A day for the birds

This has been the most exceptional winter here in Portland, with day after day of fine weather, excellent for biking.  We’re enjoying it now, but I imagine there will be hell to pay come late summer – the snowpack for most of the state is about third of normal.

Today fits the pattern: dry, windless, mostly cloudy; and cold, about 38, when I start off for Sauvie Island at about 9.  Even though we’re not staying at the condo any more, I’ve driven over with Rodriguez and park him there for the day.  It’s another logistically complex day, and it just works better to leverage the Jetta: today is carpet laying day, and I have to meet the vendors to let them in; and Rachael and I are going to a piano recital this afternoon, so we need suitable clothes to change into.

So, the plan for the day: I drive over with my bike and our outfits, park it at the condo, let in the vendors, and then go for a bike ride alone.  Rachael will go on her own ride, end at the car so she can pick up her clothes and a towel from the car so she can shower at the gym. We’ll meet at the Park Avenue Cafe in the afternoon, and then walk to the recital.

The plan works well.  The carpet layers arrive promptly, get right to it, and I’m off.  Before leaving town though I stop at the storage unit, hoping my missing coat is there.  It’s not, dammit – I’m down to one other possibility, the film center.  I need an extra layer this morning, so I ride with my wool Pendleton over my other cycling clothes.  It’s just enough.

It’s a wonderful day to be on the island – very quiet, with very little traffic of any kind – I think I saw only one other bike while I was there (missing Rachael, who I later learned came out today also).  I’m feeling really good too – the last of my cough seems to finally be moving on, and I’m getting back into decent shape again.  It’s surprisingly pleasant biking along the highway this morning – not too much traffic, and there’s no winter trash on the shoulder because it’s been so dry and warm this year.

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Most enjoyably though, it turns out to be a good morning for the birds. Besides the usual cormorants, geese and (in this season) cranes, I keep running into raptors perched by the road.  I pass under a remarkably patient red tail, and then a rough leg.  And, I manage to get a passable photo of a kestrel.  These birds are such teases – they’re shy, careful about the distance, and will let you get just close enough that you think you can get a worthwhile shot.  As soon as I pull the camera out and try to focus in though, they take wing and move about fifty yards further down the road.  We went through three cycles of this before I finally called it quits.

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Back in town, I change clothes and walk over to the Park Avenue Cafe for lunch and a rendezvous.  Along the way, I stop in at the museum, where my coat is patiently awaiting my return – hurray!

Over lunch, Rachael plan out the coming weeks, and reserve a different B&B near Mount Tabor that we’re going to try out next month after we move on from Stacey’s.  Then we walk over to Lincoln Hall for the recital, which is great – a young Czech performer, playing primarily music of Czech composers.  It’s my favorite of the series this year.

its just past sundown when we exit the hall, and the elm trees above are filled with a deafening cacophony of crows.  A nice ending of a day that’s really been one for the birds.

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1 response to "A day for the birds"

  1. By: The Navigator Posted: February 16, 2018

    It must be such an exciting time for you and Rachel. Glad you are both getting in some rides and concerts and ‘normal’ life as you prepare to leave it behind! Your weather this winter couldn’t be more opposite to last year’s snow! Looking forward to seeing what you put together for the Cycle Life Challenge.

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