Last ride - Winterlude 2021 - CycleBlaze

March 12, 2022

Last ride

We awoke this morning not knowing our plans for the day until consulting the all-knowing weather app.  We knew we were decamping and driving back to Portland, but beyond that it depended on the weather.  For a week straight the forecast has been remarkably consistent - rain was due to arrive sometime between noon and one PM, both here and back in Portland.  This leaves open the possibility that we might get in a brief morning ride here in Corvallis, and then drive north; or drive up early and take a morning ride in Portland; or scrap the idea of a final ride in either spot if the rains arrive earlier than last night’s forecast predicted.

We’re uplifted to see that the forecast is slightly rosier this morning.  The sun is out, the sky is clear, it’s not too chill, and the predicted onset of rain has pushed out ever so slightly to 1:30 both here and in Portland.  It’s enough, and a ride is on.  I successfully lobby for riding here - there’ll be time for me to go down to New Morning Bakery one last time and redeem the $5 credit I’ve earned as a repeat customer.  We’ll evacuate the motel when I get back, load our junk into the Raven, and bike out to Albany again - a fast, easy ride that’s right-sized for the window we anticipate.

I’m in luck when I get to NMB and see today’s breakfast special posted on the board: corned beef hash and eggs, a favorite I haven’t had for awhile and such a bargain at $5 off.  Unfortunately the staff’s worst cook is on duty today apparently, and my over-medium eggs come to the table well browned and over-hard instead.  There’s nothing liquid to sop my toast in, so I eat it dry.  If it were in my nature to do so I’d send it back for replacement, but I don’t - some chicken went to a lot of work to grow these two eggs and it doesn’t seem right to just throw them out.

My disappointment is quickly forgotten though when we hop on the bikes at just past ten and head west for the Van Buren Bridge one last time.  How lucky to get one last ride in here!

Over the rickety old Van Buren Bridge for one last time. And this and our return ride really will be the last, probably - the bridge is due for replacement next year.
Heart 3 Comment 0

It’s fifteen miles to the park in downtown Albany we’ve targeted as our destination.  We’ve got hopefully three hours or so to get there and back but of course there are no guarantees on returning dry.  We’ve seen this road just a few days ago so we just ride all the way there save for a very few essential stops.

A view back west reminds us that we should keep moving. It’s blue in all other directions but change is coming.
Heart 2 Comment 0
By special request, I stop for a fresh look at the Riverside Community Hall. Founded in 1921, they had their centennial last year. I wonder if they managed to celebrate it in spite of Covid.
Heart 3 Comment 1
Andrea BrownIt's looking very fresh and bright for a centurion. Thank you!
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6 months ago
At the outskirts of Albany the Calipooia River empties into the Willamette just around the bend ahead. It looks more riverlike here than that lazy stream we crossed near Boston Mills yesterday. I wonder where all the added water comes in?
Heart 3 Comment 0

When we enter Albany and bike south through its Monteith Historic District a tall multi-spired white church a block off-route catches my eye, and I’m pleasantly surprised when Rachael encourages me to go check it out.  She wants the chance to pack on a bit more distance to up her total for the day and says she will just meet me at the park.

The Albany Presbyterian Church and Rectory, also known as Whitespires. Built in 1891, in the Carpenter Gothic style.
Heart 4 Comment 0
A fine mansion in the Monteith Historic District.
Heart 6 Comment 0
I’m sure that squirrel is seriously concerned.
Heart 2 Comment 1
Jen GrumbyI think the squirrel is smirking and saying, "Neener, neener, neener!"
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6 months ago

Back on route, I find Rachael doubling back toward me so we can bike the rest of the way to the park together.  We’re aiming for Grand Prairie Park, a pretty little green space along Periwinkle Creek that we biked through once in the past.  I like it because it’s stuffed with ducks, which I stop to inventory while Rachael pads her distance total a bit more.  She’s just a bit disappointed though because it’s not the park she’d remembered and was hoping to see again.  That would be the much larger Waverly Lake a few miles further east, best known for Woody the Waverly Wood Duck - a  huge 600 pound decoy you can always count on seeing bobbing out in the middle of the lake.

The pond in Grand Prairie Park is crammed with ducks today.
Heart 1 Comment 1
Andrea BrownThe Waverly Wood Duck giant decoy made it to the front lawn of Corvallis High School 20 years or so ago for their annual senior prank.
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6 months ago
Hard to get tired of this colorful species, common though it is.
Heart 2 Comment 0
There are mostly mallards, widgeons, geese and a few mergansers on the pond today, but it’s a bit surprising seeing a single lesser scaup in the mix.
Heart 2 Comment 1
Bruce LellmanBesides your photos of birds/ducks being quite beautiful you've also taught me a lot about identification of species.
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6 months ago
An appealing flag on the edge of the park gives me a warm feeling about the community here. I should be more open minded about Albany, a town I’ve tended to avoid.
Heart 2 Comment 0

Missing our chance to see Woody the Waverly Wood Duck again is a small disappointment, but it doesn’t weigh much against our satisfaction in just getting a ride in today.  Looking up and to the west though, it’s clearly time to be heading back to the car.  The clouds have advanced considerably over the last hour and are now almost overhead.

