Some progress to report - In the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies - CycleBlaze

January 21, 2019

Some progress to report

Kelley Point

It’s a fine day for a ride today - not too cold, not too wet - so I have to go somewhere.  Rachael and I have been talking of riding out to Kelley Point together, but she took a long, vigorous hike in the west hills yesterday and last night her foot started bothering her so she decided to take it easy today.  Kelley Point still sounds like a great destination though, and I of course haven’t been there for a half year or more.

And, I haven’t biked across the Broadway Bridge in a long time either.  As I was just saying, an advantage to being away from home for so long is that my favorite spots in town have a new vibrancy.  Absence makes the heart grow fonder.

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The Steel Bridge from the Broadway Bridge - a view I never tire of.
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A half mile later, a light mist begins.  It strengthens steadily for the next several miles, and I’m at the point of considering stopping in at Cathedral Coffee when suddenly it eases off, then ceases.  I’ve moved north of the clouds, and for the moment at least the sky above is unexpectedly blue.  Moments later I bike past Cathedral Park, beneath the Saint Johns Bridge.  Attracted by wisps of fog I see rising off the river, I decide to drop down to the park for a closer look.  The fog has already burned off in the few minutes it takes me to get there, but it’s still a special place to be.  There’s a pier at the waterfront and a walkway out onto the river that I’ve never noticed before.  I park Rodriguez by a fence, walk out on the pier, and get a different view of the bridge than I’ve ever seen.

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How many years have I been biking out here past the Saint Johns Bridge? It’s amazing that I’ve never seen it from this perspective before.
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Jen GrumbyBeautiful!

I agree with Ron ... These photos are really making me miss Portland.
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5 months ago
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The bridge, the barge, the bike
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The Union Pacific Bridge, from Cathedral Park. And no, it didn’t look exactly like this off the camera. I’m experimenting a bit with the special effects.
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A closer look at the Saint Johns Bridge
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Enough of this bridge, already. I thought we were going to Kelley Point.
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The weather remains fine all the way out to Kelley Point, the park at the mouth of the Willamette River where it empties into the Columbia.  Like Sauvie Island (which you can see from Kelley Point), this is another of my favorite near-in destinations.

I’m surprised today by how busy the park is.  There must be fifty cars in the parking lots, more than I’ve ever seen out here.  I wonder if there’s an event going on, but I think it’s just folks out enjoying MLK Day.  It’s a large park, and absorbs them well.  As I bike along I see folks on the beach or walking along with their dogs, but it’s not at all crowded.  You never see more than one or two folks at a time.

I’m in no hurry, so I lock up Rodriguez and walk down on the beach, enjoying the views as I eat my banana.  When I’m done I surreptitiously toss the peel off into the brush, but fail miserably.  It catches a snag about fifteen feet off the ground and hangs there, like a tennis shoe on a utility line.  Embarrassing, but no one is around to see.  There’s nothing to be done but I suspect it won’t stay up there long.  A crow or a bit of wind should do the trick soon enough.

This surprised me. Spring so soon?
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At Kelley Point, looking across the Columbia. The freighters are queued up on the river side of Sauvie Island. If you zoom in, you’d see that there are a dozen or more cormorants clustered at the far end of the pilings. I did so, but the photo was too blurry to share; so use your imagination.
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At Kelley Point. For being the primary destination of today’s ride, I didn’t bring back much for show and tell, did I?
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It’s cold out and I’m anxious to get home, so it was frustrating to hear a wail and see the crossing bar come down ahead of me. It wasn’t such a long wait though.
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Decisions, decisions, decisions

I’ve long been interested in the decision making process, and the trade-offs between acting too hastily and making the wrong choice, or too slowly and either losing out on the best option because you dithered too long, or driving yourself (or your partner) crazy by perseverating endlessly over the available possibilities.    Which approach gives you the best shot at success, prosperity, or personal happiness?  How do you decide which cereal or brand of peanut butter to buy; whether to buy or sell in the stock market; whether to stay with the secure and familiar or sell your home and see the world; whether to get a divorce and start over; whether to get the chicken feet or the duck heads at the night market; where to go on your next tour?

