Rocky returns - Northwest passages: riding out the storm - CycleBlaze

March 20, 2020 to March 21, 2020

Rocky returns

Yesterday

Rachael took a second day off from her bike yesterday, giving her elbow a rest and opting for another long walk instead.  She’s amazing - she’s hiked twenty-five miles over the last two days.  I offered to keep her company today, but she tactfully suggested that I go out for a bike ride on my own while I still have the chance, knowing that I would only slow her down.  I took her up on her offer and left for a loop out to Kelley Point, stopping here and there along the way to poke around for bird life.  I didn’t find much today, but it was a beautiful day to be out.

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Canada Goose 101: the bird in front is about half the size of the other two. So are we looking at two different subspecies intermingling, or do young geese get their adult coloration before reaching full size? My guess is that the runt is a Dusky, and the others are Westerns.
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Jen GrumbyDusky or cackling?
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Jen GrumbyOoh, you know your geese! They could be cacklers alright. They’re both smaller like this. We see a lot of duskys down here too, especially at the mid-Valley refuges (you might take your bikes down to bike through Ankeny Flats some day, btw).
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2 months ago
Bill ShaneyfeltHere in Dayton, OH, about 20 some years ago when we moved here, I thought Canada geese were soooo cool! But their numbers have not only recovered, but they have become great pests, polluting ponds and bike paths with their goose grenades as they are known among local cyclists. I know a few who have collided with them, and have had some really close calls myself from having them take off not far away and fly directly across the path!

They occasionally attack if they feel their offspring are threatened. I have had that happen a few times. Once, with my daughter, when she was small, and I grabbed it just below the head, scooped up its belly and tossed it away so then it walked back and forth with its head near the ground, bill gaped open and hissing while we left.

They are also hazards to aircraft and motor vehicles for the same reason. There are people who contract out with trained dogs to scare off geese from parks, airports, etc. for a period of time until they abandon the area.

Still neat to see them fly in formation though!
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2 months ago
Ron SuchanekI don't know what they are, but they look tasty!
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1 month ago
Scott AndersonTo Ron SuchanekEspecially if canned. You could fill up the pantry for the winter.
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1 month ago
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So is this the latest thing? The Going Street overpass used to be cluttered with hundreds of love locks. Those were all removed, so now we’re getting love gum?
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Jen GrumbyGross! I hope it's all pre-pandemic puerility!
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2 months ago
Bill ShaneyfeltUgh. How can people be so gross!
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Bill ShaneyfeltMaybe it’s not what it looks like. Maybe this is the spy corner, where secrets are passed. I’ll peel one off the next time I pass by to see if there’s a coded message on the back.
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2 months ago
Ron SuchanekI am opposed to gum.
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1 month ago
Knowing more about the Burlington Northern bridge now, I decide to swing by the Amos Benson property again for a clearer look than you can get from the other side.
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At the small wetland of the City of Portland Water Pollution Control Lab, a female red-winged blackbird briefly alights on the cattails.
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On the overgrown dead-end spur to Bybee Lake. Only about a mile long, it doesn’t see much traffic and looks like it hasn’t been maintained for years.
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At the west end of Bybee Lake.
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Looking east from the end of Bybee Lake.
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Today

Today, Rocky’s ready to roll again.  We debate driving out to Banks to bike the rail trail up to Vernonia, but she decides we should stay closer to home because she’s not sure how her elbow will do.  She comes up with the brilliant idea of visiting Sauvie Island in a way we’ve never done before: by driving out there, skipping the ten mile drive each way along the highway and exploring more of the island than we must ally have time for.  She woke up with this brainstorm, got out of bed early, and mapped out a 47 mile route that covers almost every paved road on the island.

It sounds great.  We’ll get to see parts of the island we seldom get out to, and with everyone staying home we should have the island to ourselves.  So we’re shocked to pull into its parking lot and find it nearly full, with cars queuing to wait for someone to leave.  They’re all cyclists, like us looking forward to enjoying this lovely day while keeping their distance.  We’ve never seen it this busy.

And, the roads aren’t actually all that quiet either.  There are a few hiking spots on the island, and those parking lots are filled to overflowing too.  There’s quite a bit of traffic with folks driving to the hiking spots or just out for a look from the comfort and safety of their cars.  Pretty funny.

This is amazing. The parking lot in Sauvie Island is almost completely full. I’ve never seen it so packed.
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Sauvie Island is a perfect place for us to ride together, really.  Its paved road network consists of a twelve mile loop at the south end, with four different dead end spurs extending north that add any other 35 miles if you ride them all out to their end and back.  It’s a very easy place to manage our different interests - she can just ride, and I can stop wherever I see something to hold my attention.  With all of the out and back riding, it’s very easy to separate and then meetup.

