This Space for Rent

Oct 31, 2010

It’s cold and wet – it must be western Oregon in the fall

On the line (Strohmayer Road)

Yesterday was exactly one week before the last organized ORRando event of the year, and, since I ended up as one of the organizers for this event (look for me at the start, looking tired and cold as I juggle sheets of paper while trying to sign everybody in before the 9am starting bell) I was one of the people out on the line doing a preride to set up info controls and check to see if any bridges or parts of the road were washed out.

They weren’t, so it was a fairly straightforward ride (except for the rain, and it being really cold as a bank of rain moved in from what I guess was the north. But that’s Oregon in the fall, so I can be thankful that it didn’t dump down rain in the same enthusiastic manner as it did during last year’s loop) and instead of a trip report I’ll just describe some of what the ride is going to be like:

It starts in what would I would normally consider wayoutintheboonies™ in Forest Grove (except that Verboort is about 2 miles north of the Grand Lodge, so it’s wayoutintheboonies™ by design), and the loop takes you north and into the countryside in a fairly straightforward manner in no time flat. The only possible surprise on the route is that it takes you around a couple of roundabouts on Verboort Road, and the second one has two exits onto the Cornelius Schefflin road. And that first exit will take you the wrong way (the fine print on that exit is “TO PORTLAND”, which is somewhat strange in that it will eventually dump you onto Baseline, which is a long stop-sign ridden way into town. The FAST route into Portland would be to take the second exit, which may also say “TO PORTLAND”, but in either case it’s not accurate) so you need to keep wrapping 270° around the roundabout where you can head NORTH towards the first bridge over Dairy Creek and the turnoff to Wren, which will take you across some very flat farmland towards Hillsboro and, eventually, the long run east on Evergreen to reach the first control at Longbottom’s Coffee. There are three railroad crossings along this leg of the ride that come across the road at varying angles and in varying degrees of bumpiness, so take some care when crossing over, particularly if it’s been raining.

There will be someone at Longbottoms to sign brevet cards. But not on the preride; to get our (Ed Groth, Theo Roffe, and me) brevet cards signed we went inside out of the cold and spent about 40 minutes planning and warming up (did I mention it was fairly cold? It was fairly cold. But not inside) before finally dragging ourselves out to the bicycles and onward into the exceptionally chilly morning air. And then back east along Evergreen, then north on Sewell to take the scenic route up to Jackson School road just south of the highway 26 overpass (we’d split up a bit along here – Theo was moving along pretty sharply and had vanished into the distance, and then I stopped to shed one layer of windbreaker and ended up spending a good chunk of time riding well behind Ed) then up(ish) along Jackson School Road to the first info control just shy of where the road deadends into Shadybrook Road (which is what Glencoe Road becomes north of North Plains. And then we turned back south and took Shadybrook Road all the way down to North Plains, which doesn’t have any controls, but does have a nice city park with a porta-potty and a coke machine (it allegedly has water as well, but we weren’t able to find any signs of it when we stopped there) and a bar & convenience store, both of which were open when we rolled into town at ~10am.

North Plains isn’t really that big, so if you don’t stop to take advantage of the modern conveniences there you end up back in the country in almost no time, heading north and west on Mountaindale Road to the don'tblinkoryou'llmissit junction with Dairy Creek Road, which takes you back up north towards another manned control up at the end of pavement in what used to be the industrial section of Snooseville.

Dairy Creek Road is deceptively uphill. It starts up in a nice wide flat farm-filled valley, but the road and the valley slowly pitch uphill as you go. And as you go up the valley, it narrows and the farmland dwindles in favor of steep wooded hillsides and abandoned fields.

And up at the top of Dairy Creek Road, it crosses Dairy Creek one last time just before you turn off onto Fern Flat Road and bounce uphill on indifferent-at-best (but at least some asphalt has been put into some of the more impressively bicycle eating potholes since my last ride up there last month) pavement to where the Snooseville lumbermill used to be 70-or-so years ago. You’ll find no signs of the mill, but you will find coffee, snacks, and possibly vegan sausages if the weather holds.

