The Sweet Home Ride - Northwest passages: riding out the storm - CycleBlaze

June 10, 2020

The Sweet Home Ride

Yesterday we were rained out again.  Today and tomorrow look dry, followed by another round of showers and worse.  We decide to use these two days for rides a bit further from home, and save the local rides for days when we’re sitting around the apartment hoping for a window to open up for a few hours.  Today we drive to Boston Mills, for a repeat of the ride we took six years ago on the last weekend before leaving for Girona and our first tour of the Pyrenees. 

Back at Boston Mills again. Just fifteen miles from home, it makes a good base for rides a bit further from town.
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At Boston Mills, the watch-killdeer makes an effective enforcer. We’re definitely not going past that sign.
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Jen Grumby"None shall pass!", the killdeer did say.
"Go back home to your house in Beauvais!"
"Take a tour in Greece!"
"Get some quiet and peace!"
"Maybe play a quick game of croquet?"

Jeez .. that killdeer is full of advice, isn't he?
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3 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Jen GrumbyBeauvais? No way! Vezelay, s’il vous plait.
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3 weeks ago

It’s grey but comfortably warm when we start out.  The first several miles follow the same route we took a few days back on the Sand Ridge ride, but after we cross the freeway we turn southeast for Brownsville.   We’re following the Calapooia River upstream and toward the hills for the first  fifteen miles.  Gradually the terrain changes as we bike along, as the edges of the Coburg Hills crowd in on the river.  

The road is wet when we start out, and it feels damp. It was misting on the short drive to Boston Mills, but stopped by the time we started biking. Conditions will gradually improve for the rest of the day.
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We saw this spot last week - then, we turned north toward Sand Ridge about at the point where the road disappears - but today we’re curving right toward Brownsville.
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Brownsville, population about 1,500, is to us anyway a surprisingly attractive small town.  Maybe we don’t expect much from a place with such a bland name, but it’s got a lot of character, some well-kept Victorian homes, and a pleasing commercial district.  It’s also got some history.  It was originally named Calapooia, and then Kirks Ferry  for the ferry that briefly crossed the river here; and finally Brownsville, for the settler who opened the first store here.  Personally, I think Calapooia has more allure.  

For a brief period it was the county seat for Linn County when it was formed in 1847, until it was relocated to Albany a decade later.  You might recognize the town, because it was the filming site for Rob Reiner’s film Stand By Me.

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In Brownsville.
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Andrea BrownBrownsville has a cool historical museum, used to have a stuffed two-headed calf in the hardware store window, and there is a gigantic wisteria vine climbing up the tree outside the Moyer House. But best of all is the weird Living Rock Studio which I won't describe to you, you have to see it for yourself.
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3 weeks ago
In Brownsville, enjoying the appearance of the sun.
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In Brownsville. Looks like a movie set, and was once.
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The First Baptist Church in Brownsville, built in 1907 and on the National Register of Historical Places.
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East of Brownsville, we continue upriver to Crawfordsville on quiet Northern Drive, a pretty lane that parallels busy Sweet Home Highway.  It’s  lovely riding, but the town itself is much less interesting than Brownsville.  It does feature a covered bridge though which merits a stop- one of I think eight covered bridges in Linn County.  Not the most attractive or well placed one in my opinion, abandoned right beside the modern road and current bridge.  I’ll remember it best today for the millions of tiny brown ants scurrying across the planks at one end of the bridge  in an ant stream that completely spanned the roadbed.  I stood on the edge Of this stream for a few minutes, and when we walked away I spent the next several knocking dozens of them off my legs.

