Coffeeneuring 2017, Ride 6: Moto coffee? Sun 5 Nov

Yep, I cancelled my originally planned Chehalem Range Ramble because the weather forecast was fairly dire. And true to form, it ended up being not that bad after all. Maybe a sprinkle, a temp around 50F/10C. Oh well, I do know of a few folks who went out and did some form of the Chehalem Ramble after all, so all was not lost. And honestly, after a tough work week and working until 10 PM on Saturday, I’m glad that I didn’t wake up early, hustle on the MAX, and do a 40 mile ride with about 2,500 feet of cumulative climbing.

What I did instead was a bit more mellow. After spending the AM around the house, I departed the Holland House around 1:30 with a general objective of heading west through the Peninsula. First, I aimed north towards my favorite bottomlands of the Columbia Slough. Oh slough, you are so peaceful, and so close. The first bit of exploration was along the levee on the north side of the slough just east of NE MLK Blvd. This is technically “off limits” to public use, but that gap in the fence is so damn wide due to years of use and abuse, ain’t no stopping no one. The first bit was a rough grassy track, then the inexplicable orphaned paved path behind FedEx, awaiting a linkage to a network that may be decades in the making.

I descended down from here and made a beeline (relatively speaking) to one of my favorite spots down here, the Columbia Children’s Arboretum. The gist behind this random park is to have a state tree from all 50 states. I don’t know if that ever happened, but I do know that my home state of Connecticut is represented with a White Oak. (It also happens to be the State Tree of a bunch of other states too, but did they have The Charter Oak? No!) Of course, all the (deciduous) trees were at peak poppin’ now, so a great time to be down here.

I kept heading westward along the Columbia Slough path, which sits on the north side levee above the slough. While it had remained dry and off/on sunny, the stiff west wind was not exactly fun, and made it feel a bit colder than it probably was. I paused at the bridge over the slough by the wastewater treatment plant, watching a UP freight pass by in the distance, and hoping for a heron to pop out of the water.

So it was definitely time for coffee. My original hope was to try Willamette’s End Coffee on N Lombard, since it was a cafe I had never been to before. And also, a cafe on N Lombard as well. I commented a few years back about how N Lombard was one of the few long avenues in Portland to be bereft of coffee shops. That’s been changing over the past few years. But unfortunately Willamette’s End closed at 3 PM and I was too late. I could just go to Cathedral Coffee, a great place, but I’d been there before. Is there another new-to-me cafe? I did a search and found a few in St Johns, Portland’s farthest-flung North neighborhood (and own city at one point.) One piqued my interest: 2 Stroke, a two-wheeled themed cafe, albeit around motorcycles. They promised some interesting coffee drinks and food trucks in back. Why not?

I rambled further west, trying to find some great off-the-beaten path streets. And I definitely found one on the north side of St Johns, N Seneca St. Most of it was in some form of unpaved, yes! (I even passed by a chicken coop.) I found myself at 2 Stroke around 3:30. Normally I go for a tried and true “house”/drip coffee, but they had an interesting menu of specialty drinks. I got a “Vermont” which was espresso, white chocolate, maple, and cinnamon. Delicious, especially with a marionberry hand pie!

And then it was nightfall, so early with Daylight Savings Time done. I got some food, drank some beer, headed home. It was cold now, around 40F/4C. Winter is on its way…


Ride Report: East Portland Cemeteries, 29 Oct 2017

Fun fact: I get a lot of “crazy” ideas for bike rides, but only do a fraction of them. And when I throw out something that’s a bit off the beaten path, a bit eccentric, I wonder if anyone is going to show up to these things. So it’s always a pleasant surprise when people do.

And that’s what happened on Sunday October 29th, with my tour of four different pioneer cemeteries on the east side of Portland. My starting point was a bit out of the way: Parkrose Sumner Transit Center. Yes, this goes against the conventional Portland bike fun wisdom of starting your ride in a central location, but where else to start an out-of-the-way ride than an out-of-the-way place? (And it’s a light rail station, so it’s not exactly “hard to get to”.) We had a total of eleven people for the ride! It didn’t hurt that it was a pleasant day, sunny and 60F/16C.

The first stop was Columbia Pioneer Cemetery, aka Parkrose Cemetery, a mere tenth of a mile from the station! Like all the cemeteries we visited, this one was started in the mid-nineteenth century by the pioneer families who settled the area, then got transferred to government supervision in the mid-twentieth century. The graveyard was just a couple acres, so we walked around checking out the place.

Stop 2 was Powell Grove Cemetery at NE Sandy Blvd and 122nd. This one acre plot has the misfortune of being in a traffic circle, so I’m sure most people zip by without even noticing it! Like all the other graveyards on the tour, actual information is scant, so I couldn’t give any grand tour with stories, I just let everyone look around.

Then came the long stretch without a graveyard stop, about 10 miles. While there are plenty of pioneer cemeteries on the east side, they are not all close together. We broke up this section with a stop at the brand new park off of NE 122nd and Fremont, Luuwit View Park and a break at Jet Black Coffee at NE 111th and Halsey. (A vegan coffee shop in Gateway? Yes!) Then a bit of “rough stuff adventuring” as there are quite a bit of unpaved/unimproved roads out this way.

Finally, as the sun grew lower in the sky, we hit Cemetery No. 3, Multnomah Park Cemetery at the corner of SE 82nd and Holgate. This was the largest graveyard of the tour at 9 acres, and the one most people knew about. It also featured a small mausoleum, the only one we saw on the ride.

And then we headed north to the final stop, Brainard at NE Glisan and 90th. Another tiny plot (one acre) and on a rise above busy Glisan, so not noticed by most. This one featured a few veterans of the Civil War. It was dark at that point, and we all went our separate ways.

