Elk Rock Island - In the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies - CycleBlaze

February 6, 2019

Elk Rock Island

About Flickr

I want to talk a bit about today’s short ride, but first I have exciting news to report on the 2006 tour of southern Italy: I’ve found my photos!  The complete album is still locked away in our old external hard drive, waiting for a new charging device to arrive.  In the meantime,  read this morning that Flickr has been sold to Verison, and a cap of 1000 photos has been placed on free accounts.  Probably everyone knows this but me (I think it happened while we were overseas), but if you use the free version of Flickr you should be aware that you’re limited to 1000 photos, and others will just be deleted.

I haven’t used Flicker for several years, and had forgotten I even had an account.  Wondering if I was at risk of losing photos, I looked at what was out there.  Lo and behold I found this, along with about a hundred other photos from our first tour of Mezzogiorno:

Trulli and wildflowers, Salentino (southern Puglia)
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So, I don’t really have an excuse to put off writing up this tour.  I’ll get right on it, as soon as I think of something to say.  After reconsideration though I might as well post it as a tour in its own right, rather than embedding it here.  

The Big Heist

By Portland’s standards anyway, we’re going through a bit of a cold snap - the first of the winter, so they tell me.  We had a light dusting on the valley floor two nights back, and it’s been cold enough since then that there are still a few traces of snow and ice here and there.  Lows have been about 25F, and highs in the high 30’s.  The whole next week looks like it will be like this, with a chance of snow in the forecast here and there.  We’ll see.

So, cold but not serious cold.  With Rachael getting out nearly every day for a 40ish ride, and with friends back east even facing down the dreaded polar vortex, I felt shamed into leaving my new man cave and braving the elements myself.  Two days ago I biked over to Caffe Umbria in the early morning cold, planning to head up into the west hills after waiting for the day to warm up just a bit.  After that I had a date with Rachael at Gallo Nero, one of our favorite Italian restaurants in town.

When I returned to my bike though, I found that I’d been robbed.  While I was caffeinating inside, someone apparently lifted my bike gloves from my pannier - two pair, my regular gloves and my warm winter ones.  Disheartening, but hopefully they went to a good home and are helping some unfortunate keep warm.

Scene of the crime
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Bruce LellmanI'm surprised the thief didn't take your whole bike if you were simply using a cable. That would have taken approx. ten seconds.
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Bruce LellmanThat’s the lesson, alright. I’m sitting ten feet away on the other side of the glass in broad daylight, so I’m part of an obviously weak security plan. I’ll start carrying the krypto around town.
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2 months ago

So, Tuesday’s ride was out.  I biked the two miles back to our apartment, my gloveless hands freezing, and whiled away a few hours until it was time to meet Rachael for lunch.  Afterwards I stopped by Bike Gallery to reprovision, and came out poorer but feeling better about the situation.  I had been pretty unhappy with my other gloves anyway, come to think of it - the riding gloves were getting well worn and due for replacement, and my warm gloves weren’t waterproof.  So, a silver lining.  And lunch was awesome, reminding us that we will be very happy indeed to spend the spring in Italy when the time comes.

The trout was amazing, and the grilled vegetables were nearly as good.
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Today’s ride

Actually, today featured two small rides, that together added up to perhaps a half of a reasonable ride.  Unlike Rachael, who has been religiously knocking off forty milers day after day, I’m still pretty content to loaf and stay in out of the cold.  Presumably this will change at some point, but for now I’m enjoying taking it easy.

The first outing was an errand run, over to Water Avenue Coffee to  jump start the power supply and then to Great Harvest to bring home the bread.  It was still quite cold, about -4C when I left the apartment on my coffee run, so it was a good test of my new warm cycling gloves.  I’m happy to report that they performed well and are an improvement over their purloined predecessors, and that I didn’t have cause yet to test their waterproofing quality.

Getting cold feet
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Bunk on Water Avenue
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I can’t really say that I care for the boxy look of the new county courthouse; and it’s not just because it displaced VQ, for years one of our favorite restaurants in town.
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On the scales, at Great Harvest Bakery
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Water carboys
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Back from that bracing outing, I retreated to the condo to wait for the day to warm up a bit.  At around one, Rachael and I both ventured out - she to the Springwater Trail, and I to Milwaukie.  It’s really a pretty day for a ride in spite of the cold.

Not much to report about the ride itself.  I went beyond Milwaukie a bit to explore Elk Rock Island, a small volcanic heap in the Willamette just a short distance upriver from town.  I biked past it for years without really noticing it was there, but it’s more prominent and accessible now as a result of the efforts to upgrade the Milwaukie riverfront over the last several years.  It’s really been quite a transformation, with the town now facing a quite attractive waterfront park.

The view downriver from Milwaukie Bay Park
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The view upriver from Milwaukie Bay Park. Elk Rock Island is the mound in the center of the river.
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An Adventure at Elk Rock Island
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On Elk Rock Island, looking across at the elk jump cliffs across the river.
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Goose steps
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I had bigger ride plans when I set out this afternoon, and intended to bike up on the ridge for a view over the city on my way back.  By the time I headed north again though it was starting to cloud over and cool down.  I could have stuck with the plan, but I was feeling chilled enough that it lost its appeal.  Mentally thrashing around for a better use of my time I remembered that I haven’t been over to the Lucky Lab Brewery since returning home.  I like that place a lot - you can sit inside and keep warm over a pizza slice and a pint while keeping an eye on your bike safely parked at the indoor rack.  We’ve been back in Portland for close to four weeks now, and I’m starting to feel the pressure of fitting in all my favorite haunts before it’s time to leave town again.  Might as well knock this one off the list.  The West Hills can wait another day or two.

Back with the big dogs
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One of the pleasures of our life on the waterfront is getting to hear the deafening din of the crows roosting for the night. There are thousands of them, and almost every tree between the Morrison and Burnside Bridges looks like this at sundown.
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Bruce LellmanApparently for some unknown reason the number of crows in Portland has increased tremendously in just the last couple of years. I heard a report about them recently.
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2 months ago
Jen GrumbyCool photo! You might enjoy this Mercury article about Portland's crows:

https://www.portlandmercury.com/feature/2018/12/20/25227229/portlands-crows-are-back-so-are-the-laser-guided-hawks-that-scare-them-off
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Jen GrumbyThanks so much for passing this on. It’s full of great information. I knew about the ‘pre-roost’ gathering in the park blocks, because I’ve seen them there coming out from afternoon piano recitals at PSU. There’s another gathering spot developing by our old condo and my sister’s in the Pearl District. It’s easy to spot their favorite haunts because the sidewalks are such a mess - almost whitewashed. I’ll let Elizabeth know that she can just get a Harris’s hawk to help deal with the issue.
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2 months ago
Rate this entry's writing Heart 7
Comment on this entry Comment 6
Andrea BrownYou've been home four "months"? Where ya been hiding?
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Andrea BrownLiving at warp speed, apparently. Thanks for the careful read. You must have been a teacher.
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2 months ago
Bruce LellmanVerizon is spelled using a 'z'.
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Bruce LellmanGood grefe. Anything else?
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2 months ago
Bruce LellmanWell, there's "grefe". How did you even spell it that way because autocorrect just fixed it when I tried it the first time.
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Bruce LellmanIt took a few tries. I had to cram it down the iPad’s throat.
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2 months ago