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

June 11, 2020

The Harrisburg loop

Today is almost a carbon copy of yesterday, weather-wise.  It’s still lightly misting when we leave home, but like yesterday the conditions steadily improve all day.  We’re on our way out to Boston Mills again, for a different loop starting from the same base.  Today we’re heading south to Harrisburg on a slightly shorter, slightly easier ride than yesterday’s.

When we arrive I check in on our watch killdeer, to see if she’s still on duty.  She is, but I think I was wrong about what she’s doing here.  It looks like she’s nesting, as she’s lying on the ground and only stands up off and stares my way after I’ve taken a few steps in her direction.  She blends in well with the ground when she’s roosting, and is very hard to spot.  

Back at Boston Mills, our friend the watch killdeer is still on duty this morning. I think I was wrong about what she’s watching though. I think she’s guarding her nest.
Heart 6 Comment 0

A mile into the ride, and already the sun begins to break out.  It’s really a much milder day today than yesterday.  For the first ten miles we work our way south, zigzagging down a series of empty farm roads.  This is the same route we took last week on our damp ride south along Middy Creek. It’s much more pleasant today with the sun out. 

Image not found :(
Approaching Shedd, on Boston Mills Drive.
Heart 3 Comment 0
I stopped here to look at the clover, and got my wheel stuck in the door. I didn’t manage to get it out for another five minutes. Ten minutes into today’s ride, and I’m already a mile behind Rocky. She’s never going to ride with me again at this rate.
Heart 4 Comment 0
At first I was just focused on the bold color bands, but then I noticed the sheep grazing in the clover. So that took some time too.
Heart 4 Comment 0
Image not found :(
Then, looking further to the right, I spot a bald eagle gyrating above the pasture. And then another, and then a third (only two are visible here, I think). As they circle above, they’re gradually drifting my way. Of course I have to wait.
Heart 1 Comment 0
It’s not easy tracking a bird in flight, even when it’s as large as this one. I was lucky to get a complete bird in the frame as it crossed directly above me. Well worth the wait. I’m sure Rachael will understand.
Heart 4 Comment 1
Jen GrumbyWow! Worth tbe stop/wait, I'd say.
Reply to this comment
3 weeks ago
How ‘bout them hive-setters, ain’t they a bunch? Settin’ they hives, waitin’ for lunch.
Heart 2 Comment 0

How about them Toad Suckers, by Mason Williams (who I believe currently lives in Eugene).

As we pass the tall, unmistakable smokestacks of the Georgia-Pacific pulp mill, we part ways with the Muddy Creek ride and continue south toward Harrisburg.  I’ve mapped a route for today that takes us back toward the river to Peoria Road, but when I see that Nicewood Road is paved I talk Rachael into giving it  a try.  On my map it’s listed as unpaved, but it’s really just poorly maintained.  Broken pavement and small patches of gravel here and there, but it’s basically fine; until it isn’t.   A mile later the poor pavement gives out, and then it’s just gravel.  

I hear gravel-hating Rocky grumbling under her breath, so I point out that it’s only another quarter mile to the end of the road, and state that the cross road will probably be paved.  The crossroad isn’t paved either though, which makes her cross too.  We stop and debate whether to backtrack and take Peoria Road after all, but I talk her into biking another short distance east to Malpass Road.  Malpass isn’t paved either (of course - what did we expect from a road with such a name); but finally, a mile later we’re back on the hard, smooth stuff and stay there the rest of the way to Harrisburg.  It’s not the most exciting riding, being an absolutely flat ride through grass fields the whole way; but it’s wonderfully quiet.  I don’t think we see a single other vehicle or person until we’re on the outskirts of Harrisburg.

So, it’s a matter of preference.  Is it worth a mile plus of gravel to buy ten miles of quiet riding?  People will have different feelings about this, but I elected not to poll Team Anderson for a verdict.

