Wednesday, November 23, 2005
D. B. Cooper Memorial Bike Ride
As noted earlier, the weather is good. It's maybe highs 50 F, lows 35 F (durn cold at night!) Since weather like this doesn't last, I want to take advantage of it on my days off. Today I decided to do an "along the Columbia River" ride with the goal of reaching Kelley Point Park, the point where the Willamette meets the Columbia.
I zoomed down the north "slope" of the Alameda Ridge towards NE Prescott, using that street to access the under-utilized and under-beautified I-205 Bike Path. This route conveniently dropped me off at the Marine Drive bike path at NE 112. At this point I had a great panorama: St Helens, Rainier, and the city of Vancouver to the north, Hood to the east, West Hills and downtown to west, Rocky Butte to south. I felt the cold wind coming from the east, coming from the dry "east side" of the Cascades and funneled through the Columbia Gorge. The winter air during the dry days like these is just great. It's got a feeling that I can't express in words. It is a different feel than Back East, and I've had this same feeling in other parts of the west, whether it be Utah or Nevada. Yet another thing to keep me here...
I used the bike path until it ends at NE 33rd. For the first part your view is only to the north, the river. Then the path rises until it is on top of the levee, and now Portland International Airport (that's where PDX comes from) is in view. The airport was hopping, especially since it's Thanksgiving weekend (busiest US travel time of the year). Just to think, 29 years ago tomorrow, PDX is where D.B. Cooper's infamous adventure started. And D.B. and the money has never been found (except for $5800 found by a picnicking family in 1980). What a Northwest Legend! Something worthy of the prose of Stewart Holbrook, indeed.
When the path ended, I had to get onto high-speed Marine Drive. Since the truck traffic was heavy, I detoured for a bit onto N/NE Bridgeton Rd, which parallels Marine between N Gantenbein and (almost) NE 13th, but goes closer to the river. Here is a map link of that area:
This is a light-duty road mainly serving the people who live along it and also the marinas in the river. To keep the traffic slow, there are several speedbumps. But something caught my eye on the first one: on the right side (direction of travel: west, or the side closest to the river) of thespeed bump, was a special pavement marking. It showed a little boat! And sure enough, each speedbump after had a boat on it (except one with a fighter jet), each a different type: sailboat, kayak, barge, houseboat, etc. And each was fairly small, only to be seen by someone who bicycles (or walks). How cool! The city's creative pavement markers are at it again!
I continued eastward until Smith and Bybee Lakes. By the time I arrived, it was almost 3pm. Even though Kelley Point wasn't much further (maybe 2 miles), I decided to call the ride quits. I needed to get to the Post Office before closing, and at this time of year there isn't much daylight left. Kelley Point will have to wait for the next ride on the next nice day. Which may be January.