Over the hump - In the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies - CycleBlaze

February 20, 2019

Over the hump

A solitary goose glides toward the marina. For some reason I’m really drawn to these shots that look like black and white, but aren’t.
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Monday was Hump Day for our winter Portland residency.  We’ve been in town for five weeks, and fly out to Palermo just five more weeks from today.  Gradually the upcoming departure is starting to seep into our consciousness; before long we’ll need to start getting serious about planning for it.  In the meantime, we’re taking small steps, putting things behind us that we can do now rather than wait for the last minute.  Last week, I finished the income taxes; Monday I finally got around to suitcasing Rachael’s Bike Friday.

Unless I want to dismantle the bikes on top of the wall to wall carpet or work outside in the cold on the balcony, I’ve got a pretty cramped space to work in.
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I should throw in a photo of our space here to help us remember it. It’s a bit close, but it’s surprisingly inexpensive and in a lot of ways it suits us well. We could find ourselves back here some day.
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This last half of our stay will be dominated by the film festival.  Press screenings (open only to members of the press or subscribers like ourselves) began Monday, and for the next three weeks we’ll have to decide whether to attend either the 11 or 2 o’clock showing or try to get a ride in if we get a break in the weather.  After that the series opens to the general public and shifts to afternoon and evening screenings.  We pored through the schedule last week to build our own personal schedule of films we want to see and the possible times we can fit them in.  By the time it’s over we’ll probably make it to about 35-40 films.

These first three days so far are representative of how life will go.  Monday’s screenings were both films we want to see, but the weather was decent too.  We decided to skip the films and go biking, and plan to see these two films in the evening instead later on in the festival.   We went on our own - Rachael on a 42 miler out to Kelley Point, and I edged her out for a change on a 44 mile loop out past the Troutdale airport.  I’ve been exceedingly lazy so far in our stay here, and my conditioning shows it.  I really need to get serious about riding harder when I can, so I mostly just rode without stopping for photos.

A pretty shot, but I’d like it better if the ducks were in a bit closer.
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Calm winter days really bring out the scaups. There must be a thousand of them in rafts on the river today. These guys were fairly close to shore until I stopped to look and they immediately steamed toward the far shore to keep their distance.
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This is new since the last time I circled the Troutdale airport. Amazon has opened up a new distribution center. It looks like it is increasing the truck traffic volume on narrow Marine Drive, which I can’t say I care for.
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Some things you just have to stop for. Maybe Bill can help me identify this one.
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Bill ShaneyfeltChuckle!
Might be Haliaeetus leucocephalus.
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1 month ago
Scott AndersonTo Bill ShaneyfeltI knew I could count on you, Bill. You’re the best!
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1 month ago

Yesterday it showered off and on, so we went to the movies.  It was a characteristic experience - an Argentinian film, a rushed lunch together at a nearby cafe, and a Croatian film.  Both were ones we were unsure of, and both exceeded expectations.  That’s how it goes at the festival - you never really know about any of the showings, so you might as well fit in all you can and hope they’re worth the time.

Today (Wednesday), both shows are ones we look forward to.  The weather looks wet, so we plan to see both of them.  I head off to Cafe Ponte just before dawn, and Rachael sleeps in with the plan to go to a spin class after the second showing.  I am really enjoying these morning walk to this coffee shop.  Today the crow diaspora is well under way and flocks explode out of the trees and fly off in waves that make me think of WWII bombers.

A welcome way to start the day.
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At least we planned to see both films until I get an email from Rachael that plans have changed.  Unexpectedly, the weather outlook has improved and looks to be dry though midday.  We agree that it’s too fair to sit inside and we should skip the first film and see it next month in one of its evening showings.  She’s ready to go now, so she and the Straggler head off for Gresham while I sit around for awhile longer to finish my coffee.

By the time I walk back to the apartment, the weather has really improved.  It’s suddenly beautiful out, and I pick up my pace a bit as I consider options for my own ride.

