Chinook Landing - Northwest passages: riding out the storm - CycleBlaze

February 21, 2020

Chinook Landing

Twenty Questions, continued

Question #6: Is this an international tour?  No.  We’ll neither step onto nor roll our tires across foreign soil on this tour.  It will be entirely within the 50 states and US Territories, although it is possible that we may fly across international waters.

Question #7: Well, can you give us some trip metrics then?  The only thing we know for sure so far is the planned departure date.  Sure.  Estimates of course, but we expect to be gone 71 days, including the departure and return dates.  50 moving days, and another 18 layover days for loop rides or hikes.  2,500 cycling miles, and 130,000’ of elevation gain. 

Question #8: If the GBO goes along, will he get to add any new states to his life list?  Clever question!  At least one, if he behaves himself well enough that I decide to let him out of the tool bag.  A lone star for you - in fact, a very large star - for thinking outside the box.

Today’s ride 

I’m sure you’re thinking by now that I’m mostly sitting around coffee shops and taking puny outings, getting fat and out of shape while Rocky and the Straggler rack up the miles day after day.  Well, that’s pretty accurate actually.  It’s all part of the plan though.  Rocky hates it when I point this out, but she’s always happier starting out on tours when she feels stronger than me.  For years I’ve deliberately gotten out of shape each winter so she can enjoy the first few weeks of the spring tour while she waits for me to bike myself back into shape.  What a nice guy!

Still though, I don’t want to get too far behind.  It takes me a bit longer each year to whip myself back into shape and slim down to my riding weight, so I do need to get out for a real ride every now and then.  Today I talk Rachael into letting Rodriguez and I tag along as long as we promise not to stop too often with the camera.  It’s a great day for it - cool, sunny, almost no breeze.  We’re off to Chinook Landing, out east on the Columbia.

I stop on the Steel Bridge for a quick shot, knowing I can catch up with Rachael on the spiral ramp on the other side.  After that though I pocket the camera and don’t pull it out again for the next ten miles.

Crossing the Steel Bridge on another fantastic cycling day. We seem to have returned to Portland at just the right time.
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Broughton Beach Park is a fairly new development on the Columbia River, but now it’s a traditional stop for us because of its restroom facilities.  Even if I’ve fallen behind for some reason, we nearly always rendezvous here before proceeding upriver.  While I’m just standing around waiting for Rachael here anyway, there’s time for me to pull out the camera without holding up the show.

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At Broughton Beach Park, they’re setting up for tomorrow’s big event: the twelfth annual Polar Plunge. The event is a fund raiser for the Oregon Special Olympics program, and draws thousands of contestants to take a dive in the chilly Columbia.
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This seems like a very odd creature to see at a mid-winter event. Shouldn’t she be off hibernating somewhere?
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From here, it’s another ten miles to Chinook Landing, our turn back point for the day.  I’m on good but not perfect behavior, but it’s just too pretty of a day to not stop once or twice.  Well, three times.

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Looking across Government Island at our most recently active volcano.
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Oh, now I remember. This is one of the reasons I love Portland so much.
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And here’s another reason we love Portland: the city just keeps improving its bike infrastructure, bit by bit. This is a new segment on the Marine Drive cycle path, between the end of the riverside path and 185th. Newly added since we left town last summer.
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We get to Chinook Landing, and I pull in while Rachael continues on for another mile and a half before doubling back.  Two ideas here: I’ll have a few minutes to myself to poke around the park for anything interesting, and with just a bit more distance she’ll stretch the ride out to her magic number, 42 miles.  A win-win: she gets the miles and bragging rights, and I get the heron.

After she returns we sit warming ourselves on a bench in the sun, overlooking the river and the snow on the hills across into Washington.   Amazing - it feels like spring.  A day to remind us that as much as we enjoyed Tucson and loved southern Spain, we really do love this city too.

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At Chinook Landing. Nice to see these two old friends out on the road again.
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At Chinook Landing. This guy is quite the fisherman - he snatched up six tiny fish while I was watching. I should have taken a video.
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Jen GrumbyGreat shot with the double reflection .. heron on the water / water on the heron.
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3 months ago
Janet Anspach-RickeyWow, this is such a cool shot!
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2 months ago

Then, home again.  I’m planning only one stop: to take a last photograph of Mount Hood, reflected on the still river in the afternoon sun.  While I’m looking at that though, Rachael points out that a snowman is peeking back at me.  A snowman!  I’d about given up on finding this vexing subject, Mr. Garceau’s theme for this month’s Cycle365 Challenge.  Now, if I can just find some sheep in the shadows for Tony down under in Tasmania, I’ll have a complete set.

