Chinook Landing - Vuelta a Iberia - CycleBlaze

August 24, 2019

Chinook Landing

Rachael and I have been doing pretty well at getting our miles in since returning from Canada, putting in an average of about 25 miles per person per day.  Our contributions have been a bit skewed though, with me chipping in my five miles and her adding the other 45.

There are reasons that I’ve hardly biked at all over the last ten days, other than the most obvious one that probably first springs to your mind.  When we first returned to Portland I intentionally took a few days off from the saddle, as I usually do at the end of a tour, enjoying the luxury of a slower pace, sitting around in a coffee shop and catching up on the world.  By the time I was ready to ride though, I was thwarted by circumstances beyond my control.

You’ll recall that at the end of our tour Roddy pulled up lame, with an apparently broken front derailleur.  Item one on my task list when we returned home was to see to this, so the day after we returned I took it in to REI for an examination.  Their diagnosis - broken derailleur - matched mine, so we made plans for a replacement.  Mine is for a triple chainring, but they did not have one in stock and had to order it.  They scheduled an appointment for Monday, asked me to bring the bike in Sunday night, and said they’d call me if the shipment was delayed.

So I showed up Sunday night.  Paul, their best mechanic, was on duty.  He immediately removed the derailleur, played with it a while, and concurred that it was a goner.  Then they looked at the replacement order, saw that it had not yet arrived (irksome, since they said they’d call me), and said it wouldn’t arrive before Friday at the earliest.  They kept my now unrideable bike in the meantime.

Facing a week or more without a bike, I partially reassembled the Bike Friday, but didn’t bother putting on accessories - rack, mirror, bottle cages.  Good enough for short rides around town, but not really suitable for a longer ride.  

Thursday night, while we’re at the White Eagle Saloon waiting for the show to start, Paul calls up from REI.  The good news: the derailleur has arrived earlier than expected, and he’s trying to install it.  The bad: he can’t, because it’s incompatible with my apparently nonstandard, wide bottom bracket (don’t you hate it when someone tells you you’ve got a wide bottom bracket?).  More good news though - the bottom bracket is loose and probably needed replacement anyway.

Additional work is also needed, and additional needed parts not in stock are ordered.  In the meantime though, Paul installs the new BB and FD, reassembles it all, and releases it for me to pick up the next day.  Finally, I’ve got wheels again!

Welcome back!
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So finally, after a ten day hiatus from the saddle, let’s ride.

Rachael and I haven’t ridden together since returning to Portland.  She’s gotten a bit spoiled by being able to leave and return and bike as far and as fast as she wants. Understandably, she hesitates a bit when I suggest riding together.  Will you be bringing the cameras then, she wants to know.  Yup, both of them.  With a barely audible sigh she agrees, but you can see she’s got some misgivings.  I vow to keep a good pace and only stop for what in my opinion are significant photo opportunities.  

A few minutes later we’re in the hallway of the Empress Hotel, ready to roll.  And a few minutes after that we’re finally down on the ground floor, transported there by what I believe is The World’s Slowest Elevator.  Finally we hit the roaddestined for Chinook Landing, a waterfront boat landing/park on the Columbia River a few miles this side of Troutdale.

Such a long hallway the Empress has! If we stayed here in the winter, we could get a decent workout on rainy days by just biking up and down the hall a few times.
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Bruce LellmanWait, didn't you already find The World's Slowest Elevator recently on a different continent? I seem to remember a slow video of it.
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3 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Bruce LellmanWell, I’m impressed. I’d forgotten all about that elevator, but went back to review the video (in https://www.cycleblaze.com/journals/palermo2019/). Not even close - that one was much slower.
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3 months ago

I do pretty well with my internal vow to keep on task, making it over a mile before coming to the Broadway Bridge.  This is a must-stop opportunity though.  It’s been nearly half a year since I’ve taken a photo of this bridge; and with Rachael here as a prop for a change, how can we not stop?

In case you forgotten or haven’t seen any of dozens of previous photos I’ve posted of the Broadway Bridge, here we are again. This is our standard route across the Willamette when we’re headed northeast.
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Another view some of you will recognize - looking south along the Willamette to the Steel Bridge from the Broadway Bridge.
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That was fine because this is a slow stretch of the ride anyway, chopped up by a few traffic lights.  I fall behind a bit but catch up with her two stoplights down the road.  I’m good now until we come to the corkscrew pedestrian overpass crossing busy Going Avenue.  Rachael prefers not to come this way usually, because the tight curves climbing and dropping from the overpass challenge her handling skills just a bit.  They’re good practice though.  If you don’t practice those skills from time to time, they won’t be there someday when you really need them.