We separate almost immediately, when a half mile from the car I see what I was hoping to find today - the first osprey of the season.  

First osprey of the year! I was hoping we’d get to see one before leaving town.
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Jen GrumbyExcellent shot! How nice to have such a clear blue sky for your ride, too.
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Jen GrumbySo strange to have it so beautiful out at a time like this.
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2 months ago

We start the ride by biking north to the end of the pavement on Sauvie Island Road, the long road that follows Multnomah Channel along the west end of the island.  We’ll both follow it to the end of the pavement today, but she gets well ahead of me.  I catch up when she stops at the rest room, but then I quickly lose her again when I stop at one of the many great viewpoints along this beautiful road.  We don’t cross paths again until she doubles back.

This is the best time of year to be out here, because the sheep are out.  There’s  a large sheep ranch at the north end, and in early spring all the newborn lambs are out frolicking around with their moms.  On a day like today, with the snow-covered volcanoes in the background, it’s a beautiful sight.

This huge star magnolia is just beginning to shed.
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Looking east from the north end of Sauvie Island Road. This is such a fine cycling road, biking along the top of the dike.
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Looks like ribbons of chocolate. Mount Adams is in the background, shielded by trees.
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The perfect plan for a lazy spring afternoon.
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Mount Adams, and a few sheep. These are just the outliers. There are hundreds more just off-screen to the left.
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A cheerful, noisy, uplifting scene, with newborns frolicking around and ramming into their mother’s udders.
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Rachael and I meet up by the sheep, with her on her way back south. She’s feeling fine and was brightly smiling seconds ago, but looks a bit crabby now. She’d like me to hurry up so she can get in with her ride.
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When we meet up, we discuss our plan for the rest of the ride.  I want to continue out to the end of this road, and she’s well ahead of me.  It’s doubtful we’ll meet up again until late in the ride, so we set times to call each other and check in.

In the end, she’ll end up covering most of the paved network.  She rides the Lucy Reeder spur, the Oak Island spur, and most of the way toward the end of Reeder Road on the east side of the island, along the main channel of the Columbia River.    she’ll put in 45 miles before the day is done, and I’ll cover 10 miles less.  

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Mount Jefferson, and a few geese.
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This surprised me. I’ve never seen osprey and cranes on the island at the same time. The cranes have usually all left for the north country by now. These must be among the last stragglers.
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This nest was empty when I biked under it an hour earlier. I wonder if they aren’t arriving just today. We’ll see yet another pair before we return to the car.
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That star magnolia again, worth a second look.
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On Oak Island Road, a short quiet spur that we don’t come out to often enough. On the far left is Saint Helens, on the far right, Mount Adams. If I had a wider lens you could also see Mount Jefferson, all in the same 50 degree sector.
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On Oak Island Road, looking at a short section of a dense line of geese that must be 300 yards long.
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We finally connect again on Reeder Road, and for the most part bike together for the eight miles back to the car.  It’s really been a beautiful riding day, and Rachael is happy to find that her injuries don’t bother her at all.  We’ll have to try this again, driving out to the island and starting from there.  It’s what most folks do, actually.

On the way back to town, Rachael dials in to place a take-out order from Justa Pasta.  I was happy to look up their website yesterday and see that they were doing this.  It’s the kind of small restaurant that we hope can survive this crisis, and we’re happy to do our part.  

We’ve been coming to Justa Pasta off and on for over twenty years now.  When we first bought a place in Portland we still stayed in Salem for the heart of the work week, staying at a motel for a couple of nights and then driving to our new home for a long weekend.  It was a tradition to drive home on Thursday nights and head straight to Justa Pasta for our welcome home dinner.

Daffodils and rust, Gillihan Road.
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Food photo! From Justa Pasta’s take-out menu: chicken milanese, on tagliatelle with artichoke hearts, green olives, capers, lemon, white wine and butter. Also, roasted butternut squash ravioli with bolognese sauce; also a nice bottle of Barbera D’Alba.
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Comment on this entry Comment 2
Jacquie GaudetHere in BC, all or almost facilities in parks of all levels (municipal, regional, provincial) are now closed. So although you can go for a ride (for now), you won't be able to find an open washroom. Kinda limits things...
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Jacquie GaudetI know. Rachael complains about that as well. Life is so much simpler for guys.
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2 months ago