alright, its been a long time between posts. spent a couple of days last week preparing for a trip out to the west coast to see the 'in-laws'. heather's parents moved out to portland this past september. heather went to visit last fall but i had yet to get out there. i had briefly lived on the west coast, however it was my first trek to the 'great northwest'. i actually had shipped my road bike out to heather's folks' place a wekk prior to us flying out there.........yeah, i actually turned this into a bike trip/vacation for me. a couple of strategically placed vacation days and i was off of work for eight days in a row. god the ork schedule of a firefighter is a beautiful thing!
heather actually approved of my bike accompaning us without batting an eye. god, what a great wife. even the in-laws were excited for me to get to ride in and around there beautiful new home town. hum............i wonder if thats' an indication about how they feel about me and wanting me to go get lost on my bike for a few hours?
oh well, like it really matters. i got to bring my bike to portland. dont say anything, but it is almost a built in excuse for time away from 'family-time'. ha ha. i do jest, heather's parents were great! i helped heather's step-dad jim around the house on a couple remodel chores for all of about 10 minutes and he drove us around portland for 5 days to shop and site-see. pretty good trade-off, huh? drove to the coast to see the ocean and beach at canon beach, or. the oregon coast is not your southern california beach lanscape. its more like what i would invision the scotland or ireland coasts look like. very beautiful, but very harsh with similarly epic weather. just spectacular scenery to drive thru. hell, its the dead of winter and everything still seems so 'green' there. much milder temps and with lots of rain.
a couple of hikes on our second and third days, i kept thinking that this is what a rain forest in central america should look like. i was just blown away by how green everthing seemed to be, even in early february.
the riding..............mid 40's, wet and misting on a couple of rides and high 40's low 50's and dry and sunny on the 2 other rides. i basically got rained out on our second day, friday. was able to recover and get a 4 hour ride in on saturday with a few locals. let's just say that whatever direction you decide to head out ffrom your driveway. you are going to have to climb, period. from 1/4 mile 18% pitches to 7-8% grades for 2 miles, you will climb. portland was similar in topography to my experiences of riding in and around fayetteville, arkansas. although, portland was able to master the technique of switchbacks, where our neighbors in arkansas never were quite able to master this practice in road building.
you couldn't go a 1/4mile without a picture worthy view. on the sunny days on the right ridge you could take in views of both mt. st. helens and mt. hood(at same time, a100+miles apart). both easily 40+ miles away. i dont get into to altimeters and elevation gained and feet climbed and all of that, but let's just say i got in 11 hours and a 140+ miles in 4 days of riding and a 1/3rd of that was spent seated and standing climbing and slogging my way 'up' some of portland coolest cycling friendly roads. portland is big on bike lanes and bike friendly traffic. the in-laws made it a point to tell me how much more effort they make at educating drivers on bicycle traffic on the thouroughfares in and around portland. its an impressive city, with the 'light-rail', trains and buses ffrom the surrounding suburbs and neighborhoods accessing the downtown area is so convenient. it almost makes hopping in your own vehicle and driving thru traffic and looking for parking seem altogether 'inconvenient'. maybe thats the point. hey kansas city officials and poliicians, spend a week or to visiting portland and tell me light rail and quality 'mass-transportation' can't work her in our area. portland is just a reminder of how kc and other midwest towns are really in the 'dark-ages' when it comes to transportation and helping our communities go 'green'.
so if you have a chance in the future, and have never been to portland, or, i highly recommend visiting this beautiful and diverse city.
till next time.............
Steve Tilford Eulogy
8 months ago