Wednesday, February 22, 2006

3 Day Weekend

When isn’t a 3 day weekend a good weekend?  I had Monday off.  Presidents’ Day.  That’s weird since I’ve never had that off before.  Back home we usually have Good Friday off.  Not out here.  Old world vs new world – sensitivity to favouring Catholics?  /shrug

Monday I did a 3 hour ride.  I rode to work and back.  Took about 1 hour 20 min for 19 miles to get there.  I had to stop in Starbucks for a hot tea and refill my water bottle on the way back since the extra I brought along flew off the back of the bike somehow during the ride.  When I left the house it was sunny and warm (high 40’s) but as soon as I crossed the Willamette River (1/4 of the way into the ride) the sun ducked behind some clouds and it got a little colder.  My feet were so cold they got numb and I had that hot swollen toe feeling as I sat in the Starbucks.  Starbucks are all over the place here by the way.  You can’t go 4–5 blocks without running into one.  And the thing is there’s always people in them.  You’d think with so many of them that there would be some saturation.  People are sitting around relaxing drinking or eating and reading or conversing.  It’s actually quite a relaxing atmosphere.  I had a short conversation with a deaf guy that was pointing at my bike because I had left the flashing head-lamp on when I came in.  He was a really nice guy.

I’ve been trying to figure out how to do this ride for awhile.  First figuring out how to cross the Willamette river and then figuring out how to get to the major bridge that crosses the Columbia river into the state of Washington.  Crossing that bridge was interesting.  Most of the time out here the roads are extra sensitive to bicyclists.  They have generous bike lanes on almost every street as well as bike specific traffic lights!  Well Washington isn’t so bike friendly and Portland likes to stick their nose up at them.  One reason is for the most part people commute from Washington (mainly Vancouver which is the major town on that side of the river) into Portland for work – causing wear and tear on the bridge (that’s already seems ancient to have an Interstate on it!).  Then they bicker about who’s going to fund it to renovate it and so on...  So Portlanders have this status thing and have words to describe Vancouver like, the Couve or Vantucky [not unlike the FIB or Flatlander or Cheesehead or Cheddar Curtain terminology back home].  So the bridge is kind of like this unwanted thing that connects Washington to Oregon. 

Anyway so the commute across this bridge is precarious.  There’s only like a 3 foot wide section that you can ride and if I run into a pedestrian or another rider I’d definitely have to stop.  On one side you have a 3–4 ft steel railing and then it’s a long long drop into the river and on the other side you have these steel girders coming down with huge rivets and vehicles zooming past at 60+ mph causing little wind gusts that push on you.  I had to keep my eyes straight ahead and not let them wander to check out the mountains or river too much for fear I’d wreck myself something bad.  It’s also easy to build up speed because obviously the bridge is not flat.  It’s crests in the middle so there’s quite a climb on one side and then a decent descent on the other where you can build up speed. 

I should’ve stopped and taken a shot while I was on it now that I think about it but here it is just before I entered it.

Entering I-5 Bridge

On my way back I had to cross a bridge that spans the Willamette river as well.  As your coming back (South) across the river, there’s a friggin’ stoplight just for bicycles!

Bicycle stoplight

I did alot of Olympics watching.  I always seem to gorge myself on the Olympics when they come around.  How often do you get to see sports like Snowcross!

Heidi and I also went to Doug Fir on Sunday night to check out a few bands.  The opening band was called The M’s (review).  They sounded alot like the Beatles and were the best show of the night.  They were also from Chicago!!!  The second band was called Heroes and Villains – they are from Portland.  Interesting music – very artsy.  They had 3 guys and 2 gals and the one gal could really sing.  I think they are a local band that hasn’t really released a major CD yet.  I did find this web-site that has some music on it though.  The headliner, all this for just $8 BTW, was Archer Prewitt.  Maybe it was just getting late or we were tired but this guy was putting both Heidi and I to sleep… and we were friggin standing!  Of course they were serving good beer and the venue was small and cool.  Definitely want to check out this place again.

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