Maybe because I’m naturally optimistic and impatient, I’ve always been biased toward quick decisions.  Supporting my natural inclinations, I was influenced long ago by some early reading: The End of the Road, by John Barth; Without Guilt and Justice, by Walter Kauffman; and especially Jon Elster’s great work on the limits of rationality in the decision making process, Solomonic Judgements.

It will surprise none of you to hear that I err on the side of hastiness.  Rachael is a bit more tentative than me, but not by a lot.  Together we’re a bit of a dangerous pair, and could probably use a brake from time to time.   We’ve made a few errors along the way by making snap decisions that we later came to regret (but not the move to sell our home and hit the road, which so far has held up amazingly well as a major life decision).  

We’re trying to learn a bit and slow ourselves down when we can afford to.  Which is a long way around to saying that we’re taking our time on this next tour decision.  How and where we spend two or three months this spring isn’t earthshaking, but it’s not inconsequential either.  We’re taking our time to think this through at least somewhat rationally.  First, we narrowed the decision space by eliminating inclement or unseasonal climates: the north and south poles, Alaska, Australia, and so on.

Today, we can announce that we’ve taken another step down the road by looking more critically at the temperate band we showed you last time.  After some stimulating back and forth over dinner and a glass of wine, we succeeded in narrowing things down a bit further.  We’ve concluded that these tempting destinations are coming off the candidate map:

  • The Atlantic and Pacific oceans, because we don’t want to invest in better waterproof gear;
  • The Sahara Desert and most of Arabia, because we are budget and weight conscious and don’t want to carry along a gallon of SPF 50 sun repellent.

Not huge progress, but we’re getting there slowly and surely.  To bring you along on the process with us, we’ve narrowed ourselves down to these three mega-regions.   We’ll take some ground here and let things sit for awhile before deciding where to apply the scalpel next.  First though, we have to think of other principles we both agree on.  Suggestions and input are welcome.

So hard!  No wonder most folks just stay home and watch the tube!

Too close to home?
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Too soon? We were just in Asia recently as I recall.
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Always an attractive option; but again? Where’s our imagination, our sense of adventure?
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Suzanne GibsonI notice you aren't including the Baltic countries. Why? Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania combine well with Poland and then ...
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5 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Suzanne GibsonWe would like to go there some year, but not as a spring trip. I see that I failed to specify the dates for this tour: 3/26 - 6/16. We have to wedge it in between the end of the film festival and my mother’s 95th birthday. When we go to the Baltics I think we’d do it as a summer tour.
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5 months ago
Jacquie GaudetIs your time frame a good season for Morocco? I seem to recall you writing that you'd like to go there... Perhaps it could be combined with southern Spain or Portugal?
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5 months ago
Scott AndersonThat’s definitely a candidate - certainly Spain and southern Portugal at least. We keep going back and forth about Morocco, but it’s still in the running. And maybe the right time of year, if we start there.
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5 months ago
Rate this entry's writing Heart 7
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Bruce LellmanCalcutta to Hanoi.
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5 months ago
Scott AndersonDang it, Bruce! If you know, don’t spoil it for others.
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5 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Pretty deep thought there, Steve. Did you have anything else to add?
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5 months ago
Steve Miller/Grampies"perseverating" - now that is a new word for me. However we have to agree that dwelling too long on decisions is not necessary. All the major life choices we have done seemed to just evolve naturally, without really a whole lot of deliberation.
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5 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Steve Miller/GrampiesI had to look it up myself to be sure it was really a verb. I don’t know how that word made its way into my too-small personal lexicon.

I can think of few decisions I’ve anguished for long over, but I’m gradually doing better at recognizing that my gut instinct isn’t always my friend and slowing down to seek other thoughts. I’m especially mindful of this in our current climate, when the drawbacks to trusting your gut are so apparent and calamitous.
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5 months ago