Preparing to break camp - Northwest passages: riding out the storm - CycleBlaze

March 18, 2020

Preparing to break camp

Today began, as it has for the last few days, with a Team Anderson business meeting.  This is fast becoming a part of our New Normal, and represents quite a change for the team.  With all the local sit-down coffee shops shut down, I’m staying around the unit in the morning now.  We’re learning to adapt to each other’s morning styles as we talk over our plans for the day and share thoughts that came to us in the night.  As part of this, Rachael is coaching me on waiting until her morning coffee has soaked in until popping off with my latest brilliant ideas.

Today, we’re focused on preparing to break camp.  We’ve been back in town for over five weeks now, but next Tuesday our time is up at our 23rd floor aerie.  It’s time to start preparing to move on to our next lodging, in The Dalles.

Since we’ve only got a few more mornings of waking up to this dramatic view, let’s have another look while we still can:

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Yesterday’s sunrise was beautiful, and even better a few minutes earlier. I should have hopped out of bed and grabbed the camera as soon as I woke up.
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I was startled this morning to see Mount Adams rising above the ridge. This is the first morning it’s been clear enough in that direction for it to be visible.
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We have a few tasks on the agenda today.  We both woke up thinking it was time to start moving things into storage that won’t be going to The Dalles with us, so we take some time working out the approach we’ll take this time.  We decide to take everything with us that we might need in the next few months, since we still don’t know what will happen beyond our stay in The Dalles.  Driving down to Utah is still on the table, though it’s teetering on the edge; but it’s also possible that we’ll leave town in the Jetta next week and not return until June.

Also, Rachael has decided that she’d like to get an indoor trainer, so she’ll have a pathway for keeping her sanity if we become total shut-ins.  I agree that her sanity is important to both of us, so she orders one from Western Bikeworks and I agree to drive out to their warehouse near the airport this afternoon and pick it up.

Also, we have an appointment to take the Jetta in to the Firestone shop on Burnside that’s serviced our car over the years.  We don’t know how many miles we might put on the car over the next few months, and we want to leave town well-prepared.

And, we want to stock up on more staples and supplies from the grocery, and decide we should pick up some more first aid supplies as well.  Ironic and foresight duo, because they’ll be needed before day is done.

Also, we talk about the imperative to bike as safely as we can.  This would be the wrong time to need be emergency room services.

So, an errand day.  We pack up everything that’s storage-bound and load it in the car, and then I’m off to storage and to drop off the car for servicing while Rachael goes shopping.

45 minutes later I’m driving around the block on 8th and Burnside, wondering where the Firestone station went.  It was there the last I looked, but now there’s just this big crater in the ground.   apparently it was razed about a year ago.  I call Rachael to find out where she really made the appointment, but she can’t talk at the moment because she’s in the midst of scanning groceries.  After several halting communication attempts and a call to Firestone, we finally learn that we’re actually scheduled for an appointment out east on Powell Boulevard.  It’s too far to walk back from, so I swing by the apartment, pick up Rodriguez, and drive off to the appointment.  

Oh, here’s my appointment! Nice place, but not the one I’d expected.
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I drop off the car, hop on Rodriguez, and wheel off.  I’ve got three or four hours to fill and was thinking I’d fit in a ride, but I’m surprised at how cold it is.  I didn’t think to bring a coat and don’t really feel prepared for a couple of hours on the bike, so I just head back to the apartment and wait for the call that the car is ready for pickup.

I’m sorry to see that the Clinton Street Theater is closed. I wonder how many of these places will survive the coming months.
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I’ve waited for the light at 20th and Division so many times now. I’m surprised I’ve never noticed this bike rack before.
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An hour later, the call comes.  They’ve discovered that the heater hose is cracked and needs replacement.  They can replace it, but they have to get the part from one of the other stores so it will take another hour or so.

Around 3:30 they call again.  The Jetta is ready for pickup, so I bike straight over, stopping a few spots along the way since I’ve got the time. 

Bruce has mentioned this awesome catalpa on Clinton Street before, but this is the first time I’ve noticed it.
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Yes, that’s a mighty fine tree; but look at that bike, folks!
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Bruce LellmanMy neighbor walks his cat and when they get to this tree the cat always goes up in it. He climbs around for awhile and then my friend bends over near the base of the tree and the cat jumps down onto his back. It's very cute. The cat is right, this is an awesome climbing tree.
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2 months ago
Jen GrumbyTo Bruce LellmanI love seeing people out walking their cats .. not very common.

How cool that the cat has this tree for some mid-walk entertainment!

If you're ever there with them, please take a photo to post on Instagram.
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2 months ago
Tree #298 in the Heritage Tree inventory: a Southern catalpa (Catalpa bignonioides). Yes, it certainly does have big nonioides, whatever those are.
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Jen GrumbyNonioide: elbow-like protuberance exhibited only in deciduous trees native to the Southern United States.
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2 months ago
Clinton Street doesn’t just have a great catalpa to flaunt. It also has this colorful LFL just a few blocks away.
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So, I pick up the car just at 4.  There’s still time to head out to the Western Bikeworks warehouse and pick up the indoor trainer, so I head right off.  Two minutes later, I get the phone call.  It’s Rachael.