Along the. Calapooia, east of Brownsville. Interesting barn, if that’s what this is. Looks a bit like a schoolhouse.
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Andrea BrownA hop drying house, very cool. http://oastandhopkilnhistory.com/usa/hop-drying-america/
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3 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Andrea BrownOh, of course. We saw one of these a couple of years ago and you identified it then for us too.
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3 weeks ago
Northern Drive, the beautiful alternative to the Sweet Home Highway.
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On Northern Drive, biking past the radish fields. Thanks to all of you who identified this crop for us!
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Outside Crawfordsville we find this vintage Chevy, which I also stopped for a photo of six years ago. Looks like it’s aged well in the meantime.
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The Calapooia River, by McKercher Park. It would be a nice picnic spot, but it’s too early in the ride today.
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Thinking it might be time to risk my life and get a haircut. And maybe a hairpiece.
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Jacquie GaudetI made a mask specifically so I could get my hair cut. In BC, it's part of the requirements for hair salons when they were allowed to open at the end of May.
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1 week ago
Scott AndersonTo Jacquie GaudetI think it varies by country down here (and state too, of course), but it was required for the shop I went to also.
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1 week ago
The Crawfordsville Bridge, covered with ants.
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The Crawfordsville Bridge, out of service since 1963. It was nearly lost to the blackberries until it was recovered by a restoration project in 1986.
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I could have stayed longer and tried for a more focused shot, but I didn’t want ants in my pants. Bad enough that they’re on my shoes and crawling up my legs.
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East of Crawfordsville the sweet riding continues as Northern Lane becomes Crawfordsville Drive.  It briefly turns sour when we’re thrown back onto the narrow and busy Sweet Home Highway, but fortunately we’re only on it for about a mile before coming to Rowell Hill Road, which we turn onto and follow the rest of the way to Sweet Home.  when we arrive, we head straight to Sankey Park, the home of the town’s main attraction: beautiful Weddle Bridge.

On Crawfordsville Drive.
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Jen GrumbyAnother for the Beckoning Road series!
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3 weeks ago
On Crawfordsville Drive, we’re reminded of why we have gears on our bikes. And that we still need to pump the tires.
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Rachael’s experimenting with the camera on her new phone. It looks like it works great, but she needs to work on her choice of subjects.
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There. Much better.
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Another fine feature in Sweet Home. I think their Ford is sweeter than Crawfordville’s Chevy.
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Weddle Bridge, built in 1937, originally crossed Thomas Creek until it was bypassed in 1980. Nine years later it was restored and relocated to Sankey Park, where it now spans Ames Creek instead.
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Weddle Bridge has an interesting, unique design.
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Jacquie GaudetDefinitely interesting to use cables as the tension members.
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1 week ago
The Weddle Bridge was relocated and restored using state funding, championed by Albany’s state senator Mae Yih. Senator Yih took a particular interest in the state’s covered bridges and helped steer significant state funding to their preservation in the early 1990’s.
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Sankey Park makes a pleasant spot to sit and enjoy our lunch under the warmth of the afternoon sun.  Afterwards we cross the South Santiam River and follow Pleasant Valley Road to Waterloo, where I stop  in at the store for a quart of milk and a candy bar while Rachael bikes down to the riverfront to check out the city park.  She reports back that it’s a pretty spot, worth another trip out for a picnic lunch; and that she biked just far enough extra that she can claim an extra mile for her ride today.  Nyah, Nyah, Nyah.

We ride the rest of the circuit without stopping, although we do slow down significantly when we climb the small ridge at Sodaville - we really do need to pump up the tires one of these days.  When we arrive back at Boston Mills, I’m startled to see that Rachael continues on past the turnoff to the park.  It’s a loop, so maybe she didn’t notice the turnoff and just started around again.  I pull out the phone and call her, but then see that she’s turned back and is waving at me.  She reallly didn’t miss her turn, she claims.  She just decided that one mile more than me wasn’t quite enough - she wants two.  Humiliate the old man, that’s her motto.

Pleasant Valley Road is just as it sounds. Much preferable to riding Highway 20 on the other bank.
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Video soundtrack: Dreamland, by Madeleine Peyroux

The South Santiam River.
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The old Rock Hill school. If you want to know more, go back and check out the link to to the first time we rode this loop. No sense repeating myself.
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The view toward Marys Peak from Rock Hill. Looking at it now, I’m a bit embarrassed to realize that I’ve never known how to spot it before our stay here.
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Andrea Brown"Look for the elephant" people told me when I first moved to Corvallis. Of course I was looking for an actual peak, not these mere foothill Coast Range bumps.
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3 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Andrea BrownYes of course, the elephant. Why didn’t I notice that before?
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3 weeks ago
Looking south at limpet-shaped Ward Butte from Manor Drive.
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The Millkeeper’s House, Boston Mills. And Rocky.
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Ride stats today: 55 miles, 1,400’

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