I had a lot of fun on Sunday, and hopefully everyone else did as well. I might do another East Portland Cemeteries Ride at some point (next Halloween?) but may mix it up with different ones…

You can see all the photos over here on flickr.


Chehalem Range Ramble may not happen this Sunday…

Yes, the weather forecast for Sunday is not looking good. And doing the Chehalem Range Ramble in wet and cold conditions is not fun, especially since there are few bail out points and/or places to warm up. Heck, there could even be a li’l snow at the top, just like it was when we last did it in February.

I’ll have the final decision Saturday. Don’t worry, if it doesn’t happen this Sunday, it will happen at some point!

East Portland Cemeteries Ride this Sunday October 29!

Yes friends, the next Urban Adventure League ride will happen Sunday October 29 at 1:30 PM. Come explore at least four and possibly five different East Portland Cemeteries with me!

Meet at Parkrose Sumner TC (near “the bridge”), we’ll depart at 2 PM on a 12 or so mile ride exploring at least four and maybe five different and lesser known cemeteries along the spine of 1-205, and also a brand new park! We’ll also have a quick coffee stop about five miles in.

This ride is more about the ride and checking out things. Don’t expect an immaculate and exquisitely detailed tour at each cemetery, I don’t have all that. (If you want that, I hear they do a good job at Lone Fir.😉) Expect a lot of places you haven’t been before! And yes, ride not a loop but ends near transit. I’m going to get food and beer at the end, maybe you will too?

Sunset/Moonrise Ride, Wed 6 Sept

35459259870_248448111f_oYep, it’s time for another one of my fabled sunset/moonrise rides! Let’s get them in before the rainy season hits. And yes, it will be warm this Wednesday night, so no excuse to be inside!

Details: Meet at 5:30 PM, Wednesday September 6, at P’s and Q’s Market, NE Dekum St at 13th Ave. We depart at 6 PM.

On the day of the full moon, the moon rises right around the same time that the sun sets. We’ll ride about 5 mi to a good spot where we can see BOTH. Stock up on supplies and libations at Ps and Qs and of course bring an extra layer and lights for the ride.

Sunset 7:38 PM, moonrise 8:09 PM.

Hope to see you there!

Summertime rolls

Ah, is it really the end of August? Summer moves so fast. But there’s still plenty more summer to come.

Yes, I know the conventional thinking (at least here in the States and also Canada) is that summer ends on Labo(u)r Day Weekend, which is around the first Monday of September.* Which is this coming weekend.  Kids go back to, or are back in school. Tourist facilities start shutting down. The nights grow longer.

But while I can be a pessimistic grouch about a lot of things, I take a more optimistic view of summer’s end. I consider the entirety of September to still be summer. (And since Autumnal Equinox in the northern hemisphere happens on September 22, most of September is technically summer anyways.) Besides that, I don’t have kids or a conventional job, so I can still do things.  And the weather tends to be pretty awesome here in September: warm and not usually too hot, maybe a little rain but not much.

So I still have a bunch of stuff to look forward to. For instance, the day you read this I will be heading up to the Gifford Pinchot National Forest with my friend Steve for a backpacking trip into the Indian Heaven Wilderness. Yes, my first ever backpacking trip! I’m a bit anxious, but hopefully nothing bad will happen. I did test out my new bag and walked five miles with it loaded, and man, that was tiring!

And there’s the big week-plus tour I want to do in the later part of September. The current plan is something in southern Oregon. And by “southern” I mean the SW corner of the state, as anything east of the Cascades would be “eastern” or “SE” Oregon. I haven’t seen the southern coast (anything south of Newport) since my big coast tour in 2006, and I’d like to check out more of the lands of Umpqua and Rogue. And hopefully get up to Crater Lake again too!


Looking back, this summer is shaping up to be one of the best ones I’ve had in a long time. I’ve done something on average every other weekend. (In fact, I skipped doing something one weekend because I needed a break.) I’ve camped a couple times a month since May. I’ve gone to the Coast twice! And now I have some romance, too. That definitely brings my mood up.

Still, there’s part of me that wanted to do more. I get bummed about trips that didn’t happen, like the Grand Tour Bikeway tour I was supposed to do in early August. Or look at all the stuff going on that I can’t participate. And there is that itch that needs to be scratched, the itch of a really long bike tour.

Then there’s a part of me that longs a little for the quieter summers of the past couple years, when I could just take a leisurely bike ride instead of doing some camping trip all the time. And the time to get all the other things done in my life. Then again, winter will be here before I know it. I can do that stuff then, and also not look back on a summer and regret it.

*Yeah, it’s usually the first full weekend of September, but if Labor Day happens to be on September 1st or 2nd (which it can), some of that weekend falls in August.

Sunset Moonrise Ride, Sunday July 9

Just because Pedalpalooza is over, doesn’t mean that bike fun is over!

Come join me for one of my favorite semi-regular rides: The Sunset Moonrise Ride. Did you know that at the time of the full moon, the moonrise is just around the same time as sunset? That means if you find a good spot, you can see both! And I definitely know of a good spot.

Meet on Sunday July 9 at 7:30 PM at P’s and Q’s Market, NE Dekum St at NE 13th Ave. Get your supplies at P’s and Q’s*, we roll out at 8 PM. We’ll ride an easy five miles down to the Columbia to watch the sun set and then the moon rise! And of course enjoy food and drink down at the water.

Picnic blankets, lights, and layers encouraged.

FOR THOSE WHO CARE: Technically the date of the full moon is on Saturday. But Sunday will be better this time, as the moonrise on Saturday is shortly before sunset, which means a lackluster moonrise. On Sunday July 9, the sun set is 9:00 PM, moon rise at 9:20 PM.

*P’s and Q’s are not exactly known for their cheap beer, so plan accordingly!