First day of spring - In the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies - CycleBlaze

March 20, 2019

First day of spring

Some statistics

One of the many assets Rachael brings to Team Anderson is her background as the leader of the team that managed a data warehouse.  She often looks back longingly on those years when she was safe inside her cubicle, sheltered from the elements and staring at a screen full of cryptic, complex data queries.

When she’s feeling especially nostalgic for the good old days, she dusts off those rusty skills and applies them to her new life as a cycling vagabond.  This week she polished up this nice summary of our last year on the road.  Not too bad, for a team with an average age in the mid-sixties!

Not a bad year’s work; and it doesn’t even include our loop of Hawaii’s Big Island!
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Jen GrumbyThat is some beautiful data.

Oh, and yeah, pretty impressive stats too!
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3 weeks ago

Vernal Equinox

Cycle365 is really laying on the whip this month.  No sooner do I ride out from under the Cycle Life Challenge than I am challenged again, to get outdoors at dawn to capture the sunrise on the spring equinox.  I’m charged with finding a suitably oriented street and pointing the camera toward the dawn, so we can compare our version of the event with others around the globe.

Unlike some of the others, I’ve been blessed with a perfect day for the occasion.  The sky is nearly clear when I arrive at the spot I’ve picked out for the sunrise shot - the Gibbs Street overpass, beneath the aerial tram up to OHSU.  I picked it because it’s one of the few east-west roads nearby, and it’s elevated enough that I expect to get a good view of the dawn.

And it is a good spot, but not perfect.  High-rises block much of the horizon, and the tram cables are a bit unsightly.  After admiring the view from here for a few minutes I decide to try for better and head out south along the ridge, looking hopefully down each intersection I come to for one with a clear view.  Finally, and just in time, I find the perfect spot by the back fence of a vacant lot and settle in for the show, watching the glow on the horizon gradually brighten and illuminate Mount Hood.  

The OHSU tram. I picked this as a good spot to view the sunrise because it’s elevated and the overpass is oriented east-west, but after looking at it through the cables for a few minutes I decided to look for someplace better.
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I found it, at this great viewpoint from Kelley Avenue. I stood here for about ten minutes, watching Mount Hood slowly redden as the sun neared the horizon.
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Another block further south I found an evern better spot, with a good look down on the river and Ross Island. I like the way that the Boring Hills stand out so distinctly below the mountain.
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Jen GrumbyAmazing! How great to start the day (and the season) with a succession of improving sunrise views.
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3 weeks ago

After I’ve seen my fill and feel like I shouldn’t be staring at the sunrise any longer, I head a few blocks further south and settle in for awhile at my local favorite, JoLa Cafe, for one last visit there before we leave town.  I enjoy my scone and coffee while stealing an occasional glance at the barista with technicolor hair and clothing and tattoos to match.

At JoLa Cafe. With this colorful eye opener, you almost don’t need caffeine.
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I don’t have a fixed ride in mind today.  I just have the general thought that I should find something springy, so I take my time and stop frequently to look around.  I’d thought I might go down to Oregon City for a look at Willamette Falls, or out to Lake Oswego to see if the magnolias are in bloom yet at Foothills Park, or maybe over to Reed College.  

In the end though, I never get far away from the river.  I just keep finding things that cause me to stop, sit and stare.  I do more sitting still than biking, waiting for squirrels to settle into a good pose, or birds to return to the willows I’ve just startled them away from, or to hope that one of the croaking frogs will reveal itself.  It’s not much of a workout (especially compared to Rachael, who will complete her fourth straight 43 mile ride today), but it is definitely good for the soul.

I can’t say I’ve ever thought that carefully about squirrels. I’m surprised there is such variety - one reference I’ve seen lists 20 different tree and ground squirrels and chipmunks found in Oregon. This one is an eastern fox squirrel.
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Nice of him to walk up so close and pose for me. I’ve got the sun at my back, so he may not be able to see me that well.
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The Sellwood Bridge, the southernmost crossing in the city
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Oaks Pioneer Church, a landmark in the Sellwood District
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The entrance to a tiny protected wetland in Sellwood Waterfront Park. A small pond surrounded by willows, it’s a haven for small birds and amphibians.
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The song sparrow, one of our most common small birds
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A golden crowned sparrow, I think?
Heart 2 Comment 2
Bill ShaneyfeltIt sure matches an image search! I'd agree with you.

https://www.google.com/search?q=golden+crowned+sparrow&rlz=1CAPPDO_enUS799US803&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjt4vHk7pPhAhWQAHwKHZkKCuYQ_AUIDigB&biw=1366&bih=609
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4 weeks ago
Bill ShaneyfeltMy go-to bird ID site as well.
https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Golden-crowned_Sparrow/overview
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4 weeks ago
A downy woodpecker. There were five or six of these passing through in a small flock, which surprised me because I didn’t know they’d congregate like this.
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Scaring off the frogs in Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge
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I was first alerted to these two coyotes in Oaks Bottom by the geese they scared off. They’ve found something more interesting to catch their attention though.
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Faceoff at Oaks Bottom. There are two more young deer just off camera to the right.
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Prancing off the field
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So just what sort of bird is this house built for?
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It won’t be long now. I’ll make one last swing through the cherry grove just before we leave.
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Field trip! I like zooming in to look at all the different expressions and degrees of interest. Which one of these reminds you of yourself as a child? That’s me on the far left.
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The red maples along the waterfront just sprouted the day before yesterday.
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Bruce LellmanStar Magnolia
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4 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Bruce LellmanI hoped if I left it blank someone would fill it in. White star for you!
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4 weeks ago

So that fills the morning.  After that Rachael and I spend a bit of time starting to get organized for departure - I’ll start moving things back into storage tomorrow - and then head out again for a full afternoon and evening.  We have an afternoon film to see, and then a birthday dinner date with Elizabeth, and then yet another film afterwards.  Rachael’s birthday is this weekend and Elizabeth’s is about two weeks off, so we’re celebrating both today when we can still get together.  

After dinner the three of us walk down to the waterfront for a look at the immense full moon rising above the river.  It’s a super moon, the last one of the year, and it’s amazing to have it fall on the equinox.  Today has been a day for the record books.  With a high in the mid seventies and the world bursting to life everywhere you turn, this must be about the best first day of spring ever.

Not a bad way to round out the first day of spring.
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Comment on this entry Comment 5
Bill ShaneyfeltI wish my moon photos came out like that!

My camera just can't quite do the job.
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4 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Bill ShaneyfeltMy zoom camera does well as long as I zoom in close enough to exclude everything else. I wish I could get a shot with something in the foreground and the moon in focus, but I haven’t figured it out yet.
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4 weeks ago
Suzanne GibsonYou certainly were treated to an abundance of wonderful flora and fauna! Again a beautiful ride.
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4 weeks ago
Gregory GarceauI think I would be the kid with the green glasses. I never wore glasses, but I like how he's sitting on his haunches rather than on his rear end.
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4 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Gregory GarceauThat was my second choice. I wore glasses, and he reminds m a bit of myself. A bit too attentive though - I was always spaced out a bit, wishing I was someplace else.
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4 weeks ago