It sounds almost unamerican, but I don’t own a gun. It wasn’t part of my upbringing, and it has never occurred to me to have one in the house. Firing off rounds from an M16 during basic training fifty years ago is as close as I care to come to firearms.
And a good thing. Otherwise, I might have used it on myself this morning.
There have been a few small frustrations from living in Stacey’s half-attic for the past month. One has been access. There is a combo lock on the door to the barn, which we access to get our bikes. Not bad, but more irksome is the combo lock box for access to the house. After the hundredth time or so, this sequence grows irksome: enter in the combo, open the box, remove the key; unlock the door; rekey the combo, replace the key; enter the house, remove the shoes at the door. When you leave the house, reverse the steps.
Today, on our penultimate day at Stacey’s, I set a new personal record. After leaving the house and retrieving Rodriguez from the barn I found I was missing a glove; so, back into the barn, where I found it lying on the ground. Then, I found I was missing my glasses. Back into the house, creeping stealthily upstairs in the hope that Stacey won’t hear and chastise me for not removing my shoes. Back to the bike.
Crap. I’ve left the GPS upstairs also, and need it for navigation today. As I tiptoe past Rachael one more time she asks what I’ve forgotten now. “The gun. It’s time to just shoot myself and get it over with.”
Finally I’m out the door, and on the road. The goal for the day is Chanticleer Point, but first I check out the new haunt for the next two weeks: Common Grounds coffee house, not far from our next B&B. It’s a nice, warm place that checks all the boxes: excellent WiFi, good food selection, attractive ambience, good bike parking. Also very popular – the sort of spot I’ll want to arrive early at to get a good seat.
I loiter around for an hour or so waiting for the day to warm up – it’s sunny today but only 37 when I left Stacey’s. I’m happy to find that it’s considerably warmer after coffee.
As I unlock it from the rack, the gent sunning with his family on the benches out front compliments me on my choice of ride. He knows Rodriguez, used to live in Ravenna, the Seattle neighborhood where they’re manufactured. We have a nice chat for a few minutes, until finally I hop on Rodriguez, turn his nose eastward, and head toward the Columbia Gorge.
I decide to take the most direct route to Chanticleer Point, and head east out of town along Stark Street. I’ve never taken Stark through town before and don’t really know what to expect. At first, I’m pretty impressed – it rises a bit up the north slope of Mount Tabor, and has a couple of inviting spots I want to come back to: Caldera Pub (great name for a joint on the edge of a small volcano), and Stark Street Station, a coffee shop that looks like a good target for my next CLC ride.
The rest of Stark is pretty unappealing though, and not really a suitable bike route – too narrow, too busy until you’re nearly out of town. Surprisingly, it’s also pretty lumpy. By the time I finally drop to the Sandy River I’ve logged almost a thousand feet of climbing in small rises and dips.
Stark Street bottoms out at the Sandy River, crossing it over the Stark Street Bridge and joining the historic Columbia River Highway. From here it’s a gradual eight mile climb east to Chanticleer Point, passing through he small villages of Springdale and Corbett. It’s a narrow road and the shoulder isn’t too serviceable yet because it’s full of gravel, but fortunately there’s little traffic this morning. It’s not much of a climb, but a bit stiffer today because I’m fighting a steadily building east wind.
I pause awhile to take in the view upriver from Chanticleer Point, one of Portland’s great beauty spots. I look ahead to Vista House on the next promontory, consider biking on to there, and then think better of it. All I’ve had today is a bagel, and I’m still 30 miles from home. Time to head back.
On the way home, I’m reimbursed for the cost of biking uphill into the wind for the past hour. I fly down the hill, hardly peddling most of the way back to the Glenn Jackson Bridge. I’m not burning up many calories, but I don’t have many left to burn. Five miles from home I decide I’ll enjoy the rest of the ride better if I refuel, so I pull in to the Fifth Quadrant for a burger with LSD (Lompoc’s Special Draft). Much better.