The Portland Heritage Tree Quest: Group 5-1/4 - Northwest passages: riding out the storm - CycleBlaze

February 19, 2020

The Portland Heritage Tree Quest: Group 5-1/4

Twenty Questions, continued

Question #4: Referring back to Question #2, what is the orientation of the 500 mile dimension?  ESE/WNW.

Question #5: Will this be a continuous bicycle ride, or will other forms of transportation be a part of the tour? There will be one embedded flight in the tour, and possibly a car rental.

Today’s ride

Today’s PHTQ ride was conceived to be so much more, but was the victim of poor planning.  As it captured only two new trees I considered not posting it at all, or merging it in with the next outing.  Historical accuracy is important though so we’ll throw up this brief, truncated post just to keep the record straight.

It was a beautiful day - absolutely clear, perfect for a ride - except for the fact that it was fairly cold and there was a strong east wind that made it feel frigid.  The plan was to make a figure eight loop - one that picked up the remaining three conifers on the east side of the river and then crossed back to the west side to pick up seven more in a loop through the inner west hills.

First though, I went back for a second look at the Coulter pine I saw in the last outing.  After reading up on the tree I was intrigued by the thought of huge, spiky 5 to 12 pound pine cones from a tree known as the widow maker.  I was disappointed to not find any on the ground today - the property owners unfortunately keep a tidy ship and appear to rake the ground regularly - but the few I saw high up on the tree looked menacing enough.

No, I wouldn’t care to have one of these dropped onto my head from a height of fifty feet.
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From here, the day’s quest starts out well enough.  The first new tree though, a Port Orford Cedar, is a challenge to locate.  The address listed in the inventory, 3203 SE Woodstock Way, is a fiction as near as I can tell.  The tree is actually on the campus of Reed College, near Woodstock and 32nd, but there are no addresses and structures on that side of the street - just the grounds for the college.  

And if you’re familiar with Reed College you know it’s blessed with many magnificent trees, including a cluster of giant conifers growing close together at this spot.  It took awhile, wading through the dense network of low-hanging branches of these trees, to find the one with the heritage tree label.  Finally though I discovered it, and knocked one more tree off the list.

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Heritage tree #296: Chamaecyparis lawsoniana (Port Orford cedar). From its name, you won’t be surprised to hear that it’s an Oregon coastal native. Can grow to 200’ in the wild, but this one is a relative runt at a mere 79’.
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Bruce LellmanIf anyone wants to smell Port Orford Cedar they should come over to my house. I have a chunk of it and it is the most fragrant tree I have ever smelled. Sniffing it you would not guess it to be a cedar at all. The ship building industry at Port Orford, Oregon a hundred and fifty years ago used this wood for the masts and deck planking.
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5 months ago
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Port Orford cedar.
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Port Orford cedar.
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Next up is a China fir, in the Brooklyn neighborhood.  Unfortunately, I bike right past it without stopping and don’t realize it until about a half mile later.  I don’t want to turn back - in fact, I’m pretty confused about the situation and don’t know where I’ve gone astray - so I’ll save it for another day.  Annoying, because it remains the only evergreen species on the east side I haven’t seen yet.  At this point I’ll probably leave it until I come back on a deciduous raid.

Finally, still in the Brooklyn neighborhood I come to the final eastside conifer, this English yew:

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English yew.
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English yew.
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So, with nearly fifteen miles of riding in but only two new species to my credit, I bike back to the west side across the Hawthorne Bridge.  I’ve still got seven more trees mapped out for the day, all clustered in the inner lower elevation neighborhoods near Washington Park.  Not much distance remains, but a fair amount of climbing and descending.  And, I’m probably facing some difficult sleuthing work.  Two of the trees look like they have fake addresses and are actually standing in the middle of a park somewhere.  And a third has a presumably completely wrong address - it matches that of a different tree on the east side that I’ve already visited, but the map indicates it’s in Washington Park.  Some sort of error in the register, so who knows where the hell the tree really is.

At this point though, I realize I made a fatal error in plotting today’s route.  My ride passes directly in front of our condominium.  It’s cold, it’s windy, I’m hungry, and I’m a bit peevish about having missed the China fir.  It’s just too much temptation: do I go climb some hills on a cold and windy day, or do I just slip into this tall building here, head upstairs, and enjoy a nice, hot cup of tea?  Tough choice.

So, that’s it.  2 new trees, only enough to count as a fourth of a normal outing.  No matter.  I’ll pick up the rest in a day or two, assuming I can find them at least.

As long as we’re all here though, let’s look at a few other curiosities I saw along the way.

