Thursday, May 13, 2010

Day 5 - St. Helen's to Portland

Just the Basics: (Some info added Friday a.m.!) Only 28 miles today along US 30, decent shoulders and rolling terrain, only 1 big hill, then mostly residential streets in Portland. We were in Portland by 12:30, making and eating our picnic lunch on a bench outside an old-fashioned police station in Portland's utterly charming St. John's area.
Friday we head for a B & B in Corbett on the old Historic Columbia River Highway. A good chunk of the route through Portland will be on a bike path. Friday will be another short day due to the locations of accommodations on the route.

Highlights included:
A lovely, clear sunny day with comfortable temperatures in the 60s most of the day - really perfect for riding;

At various times seeing Mt. Hood, Mt. St. Helen's and Mt. Adams;

Crossing the lovely, graceful St. John's Bridge over the Willamette (see photo);

Meeting a great young man on the Metro who's in grad school at Portland State studying education and developing science/service learning curricula - he oriented us to the city and showed us how to get to REI;

Visiting REI for some last-minute stuff, and

A FABULOUS formal dinner, complete with cocktails, at Andino's, a wonderful Peruvian restaurant in Portland's Pearl District, where REI is also located. We had potato tapas to start with (3 different Peruvian potatoes with 3 different lovely sauces) and bread with 3 dipping sauces. Becky had a classic Peruvian favorite of hers - lamb shank so tender it slipped off the bone, with a mole-like sauce, a lovely stewed bean cassoulet and steamed rice; Riley had roasted quail with mashed sweet potatoes and some delicious greens - maybe baby beet greens? YUM!!

For Those Who Want More: We really loved Portland's St. John's neighborhood - we cycled through it for several miles. Lots of graceful old frame houses of various sizes, primarily looking extremely well kept up, with many wonderful yards and gardens - traditional manicured lawns with flowering bushes and flowerbeds and others with front yards given over to vegetables - lots of variety. It's the kind of place that makes you say "Why don't we buy a house and retire here!"
And a few more notes from yesterday:
We made a pit stop at a county park and saw a pair of nesting bald eagles.

In the morning we saw a bicycle built for 5 with a male and female adult and 3 kids, none of whom could have been over 10, loaded with camping gear, pulling a trailer and headed west. Later a clerk at Safeway in Clatskanie told us that they were a family biking to FAIRBANKS, AK!!

We passed one of those pick-up trucks fitted out to run on rails headed west on the tracks. Just ahead of it a CAT was racing along, for all the world like a dog chasing cars - we nearly fell off our bikes laughing.

Forgot to mention that our hostess at Redfern Farm on Puget Island also is a landscape painter - really nice pictures. Turns out she's only been painting for 2 years; she says she learned how to paint by watching a Monday night art class on PBS for 9 years!!

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