In Northwest Portland - In the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies - CycleBlaze

March 16, 2019

In Northwest Portland

Council Crest

Some of you must be wondering if I ever bike more than five or ten miles at a stretch or leave the flats, so here’s some evidence from yesterday’s ride.  Rachael and I have been threatening to climb up into the hills for weeks, but we’ve been waiting for a warm day because she doesn’t care much for climbing in the cold.  Yesterday was ideal: sunny, minimal wind, and a blast of real warmth such as we haven’t experienced since returning from Taiwan.  By  midafternoon it had warmed up to sixty degrees and felt like a mid-spring day.

The ride was one of our favorite Portland loops, ones we’ve probably taken a hundred times by now.  Up the ridge through Washington Park, passing the rose garden, the Japanese garden and the archery range before topping out above the zoo at about 800’.  Drop to the zoo, then climb a bit more to the gap in the crest of the ridge before turning south and continuinuing the  climb to Council Crest - at 1050’, the highest point around.  Then, circle the knoll on Fairmont Drive, on a 7 mile loop that is very popular with the cyclists.  Circle it a second time, and then drop to Terwilliger Boulevard to continue south, eventually slaloming through Riverview Cemetery to the river before turning north for home.  At roughly 40 miles, with about 3,000’ of elevation gain, it makes a great spring workout.

Admiring the awesome view east from Council Crest. Depending on where you stand up here, you can see Saint Helens, Hood, Adams and Rainier.
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Ron GrumbyThat’s one of my favorite spots in Portland.
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3 months ago
Bruce LellmanYou know about standing in the exact middle of that circle and talking in a normal tone? The sound of your voice is amplified and bounces back at you as if you are speaking in an auditorium. It's quite a phenomenon. I don't know if they planned it that way or if it was a lucky surprise after they built the stone enclosure.
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3 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Bruce LellmanSeriously? From that little barrier?
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3 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Ron GrumbyThe good news is that it doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere soon, so you can look forward to revisiting it some day. The bad news is that it was sited badly, way up on the ridge. It’s getting to be a bigger lift year by year, so you’d better hurry.
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3 months ago
Ron GrumbyTo Scott AndersonHaha, yeah it seems that hills get steeper all the time for me!
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3 months ago
Bruce LellmanYes, amazing that such a short barrier can do what it does to sound. Go to the middle of the circle and just talk. It sounds like your voice got a thousand times amplified but to others you are still in your normal voice. I always thought it was a requirement to experience this before leaving for a trip to Sicily, a kind of tradition. I could be wrong.
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3 months ago
Incredible. Picnic weather.
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Zooming in a bit, we can see Rainier lurking over Saint Helens’ shoulder.
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Cycle Life Challenge Ride #5

Still on my quest to complete all seven of my CLC rides before we leave for Palermo (in only ten days now!), I set out Saturday morning to squeeze a ride in before our first PIFF film of the day.  It’s an early one, starting at 12:30, and in fact my whole day is quite crowded - I have an afternoon date with my sister Elizabeth to attend a piano recital performed by Benjamin Grosvenor (which will prove to be spectacular, one of the best cultural events of our winter residency) and then a second PIFF offering later in the evening.

This doesn’t leave much time for a ride, especially given that it’s the weekend and most places open later.  I don’t really have my mind fixed on a ride or coffee stop until Rachael comments as I roll out the door that I should go out for a full breakfast, as it will be hard to fit meals in later.  An excellent point, so I head down the river to our old neighborhood, with an omelet at Daily Cafe on my mind.  Along the way I pause to admire the tail end of the sunrise.  It’s a great one today, and I’m out the door just in time to catch the last of it.

Mount Hood and Mount Tabor (the broad, flattish pile in the center of the shot) are nicely outlined by the last of a spectacular sunrise.
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The sun is yet to break the horizon when I roll up to Daily Cafe and lock my bike to the railing outside.  Turning around, I’m surprised to see that the door is still locked.  I’ve misremembered their weekend opening hour: it’s about 7:40 now, and the restaurant won’t open for another twenty minutes.

Frustrating, but I have a plan for that.  I wanted to look around with the camera anyway, so I might as well do some of that before breakfast while I wait.  I unlock Rodriguez and wheel back to the waterfront to see what catches my attention.  There’s always something.