And hopefully you won’t find rain. When Theo, Ed, and I reached Snooseville, the clouds had lowered to the point where they were covering the tops of the bluffsides, but in the 10 minutes we stopped there they decided that this was the time to pounce and we retraced our steps down Fern Flat & Dairy Creek through first a light fog, then drizzle, and then honest to g-d rain (which continued until we reached Mountaindale, and then stopped until our next leg into the foothills.) And at Mountaindale, we turned back onto Mountaindale Road (but not back the way we came; Banks was the next town on the loop, so we went off to the right and followed it down to highway 26 and the amusingly-named Frogger Junction, which provided a little bit of excitement before we were back into the country for a few miles before we crossed even more railroad tracks (better maintained crossings here) then deadended onto highway 47 just south of the Wilson River Highway and the south end of Banks.

There aren’t any controls in Banks, but there is a Thriftway just north of the Wilson River Highway, and it has a nice canopy out front that you can park your bicycle under if you need to wring yourself out from the rain. And if you go a mile further north, you reach the junction with Cedar Canyon Road, where there’s a nice gas station just across the street from it (and just across the street from the just-finished new trailhead for the Banks-Vernonia trail.) And then it’s west along Cedar Canyon Road, which hugs the side of Cedar Canyon and alternates between going through farmland and going through the woods for about 3 miles to the final info control, which has nobody there, but is conveniently located about 9 miles away from the end of the loop.

Some of the potentially more unpleasant part of the ride comes just past this info control, because you need to ride along the Wilson River Highway for about ¾ths mile before you reach Stafford Road, which takes you up (half a mile or so of 6%(?) grade; I took my xtracycle up it last year in a ~30 inch gear with a mainly flat rear tire and didn’t end up dead at the top. ) and deposits you on Strohmayer Road (which becomes Kansas City Road, and eventually Thatcher Road, but if you get that far you’ve gone too far because you needed to turn left at the old schoolhouse on Kemper Road,) which swoopily takes you up and down (but generally down; the ramp on Stafford Road is basically it for climbs of any consequence) through hazelnut orchards, nursery fields, and croplands until you turn left one last time and head towards Verboort and the end of the line. (It’s basically a direct run into Verboort along Kemper/Osterman/Visitation, because Osterman ceases to be a road and becomes a gravel track at the turn onto Visitation; if you follow the paved road you’re going the right direction.)

One thing of note along Kansas City Road (about halfway between where Strohmayer becomes Kansas City and where you turn onto Kemper) is Love’s barn, which is just an old barn except that it’s got several hundred pairs of antlers nailed to it. It’s an impressive sight even if you pass it at speed (guilty; the first time I rode this loop I was too wet and annoyed with my stupid rear wheel to see it, but the last two times I just turned my head and thought “yup, that’s a lot of antlers!” as I sailed by.)

But, anyway, once you reach Verboort there’s allegedly a bike corral somewhere around the church. We’re going to try to set up the final control there; it might be some sort of RUSA/ORR banner, or it might just be a sign saying “Randonneurs stop here!” We’re not sure yet, but your friendly cold sleep-deprived organizer will tell you what to look for at ~8:45am saturday morning.

And the weather forecast claims that there’s only a “chance” of rain. A low of about 39°F, but only a “chance” of rain. So if you dress warmly, there’s a good chance it will be a pleasant ride with no surprises except for maybe a secret control or two.


  1. I didn’t take many (I took two) pictures this time because of the rain and cold, but I took a bunch when I pre-prerode the loop at the end of September. We can’t promise the weather will be this nice, but this is what the line looks like when it’s not cloudy and/or rainy.
  2. We’ve (and by we, I mean Ed) updated the cuesheet, which I then converted to pdf for people who have web access but don’t have MS-Office and/or OpenOffice.

Cute baby picture of the day

Monster March Silas

There might be activity all around, but Silas is able to make his own space inside the 2010 Monster March.

Oct 30, 2010

Trolley picture of the day

A pair of eastbound SD70s at 1st & Oak

When I went out to preride (again) the Verboort Flat Tire Extravaganza! (which, I suppose, I should start calling by its official name now that I’ve ridden it twice without having my wheels explode out from under me) this morning, I rode my bicycle downtown so I could meet up with Theo Roffe & Ed Groth, ride the interurban out to Hillsboro, and then go on bike from that point. While I was waiting for Theo, Ed, and the 6:40 train, this eastbound train pulled into the opposite platform, so I had to take a picture of it before I turned and dragged the midlifecrisismobile onto the westbound train for the trip out to the wilds of Washington County.

