My friend Hottie and I love to celebrate our birthdays together. (Of course Hottie is not my friend’s real name, but I always try to protect the innocent). We have a tradition where we plan an entire day of festivites for the other person. Since we’ve been doing this for fifteen years, at this point we’ve celebrated our little booties off, and it’s a challenge to find activities that aren’t repeats of something we’ve already done. Hottie’s birthday is in late March, so when I realized that we were both invited to a mutual friend’s wedding up in Portland right around that time, I jumped at the chance to plan a destination day for her.
Since I don’t know Portland at all, I was relying on my cool-hunting instincts to steer me in the right direction. I easily found several spots I was excited about, but I still had a couple of hours to fill, and the best idea I had was to hang out on Distillery Row (which actually sounds fantastic, but we had a wedding event to attend afterwards and I thought that maybe doing shots beforehand wasn’t good planning. Also, I was driving, so that would have put a major damper on my ability to knock back a few). So I did what I always do in these kinds of situations: I whined to Josh.
“Whhherrrrree should we goooooo?”
Josh got a gleam in his eye. “Go shoot some guns!” he said.
I perked up immediately. What a great idea! I am totally not a gun person. I’ve never shot a gun in my life. I might be scared of guns. I knew Hottie felt the same way; it was perfect.
I immediately searched online and found the Portland Gun Club. They seemed so approachable and friendly. Just look at this blurb they posted on their site:
How could I resist?
So I threw it on our agenda for the day. And our day was fabulous. Here’s what we did, in case you want to copy us:
We started the day off right with a stop at Voodoo Two, Portland’s famously strange doughnut shop. I got the Bacon Maple Bar. It was just as delicious as it sounds.
I had planned for us to take a power walk after such an all-star breakfast, but Portland is having some kind of weird extreme arctic situation going on. (Or could it be that I am from California? Hmmm). Whatever the reason, I was so cold that I couldn’t walk ten feet without my teeth starting to chatter, and because I used my valuable packing time yesterday obsessing over my airport style instead of taking a second look at the Portland weather forecast, I didn’t pack correctly for this trip. So instead we zipped over to Lululemon, where I sheepishly bought a very warm zip-up hoodie. (For the record, no hoodie can ever replace my beloved Live Simply, but the one I found today was pretty good. It’s the Scuba Hoodie, if you would like to know).
We still found time to squeeze in a brisk walk in the arctic winds, and then we were on to our next surprise: “Cartlandia.” This mellow bike tour cruises through the city, weaves through gorgeous neighborhoods, and stops at “pods” of food carts along the way. What’s not to love? My favorite food cart had to be Viking Soul Food. The savory lefse wrap I got was so good that I couldn’t talk (a rare occasion). Our guide, Sam, was both knowledgeable and adorable. We might have scared him a little with all of our cackling and carrying on, but he wowed us with a steady stream of interesting facts and tips, and kept us moving along. I would highly recommend Pedal Bike Tours, because the whole experience was great.
As soon as we rolled up to the curb at the end of the bike tour, we leaped into the car and drove out to the firing range at the Portland Gun Club. I was really looking forward to this part of our adventure! Turns out that Hottie is a natural. She broke four sporting clays on her first day of shooting ever. I, on the other hand, was a total wimp. The gun was scary. It was loud. It was also heavy, and it totally bruised my shoulder. However, the experience itself was stellar. Our instructor, Chrissy, was totally kick-booty awesome. As well as being fun and encouraging, she had a great sense of humor. She didn’t let my scaredy-cat behavior stop her. Even though I was terrified, she coached me through at least a dozen good shots. And she totally taught Hottie to shoot!
We had hoped to end our day with a well-deserved Happy Hour at Clyde Common, but by the time Hottie finished ruling on the range, we barely had time to race back to our spa suite for a relaxing jacuzzi soak and some glamorization before we had to leave for a wedding get-together.
When I called my family to say hi at the end of the day, Josh put me on speakerphone. “Guess what I did?” I shrieked. “What?” my kids chorused. “What? What?”
“I ate a bacon doughnut and a viking wrap! I almost froze! I shot a gun! I took a hot tub!”
My kids were speechless. I knew I had wowed their socks off. “Mommy?” asked Bear. “Are you still alive?”
I knew I had had an awesome day when I truthfully got to reply: “More than ever.”
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