I was on my way to the doctor when I came across this upstart plant. It had the nerve to grow out of the side of a building!
I thought perhaps it had grown from the ground up behind the metal panel between the two windows, emerging mid-building.
A closer look revealed that it hadn’t come from the ground at all, but had taken root halfway up the building.
Whenever I find something like this, it reminds me how temporary our buildings are, without a human to maintain them. Plants, water, wind and weather are much stronger than concrete, given enough time.
In which I attempt to ride all the yellow, green, blue & purple streets on the Bike There Bike Map while increasing strength, stamina, aerobic capacity and exploring Portland’s nooks and crannies.
Weather: Sunny & Cold
Ride Average Speed: 10.2 mph
Distance: 10.6 mi
Average Heart Rate: 132
N Lombard & N Denver
Go to Interstate and turn left
L on Ainsworth
L on Williams to Vancouver
R on Schmeer (hooks around)
R on 6th Dr.
Right into Children’s Arboretum
Come back out
L on 6th Dr.
L on Vancouver Way
L on Gertz Rd.
L on 13th
L on Marine Dr. to Bridgton
L on Gantenbein Ave.
R on Marine Dr.
At turnoff for Delta Park cut though park
Back to Denver.
Good route, though the whole Schmeer/6th Dr. was very heavily trafficked because a lot of industrial businesses don’t have President’s Day off. It would probably be better to ride there on a weekend.
The Columbia Children’s Arboretum is not well marked. I rode up and down that street looking for it and never found it.
How did I do?
It was clearly the first bike ride in a very long time. I had a longer route planned, but 10 miles was the limit for me, so I cut it short. I rode very slowly and it was nice to be out.
Glorious Bicycling Moments/Neat Things:
Mount St. Helens was out.
NE 13th Ave. was a mishmash of houses. There were older houses that felt free enough to do whatever they wanted, say paint large flowers on their garages.
There were gated communities. This made me laugh. That flimsy gate isn’t keeping anyone out who doesn’t want to come in, and anyway, a gated community in this area? You’ve got to be kidding.
There were also McMansions next to very modestly built houses. If you’ve got to locate your McMansion next to a run down 60s ranch, you still haven’t made it.
NE Bridgetown Rd turned out to be interesting. The road has been in the news lately
because the US Army Corps of Engineers wants to cut down all their trees. Bridgetown Road is a levee and the Corps doesn’t like trees on the levees. I was under the impression that the trees had all been cut down, but this picture clearly shows trees.
I was also surprised to see that Bridgetown Road had fancy condos on it.
From newspaper reports I expected a bunch of houses like this.
There are a lot of house boats in the neighborhood. It was a fun place to ride.
I needed to walk to Lowe’s today and because I didn’t have church this morning, decided to take a longer way to see how it connected to my usual route. What I foudnd was a bit of a surprise.
Oregon does this thing I love called “One Percent for Art.” Whenever there is a large construction project, Oregon law requires, “not less than 1% of the direct construction funds of new or remodeled state buildings with construction budgets of $100,000 or greater for the acquisition of art work which may be an integral part of the building, attached thereto, or capable of display in other State Buildings” What this means is that whenever there is a big construction project, we get pubic art. The Max lines are a great place to see art.
This is my favorite art on the Yellow Line. Due to my not-so-fabulous picture, you might not be able to see, but along this bridge between Kenton and Delta park, there are these great flaming comets. They remind me of pinballs and it is fun to see the trains shoot through the pinballs and makes the bridge look like a large public pinball machine. The artist was inspired by 50s car culture. Back in the day, the people who lived in Vanport, a housing project built during the war for shipbuilders, used to race their cars on the back roads in this area of North Portland. Eventually Portland International Raceway was located in North Portland. My normal walk to Lowe’s involves bypassing this sign and walking all the way up to that brown sign in the distance. Then I take a right and another right and voila! There is Lowe’s. Sort of. I still have to walk though a few parking lots to get there. Today I took a right at the sign and figured the road would loop about before I hooked up with Hayden Meadows Drive and Lowe’s.
I turned out to be entirely wrong and for a very rare reason: I had the street running the wrong direction in my mental map. In my mind, Schmeer Road ran East/West, or perpendicular to the freeway. By taking this route, I realized that it actually is a North/South street and runs parallel to the freeway. It was incredibly disorienting, but once I realigned my directions, I realized that this route was about 10 minutes shorter than my previous one.
Schmeer Road looks like many places located next to a freeway. Big box stores, gas stations, chain restaurants, auto parts places. It’s not pretty, but I have no neighborhood hardware store, so I have to wade through all of this to get to a big box hardware store.
Schmeer Road also has Portland Meadows, the horse racing track and also the place where my brother saw a Grateful Dead concert in the 90’s.
I love walking by the Burrito House. It puts a smile on my face because to me “Burrito House” and “Fine Mexican Food” don’t really exist in the same place. Maybe “Good Mexican Food” and “Burrito House”, but anything with “House” in its name doesn’t get to use the word “fine” in my book.
I’m not sure what this building is being used for, but it is very well taken care of. It is always a highlight of my walks when I head North.
The Bee Cleaners have moved around the corner to a new location. I haven’t seen any evidence of a new “Honk” sign in the window, but I never heard anyone honk for curb service anyway. This sign is one of my things that I love about Portland.
Sometimes I like to look at the way the building line up against the sky. The descending roof lines of these buildings, as well as their increasingly dark colors, struck me as quite lovely the other morning.
Portland is such a bike-y city that there are subsets of cyclists in town. One of the subsets is people who never refer to themselves as cyclists. Another is people with tall bikes.
Tall bikes are cool. They are cool because you pretty much have to make your own tall bike, or be friends with someone who does. They are cool because you get to ride far above cars. They are cool because small children gleefully point when they see them. I would love to ride one.
I had the chance. One of the parents of a first grader at my school has a tall bike. I was exclaiming over it, and he offered to let me ride. I automatically said, “Oh, no. I couldn’t,” and then kicked myself later. Next time he offers, I won’t be so quick to say no.
This tall bike was locked up outside school on Friday. It’s being a tall bike makes it cool, but most of them are better crafted than this. Still, can you imagine riding one?