Travel can be a challenge in the fitness department, even when you’re the author of a fitness book on a book tour! My west coast tour took me from the dreamy landscape of the San Francisco Bay Area to Portland, Oregon. Slightly north, the landscape is lushly green and begs to be walked and moved in. The area has heaps of trails and green spaces, many within a 20-mile radius of the downtown. Although my home base was in a small town suburban area, I had no trouble finding places to alternately rest and work my body outdoors. My point being: you can always find a way, no matter where you are, once you know how to look and work with your environment.


Tanner Springs Park

Tanner Park’s stadium-like benches are perfect for lounging or anything that moves you.

Tanner Park’s stadium-like benches are perfect for lounging or anything that moves you.

Billed as an “urban wetland,” this tiny urban park is on the northern edge of Portland’s arty Pearl District, which was once actually—wait for it—a wetland. The park is logically named after the creek that at one time flowed openly through this area and which today flows through large pipes buried under Portland’s streets. Despite it’s city center location and small size, I found Tanner Spring Park calmingly inspirational for some sitting and standing stretches, and a welcome respite from the endless walking that Portland’s fusion of styles and foods encourages. And here’s a plus: You can get to Tanner Springs Park by streetcar.

Half moon pose (#96). The circle of water near this bench is designed to remind you of the Tanner Springs Park’s watery past.

Half moon pose (#96). The circle of water near this bench is designed to remind you of the Tanner Springs Park’s watery past.

McMinnville City Park and Library

A bench near a small town library works just fine for a modified push up (#44), which beginners like Jule can tone down by doing the  “saucy butt push up” shown here.

A bench near a small town library works just fine for a modified push up (#44), which beginners like Jule can tone down by doing the “saucy butt push up” shown here.

Only 35 miles from Portland, the town of McMinnville was my home base. Despite its relatively small size, the town boasts 18 parks! I visited City Park, which is adjacent to the Historic Downtown, and is its first park, constructed in 1906. The park provides both paved walkways and soft surface trails and also features a 10,000 sq. ft. wooden play structure (for children 12 years of age and under), an aquatic center, public library, tennis courts, and a creek. There’s a cozy area near the library that was perfect for a Nancercize session.

James shows his impressive form doing basic dips (#52) on a set of boulders.  See? Benches are just the beginning

James shows his impressive form doing basic dips (#52) on a set of boulders. See? Benches are just the beginning

Linfield College Campus

The benches of this small college campus would have been ideal for a small class, but the weather didn’t cooperate.

The benches of this small college campus would have been ideal for a small class, but the weather just didn’t cooperate.

In case you’re in a small town that doesn’t have 18 parks, think outside the box– there may be a college campus. A small college campus was within walking distance of my host’s home, and I discovered a just-right group of benches … just as it started to rain. We did an indoor workout that day.

Fortunately, Nancercizes translate easily to indoors. James gives a Horizon kick (#33) the old college try.

Fortunately, Nancercizes translate easily to indoors. James gives a Horizon kick (#33) the old college try.


I found out that McMinnville is the Center of a thriving wine industry, with plenty of tasting opportunities. It’s earlier claim to fame are the famous photos of a UFO published in TIME Magazine in 1950, and which inspired an annual UFO Festival. Continuing the airborne theme, McMinnville is also home to the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum, where the Spruce Goose now resides for your viewing pleasure. Lots of walking opportunities at each of those hotspots!

As in the San Francisco Bay Area, in the Portland area I eschewed the obvious for off-the-beaten path solutions to my fitness needs. What creative solutions have you come up with? Leave a reply, below, and let us know. Who knows? Your suggestion might end up in my next book!

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