No wonder it’s still so quiet. The joint won’t open up for another twenty minutes.
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I must have shot this old wearhouse in the Pearl District a half dozen times over the years. It always shocks me a bit to come across it in the early morning when it’s radient in the first rays of the day.
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All that remains of the old Centennial Mills, most of which was finally torn down last year. I think/hope this core will remain. It’s a good sign that the spray painted graffiti that defaced the tower has been removed since I was here last.
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The Fremont Bridge, and the last miles of the Willamette.
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There’s a nice collection of reds here. I think these waterfront apartments must be painted to match the Broadway Bridge.
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The Broadway is a Rall-type bascule bridge, one of only five in the world with this design, and the one with the longest movable span. I don’t quite understand the description of how it works, but I think this pivot point rolls along a track to elevate it. I’ll have to come by sometime when it’s up (an infrequent event, since there is a large clearance beneath the bridge) to see how it operates.
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Brown now, but in late autumn the ivy will add another layer of red to the bridge.
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The Broadway Bridge and the Albee’s Mill Building
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Rodriguez and my red Lone Peak pannier always seem to coordinate well with the background. I can wear them anywhere.
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Andrea BrownTwo weeks ago I was standing right where Rodriguez is parked trying to keep my nutty Husky grand-dog from going bonkers in a hailstorm. After the hail stopped he wouldn't leave from under the bridge and there was "a scene". Good times.
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3 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Andrea BrownInteresting story, but who is this Husky Grand-dog that I haven’t heard of before?
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3 months ago
Andrea BrownMy daughter's dog, Bandon. He's four years old and a real goofball. Super smart and really beautiful too.
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3 months ago
The Broadway and Steel Bridges
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When I left the daily cafe I envisioned about a 20 minute dash along the river, planning to get back just after they open and before the weekend rush floods in the door.  It was not to be though.  First, I was enamoured by the Broadway Bridge, which always seems to have just one more aspect to stop and admire.  I didn’t turn back toward the restaurant until about ten minutes after eight.

I’m held up further though by a freight train.  One of the hazards in this part of town is the train traffic.  The Amtraks aren’t bad, because they’re so short and pass by quickly.  The freight haulers are a different matter though, and if you’re unlucky and arrive at the crossing at the wrong time you can be in for a long wait.

Today, I’m unlucky.  It’s a long train - I don’t know how long because I can’t see either end of it due to the curvature in the tracks.  It might as well be short though, for all it matters, because the train is at a complete standstill.  I consider biking further north to go around it, but then the train slowly starts up again.  I love the metallic, almost machine gun  sound that rips along trains when they start up and the couplings clack against each other.  Since it’s moving again, I decide to wait it out.

Ten minutes later, I’m still waiting when it slows down and then grinds to a halt again.  I guess I’m biking around after all.  I go north several blocks to the next crossing, but the train has that one blocked too.  On to the next stoplight and crossing - same story.  My God, how long is this train anyway?  Finally, at the third light, I manage to get around it and bend back toward breakfast.  This silly train is almost a mile and a half long, stretching from the Steel Bridge to NW 21st.

By the time I finally make it back to the Daily Cafe it’s almost 9.  The restaurant is packed, and I’m lucky to get a table.  The fennel sausage and mushroom omelet is great, but you don’t get to see it because I felt a bit silly trying to take a photo in that crowd.

That pretty well shoots the morning though.  I’d thought I might head out Leif Erickson Drive or climb up to Pittock Mansion after breakfast, but there isn’t really time any more.  Which is fine - this was enough to knock off another challenge entry, and we have all day open tomorrow for a longer ride.  Might as well just head back home and get ready for the first show.

Looking south from 9th Avenue. The train extends that way past the Broadway Bridge, probably to where it crosses the river over the Steel Bridge.
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Looking back from the 21st Avenue, with still no end in sight.
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It’s Saint Patrick’s Day weekend. Good time to include a photo of His church.
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Nice to have a watch dog on duty. Roddy feels so secure.
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He came over to check me out and get a pat when I unlock; then he comes closer, stands on my foot, and sniffs the lock.
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Jen GrumbyWow - this looks a lot like our dog Macy, who also liked to stand on people's feet.
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3 months ago
Rate this entry's writing Heart 8
Comment on this entry Comment 2
Elizabeth WolfeMany of my favorite places in Portland and a beautiful day to be out riding!
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3 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Elizabeth WolfeGood grief, Elizabeth! Who let you in on this website?
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3 months ago