I had a relatively early (9 AM)* meeting on Tuesday November 6th. I met at Grand Central Bakery in the Beaumont neighborhood with Doug of Alameda History where we talked about doing some history rides in 2019. So look for something interesting in the near future!
Despite being there for an hour-and-a-half, I still had half of my 12 ounce coffee. This is the pro and con of a stainless steel thermal mug: It keeps the coffee so hot, but then you can’t drink it fast. I needed someplace to finish this cup before I go to the next coffee shop to drink another and draw.
Where to? I was already at NE 44th and Fremont. The sun was shining. Rocky Butte was just a few miles away, its old Airway Beacon visible in the distance. I hadn’t been up there on a bike in months. But I was wearing a Tweed jacket and riding the heavy slow beast known as my Raleigh Crested Butte. All the wrong choices, as conventional road-bike wisdom goes. Of course, I say screw that. Of course I’m going.
It was a nice ride to the top. It was slow, of course, but the climbing didn’t feel as labored as I thought it would be. That’s because beneath all the accoutrements of a tricked-out city bike, the Crested Butte is still an old mountain bike. Climbing Rocky Butte Road with its Bigleaf Maples at their peak reminded me a bit of old New England. I paused at the new addition of the “Elevation 500 Feet” sign along the way. Oregon likes to place these types of signs along climbs to passes, but this is a first (as far as I know) for a Portland area road leading to the top of a volcanic butte!
It was quiet at the top. Part of this is because it’s a mid day on a Tuesday. But since at least the summer, the loop drive around the “fort” atop Rocky Butte has been closed. I’m still not sure exactly why. It could be because they are doing view clearing on the slopes. Maybe it’s to discourage the folks who would come up and park and spend all day in their cars.** Whatever the reason, it means few places to park, which isn’t a big deal if you rode your bike!
I spent maybe a half-hour atop the butte, soaking in the ambience. The day was party cloudy with a chance of showers, so I didn’t get any big views of big mountains. I did get to see the city beneath me, planes landing and taking off from Portland International Airport, the constant stream of traffic crossing the Columbia on the Glenn Jackson (I-205) Bridge, and birds of prey flying overhead. I finished my coffee, and descended (cautiously) down the hill. After a comical search for lunch, I found myself at Case Study Coffee on NE Sandy Blvd where I had another cup and drew until dark.
So! A total of fifteen miles, two coffee shops (Grand Central and Case Study), and one of the east side’s high points (Rocky Butte). Not too shabby of a Coffeeneuring adventure!
* When you don’t really have a full-time schedule, and are not a morning person, 9 AM is relatively early, sorry.
**People were able to drive to the top of Mount Tabor up until at least the ’80’s until they closed off the road to cars. I heard that it had a continual party atmosphere and fights and drinking were common.