A Public Safety Announcement

We almost decided to omit this event from the journal, but decided it was important to share.  Maybe someone will read this, think about their own cycling behavior, and learn from it.

Rachael had a cycling accident, and is calling for me to pick her up.  Incredible, after we were just talking about cycling safety this morning.  She was waiting for a light on the corner of Interstate and Tillamook, when a UPS truck turned right into her.  A very big UPS truck.

Before going further, know that Rachael is just fine.  She was knocked sideways from a standstill position, and isn’t really sure what hit her specifically.  Fairly minor but messy scapes to her right elbow, hip and knee.  No evidence that her head hit the ground; and no real damage to the Straggler, though we’ll take it in for a safety check.

It’s not clear exactly what happened, but there were witnesses - a man and his 5 year old son saw it from their towing operation across the street, ran right over to help and comfort her, and called the police.   By the time she called me it was clear that she was fine, and after getting bandaged up and checked over for any serious injuries she just waited the half hour it took me to drive there to pick her up.  The police car was still parked there and keeping an eye on her when I arrived.

One of Rachael’s first comments when I picked her up was to express her regret at not getting her 42 miles in.  Still, 40 miles is respectable, and four times what I did today.

So, the lesson for the day.  When waiting at an intersection, wait behind or in front of the lead vehicle.  If you’re behind and they’re turning, let them go first.  If you’re in front, look back nd make eye contact.  Don’t just stay straight on the right and trust that the driver has seen you and is observing your right of way.

This happened to me also, 33 years ago.  A car turned right into me at a light one morning in Salem on my way to work, and I found myself and my bicycle skidding along the pavement under the front bumper of the car, screaming.  Fortunately the driver heard me in time, so the only real damage was a broken pedal and minor scrapes.  I remember that the first thing on my mind after I was hit was that my planned tourfrom Cedar City to Flagstaff was off (though it wasn’t, since I was uninjured).  

I was due to leave for my tour in just a few days.  10 days later, when I returned to the office, I learned that Rachael had hired on as a new programmer in my absence.  With just a bit less luck, Team Anderson might not have happened.

So, don’t let this be you.  I’ve always regarded my close shave as lucky in more than one way.  I survived it intact, and I learned a valuable lesson I’ve never forgotten.

Yikes!
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Jen GrumbyHoly crap! I was picturing one of the big brown trucks .. this is much bigger!!
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2 months ago
Very big. I’m so impressed, by the way, that Rachael thought to take photos.
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Don’t let this be you!
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Angela NaefYikes! Is right, thanks for the tips.
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2 months ago
Bruce LellmanWow, I'm so glad you are all right, Rachael. That sounds horrible. Horrible also that you didn't get in your 42 miles!
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2 months ago
Suzanne GibsonGlad it wasn't worse, but a bad scare for sure! Hope you're ok, Rachael!

Trucks making right hand turns are the major cause of serious, often fatal, bicycle accidents here. Kids are often the victims. Eye contact, eye contact, eye contact! And how about legislation making those safety devices for trucks mandatory!
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2 months ago
Rachael AndersonTo Suzanne GibsonI’m doing fine other than a few bruises and a gouge in my elbow. I was trying to be especially careful that day but was near the end of my ride going past an intersection I’ve gone through hundreds of times. I got lucky and learned a valuable lesson.
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2 months ago
Rachael AndersonTo Bruce LellmanI sure feel lucky coming out of it with a few minor injuries and I learned a valuable lesson.
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2 months ago
Jen GrumbySo glad you're OK Rachel!! And that you got photos. How scary.

Did you talk with the driver? If yes, what did they say?
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2 months ago
Rachael AndersonTo Jen GrumbyThanks for your concern. It wasn’t that scary when it happened because the truck just tapped me and I fell over on my right side and could maneuver enough to get over to the other side. It was later that I realized that with a truck that size I could be crippled or dead. I was very lucky and I learned a valuable lesson. The driver did come over and said he didn’t see me when he was turning but obviously he had quick reflexes or it would have been a lot worse. The intersection has one the of the big painted green areas in front of the lane but I was over on the far right side instead of the middle. I’m definitely going to get in the middle of it from now on and always make sure I have eye contact with the driver where possible.
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2 months ago
Jen GrumbySo glad the driver talked with you. I'll bet he was pretty shaken up, and relieved to see that you were OK.

Also glad that Portland has the green boxes so that everyone who reads this can learn about safest position in the box.

And making eye contact with drivers, especially if they're in big rigs is also a good idea.
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2 months ago
Ron SuchanekWow, glad you're ok!
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2 months ago