Sauvie Sunday X 2 - Winterlude 2021 - CycleBlaze

November 28, 2021

Sauvie Sunday X 2

Saturday

It’s cold and dreary this morning, and looks to get wetter as the day goes on - not a day where hopping on the bike appeals to either of us.  Slipping off to Lovejoy Bakery for an almond croissant and coffee while I catch up on the blog does appeal to me, but Rachael decides to bundle up and get out for a walk before the expected rains arrive around midday.

At the coffee shop I check my mail and see that Garmin has sent me a very nice, personalized invitation to Watch Rachael Anderson’s live activity now!

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So I do.  Not much Live Activity seems to be happening at the moment though, and what little there is doesn’t add up to much - less than a half mile, and she’s back where she started.

Looks like she’s getting off to a Rocky start. She has her issues with her sense of direction, but still this looks very odd. Maybe she forgot something and had to go back for it.
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Bruce LellmanThis is like a spy cam.
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1 month ago

I check back in on her progress about five minutes later and see that there has been none.  In fact, the session has ended.

When I return to the condo an hour later I find her under the covers reading a book.  She had forgotten something, alright - she forgot that she doesn’t really care all that much for walking on a cold, misty morning.  She’ll go out again before long though and return upbeat and enthusiastic after a ten mile walk up Leif Erickson Drive, Balch Creek, and down Cornell.

I’d loved to have joined her, but important work fills my morning - I have to reaccessorize her Bike Friday, which I hastily half-reassembled when we arrived from Rome - enough to take it in for maintenance, but without adding on the rack, water bottle cages, underbag and mirror she’ll need before she can take it out for a spin to test out her new suspension seatpost.

That takes all of twenty minutes, leaving me the rest of the morning for the urgent work of looking again at the Nine Month Plan for possible improvements.  It will be time to fly to Nice before we know it, so it’s important to keep on task.

The rains arrive in the early afternoon, making this the perfect day to go see a movie - No Time to Die, the final 007 film with Daniel Craig.  We’ve talked about seeing this film since last summer, and it’s about to leave the local theaters soon so we’re running out of time.  We grab the pair of umbrellas our condo comes equipped with and head out the door in the rain.  The film is great - Daniel Craig has been the perfect 007 in my opinion, and the only actor I’ve really cared for in the role since seeing Sean Connery in Dr. No when it first came out when I was in high school.  Amazing to think back on that now and realize that the existence of an unbroken succession of James Bond films has been one of the few constants throughout my entire adult life.

It’s stopped raining when we leave the theater and walk back to our condo in the dark, which is nice; but we don’t care as much for the street scene as we used to as we strategically heed which side we’re walking on to dodge the ever-present soggy sleeping bags, shouters and ravers that highlight the urban scene now.   Can’t we leave for Tucson yet?

Sunday

We can’t believe our luck when we look at the weather situation this morning.  It’s almost sixty degrees already and partly sunny.  It looks like a gorgeous day for a ride, so of course we’re off to Sauvie Island again.  The morning feels balmy and warm as we bike out of the neighborhood.  I’ve been reading Kelly Iniguez’s journal from Tombstone and Jacquie Gaudet’s one from Grazalema, and really it sounds like today we have more pleasant riding conditions than we’d find at the moment in either Arizona or southern Spain.

We’ve been thinking of leaving town a few days early and stopping off in San Diego for some day rides on the way down to Tucson; but while waiting at a stoplight I tell Rachael we should watch the weather and keep an open mind.  If it’s going to be anything like this a week from now maybe we should just stay here longer instead.

Ten minutes later we’re biking down Nicolai and pass a diminutive, elderly woman coming our way pushing her shopping cart uphill.  You Bitch!! she shouts, waving her arms wildly as we take evasive actions.  No, let’s stick with the plan and leave for San Diego next Monday.  Or maybe tomorrow?

After that though, it’s a fast, pleasant ten mile ride to the bridge.  Traffic is light, the weather is fantastic, and there is no reason to stop so we’re at the bridge almost before we know it.  I stop for a photo while Rachael continues on, with the agreement that we’ll meet up in six miles at the traditional pit stop at Raccoon Point.

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Much fairer conditions today. The fog is gone, but none of the volcanoes is visible still. Maybe by the time we head back for home.
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They still haven’t picked up the squash since we were here last.
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Six miles later I pull into the parking lot at Raccoon Point.  Rachael’s there already of course and has already completed her visit to the loo.  It’s so beautiful today I decide I’d like to walk up the short trail behind the parking lot to the viewpoint, lined today with bird spotters and their binoculars and scopes.  Might as well see what they’re all looking at.  Rachael’s agreeable and decides to backtrack on her bike for a mile or two to pad the day’s ride account while she waits.

