Bike City, USA!

Monday, Nov. 15, 2010
The big Lewis and Clark Bridge spans the Columbia River between Longview, WA and Rainier, OR. Here 'tis:

Riding up the Washington side of the bridge, I took this photo of logs waiting to be loaded onto ships, trucks and trains:

At around 10:40AM I crossed from Washington into Oregon. There's a simple sign over the roadway at the apex of the bridge that says "Entering Oregon." Unfortunately, because of the rain and the dangerous conditions (narrow shoulder with traffic whizzing past), I was unable to get a photo of the sign. So I got the next best thing; the 'Welcome to Oregon' sign at the south end of the bridge:

Arriving in Oregon, one suddenly finds beautiful, wide, designated bike lanes:
I'll enjoy these while I have them!

Just out of Rainier, found this log train:

Then the drenching mist began and lasted for about an hour and a half as I rode US-30 toward Portland. The rain let up around the town of St. Helens and it was quite nice when I rode into BIKE CITY, USA!

Portland prides itself on being the most bike-friendly city in the United States and riding through town, it's hard not to notice: Most roads have designated bike lanes. Approaching intersections, many bike lanes become green, alerting drivers to stay away. (Seattle now has a couple of these.) Nearly every business has bike racks out front and many street corners even have rows of bike racks taking up a whole car-size, curbside spot on the street. Lots of bike shops. Lots of people on bikes (although nothing like some European cities). And cars and trucks seem to be more cognizant and respectful of bicyclists than in Seattle.

I rode over the Willamette River heading east on Burnside to the Laurelhurst neighborhood where my sister's friends Sarah and Jason live with their two daughters, Ruah and Irie.

Jason and I walked over to Whole Foods to get ingredients for dinner and he gave me a tour of all the cool little businesses and establishments in their neighborhood.

Back at the house Jason made a fantastic stir-fry for dinner and they introduced me to a wonderful WA wine called Rusty Boar. (Currently available at your local Whole Foods for only $10!)

A big problem with this trip, I'm finding, is that after working so hard to get to a destination it is exceedingly difficult to pick up and move again the next morning! I'm finding myself wanting to stay and enjoy the area.

Portland is especially hard to leave. Partly thanks to Sarah and Jason's hospitality.

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