Back at the JoLa Cafe

The Coffeeneuring craze is nearly upon us, and I’m badly out of training.  Between PIFF madness, the Big Move, and some unfriendly late winter weather, I’ve hardly been on my bike for the last few weeks.  It’s way past time to start spinning those pedals.

Today is cold, but bikeable – just above freezing, slightly foggy, but dry.  To get back in the groove, I start off by biking across the river to JoLa Cafe, a favorite stop on the Coffeeneuring circuit in seasons past.  Last night I had big plans of getting up early and biking across the Ross Island Bridge before sundown (walking on the sidewalk actually – it’s much too busy and narrow to bike on).  We’ve driven home across it after dark a few times lately, and the view of Tilikum Crossing is really beautiful.  When the time came though lying under the cover for another hour sounded pretty beautiful too, and won out.  Maybe next week.

I haven’t been to JoLa’s since last fall.  I’m not sure, but I think they’ve redone their front window since then.  I’ll have to check out some older photos to be sure.  I enjoy taking my time there this morning, hoping that the day might warm up a bit before venturing out again.   

It isn’t any warmer when I leave JoLa’s, but at least it’s still dry.  I head upriver to the Sellwood Bridge, with the plan to go up through the cemetary and then back along the top of the ridge.  I’m curious how much snow is still on the ground up around Council Crest, and have a mind to take a shot of Rodriguez shivering in a snowbank to show up Grumbleface and his ‘cold’ ride down south.  Along the way, I stop to admire a pair of geese playing King of the Mountain out in the river.

When I get to the top of Riverview Cemetary I change my plan again.  It’s even chillier up here and I’m about to rise into the fog.  Suddenly climbing up to Council Crest sounds a lot less attractive.  I decide to head further south to Lake Oswego instead, keeping to a lower elevation.

“The river always finds the right way”


I have a love/hate relationship with Lake Oswego.  It is set in a lovely area and has some really attractive features; but at the same time I find it wretchedly unfriendly to bikes, at least by Oregon standards.  Today’s visit highlights the dichotomy.  I drop down to the waterfront and explore Foothills Park, a beautiful spot with a shrine to the late William Stafford, a former Oregon poet laureate – it features quotes from his poems engraved into tall, polished basalt steles.  The park also has a nice perspective on the double arch truss bridge that I’m hoping will become a rail-trail conversion some year.

The Lake Oswego railroad bridge, from Foothills Park


South of and contiguous with Foothills Park is Roehr City Park, and beyond that is a pretty footpath along the river, sandwiched between heavily marked private land.  I enjoy walking along the path enjoying the early signs of spring, but eventually it dead ends into another private holding.

Maddeningly, it’s only about 100 yards from the north edge of John Rodgers Park and another fine stretch of riverside open to the public.  If we could just snatch back another 100 years of access, there would be a continuous path along about a mile of waterfront here.  Instead, I have to backtrack all the way back to downtown Lake Oswego.  

I’ve grown quite cold poking around the park, and my feet have gotten damp from walking off the path here and there.  I manage to hang on for another five miles, but by the time I get to Oregon City I’m starting to shake.  I decide to stop in a coffee shop and thaw out for about an hour before continuing the last fifteen miles to home.

by the time I start off for home again, it has warmed considerably and the sun is breaking through, casting attractive reflections on the river.  It’s amazing how much differenc ten degrees can make!

Looking up the Willamette toward Elk Rock Island, from Milwaukee Riverfront Park


Clackamette Cove, The remains of an old gravel quarry at the mouth of the Clackamas River


This is just a placeholder for now. I’ll add a real description when I get more time.

Leave a Reply