Decker Ridge - Northwest passages: riding out the storm - CycleBlaze

June 27, 2020

Decker Ridge

Today I reach a noteworthy milestone.  Almost three months to the day since the Curious Incident of the Dog in Dayville, I’m declaring my wound virtually healed and decide to start out biking with it unprotected other than under a generous slathering of sunscreen.  It’s not an open wound an more, but it’s very pale.  I’ll need to expose it to the sun in modest doses until it acclimatized to the sun.

To celebrate, we bike out southwest of town on a route very similar to the one I took on my own yesterday.  It’s taken awhile to realize that this area south of the Marys River has some of the most attractive riding close to town.  With its mix of river bottomland and modest climbing along the nearest foothills of the coast range, it offers a more interesting texture than the uniformly flat country to the southeast.  I’m sorry we didn’t start out in this direction when we first arrived.  If we had, I think we’d have come this way a few more times than we have.

It’s much cooler today than yesterday and mostly overcast when we leave home at 9.  There’s a modest breeze, just enough to cool us off when the sun breaks out or when we’re climbing to the low summit on Decker Ridge.  We return home in the early afternoon after a very pleasant ride, just as it’s starting to feel on the warm side.

For dinner, we celebrate and go out for dinner at  del Alma, a newer upscale restaurant on the riverfront.  It’s the second time we’ve eaten here, and it’s unquestionably our favorite eatery in town.  It’s a balmy, breezy evening and it feels perfect to dine outdoors and watch the riverside trees stirring in the evening breeze and enjoy the light flow of traffic strolling and rolling along a safe distance away.

And, they have Albariño on the wine list, probably my favorite wine from last fall’s tour of Iberia.  Sitting here in the shade, sipping at my glass and enjoying a delicious meal with my favorite companion, it’s easy to imagine ourselves somewhere in northern Spain or Portugal, far away from this nightmare we’re all trapped in for the moment.

Southbound on Bellfountain Road.
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The view east from Bellfountain Road.
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It’s taken awhile to wake up to the fact that Bellfountain Road is the nicest route out of town.
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Andrea BrownI almost bought a house on Bellfountain Road back in the 80s, a beautiful farmhouse with 20 acres for $60k. Why oh why did I not?
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1 week ago
Scott AndersonTo Andrea BrownOh, what a shame. Imagine the garden you could have had!
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1 week ago
Marys Peak has a bit different look when you’re closer in to it.
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Jen GrumbyI think it looks more like a sleeping pterodactyl there.
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1 week ago
Looking north across a mile of mint toward the municipal airport.
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Oh, drat. It’s Saturday, and we’re missing out on Viv’s ribs and Mom’s fried chicken.
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Don’t let us interrupt you.
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On Smith Loop, a short but appealing byway off Highway 99W. This is the third time I’ve been through here, but today’s routing was the best because it almost completely avoids the highway.
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Of all the gall!
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This was really a lucky sighting. I very briefly saw two long ears out in the meadow, but I had to be looking his way at just the right instant. There’s only a narrow break in the taller vegetation in the foreground, so he’s only visible from about a ten foot length of road.
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Jen GrumbyLove this one!
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1 week ago
Scott AndersonTo Jen GrumbyI did too, Jen. Such an unexpected delight.
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1 week ago
Eastbound on Llewelyn Road. After all the flat miles we’ve put in lately, it’s nice to see some hills ahead.
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Further along Llewelyn Road. Marys Peak looks like it’s just a few miles off.
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The other Muddy Creek, the one on the west side of the Willamette. So odd to have two Muddy Creeks ten miles apart from each other, but at least they’re in different counties.
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On Decker Road, just easing into the foothills. We’re out of the grasslands and are in hazelnut belt. In a few miles we’ll be surrounded by Christmas tree farms and hemlock forest.
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Jen GrumbyThis is one of my favorite barn shots.
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1 week ago
On Decker Road, climbing along Powell Creek toward the summit of Decker Ridge.
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Hot dog! I’ve seen at least a half dozen western tanagers lately, invariably flying across the road and burying themselves deep into the woods. This one alit on the nearest tree though, and held position just long enough.
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Jen GrumbyWow! I've never seen one of these birds. So beautiful that I forgot about the ills of the world for a couple seconds.
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1 week ago
Scott AndersonTo Jen GrumbyKeep your eyes out. Once you see one, they’re unmistakable. And more common than you think, although you usually just get a brief look as they cross a clearing. I’m pretty sure I saw one on our last visit with you, actually.
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1 week ago
From the saddle of Decker Ridge we dropped along Moss Creek to the junction with Erwin Road and stopped for lunch. We’d intended to ride east from here along Erwin until we found that it was gravelly and dusty. Dexter was such a delightful ride that we decided we’d just backtrack and climb the ridge again in the other direction.
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Eastbound, crossing the summit of Dexter Ridge.
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Video sound track: What the World Needs Now is Love, by Jackie DeShannon

At long last, food photos! Alvariño wine, focaccia bread, and ensalada Del Alma: Mesclun greens, jalapeño spiced olives, toasted pine nuts, Ferns’ Edge goat cheese, sangria poached pear, crushed red pepper balsamic vinaigrette.
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His: Grilled chicken served with grilled Olympia Provisions summer sausage, sweet potato purée, romano beans, compressed strawberries, hazelnut salsa macha. Hers: Blackened albacore and sautéed prawns in Dungeness crab cream sauce, roasted broccoli and sweet potato, olive, cherry tomato, and caper salsa.
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Ron SuchanekThe entree looks familiar. Didn't I see that one in the Boston Mills post from the other day?
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6 days ago
Scott AndersonTo Ron SuchanekSharp eyes, Ron! It wasn’t easy, believe me. I had to truss her legs to keep her from kicking and ripping out my pannier. It was a noisy ride home.
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6 days ago
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Ride stats today: 48 miles, 1,800’

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Comment on this entry Comment 6
Susan CarpenterGreat song choice Rachael - so true!
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1 week ago
Kathleen ClassenYou have made me hungry!
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1 week ago
Scott AndersonTo Kathleen ClassenOh, right. Make us feel guilty for not including more food photos! Message received, we’ll try to do better in the future.
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1 week ago
Jen GrumbyI agree with Susan .. excellent song choice!
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1 week ago
Suzanne GibsonCongratulations on the healing of the wound! What good news. I had noticed that the bandages were getting smaller. Truly a milestone, that was one nasty gouge out of your leg.
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1 week ago