Rachael steams ahead, striving for all the miles she can fit in; and I go a bit slower to give her the space for it, my eye out for anything I missed on the  previous time through. I do find a few things, including of course those irresistible lambs at Iron Water Ranch.  The sky is greying over fast though and definitely looking menacing.  Two miles from town I stop for one last photo of a field of daffodils bright against the dark sky above and as I start up again I feel a few sprinkles and make a dash to town with three or four other bikers also in a hurry, catching Rachael at the stop light a block from the motel.

Have to stop.
Heart 2 Comment 0
So what prize has he picked up?
Heart 3 Comment 0
The alpacas are hard at it, sparring and sporting. It must be spring.
Heart 4 Comment 2
Andrea BrownHm. I think these are alpacas.
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6 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Andrea BrownOh, well sure. If you want to get technical.
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6 months ago
Too delightful for just one shot.
Heart 2 Comment 0
A threesome! Oh, those alpacas!
Heart 5 Comment 2
Bruce LellmanThese things have to be stuffed animals.
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6 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Bruce LellmanYou’d think. Not sure why I didn’t think to take a video.
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6 months ago
Along Riverside Drive.
Heart 2 Comment 0
A Ukraine supporter.
Heart 5 Comment 0
Just time for one last shot.
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We’re both feeling smug on the drive north as the sprinkles turn to showers turn to full blown rain.  We’ve maximized the day, and all the recent days for that matter.  We’ve been out on our bikes for nine straight days since Rachael started biking again.  She’s averaged 43 mpd and put in pretty close to 400 miles, and I haven’t done that much less myself.  And in fact, we’re quite pleased at how we’ve done for this entire Winterlude, rolling up over 4,000 kilometers.  

That’s it though, as steady rain is in store for the region until we leave for Barcelona in only three days.  We stop off at our bike locker when we arrive in town, locking away the town bikes and picking up the suitcased Fridays, panniers, and other gear destined for Europe.  And then we drive north to the new Hampton Inn in the Pearl District, our home for the next three nights.

It’s raining when we arrive so we’re glad there’s an open valet parking spot in front of the hotel.  We unload our two suitcased bikes, our six panniers, three rucksacks, two duffel bags, and four shopping bags of miscellaneous stuff on the sidewalk, and then take it inside.  Rachael looks for a cart to load it up to take to our room while I wait in line to check in, chatting with an older guy who surprises me by saying he biked across the country when he was younger.

And then, an unpleasant surprise - the agent can’t find us on the reservation list.  Rachael pulls up the reservation on her phone, the agent views it, and suggests that we should try the new Canopy Hotel just a block further down the street, since that’s what our reservation is with.  So with much good humor we carry our two suitcased bikes, our six panniers, three rucksacks, two duffel bags, and four shopping bags of miscellaneous stuff back outside, reload it into the Raven, and drive a block to the Canopy to unload it again.

Somehow after that merriment it seems like a fitting place to end this journal and make the handoff to the next chapter in our itinerant lives, Three Seasons Around France, Part 1: Spring.  Come join us.  It wouldn’t be the same without you.

Ha, ha. The joke’s on us this time.
Heart 4 Comment 2
Rich FrasierWith your nomadic lifestyle, I’m surprised it doesn’t happen more often!
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6 months ago
Jen GrumbyGood practice for the next few days!
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6 months ago
Heart 0 Comment 0

Today's ride: 30 miles (48 km)
Total: 2,665 miles (4,289 km)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 10
Comment on this entry Comment 10
Bruce LellmanGreat journal, once again. Great photos too. I think a lot of people enjoy your consistency. I'm sure your journal makes the routine of coffee or breakfast even more enjoyable for a lot of people. Thank you.
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6 months ago
Kelly IniguezIt's all in the attitude - be it breakfast eggs or schlepping your bags back to the car. You've got it!

I look forward to the next chapter.
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6 months ago
Susan CarpenterEnjoyable and informative as always. Thank you both.
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6 months ago
Eva WaltersYes, thank you for your consistency--we look forward to reading your journal every day. We greatly anticipate sharing your experiences in Spain and France.
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6 months ago
Rachel and Patrick HugensHappy Travels!
Racpat
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6 months ago
Bob DistelbergThank you. See you in the next journal.
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6 months ago
Angela NaefBon Voyage! Looking forward to your next adventure.
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6 months ago
Jacquie GaudetWhat a great wrap! Looking forward to the next one.
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6 months ago
Suzanne GibsonI'm already suffering withdrawal! Looking forward to news from the continent.
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6 months ago
Jen GrumbyTo Bruce LellmanI'm sipping coffee and eating oats right now .. and love picturing several other CycleBlazers doing the same.

Here's to Breakfast in Barcelona!

Thank youse, Team Anderson, for the stellar entertainment. 🌟

Y, ¡Buen viaje!
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6 months ago