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Sunday, April 10, 2011

This was not the butte you wanted, but it'll do: My Saturday Ride

Hello, blogosphere!

Saturday in Portland was a nice spring day: partly cloudy with a high around 60F/16C. A good day for a bike ride, indeed. I didn't have any real obligations other than covering part of a work shift at the Hostel at 6pm. True, Saturday was the Pedal Nation Bike Show, but it's all weekend, and Sunday should have suckier weather. And true, there is a lot of work that I needed to do for the impending tour. But I want to ride my bicycle! So I lubed the chain and put some air into the tires on the Long Haul Trucker, and got out of the house!

Where to go?  By the time I got out of the house it was already 2:30pm, so I only had 3 1/2 hours to play with.  I couldn't do any grand adventure to far-flung corners of the metro area, it had to end at work on Hawthorne.  I thought about heading south on the I-205 bike path, then west on the Springwater Corridor bike path, then north on the OMSI-Springwater path to central SE.  It was doable, but...hills beckoned.  Namely Rocky Butte, an extinct volcanic cinder in NE Portland.  It's best feature is the almost 360 degree panorama from the 612 ft (187 m) summit.

This structure greeted me at the top of the bluff

But first, sustenance.  A quick fly-by by a local coffee shop for java* and a bagel, and then off to Rosemont Bluff Natural Area where I consumed the comestibles.  Rosemont Bluff is the site of my very first Pedal Potluck Picnic back in 2005.  (Jeez, I've been at it for six years?)  It's a primitive undeveloped natural area on a steep hillside, and the hillside was blooming with spring, including my favorite flower of this time of year, trilliums!
Native Oregon Grape in bloom

And then northward to Rocky Butte. But along the way, possibly my favorite unofficial traffic control sign of the moment:

I approached Rocky Butte from the northside, going by the bible college**.  As I started to climb, a Portland Police cruiser was straddled across the road, blocking my path.  "Rocky Butte's closed", the cop said.  When I asked why, she said it was because of the search for the body of the (supposedly) murdered girl who was thought to be somewhere on the butte.  Dang. 

So I decided to head for Mt. Tabor.  Sure, I summit the "saddle" of Tabor at least once every day that I ride to work, but I don't go all the way to the true summit (636 ft/194 m) that often.  And it was a beautiful day to do so.  From the top I got these views of downtown and SE:

Then it was off to work.  I totaled a little under 18 miles (29km), nothing that major (especially to those who do 50 miles before breakfast!) but not bad.  Sometime soon I'll take a longer ride.  Soon...

*Does anyone call coffee java anymore?
**There's a belt of bible colleges between 60th Ave and the 205 freeway.


  1. I like those big pine trees you've got out there. We've got pine trees in the eastern part of the state, not too many around here.

    I sure hope they find that girls body.

  2. RTP-
    Actually, those are Douglas Firs (or Doug Firs), the state tree of Oregon:

    Yeah, the whole situation with the lost girl is a tragedy.


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