The four of us had walked around for a few hours and headed back toward the direction of where we parked. We stopped at a donut booth for a treat. They were mini donuts and they were making them right there on the spot. It was cool to watch:

I bought a half dozen of the mini donuts–2 powdered sugar and 4 cinnamon and sugar. Michael had the one with chocolate syrup on it.

Freshly made, warm donuts are amazing! I loved that they were small, too. I shared them with our friends and then we called it a day. Michael and I happily went home to our air-conditioned house to watch TV and relax. Walking all day made me tired.

Michael created an epic sandwich for dinner that night. It was so good but definitely something that we won’t eat on a regular basis. He grilled up a thin, boneless chicken breast and then added some bacon, sliced avocado, mayo and mustard. Deeelicious!

Every bite was heaven. It was very rich. I had some pickles and cherry tomatoes on the side. Sunday I went for a luxurious swim to stretch out my sore muscles and then Michael and I saw “Total Recall”–it was just okay.

QUESTION: What was your weekend highlight? Any good workouts to share?