Oct 29, 2010

Friday Dust Mite Blogging™


It’s been a long and tiring week, and all Dust Mite has the energy to do is sit exhaustedly on the Murray Baja Experience! for this week’s Friday Dust Mite Blogging.

Oct 27, 2010

Railroad picture of the day

Sesame bean paste balls -- yummy!

The sushi train goes around the corner taking its cargo of yummy sesame bean paste balls away to another diner :-(

Oct 26, 2010

Railroad picture of the day

EPT 901

EPT 901 sits forlornly on one of the Milwaukie shop sidings.

Oct 25, 2010

It doesn’t take much to slashdot my web server

Reddit upgraded to a fairly recent version of discount just the other day, and mentioned that they did so on their weblog this morning.

So there was a modest uptick in traffic to tsfr and gehenna today. 1100 or so hits via reddit, and a handful of hits from other sites coming in to slurp up newer versions of discount.

It was as if someone had dipped the server in molasses.

gehenna has been living on a virtual machine for the past six months or so, and it’s not a very large virtual machine (64mb core, 10gb disk, a slice of a quad-core Q8200; it’s half the memory, but everything else as large or larger than the old freebsd 4.10 physical machine) but once apache starts trying to serve up web pages that 64mb goes all to hell pretty quickly.

I’d switch to thttpd, except that I do virtual hosting and

  1. thttpd’s virtual hosting setup is ugly, and
  2. I use differently named userdirs for the virtual hosts (weblog. -> ~user/weblog; www. -> ~user/WWW) which thttpd doesn’t do.

And I foolishly use mod_perl and mod_php, both of which are painfully slow on more modern machines.

So I’ll grit my teeth and wait for a while; maybe I can set up some sort of hybrid system where I use thttpd+local hackery to serve all the static and cgi-driven webpages I’ve got, but retain the much larger webserver that is apache for my perl and php needs.

And I’ll just have to hope slashdot doesn’t link to me.


Out on the line

And that's why the crossing gate was down

A northbound Cascades interrupts my ride down to Bob’s Red Mill this morning.

Oct 24, 2010

Fall Colors

A distant view of the Portland Traction shops

Red & yellow foliage & railroad equipment.

Oct 23, 2010

New (trivial bug!) Code!

As I suspected, the dot-zero curse hit the 2.0 Discount release, so I’ve had to push out a quick bugfix release today. When I walked through and replaced all the compile time options with runtime options, I managed to reverse the conditional for relaxed emphasis, so that you need to set MKD_NORELAXED or MKD_STRICT to enable relaxed emphasis.


Well, here’s version 2.0.1 which reverses the reversed test, plus adds a couple of test cases for a couple of table of contents bugs (one that caused it to generate non-xhtml id= attributes, the other that caused a core dump) and fixed the relaxed emphasis testcases that still assumed that relaxed emphasis was a compile-time option.

Oct 22, 2010

Friday Dust Mite Blogging™

Dust Mite, Pinata, Spenser, and the Bellows II

Contrary to the logo, Spenser does not have a Pentium II inside. Polyfill, yes, but no doped silicon.

Picture of the day

morning cloudbreak

Funny blue gunk in the sky this morning. I wonder what it was?

New Code (and it’s a dot-zero release, too!)

Discount has been pushed up to version 2.0 with three fixes in table-of-contents handling (it would dump core if a header item contained a link, the labels generated for id= were not xhtml compatable, and if the headers included [][] constructs the resulting labels would be barkingly hideous,) and (by the simple expedient of breaking the published interface by expanding the flags field from an int to an at least 32 bit scalar (to fit the 22-and-counting option flags that discount now has)) restructures the code so that the only things that are compile-time options are memory allocation debugging and proper tab settings.