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Here’s your silly snowman, Greg. And he does look silly, peeking up from that grocery cart admiring my new click stand. That smile reminds me of your goofy alter ego G-2, so it’s perfect.
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Such a calm day today. Double Mountain.
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So that’s it.  Now I’m really done with the camera.  Until Rachael stops us one last time, to point out the rough-legged hawk on the wire above the bike path.  Well, if she’s stopping, I can too.

This rough-legged hawk looks like he’s taken up a permanent winter residency here on this stretch near the end of the PDX runway. We’ve seen him here for three straight winters now. He’s getting tamer too - he sees so many bikers roll past that he doesn’t fly off so quickly now.
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Ride stats today: 44 miles, 1,100’

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Comment on this entry Comment 10
Gregory GarceauAha, I've solved your puzzle. I've never been so sure of anything in my life. I admire how you slowly gave away clues, but I bet you didn't expect a sleuth like me.

You gave yourself away with the "Lone Star" (even though you didn't capitalize it like I just did) and the "flying over international waters" references.

You're going to southwest Texas. Mountains (Chisos and Guadalupes) and international waters (The Rio Grande.)

How do I know this? Because I've been looking at that area for a couple of weeks and just last Saturday I booked a flight to El Paso, Texas for a loop bike tour that involves that same area. March 24- April 16. Maybe I'll see you. Please tell me I'm right.
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3 months ago
Bob DistelbergAs soon as I saw the "lone star" comment, I thought "It has to be Texas!"
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3 months ago
Bob DistelbergTo Bob DistelbergOh, and I just noticed the "austintoalbuquerque" url... Another clue!
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3 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Gregory GarceauYou’re going to West Texas? Tell me more! How Far East are you going?

Fiendishly clever, picking up on that lone star clue. And even though it wasn’t capitalized! I’m very impressed. Also, glad that you’re off that Mauna Kea dead end. I didn’t have the heart to point out that it couldn’t be Hawaii of course, because they don’t have ravens.
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3 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Bob DistelbergWell, and it couldn’t have hurt that Mr Garceau just pointed that out two hours earlier.
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3 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Bob DistelbergI wondered how soon someone would pick up on that. I named the journal before it occurred to me to play games with the destination, and then it was too late. I’ll have to come up with less revealing names in the future.

So, now you know the beginning and ending points. That leaves 2,500 miles unaccounted for though, and the two cities are only About 700 raven miles apart. Still a bit of mystery left to play around with.
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3 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Gregory GarceauYou’re leaving on March 24th? That’s amazing. So are we! I see th@t I’ve been misreporting our starting date. We shifted it a day since I first set up the journal.
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3 months ago
Gregory GarceauTo Scott AndersonWow, super-sleuth that I am, I cannot believe I didn't notice that URL. It would have saved me 100s of hours of ripping out what little hair I have left trying to figure out your destination.

Anyway, that's quite a coincidence that we're going to Texas on the same day. Here is the route I'm kind of looking at:

https://ridewithgps.com/routes/31988069

Four National Parks, a National Forest, a whole lot of desert, and maybe some alien activity.
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3 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Gregory GarceauOh, that looks like such a great trip. White Sands, Big Bend! I’ve thought about that as a possible tour myself, but have never penciled it out to see if we could find lodging along the way. I’ll really look forward to following along. Will you be tenting it?

Oh. I guess I spilled the beans a bit again - doesn’t look like we’ll cross paths this time. Texas is such a big state!
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3 months ago
Gregory GarceauIndeed, Texas is huge. Too bad we didn't both plan to tour in a state like Connecticut at the same time.

Yes, I plan to do quite a bit of camping. I'm still working out the route and logistics, and now I'm getting worried that I might be biting off a little more than I can chew in only three weeks. I'm not leaving myself much time for hiking and other non-biking activities. Oh well, I'll make adjustments along the way if necessary.

I hope to get a journal started sometime in the upcoming week.
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3 months ago