The Albany loop - Northwest passages: riding out the storm - CycleBlaze

June 13, 2020

The Albany loop

The weather forecast for the day presents a challenge to the team when we open it up this morning.  It’s due to rain for most of the day, but two windows look possible: in late afternoon, or right now.  The afternoon looks more promising to me - warmer, potentially drier; and in any case I prefer starting the day with coffee and the news.   Also, I want to arrive at the barber’s right at 8:30 when it opens to improve my chances of getting in.  Rachael wants to take the bird in the hand though, so I help her unload the bike from the car and then drive off to New Morning Bakery for my morning fix and to catch up on the journal.

A half hour later, my iPad beeps at me.  I’ve been found, using Where’s My iPad.  I check my phone and see I’ve missed a call from Rachael, and must have the volume too low.  I call her back, and she reminds me that her helmet and gloves are in the car.  She’s biking down and wants to meet me outside so she can pick them up and then leave for her ride.

Helmeted and gloved, she’s preparing to bike off when I point out that it’s lightly sprinkling at the moment, and the sky is a solid grey.  Yes, but the forecast, she says as she optimistically bikes toward the Van Buren Bridge.

I head to the barber shop, arriving five minutes before the opening hour.  It’s a one person shop, and he’s already attacking the first mop.  A row of chairs is lined up on the sidewalk, and a mother and her shaggy son are already queued up.  The barber tells me to get in line, but about an hour’s wait is too much.  I’m desperate, but not that desperate.

About a half hour later, I hear Rocky at the door.  I hadn’t noticed, but now it’s pouring outside.  How was the ride, I ask?

Image not found :(
Sometimes you’re lucky, sometimes you’re not.
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Once she’s stripped, showered, stopped shivering and gotten her hands around a cup of tea, Rachael suggests the hair salon she went to earlier this week: Great Clips.  They take reservations and are opening as we speak.  She schedules me, and I and my too-hairy head head out the door.

I’m not certain, but I think it’s been over half a year since I had a haircut last.  The last time I’m sure of was in late October, in Beja, Portugal.  If I’m right, this is surely the longest I‘ve gone without a haircut in my life.  It was really starting to get on my nerves, and a week or so ago I even took matters in my own hands a bit and grabbed the scissors.  I did a respectable job of flattening and shortening the sideburns, which had lengthened almost to the bend of my jaw; and I hacked away at the hair on either side of my face.  I did a pretty fair job really, and am sorry now that I didn’t take before/after shots.

The young woman at Great Clips did a fine job, at a fair price - $17.  And, she was kind enough to flatter me when she rang up the sale by asking if I was 65 yet and acting suitably impressed when I revealed my age.  I earned the $2 senior discount, and she earned her generous tip.

Yow! Who is this guy?
Heart 9 Comment 4
Ron SuchanekWow you look all respectable with the fancy haircut!
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3 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Ron SuchanekYup. Way overdue.
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3 weeks ago
Shawn AndersonDad, I think that is the first photo of you I have seen in my entire life where you did not have sideburns!
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2 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Shawn AndersonI was a little shocked myself when I looked in the mirror. They’ll grow back soon enough though.
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2 weeks ago

Come three o’clock, and the rains are just passing.  It looks like I have three hours or maybe four, so I head out the door and hope for the best.  I have a modest thirty mile ride in mind, most of which I’ve ridden before so I don’t expect to stop often for photos.  I want to keep a fair pace and increase my prospects for returning dry.  And besides - without Rachael along to irk, what fun would it be to keep stopping for another pointless photo?

The ride begins by biking east to Albany, following the fine route we rode back from there a few days ago.  A very pleasant, quiet ride through the wedge of bottom land between the Willamette and the converging Calapooia than joins it in Albany. 

We haven’t been seeing many bird photos lately so I decide to grab this scrub jay across the alley.
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It’s nice to see this area again, even though we were here only a few days ago.  And, there are a few things worth stopping for that I didn’t make time for before.  One interesting spot is Orleans, which appears to have been a town once.  There’s very little here now except for a chapel, and across the road from it is a small cemetery.

I researched the chapel and found this very interesting, well written article penned by Hasso Hering, a former editor of the Albany Democrat-Herald.  In it we learn that the chapel and cemetery date to about 1900, but the town of Orleans was wiped out by the flood of 1861.  I’ll have to poke around Hering’s blog for other interesting articles.  I might find something else nearby that I wouldn’t have thought to look for.

The Orleans Chapel, on Riverside Drive.
Heart 4 Comment 2
Bruce LellmanA bit further north on Riverside Drive is Riverside Grange Hall which is very nice, surrounded by fields. I once shot a beautiful wedding there.
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3 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Bruce LellmanI saw that, and considered stopping for a better look. Had I known you had a personal connection, I surely would have.
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3 weeks ago
Cow barn.
Heart 4 Comment 3
Bruce LellmanWhat if there are llamas in that barn. How do you think they would feel, you calling it a cow barn?
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3 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Bruce LellmanYou’re right. That was presumptuous. There could be llamas, alright. Or emus. Or plant starts. It could be a new growth barn.
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3 weeks ago
Jen GrumbyOr maybe toads .. being raised to sell to the toad suckers?
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3 weeks ago
Cowbirds, from the looks of it. I’ll have to check out the key indicators though to be sure though.
Heart 4 Comment 1
Bruce LellmanIf you just leave it at that - cowbirds - how could anyone disagree!
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3 weeks ago
Image not found :(
Split oak with barn, Riverside Drive.
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Looking toward the Willamette, which is just at the tree line; and at the ugly looking storm clouds that are fortunately moving away from me.
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So, here’s a bit more about Hering.  Hering apparently is a bit of a cycling advocate too, from the looks of it.  The route west of Albany along Bryant Drive and Riverside is part of a Scenic Byway, but is also double branded as the HH Byway, where HH is for Hasso Hering.