It’s a .0 release, of course, so there may be some horrible bugs just waiting to fall out in the places I’ve not written test cases for yet, but there are many advantages to having the vast majority of the features be settable at runtime and I decided that this was a good time to make the change.

This code has been tested on MacOS, FreeBSD 4.8, and FreeBSD 7.{something}, so it’s moderately stable and safe (safe enough so I could regenerate the discount web page and this post on tsfr, so it might even be safe enough for you!) Just remember that the interface has changes (so you need to recompile everything) and it should be a moderately safe and thrilling ride on this New Code! for your weekend.

Oct 21, 2010

Life on the river

The Western Comet sails on by

The Western Comet heads north while I head south this afternoon.

It’s starting to look like I might have trouble getting two R200s in this month…

it must be fall

If I look on the bright side, at least it’s not going to be quite as offputtingly cold in the mornings as it’s been for the past week. But that’s pretty much it for the bright side; the el-cheapo O2 raincoat I’ve been using doesn’t have much in the way of rain resistance anymore (and the somewhat more substantial replacement raincoat I ordered during the REI fall sail is now on some sort of double-secret maybe-its-on-backorder-maybe-we’ll-cancel-the-order list) and I’ve got a bit of a cold right now that I suspect won’t do any better if I soak it for nine hours.

Oct 20, 2010

Stealth bicycle

Camouflaged Xtracycle

My trek blends into the shadows.

Cute baby picture of the day

Melodramatic Silas

Silas collapses on the grass.

Life on the river

Racing the RossIsle to the Hawthorne Bridge

Once again I crossed the mouth of the Ross Island lagoon just as a tugboat set off for the north. And once again I made it over the Hawthorne Bridge before it lifted for it.

Oct 18, 2010

Watching the ongoing collapse of the old .us domain

Around 3pm today, all of a sudden stopped resolving. This was not a particularly good thing to see, given that that’s the primary address for my mail and web, so I took a brief look at the dns.

It turns out that the upstream domain (not host; the domain) appears to have been abandoned. There are three nameserver that serve the domain, and two of them are dead (NS.ALTERNATIVE.NET & while the other one (RAIN.PSG.COM) doesn’t respond to any requests inside the domain (at all; the other one I tested was the now-abandoned (because it’s TOO HARD to type periods) that used to point to the city until about 10 months ago.) still works, of course. As does Neither of which I actually USE as anything except for redirects because I live in

Which is now dead.

(roll eyes)

At least the domain is still functional. Think of the poor scammers who wouldn’t be able to send me mail if it wasn’t.

UPDATE: And it’s 7pm, and the domain is silently back in existance on two of the three domain servers (RAIN.PSG.COM, NS.ALTERNATIVE.NET.) I suspect that is the primary for the domain these days, and when it falls over dead for a week or so the entire PORTLAND.OR.US domain just silently evaporates the way domains on pell do when I forget to manually update the zones on my nsd-driven secondary NS.

Oct 17, 2010

Railroad picture of the day

Oregon Pacific tamper-aligner

Oregon Pacific MOW equipment in a parklike setting at Linn & 11th in Sellwood.

1 comment

Oct 16, 2010


A badly parked sportscar?

A wrecked sportscar slowly disintegrates out alongside (and down an embankment from) Sunshine Valley Road.

Oct 15, 2010

Not a particularly compelling reason to buy another Shimano dynamo hub

Three months and about 2500 miles ago, the front hub on my bicycle went to hell in a handbasket and needed to be taken apart and repacked. This week (starting ~200 miles ago) it jumped back into the handbasket and went clanking and popping off down the line (at least I’m pretty certain that’s what’s clanking and popping, because today I could feel some of the clanks through the handlebars, and when I spun it by hand this evening after returning from work I could feel, once again, the irritatingly abrasive feel of the wheel spinning, then catching, then spinning, then catching.

I’ve gotten pretty spoiled with my other wheels; none of them have made even the slightest motion towards running in that sort of annoyingly rough manner than demands a repack. But having to pry apart and repack the non-electrical side of the front hub on the mlcm twice (so far) in a year is not exactly the sort of thing that makes me want to get another shimano dynamo hub when this one finally dies the true death of drive-side lubrication breaking down (that’s the side the you can’t disassemble thanks to the wires leading from the commutator out to the power leads) or something simply disintegrating in the bearing race.