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In the Sellwood neighborhood: the Sacred Heart Catholic Church, established in 1893.
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Also in the Brooklyn neighborhood, the pedestrian/bike overpass crossing the rail lines. I’ve used this a couple of times, just to say that I did. It’s a nice shortcut, but it’s a bit slow also with elevators on both ends.
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A rusty tub, for Scooter’s Cycle365 Challenge for the month.
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I’m not sure how to classify this: vehicle, work of art, or cactus planter? Among other things, I like the surfer gal riding the frame just above the bottom bottom bracket.
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Jen GrumbyTall bike! I'm always amazed at how easy the riders make it look to get on and off.

If you had the opportunity, would you try riding one?
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5 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Jen GrumbyHardly. Maybe 20 years ago when my balance was better, but probably not then either. I’ve never been the daredevil or show-off type.
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5 months ago
A public art instance, for Lednar. We’ve seen this lovely lady and her Cuban trogan on the side of the SolTerra building before. I hadn’t noticed then though that it’s also a topiary work. The growth hadn’t been so noticeable when it was newer.
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And finally, another LFL for NancyG. Also note the effective use of one the new click-stands that we finally got. No more awkwardly propping bikes up in the middle of a cactus forest or someone’s yard!
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Jen GrumbyRodriguez looks very happy with the click stand.
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5 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Jen GrumbyAs is its new owner. I should have gotten one of these long ago.
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5 months ago

Keeping Score:

Group 1 (7 species):  grand fir, willow oak, hedge maple, Douglas fir, incense cedar, tulip tree, sugar maple.

Group 2 (9 species): silver maple, Japanese cedar, oriental plane tree, European beech, American chestnut, copper beech, mockernut hickory, basswood, butternut.

Group 3 (9 species): ginkgo, crape maple, northern red oak, deodar cedar, bigleaf linden, giant sequoia, coast redwood, Japanese pagoda tree, Mount Fuji flowering cherry.

Group 4 (8 species): Zelkova, Carolina poplar, Japanese red pine, Katsura, bur oak, river birch, catalpa, wych elm.

Group 5 (8 species): Monkey puzzle tree, western white pine, boulevard cypress, madrone, single needle pinyon, pecan, Coulter pine, Monterey pine.

Group 5-1/4 (2 species) Port Orford cedar, English yew

Dropped (1 species): paradox maple, which I couldn’t find and may no longer exist.

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Comment on this entry Comment 19
Bill ShaneyfeltTruncated... tree search :-)
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5 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Bill ShaneyfeltI don’t get it. Stumped.
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5 months ago
Ron SuchanekTo Bill ShaneyfeltHahah!
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5 months ago
Ron SuchanekTo I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that's funny.
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5 months ago
Bill ShaneyfeltI'll just leave it...
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5 months ago
Patrick O'HaraYou all need to branch out and find something else to bark about
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5 months ago
Jen GrumbyThis is getting kind of sappy ...
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5 months ago
Scott AndersonReally. What an embarrassingly immature thread Bill started here. I wood like this to be the last word. Rooting for it, in fact.
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5 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Patrick O'HaraA double double entendre!
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5 months ago
Gregory GarceauI have no interest in participating in all these tree puns. I just want to leaves that subject and get back to where you are going to tour next month. I still can't get over that 2-miles from bottom to top thing. My new guess is: Hawaii. Sea level to the top of Mauna Kea.
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5 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Gregory GarceauI agree. I, fir one, pine for the time when we cedar last of them. It would definitely be oak by me.

And good thought on Mauna Kea! Definitely fits into the known world, and is in a sensible season for it - probably the best stab in the dark to date. Also fits within the larger theme of the 2020 retrospective. We loved our one trip to Hawaii and have often talked about when we should return.

So, a good candidate. It will take a few more clues to know if it holds up, but in the meantime congratulations!
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5 months ago
Janet Anspach-RickeyHilarious! Just drove through Avenue of the Giants and they were all laughing.🤣🤣🤣
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5 months ago
Bruce LellmanScott,
I'm green with envy how you got so many people to respond to one little nutty word, albeit quite witty. You run rings around me and my writing in our journal. I guess you are simply more poplar. I seed defeat. Eucalyptus.
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5 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Bruce LellmanA bit nuts, isn’t it? These bad puns just keep phloem and getting more obscure. Eucalyptus?? What’s that about? I feel like I’m in an axylem.
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5 months ago
Bruce LellmanTo Scott AndersonYew guessed it!
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5 months ago
Andrea BrownMakes me want to balsam.
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5 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Andrea BrownCareful, young lady. This is a family-friendly website.
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5 months ago
Andrea BrownTo Scott AndersonJeez you guys, it's "bawl some". And it's from an old logging camp graffiti: "Ada, for you I pine, for you I balsam".

Filthy minds.
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5 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Andrea BrownOh, of course. How embarrassing. It’s from associating with that dirty old Mr Grumby.
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5 months ago