Apr 26, Portland
I have just spent a tourist day in Portland. Nice city.
I decided, a few days ago, while in Coos Bay, that I had had enough of the coast winds. My internet perusing indicated the weather in Eugene was more conducive to cycling north. Still a north wind, but less that on the coast and generally warmer as well. The route between Eugene and Portland is also much flatter, so even if I get wind less hills would make it easier to make some headway. I had wanted to make the jaunt into Eugene to go to Bike Friday, and so I hopped on the 7:00 am bus on Coos Bay and was in Eugene by 9:00.
The guys at Bike Friday tuned up my bike, I bought some hard to get parts, they did the show and tell around the place and showed me some nice opportunities for cycling to Portland. I am again impressed by how friendly and supportive they are here. I walked in unannounced and they immediately got people working on my needs.
It was cold the next morning as I headed north, but soon I was on a quiet country road, completely flat for a change and now rural agricultural in nature. It was quiet enough that the birds were out, and the wind that began around 9:30, was only about 3mph. (For me a 3mph wind is a wind that slows me down by about 3mph on the flat. It is probably more like about 7 or 8mph.) My Oregon bike map that Rick Wolcott gave me, proved to be most useful in finding my way initially into Albany, where I had lunch and then to Salem. I had a small ferry crossing of the Willamette River and then finally some significant hills as I entered Salem for the night. I rode 80 miles, and finally felt satisfied that I was getting somewhere.
The next day, I was still on back roads leaving Salem, but had to join the freeways and more hills as I got to within 20 miles of Portland. On this day I had almost no headwind, but then I was in Portland a bit after noon. It took me 55 miles from Salem to find my way into the hostel in NW Portland. Out of the 130 miles from Eugene to Portland, only 20 were on busy roads and I finished each day with just my light cycling gear. What a nice route change this has been for me.
On mt day here in Portland I headed out on my bike but didn’t get far. I spent the morning in Washington Park, first in the rose garden, although they weren’t in blossom. Bill Mcmanus recommended this to me, and he knows roses. Most of the morning was spent in the Japanese Garden. I believe this to be an exceptional one, and I always leave Japanese gardens with a peaceful feeling.
Even though I am not looking to buy books on the road, I spent much of the afternoon in Powell’s book store, simply one of the best i have ever been in. The weather is hot and sunny and I will leave Portland with a good feeling. What a nice place.
I will head out eastward up the Columbia river tomorrow with no real idea of where I will get to. I expect if all goes well it will take three days to get out of the gorge to Pasco, Wa and then possibly I will be shopping for a train ride.