At the corner of Bryant, Bryant, Bikeway, Bikeway, Bikeway, and Bikeway. Seems excessive, especially since there’s only one paved road here. Maybe they had some signs they needed to use up before the end of their shift.
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And there’s more!  There’s an apparently inaccessible small state park at the end of a gravel road off of this junction.  Researching this, I found another HH article, this one including a photo of Hasso, with cycling helmet.  So yes, he apparently is a bona fide Friend of Cyclists.

At the corner of Bryant Way and Bryant Drive, we can also look down the west end of Bryant Way. We’d like to continue down that gravel road to its end to Bowers Rock State Park, but apparently can’t because it’s a private road.
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In Albany, at the end of the Calapooia River. It empties into the Willamette just around the corner.
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I wondered how the ride would be north of Albany.  The route I mapped crosses the Willamette over the Lyons Street Bridge, follows the river north on Springhill Drive, then cuts west across a low ridge back to the Independence-Corvallis Highway.  From there I planned to backtrack our ride on Pettigrove Drive, a road we’ve biked often coming back from Corvallis but that I think I’ve never ridden in the other direction.

I was a bit worried about the Lyons Street Bridge, but it’s fine.  A decent shoulder, as well as a bikeable sidewalk.  It’s not particularly interesting or attractive though, so even though I like bridges in general I didn’t bother stopping for a photo.

I was hopeful about Springhill Road, which is a vey nice ride further north near Buena Vista.  At its southern end though I think it can be fairly described as yucky.  Narrow, virtually shoulderless, blind curves, occasional large trucks.  Yep - definitely yucky.  I’m glad I’m the only one here on this ride so there’s only one sorry ass to worry about.

Looks harmless enough, and even includes a nice eight inch shoulder. Think again though, and imagine this is a large truck. Yuck.
Heart 2 Comment 4
Jen GrumbyI imagined, on the road, a big truck
I twisted my face and said, "Yuck!"
This road is too thin
For me or my twin
And a big rig driver named Chuck.
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3 weeks ago
Jacquie GaudetIt has a strong resemblance to most highways in BC, including the Sunshine Coast. I've been wondering why you wanted to go there.
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1 week ago
Scott AndersonTo Jacquie GaudetNot sure why we wanted to ourselves, now that you mention it. Like climbing Mount Everest, I suppose - because it’s there.
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1 week ago
Jacquie GaudetAnd makes a nice loop if you return down Vancouver Island. Al and I did this last summer (his first time, my second) but he said his favourite part was riding to the Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal through West Vancouver--a ride we do all the time.
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1 week ago
There is this though, which just about makes it all worth it.
Heart 3 Comment 0
How ‘bout them canola weeders? I think Mason Williams probably had a riff for them too.
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It’s a relief when a few miles later I come to the turnoff for Scenic Drive.  It’s not much of a climb over the coming ridge, but enough is enough.  Partway up I finally pull off to the side and pump up my tires.  The rest of the climb goes much better, as I turn off to Palestine Road.  I think I’ve ridden Palestine exactly once in my life, probably almost 40 years ago.  I remember it as being scenic and have wanted to see it again, and it does give you some nice views across the valley.  At the top is the small North Palestine Cemetery, established in 1898.  There must have been a community here once, but I couldn’t find anything about it. HH probably has an article, if I searched hard enough.

Looking north toward the South Salem Hills from North Palestine Cemetery. I’d like to come back on a sunny day to take a photo of this huge madrona tree, but it’s too dark today.
Heart 5 Comment 1
Bruce LellmanA madrona of that size should be designated a Heritage Tree.
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3 weeks ago

Dropping west from Palestine Hill, I start getting anxious about the weather.  I’m still about ten miles from home, and it’s looking gloomy ahead.  Turning south on the Independence-Corvallis Highway, it looks even worse.    I’m biking straight at the nose of a narrow, black cloud, and starting to get wet.  I scrap the plan to ride east on Pettigrove and opt for the fastest route home instead - east along Highway 20.  It cuts out about a mile and a bit of climbing.

I’m not lucky, but I’m not so not lucky either.  I turn west on Highway 20 just as the rain is starting to become significant, and carom off the leading edge of the cloud ridge.  The rain gradually lightens as I bike west, and has nearly ceased by the time I make it home.  I’m wet and my shoes are a bit puddly, but nothing like Rachael’s soggy state this morning.

Dropping west off Palestine Hill. How much time have I got, I start to wonder?
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Not enough.
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Ron SuchanekNot enough time, but not so not enough that you are not able to not get rained on.
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3 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Ron SuchanekNot bad!
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3 weeks ago
Just one of those days.
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Ride stats today: 30 miles, 700’

Rate this entry's writing Heart 7
Comment on this entry Comment 1
Jen Grumby"Not so not lucky am I!"
Said Scott with a gleam in his eye
I rode into the rain
On a street with one lane
But got home just a little less dry.
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3 weeks ago