portland weather, snow biking

The kale, er, “snowpocalypse” a few days in.

Hot cocoa with bourbon after shoveling: It is nice being an adult!

Yes, folks, you heard the news: It has snowed in Portland. But our fair city was ready, as shoppers cleaned the supermarkets of kale on Friday. I actually was shopping on that tragic day, and did bear witness to the eviscerated dairy case at the Hollywood Trader Joes.

Anyways, snow and Portland don’t go well together. We don’t really see “real” snow, though we do see some white stuff and every few years we get a good snow. Mind you: just a little is enough to shut our fair city down. But since the last big snow in 2017 Portland has upped its snow-plowing game, even going as far as salting roads, something I’d never thought I’d see!

Anyways, I come from a snowy climate (Connecticut) and don’t mind seeing a snow or two each winter. But that’s enough for me. And honestly, by the time February comes around I don’t want to see snow, I want to move on to spring. Thankfully February snows are fairly uncommon (we usually see it in December or January), but not unheard of: We got a good whallopping in 2014, and got some decent (and unappreciated) later February snow last year. Thankfully, by March we are basically in the clear, though it doesn’t mean that a snow couldn’t happen in the city’s higher elevations, like it did back in 2006.

So it would be interesting to see how everything played out. On Friday the predictions were dire with a decent snow Friday night into Saturday and then another round later Sunday. I went to bed late on Friday with just rain and woke up on Saturday to white stuff outside.

In the North Tabor neighborhood (Emee’s hood) it looked like about two inches on the ground. I heard that west was less (nothing to an inch) and east was more, up to 5 inches in Gresham. This was due to the cold air coming out of the Columbia River Gorge. Anyways, two inches isn’t that much. And the day was above freezing. The tire tracks were bare pavement, and people had beat out a path on the sidewalk.

The light snow didn’t stop some of my friends from getting out and trying to have fun in it. Paula cobbled together a group to explore Mount Tabor on fat bikes. Pete went up to the higher elevations of Stub Stewart and found a winter wonderland.

Me? I shoveled.

I’ve been feeling a cold all weekend, and besides the light amount of snow wasn’t much to do anything with. So I fulfilled my civic duty by clearing the sidewalk in front of Emee’s house.

Shoveling is where I lost my love of snow. In late 1988 my family (dad, stepmom, stepsiblings) moved to a country house on the border of Oxford and Southbury in Connecticut. The driveway here was maybe 400 feet in length and every snow day for two years I was expected to shovel it all by myself. The reason why my dad didn’t help was that my manipulative stepmom said that he “might have a heart attack”. The heart attack while shoveling snow was a thing in the ’80’s and my stepmom used it as a tool against me.* So I dreaded any snow day we got, which was amazing since I didn’t relish going to school either. Then in 1990 we lived on the coast of North Carolina for a year, a place where snow didn’t happen. After this point, I didn’t like snow anymore, yet it took me another decade to leave Connecticut.

Thankfully the light snow meant the job wasn’t hard or long. And the nice thing about being an adult is I can reward myself with cocoa and bourbon afterwards!

But there may be more snow on the way this week. It looks like the dire forecasts may not turn out, and we could see anything from another dusting to another couple inches. I’ll wait and see.

Ferrying the studded tire via Crested Butte.

And yes, I am ready to bike in it. On Thursday night I got my studded tire installed to a spare 26″ wheel. The idea is that I can put it on front of the Heavy Duti if conditions warrant. After not having a prepared bike last year then getting tempted by more bikes, I’d rather be safe than sorry. And the folks that asked why I didn’t decide to build a front wheel with a drum brake vs. replace the front fork on the Heavy Duti, this be why: I can simply swipe wheels when needed. And since I have a bottle dynamo on this bike, there’s no worry about switching up lighting systems!

*Ironically my dad was the same age as I now am during this era, yet this didn’t stop me from shoveling this past weekend!

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