Yes, we should definitely get on our bikes. Films can wait.
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I’ve grown fond of this small flock of small geese (cackling geese, a newly declared species that are cousins to the larger Canada geese) that hang out near the Hawthorne Bridge. They remind me of sheep as they graze together across the grass.
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Bill ShaneyfeltCareful! They leave "goose grenades all over! Also, they occasionally cause cyclists to crash by flying into them, like a friend of mine did a few years ago. I've had some really close calls in years past too.

Well, I assume they have behavior patterns similar to their cousins... Then, again, maybe ours are cackling too!
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1 month ago
Scott AndersonTo Bill ShaneyfeltDon’t I know it! Some of our paths are really a mess. Actually, the cacklers don’t seem as bad as their larger cousins. They seem to keep to the grass, but the bigger ones like to hang out on the bike paths and sidewalks. And they’re, well, bigger.
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Bill ShaneyfeltTo Scott AndersonWell, for sure, I would not be able to tell them apart if they stood in front of me!
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Rodriguez and I leave the apartment at about nine.  I have to be back home by one to get ready for the second film, so I’ve got a solid three hours available. I pick a loop that follows the west side of the river out to the Saint John’s Bridge, where I’ll cross over and head out to Kelley Point and then follow the Columbia for a ways before turning homeward.  Nothing new in this territory of course, but I pocket the cameras just in case.  You never know what will turn up.

To my surprise, it’s probably the best ride so far of our winter residency.  I maintain a reasonably fast pace all the way to the bridge, but after that it’s very stop and go for the next hour or so.  Along the Columbia especially there seems to be one arresting sight after another to pull us to a stop.  It’s after noon the time I leave the river and head south on Vancouver, so I bike hard for the last eight miles, racing to make as many of the stoplights as I can.

I’m back in plenty of time for the afternoon showing: Dead Pigs, a quirky social commentary set in Shanghai that’s much more fun than I’d expected - I didn’t really hold that much hope for a film about thousands of dead pigs floating in the Yangtze.  You never know.

Afterwards we run a few errands before meeting again at our old neighborhood for happy hour at the Vietnamese restaurant, and then walk home in the dark along the waterfront, looking up at the crow-laden trees and upriver to illuminated Tilikum Crossing.  A very fine, well rounded day.

I’ll have to look back through the journals, but I think we’ve seen this bridge before. If so, bear with me.
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A nicely framed Rodriguez
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The Saint Johns Bridge, another way
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It’s interesting seeing what shows up on this spot on the North Portland Harbor, the smaller channel of the Columbia on the south sid of Hayden Island. I’ve never known what happens here, but there’s always an old junker craft of some sort along the shore. Today it looks like an old river ferry.
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I’ve been on this ferry! It’s the old Wahkiakum, the ferry that used to cross the Columbia at Puget Island. I didn’t know it was retired a few years back, replaced by a larger and sleeker model. Maybe it’s here to be dismantled for scrap.
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An interesting assortment of junk.
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At Smith Lake. This has been a good week for posers. Sometimes I’ll go for weeks without seeing any nearby raptor staying put for long.
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Bill ShaneyfeltMight be a Cooper's hawk.
https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Coopers_Hawk/id
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1 month ago
Scott AndersonTo Bill ShaneyfeltPossibl, but I think it’s too big. You can’t tell from the photo but he’s about the size of a red tail. I’m thinking he’s a rough legged hawk, which be seen out here in the winter before.
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1 month ago
Bill ShaneyfeltCould well be. I waffled back and forth, but finally went with Cooper's because of the rounded looking tail. They both are so similar and both have a lot of color variation. Not being there, I had no idea of the actual size. Not that it would have made much difference to my untrained eye. Never saw either when I took Ornithology back in '69... Not that I could even remember back that far if I had!
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American wigeons, Smith Lake
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This young blacktail (a subspecies of mule deer, which was news to me) was remarkably calm. He stood just off the trail as we both stared at each other for several minutes before calmly walking off.
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Snag with mallards, Force Lake
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A beautiful sky today. I wasn’t surprised to hear later that it was pouring in Hillsboro, just across the ridge.
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I’ve really been lucky with the weather this morning. I’ve been riding in a patch of blue surrounded by dark clouds.
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The Broadway Bridge, from the Steel Bridge
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