Hello there, viewers! It’s the end of Coffeeneuring Challenge 2014! Woo-hoo! If you’ve followed my coffeeneuring exploits over the past two years, you know I always try to aim for “interesting” in my coffeeneuring rides. While others may approach coffeeneuring as it’s randonneuring and go on long rides (yet always end up at a Starbucks, albeit a different Starbucks), I try to do something a bit different with each ride. (Emphasis on “try”.) This year I wanted my last ride to be something I hadn’t done yet, so I opted to go Coffeeneuring in Vancouver, Washington. Yes, crossing state lines!
While on paper that sounds really impressive, it really isn’t, as downtown Vancouver is about five miles from my house. Of course the big hurdle into any bi-state adventure is the Columbia River. There are only two crossings in the metro area, both present some issues when it comes to bikes, but they are still doable. Still, it’s enough of a hurdle that I usually aim southward into inner Portland than north into The Couve.
Yes, The Couve, the affectionate nickname of Vancouver, Washington. It does help differentiate it from Vancouver, British Columbia, the bigger, more well-known of the two. (But anyone from The Couve will be quick to tell you that Vancouver, WA came first, and it’s true.)* Some people in Portland have a low opinion of The Couve (and pretty much any suburb of Portland), but I actually like Vancouver. Since it’s the oldest town in the region, it has a feeling of being a “place”. Yes, there is lots and lots of sprawl around it, but the central core of Vancouver is chock-a-block with bungalows and small business districts.
I took off from my house in the afternoon on Wednesday, November 19, and headed north towards the Columbia. Once I get about 1/2 mile from my house, the ride to the Interstate Bridge is primarily on bike paths or roads cutting through parks, so it’s pretty peaceful. (Besides the noise from nearby I-5, of course.) Approaching the bridge across the Oregon Channel, the part of the Columbia River separating the mainland from Hayden/Tomahawk Island, I took a detour onto the undeveloped and unofficial path along the levee. Part of this goes through private development. While I have heard of other folks getting yelled at, I had no issues.
Then back towards the Interstate Bridge. The Hayden Island/Jantzen Beach crossing is the trickiest part of the ride, as one has to cut across an off ramp. One of these days, they’re supposed to “fix” this, but I’m not holding my breath. The sidewalk along the Interstate Bridge is narrow, just about three feet at its narrowest parts, so not the most fun ride (especially with freeway traffic a few more feet away), but the great view of Mount Hood over the Columbia River makes up for the short-comings.
Finally, Vancouver! Instead of going straight to downtown, I detoured east and went by the old replica of Fort Vancouver from the Hudson Bay days (complete with Union Jack flying overhead, see we’re in Canada!) and through the more modern American barracks, most of which are maintained by the National Parks Service. (A National Park just five miles from my house? Yep!)**
Now it’s time to find coffee. My first choice was the cafe in the very new and swanky library building (Five floors! Open layout! Big windows!) but the cafe had closed a half-hour before I had arrived. So I headed to Torque Coffee for a cup of house brew. Nothing fancy, but hey, I crossed a state line today! Then after coffee it was beer at Loowit, then wine at Niche. Not a bad Vancouver day.
And then I got to “kiss” a llama! How many other coffeneurs can say that!
And so ends the 2014 Coffeeneuring Challenge for me. Seven rides, seven different locations, all fun.
COFFEENEURING RIDE SEVEN, Wednesday 19 November 2014
- Coffeeneuring Destination: Torque Coffee, Columbia St at W 5th. Vancouver WA
- Bike: 1984 Raleigh Crested Butte
- Length of ride: 18 miles round-trip
- Type of coffee: whatever Torque’s house brew is
- States involved: Oregon, Washington
*Vancouver, WA grew from Fort Vancouver, a Hudson’s Bay trading post established in 1824. Vancouver, BC was established in the 1870’s. Yes, technically both started out as Canadian settlements.
**Yeah, DC residents, I know, not impressive to you. But tell me how many volcanoes you can see from your fair city.