Southbound on Nicewood Lane, an empty road that tempts us in but soon turns to gravel.
Heart 2 Comment 2
Ron SuchanekI like the mile of gravel for ten of quiet. I like gravel anyway.
Reply to this comment
3 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Ron SuchanekSeems like a fair investment to me too.
Reply to this comment
3 weeks ago
Image not found :(
Looking west toward the coast range from Nicewood Road. I’m not positive of what the framed formation is, but I think Green Peak.
Heart 3 Comment 0
Some of us aren’t too enthusiastic about gravel roads, but they do make for a nice picture.
Heart 5 Comment 1
Ron SuchanekBeautiful!!
Reply to this comment
3 weeks ago
The Georgia-Pacific plant at Halsey is a bit of an eyesore, and the most prominent man-made feature in the mid-valley. You can see if from fifteen miles away in this flat terrain. We might appreciate it more than usual at this time though, since its primary product is toilet paper.
Heart 2 Comment 0
I was delighted by this structure just north of Harrisburg, which I assume is a windmill powered water tower. I don’t think I’ve ever seen another like this. I was sorry I couldn’t get a better view of it, but it’s surrounded by trees.
Heart 4 Comment 0

We didn’t see much of Harrisburg today - pretty much just a pass-through, with a very pleasant stop for lunch beside the Willamette in Riverside Park.  We have at least one more ride in the inventory that passes through this town though, so maybe next time we’ll look around a bit more.

Lunch break at Riverside Park, Harrisburg. I’m not sure what’s happening here - it looks like maybe Rachael’s snack bit back at her.
Heart 2 Comment 0
At the corner of First and Smith, Harrisburg. We didn’t spend any time at all exploring Harrisburg, but it could be worth a longer look.
Heart 3 Comment 0
Image not found :(
A window on the building at First and Smith.
Heart 4 Comment 0

Up until now we’ve done virtually no climbing at all today.  When we pulled into Harrisburg I checked the GPS and saw that we’d registered under 200’ in 20 miles.   And actually, that sounds higher than it felt.  The back half of the ride is more severe though, challenging us with over three times the climbing we faced on the way south.  

The return ride takes us east a few miles to right at the frontier of the Coburg Hills, and then turns north along Gap Road.  Gap is about as it sounds, as it skirts the back side of the first low hills and crosses over a low saddle.   It’s not much of a climb though - just enough to give us a bit of a view; and then we drop down to Brownsville again, and follow some by now familiar roads back to Boston Mills.

The Jetta is still there waiting faithfully for us when we return.  That’s the great thing about inanimate objects - they’re so reliable.  The killdeer is still there too, still roosting.  Rachael doesn’t believe me at first, until I point out where she is, camouflaged among the stones and weeds.  I wonder how soon we’ll be seeing killdeer kids?

Leaving Harrisburg, eastbound on Diamond Hill Road.
Heart 2 Comment 0
Another one! It looks like almost the exact design as the one we saw earlier
Heart 4 Comment 0
Still eastbound on Diamond Hill Road, nearing the Coburg Hills. We’ll turn left just before reaching the base.
Heart 1 Comment 0
Looking west from Gap Road. You’re right, Andrea! Marys Peak does look like an elephant.
Heart 2 Comment 0
Rocky shoots the gap on Gap Road.
Heart 3 Comment 0
Looking southeast to the Coburg Hills from Gap Road.
Heart 1 Comment 0
The John Moyer House, Brownsville. Built in 1881 by Moyer, an early pioneer here, in the style of an Italian villa. I’m told that there’s an enormous wisteria climbing one of the trees here, but I didn’t notice it.
Heart 2 Comment 1
Andrea BrownIt's in the tree on the right but since the blooms are long gone you'd only notice the huge twisted trunks wound around the host tree trunk.
Reply to this comment
3 weeks ago
I might have noticed the wisteria, but this vulture was a more compelling sight as it kept circling the house, flying low in front of it at about the second story level.
Heart 2 Comment 0
One more of Brownsville’s many attractions.
Heart 3 Comment 0
Heart 0 Comment 0

Ride stats today: 50 miles, 800’

Rate this entry's writing Heart 8
Comment on this entry Comment 2
Jen GrumbyOK. You made me look up toad sucking.

Please tell me you've never tried this!
Reply to this comment
3 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Jen GrumbyI never tried this. For some reason the scene made me think of Mason Williams and the Smothers Brothers Show though, which I haven’t thought of for a long time. Probably from before you were even born.
Reply to this comment
3 weeks ago