The Going Street overpass. I always enjoy this, but the tight spiral ascent and descent make Rachael a bit anxious. Today, she aces it. Nice!
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So, two stops so far that haven’t held us up at all.  Everybody’s happy.  A few miles later though, biking along the bluff on Willamette Boulevard, I spot the Vigorous down there on Swan Island.  With its 960 foot length, the Vigorous is the nation’s largest floating dry dock and can accommodate some truly huge vessels in need of maintenance - massive cruise ships, for example.

I‘m always curious to see what the Vigorous has sucked in this time, so with little warning I pull off onto the University of Portland campus and head for its wonderful overlook down Waud’s Bluff.  It is a great vantage point for viewing up the Willamette, and the best spot for looking down at the Vigorous.

The Vigorous itself isn’t all that interesting today, but it’s still a great spot to pause and enjoy the view.  I’m happy to find that Rocky is enjoying the stop also - surprisingly, she’s never seen this spot.

Not the most exciting catch today - just some anonymous small fry, identifiable only by the numeral 5.
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Jen GrumbyNice view! Since we're staying in the Overlook neighborhood, we'll have to take a spin over there to check it out.
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3 months ago
I love this pine tree atop Waud’s Bluff, overlooking the Willamette on the Portland University campus. It makes me think of Kali, the ten armed Hindu goddess.
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Waud’s Bluff is a landmark spot on the Lewis and Clark Trail. Here, as depicted by this statue on the University of Portland campus, Captain Clark first spotted and named Mount Jefferson. Pointing at the peak, he’s accompanied by his slave, York, and an unnamed American Indian guide.
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Two more miles, and we come to the overpass crossing the Columbia Slough.  I stop for a photo of the nearly dry channel as Rachael continues on; then I spot some ducks and pull out the zoom camera.  Then a heron.  Then an egret.  By the time I’m finally done I’m feeling anxious, expecting to find my partner impatiently tapping her foot down the road a ways.  Instead, I find her happily grazing on a plot of roadside blackberries, cheerily suggesting I stop and try them out myself.  So I do.

The Columbia Slough has its late summer look.
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Three ducks on a log, Columbia Slough
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Great egret, Columbia Slough
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I have the Grampies to thank for this. After reading their journals, Rachael has started keeping an eye out for blackberry patches. It gives her something to do while waiting for me to catch up after a photo stop.
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Steve Miller/GrampiesAlways glad to be of help.
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3 months ago

That holds me for like a hundred yards, when I spot a row of about a million pigeons perched on a wire above the river.  Gotta stop.  We agree to reconnect at the restroom about three miles down the road, a place we always stop anyway.

Pigeons and the railroad bridge, Hayden Island
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I’ve never figured out just what happens at this spot on the Columbia, south of Hayden Island. There are always one or more old barges or other craft moored here, possibly waiting for conversion to scrap. I recognize this one though, and have ridden on it a few times. This is the Wahkiakum, the old ferry that ran to Puget Island for many years. It was retired and replaced by a newer ferry in 2015.
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After that, I’ve reached my limit.  Rachael suggests that we really do need to keep on task now, so we can get the ride in before this beautiful day gets much warmer.  I take the hint and lead the way for the next fifteen miles, not stopping until reaching Chinook Landing.  It’s crowded out here in the summer, but we find a secluded, grassy spot by the river in the shade of a willow.  It’s a great spot for lunch, overlooking the river and watching a family of ospreys in a huge, sprawling nest atop some rotting pilings out on the river.  

That’s enough.  It’s getting hot and we’re both in a hurry to get back to the Empress and cool down, so we bike the last 20 miles nonstop and photo free.  At the end of the ride, I’m feeling optimistic.  I didn’t do too badly, all in all.  Maybe she’ll let me ride with her out to Sauvie Island tomorrow.

I’m not sure what these trees are, but I think some variety of willow. A Hooker’s Willow, maybe.
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Looking across the Columbia from our picnic spot at Chinook Landing. This is another site on the Lewis and Clark Trail. The site of an Indian village they drifted past, it was noted in their journal but not visited by them. Hey - look out at the end of the row of rotting pilings!
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Feed me! Why did you return empty beaked?
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Steve Miller/GrampiesAvi particularly liked spotting nesting birds on the Willamette ride we just finished. We may have to get him a camera with a better zoom soon if he continues with this bird watching interest.
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3 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Steve Miller/GrampiesPanasonic ZS100. Pocketable, powerful zoom, good image stablization.
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3 months ago
At Chinook Landing, starting the ride back home.
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Ride stats today: 49 miles, 1,000’

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