Coffeneuring 2016, Ride 3: 19 Oct 2016

Wednesday, October 19. A break in the crappy weather we’ve been getting all month, though the nicest of the weather happened in the morning. When I woke up, it was sunny. But it was my day off, so I didn’t get going early enough to capture the sunniest part of the day. By the time I got going for my Coffeeneuring adventure it was closing in on two. The sun had turned to clouds, and the forecast called for a chance of showers. Oh well. I was going in a ride today, dammit!

The point of the ride (obviously) was to complete another ride in the Coffeeneuring Challenge, plus my own Three Speed October challenge. But where to go? I wanted something with a little bit of length, but not that far, and not that hard. How about head out to Kelley Point Park? It’s about nine miles from my house via flat bike paths for the most part. And I hadn’t been there in a bit, since it’s one of those “close yet far enough” destinations, and also since it’s not on the way to anything, since it’s the northwest tip of the eastside, at the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia Rivers. Why not?

I got out the door somewhere after 1:30, after I hurredly threw together something resembling a lunch, since there would really be no place to get food on this trip. (Why did I not pick up something the night before, when I was at store? Damn my stupid lack of planning.) The sunny weather had changed to the ominous high clouds that foretell more unsettled weather coming. Still, I got to take in awesome views of the snow covered volcanoes (in this case, St. Helens, Adams, and Hood) as I crossed the tracks on the Vancouver Ave Viaduct.

Rather than go directly to the Point, I stopped at a secret spot on one of the orphan channels of the Columbia Slough next to Heron Lakes Golf Course. Even though this is only three miles from my house, I had never been to this stone wall overlook until the Midnight Mystery Ride last month. See? There’s still plenty to explore in this town, even for someone so steeped in this town. I made some coffee here via my Esbit coffee maker and at some lunch. It was pretty peaceful here, it seems like no one knows about this spot except dogwalkers, blue herons, and possibly an otter. The drone of Interstate 5, barely a mile east, was easy to ignore.

More flat bike path action westward towards Kelley Point Park, with a pause at Smith Lake. It’s a seasonal floodplain lake connected to the Columbia Slough. In the middle of summer there’s no water in it, but after the good rains we’ve had this month, it’s starting to fill up, but nowhere near “full”. It’s a pretty peaceful spot despite the occasional clangs of industry and freight trains in the distance.

I got to a mostly deserted Kelley Point Park around 4. It was pretty quiet, only a few dog-walkers, so it felt like I had the whole park to myself. Even in the middle of summer, when it’s humming, it never feels quite “full”. By now, there were a few spits of sprinkles, so there goes the idea of a totally dry ride. The spot I gravitate to, the picnic table right at the confluence, is a great place to watch the ships plying the two rivers, whether giant ocean-going freighters or more humble river-going barges. There was plenty of both today, as it seemed like there was something big passing the Point every five minutes or so. While I know it doesn’t “count” towards the challenge, I decided to make some more coffee, this time with the integrated Esbit stove/pot to boil water for pourover. (And yep, still using the Trader Joes “Tanzania” that I used the last time!)

After my coffee, I hustled towards the St Johns neighborhood, about five miles down the road. I didn’t really feel like getting caught in the rain out here, and this part of the trip was mostly light-industrial with more traffic. I got some dinner at my favorite St Johns place, Proper Eats, then finished it with some fine German style beer at Occidental Brewing. At that point, it was dark and really raining, so no getting around it: put on the rain cape, grit teeth, and head home. I stayed mostly dry, thankfully.

By the numbers:

Coffeeneuring Challenge 2016

  • Ride No: 3
  • Destination: Kelley Point Park
  • Miles: 24 total
  • Coffee: Esbit coffee machine and pourover, using Trader Joes Tanzania.
  • Bike: Raleigh Superbe

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