I love Portland, Oregon: The beauty, the culture, the diversity, the architecture, the people, and the recreation. I could go on and on, gushing about it. It’s one of my favorite US cities. In 1990 and 2002, I briefly explored Portland, but not in detail. This time it’s different. On my 6-month solo road trip, I’m exploring, not just the hot spots but the neighborhoods and the area. I’m looking for a place to put down roots. I’m staying at a really cool Japanese influence Airbnb apartment for a few days in the Boise area of Portland. David, the owner, asks me if I want to go horseback riding with him on Savoie Island where he boards his horse. Horseback riding? Of Course, I do! We make a date for 1 pm the following day.
Sauvie Island is literally an island in the Columbia River, 10 miles north of Portland. I drive through the bustling city and get on the Historic Route 30-North. This part of the highway is a bit rundown with industrial buildings but I see a sign for Savoie Island Bridge and cross over the river.
Wow, Its night and day from industrial to rural. In just a few minutes from the city, there are miles and miles of farmland. It reminds me of my hometown, Groton, Massachusetts. The lush green low-lying vegetation against the deep blue sky is picture-perfect.
I find the barn. It’s an old barn, painted white with black trim. People and horses are milling around. I see David and wave. We chat as we walk to retrieve the horses. The smell of horses is intoxicating. The horse that I will be riding is a black Quarter Horse mix with a nice temperament. The weather couldn’t be better, sunny, and in the 70’s, which I’m told is not the norm for April.
We groom the horses and put on the western tack. Before mounting, I adjust the stirrups to accommodate my long legs and tighten the cinch. I’m excited to be back in the saddle. We ride through green fields and woods and not a soul to be found. In the distance, I hear a plane droning through the sky. It’s peaceful, almost surreal, as the afternoon sun casts its golden hue across the landscape. We’ve been riding for over an hour. It’s getting late as we head back to the barn. A perfect day, for a horseback ride.