Wednesday, June 07, 2006
photos by Dat Nguyen. check out more here.
PEDAL POTLUCK PICNIC
TUESDAY 6 JUNE 2006
or, the Devil's Picnic (because it's 6/6/6, get it?)
Endpoint: an unnamed triangle island park at NE Alameda/Klickitat/38th
This time I didn't have to worry about no one showing up since there was already 5 people waiting at the front of the Hostel before 6:30. Sweet! We almost snagged two people who were just checking into the hostel who were on a West Coast Bike Tour.
We headed north primarily following 33rd Av, skirting Laurelhurst Park but passing through the heart of the aforementioned neighborhood. We crossed Sandy and I-84 on NE 33rd, possibly the least desirable bicycle crossing of the highway between Grand and Halsey. But the trick to making it okay was having a big enough group of people to take the lane. We paused briefly at the QFC at NE 33rd and Hancock for more food for the picnic, and then cut a li'l eastward, then north on 37th through the Grant Park neighborhood. And as we crossed Knott, the dreaded Alameda Ridge loomed ahead of us.
Aah, the Ridge. Why does such a small hill put such dread into Portland bicyclists' hearts? How often have you heard people complain about this hill that lasts nary two blocks? Hands up if you are one of those folks who go as far west as possible (like NE 8th) to get to Alberta. But the thing about the Alameda Ridge is for every excruciating climb up it (NE 15/16/17, 21st, Fremont, Klickitat) there are also some pretty easy ways up it as well, like Regents Drive. The trick is if the street you are on sucks for going up the hill, go a few blocks in either direction and you'll find an easier one.
And tonight we scaled the Ridge on NE Merges Drive, possibly the easiest ascension of this hill. Merges connects with NE 35th on the bottom and 37th and Klickitat on the top. Along the way we passed by a bioswale stormdrain project at NE Siskyou and 35th Place.
The ride ended at the li'l triangle island park between NE Alameda, Klickitat, and 38th. I've always wondered about this parklet, seen here on thee sat--ee--lite, created because Alameda runs at a diagonal and the lot is too small to build anything on it. Does anyone use this park? If no one does, we will now!
The nine of us feasted. The picnic menu this evening:
Vegan Mac n Cheese (try number two for me for this recipe)
some eggplanty-pea over rice thing that Ken made (and was awesome)
a salad made on the spot (a cutting board, even!)
dips and pita bread
strawberries and Reddi-Whip
veggies and peanut butter
fresh brewed iced tea with lemon
We hung around until the sun went down, Ali strumming his geetar even. And then we all rode home.
Here's the route that we did for those following at home. http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=225064
And a parting shot of me looking like some goddamned 80's skater.