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At Raccoon Point, overlooking the north end of the island. There’s a short trail here, but beyond that access is prohibited to avoid disturbing the wildlife.
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Here’s some of that undisturbed wildlife now - a grey smear of sandhill cranes. The couple next to me with their super powerful spotting scopes are annoying me with their incessant chatter about everything else they’re seeing down there too - accipiters, geese, swans, coyotes. I could do that too I guess if I wanted to lug around a shopping bag full of expensive optical equipment on my bike.
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Kathleen JonesNot that there’s anything wrong with that, says she will start lugging around a scope after Christmas. 😉
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1 month ago
Scott AndersonTo Kathleen JonesNo, there’s not. That comment was spoken out of envy, of course. If we drop out of the long distance touring business I’m likely to do this myself. Looking forward to seeing what you see through it.
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1 month ago
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At Raccoon Point.
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We have a different ride plan for today than our normal routine, a ride I think Rachael and I have only taken once before together and I’ve only done on my own a few times more.  We’re going to ride Reeder Road up the east side of the island for as far as we care to before turning back.  It’s a dead end spur, similar to Sauvie Island Road that follows the western edge up Multnomah Channel.  Reeder has a much different character though - it’s a couple of miles longer, follows the broad Columbia rather than the narrow channel, and is a rougher ride  - at the Columbia County line the road surface turns to chip seal for a mile or two before turning to dirt and gravel for the final three miles.  Also it tends to be much busier here with boaters, hunters, hikers and beach bathers depending on the season.  We ordinarily avoid it because of its mix of heavier traffic and the rougher surface.

I suggest going this way today though because it will make a good test of Rachael’s new suspension seat post, but also just for the variety.  She agrees, and we head off that direction.  Not long after the junction with Gillihan Road I stop for a photo and we agree that we’ll just meet up on her way back.

It doesn’t take long at all before I’m asking myself why we don’t ride this road more often, at least in the off season like this when there’s little traffic.  It’s quite beautiful today, in a different way than on the west side of the island.  I find reasons to stop often and soon get well behind.   The willows and cottonwoods are brilliant today, and I’m excited to see a bald eagle off in the distance - the first I’ve seen since spotting one in Minnesota last summer.

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On Reeder Road.
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On Reeder Road.
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Bald eagle! One of a pair - the other is just up and to the right in the same tree.
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It feels like I’m just getting started when Rachael comes back going the other direction.  She’s quite happy with her new seat post and is fine with the road, but she’s gotten her miles in and is thinking about lunch.  She suggests that I continue on if I like and we’ll just meet at home later, and I agree.  

The next few miles are amazing.  It’s a windy day and the cottonwoods that line the road are dropping their leaves fast - at times it feels like I’m biking through a gold leaf snowfall.  The bird life is abundant with many cranes and geese swirling around and blanketing the waterlogged fields.  I see the largest concentration of snow geese I’ve ever seen on Sauvie - I’ve known they’re out here in the winter but have seldom see them and have always wondered where they hang out.

On Reeder Road.
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Snow geese! So here’s where they hide out.
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On Reeder Road.
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The Columbia River.
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On Reeder Road.
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I’ve got the tailwind with me, and it’s just such a beautiful ride today that the road keeps drawing me in further.  I ride Reeder to its end - by the time I return home I’ll have put in over 50 miles, a pretty long ride for me any more - and have decided that I may have been wrong when we came out here last week.  As fine as that was, maybe today’s is our best day ever riding this island.

And then, on the way back to the bridge one more great thing after another causes me to stop again.  The great concentration of cranes hacking up the earth around a blue loo are the real highlight, but the goats playing with the rotting squash are pretty special too.  It’s turned into one of those magical days where everywhere you look there’s a reason to stop and look again.

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On Reeder Road. I was surprised when I looked back after passing this barn to see that it’s the long one I photographed from the side earlier.
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Cranes! I’ve been hearing and seeing them all along but this is the closest I’ll find them to the road. I wonder what’s in the earth here that they’re so vigorously unearthing, throwing small clods into the air as they plow in.
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Bruce LellmanI've never seen this many cranes in one spot. Incredible.
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1 month ago
Scott AndersonTo Bruce LellmanIt is amazing. There is quite a large population that winters over there, mostly up on the north end of the island. They take turns with the osprey - they seem to arrive right when the osprey head south in the fall, and return north when they return in the spring.
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1 month ago
Bruce LellmanCranes really love frogs and I know that frogs burrow down a bit to hibernate for the winter. But I suppose it could be escargot their feasting on. I can't quite make out the little bowls of melted butter to dip them in but they are probably there.
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1 month ago
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On Reeder Road: a variety of ungulates, a variety of squash.
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Bill ShaneyfeltWhat to do with a few of the unharvested squash...
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1 month ago
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On Reeder Road.
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On Reeder Road.
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On Reeder Road.
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By the time I make it back to the bridge I’m convinced that this is definitely the best Sauvie Sunday ever.  What could be better than this?  A sight of one of the volcanoes, I suppose.  There’s always room for improvement and always a reason to return.

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Oh, wait.
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Today's ride: 51 miles (82 km)
Total: 291 miles (468 km)

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Comment on this entry Comment 5
ann and steve maher-wearyBeautiful! Definitely would like to cycle around Portland sometime. Sauvie Island seems perfect for cycling.
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1 month ago
Scott AndersonTo ann and steve maher-wearyThere’s nice cycling down here alright, but given a choice I’d rather be in Portugal.
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1 month ago
Bruce LellmanTo Scott AndersonThe grass is always greener...

Even as tough as the cycling is there, I'd rather be in Burma.
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1 month ago
Scott AndersonTo Bruce LellmanIt’s not going anywhere, last I heard. Go when you can go.
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1 month ago
Bruce LellmanTo Scott AndersonRight. The military government is making sure their country doesn't go anywhere. Very depressing.
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1 month ago