This Space for Rent

Out on the line


I went out for an east side ramble yesterday afternoon, without much thought as to exactly what I was going to do except that I wanted to do at least a 100km loop to make up for the previous attempt, which was cut short by sunset (at 93km. *pout*) So I wandered out along the Springwater Trail without much plan except maybe to go to the end of the (paved) line at Rugg Road. I’ve gotten fairly fast (for me) so it didn’t take me much longer than a hour to get out there, and then I looked at the gravel, looked at the fat tires on my bike (28mm still seems pretty fat compared to the 23mm and 25mm tires I used to use on the Trek,) then said “oh, why not?” and slowly ground up the line towards Boring (all of the people I encountered on this section were riding mountain bikes with huge wide nobbly tires, but (a) I’d ridden the gravel path several times on my 25mm tires (when I was still > 200 pounds) and just two days previous I was turning around when a roadie on his Orbea carbon bike with 18mm tires went riding up the gravel trail – I know it didn’t kill his bicycle, because he caught up with me 10 miles down the line towards Portland and, obviously, his tires were still intact. But I digress.)

At Boring, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do, but Boring is only about 6 miles away from Sandy, which means it’s only about 6 miles away from donuts, and it would be a mortal sin to get so close and not take advantage of the opportunity.

And, anyway, if I went out to Sandy that would guarantee a 80km loop, and I’m sure I could find a way to make my trip unoptimal enough to push it over 100km:

Boring-Sandy-Carver ramble avec des beignets

I knew if I took OR212 east I would eventually run into the Sandy River gorge (and before that I’d run into Bluff Road,) and when I rode east I did eventually run into Bluff Road, but not before having to make a jog north after OR212 turned into a chipsealed county road and then into a T-intersection with 352nd Ave. Bluff Road, of course, dumped me onto OR26 just downhill from Joe’s Donuts, where I took a leisurely break to inhale a couple of donuts and a sugar-laden smoothie, then strapped a dozen donuts to the back of my bike (it is an xtracycle after all, so there’s no problem in taking your donuts for a nice long ride in the country before tossing them to the savage donut-eating bears) and headed off more or less in the direction of home.

But I suspected that the route out to Sandy wouldn’t be long enough to push me over 100km even with the diversion to Boring, so I would come back via a route that was recommended to me by a friend – Dodge Park Blvd, which, as far as I knew, followed more or less the route of the Mount Hood Railway down to Dodge Park. Dodge Park Blvd dumps into Lusted Ave, so if I dodged over to Lusted Ave from Bluff Road (via a short screaming descent down Hudson Road – it’s not much compared to the Lusted Ave descent down to the Sandy River, but it’s pretty damn steep and cliffsidy nevertheless) I could drag myself up the bluff via Dodge Park Blvd while trying to see signs of the 80-year-gone interurban line.

So down I went, then along Lusted, then turning onto Dodge Park Blvd and up towards the bluff all the while looking for signs of railroad ROW. I didn’t see any relics, but eventually I realized that I had climbed halfway out of the gorge and I wasn’t down under an 80" gear. So, lesse, a nice wide road (with shoulders! In Clackamas County!) with a nice easy grade and gentle sweeping curves…. Oh. I guess I found the railroad ROW.

Well, shoot, that was easy. The only thing disappointing about Dodge Park Blvd is that there’s a hideous “executive estate” on the east side of Orient, with lots of huge ugly houses scattered around what used to be productive fields.

(At Orient I decided that the thing to do would be to ride down to Boring, then take OR212 west to Deep Creek Ave, OR224, the Carver Bridge, and Clackamas Drive into Oregon City, which would put me a fast 10km or so away from Portland, the Big Big Store, and home. The only difficult part of that plan is that Boring Road (aka 282nd Ave) goes up and down fairly enthusiastically between Orient and Boring as it climbs up the back side of the bluffs that fall off so impressively at the south end of Deep Creek Ave.

I like Deep Creek Ave. It goes up and down a couple of times, but the last down is an impressively steep 120(?) meter drop in a little under 1300 meters. My bicycle weighs a ton, so it doesn’t climb very well, but if I tuck and can avoid stomping on the brakes on the steep part, everything blueshifts in a very satisfactory fashion.

The rest of the loop isn’t nearly as exciting. Carver is a lot farther away from Deep Creek Ave than I always remember, and then Oregon City is a lot closer to Carver than I aways remember, but after that, and zipping (for “I’ve ridden 90km already, so I’ll be moving at a somewhat more leisurely rate now” values of “zipping”) up River Road to Portland, I’d gotten 106.5km in by the time I got home.

And I wasn’t paralyzed with exhaustion, either, at least not until I’d sat down and relaxed for a while, and my legs had realized that I wasn’t moving and they could go on strike.

Maybe I’ll do it again tomorrow. Those randonneuring death marches won’t ride themselves, after all.