I’d love to have a dynamo hub with a grease gun attachment point. It would make it much easier to repack if I could just connect up a grease hub and blast the old dirty grease away. But failing that I’ll have to look back at the hideously expensive (but allegedly super-reliable) Schmidt dynohubs, and calculate whether it’s feasable to buy one with the money I’m earning from this contract programming I’m doing.

Friday Dust Mite Blogging™

Dust Mite has a posse

Dust Mite and the gang.

The spiders are out in force today

Two spiderwebs, but only one spider

There were many more webs like these two when I stepped out of the door this morning.

Oct 13, 2010

Even more tiny industrial railway action!

Same old sushi restaurant, but the industrial railway is now being powered by EMD.


Spider picture of the day

Orb weaver of the day

Just another of the many orb weavers who’ve set up shop on our front porch.

Oct 11, 2010

To Protect & Serve, cat style

Mavis guards the mlcm

Burglars beware! This bicycle is protected by a napping cat!

The fog slowly lifts over portland

Foggy Ross Island lagoon

… but it lingers along the river for long enough for some pretty photographs en passant.

Oct 10, 2010

Takeaway pizza

Trek 1000 with 255 square inches of pizza

I would probably be better off with a pizza-sized shelf attached across the top of the xtracycle rails, but a piece of coroplast and strapping does the job well enough.

Oct 08, 2010

Friday Dust Mite Blogging™

Chilling in the fridge

Dust Mite keeps it cool.

Trolley picture of the day

Trolley Jail

A northbound Clackamas train pulls out of Powell St. Station as I head on past towards (but not very directly towards) home this afternoon.

Oct 07, 2010

The clouds roll on in

ray of sunlight

A ray of sunlight pokes through a bank of clouds at around 17:30 this afternoon.

Huh, I didn’t realize just how much difference the stoplights made

Normally, it takes me 18-20 minutes to go between home and work (my fastest time was about 17 minutes when I was really pushing it one day and managed to make it from Market & 1st to Harrison & 1st before the light changed) but this morning, when I wasn’t really trying that hard, it took me a whopping 15 minutes to ride the ~5 miles from home to work because I managed to get a green on every single light on 17th, 12th, Madison, and 1st.

That’s almost as fast as taking the bus, and the bus shortcuts across the Ross Island bridge instead of looping north to the Hawthorne Bridge. Admittedly, the bus gives me the option of carrying my *istDS without running the risk of having it bounce out of the handlebar bag and splat itself on the pavement, and I can also read while I’m not taking pictures, but riding the bicycle helps keep my blood pressure down to to below the “blood spurting out my ears when I get irritated” level.

Domestic vermin picture of the day


Mavis finds a nice pillow to nap on.

Oct 06, 2010

Winter is coming

Too much shadow on the Springwater Trail

At 6pm, my shadow is already lunging for the eastern horizon. Winter is coming, alas.

1 comment

Is this an advantage or disadvantage of a narrow tire?

I was coming home from work last night via one of my more direct routes (Hawthorne Bridge -> Division -> i205 path -> Springwater Trail -> Johnson Creek Blvd -> Springwater Trail -> 17th -> Bybee) and when I was sailing down Johnson Creek Blvd at ~25mph, I got the chance to switch back onto the Springwater Trail at 55th. I’d been sailing along without fuss, muss, or bother, but when I turned sharply left to get off Johnson Creek (there’s the crest of a little hill just east of 55th, so you don’t see cars coming west until they’re almost at 55th) it suddenly felt as if the rear tire was sliding on ice.

So I stopped when I reached the Springwater Trail and took a look at the rear wheel, and discovered the rear tire was completely and absolutely flat (when I looked at it at home it appeared to be a pinchflat, so I must have ridden over a sharp-edged pothole at some point on my trip back home.) When did it happen? Beats me. The Springwater Trail was recently repaved, and a large chunk of Johnson Creek has also been repaved, so there’s not much there in the department of potholes.

I don’t think I lost air on Division or the i205 path, because there are fairly sharp turns from Division to the i205 path, and then from the i205 path to the Springwater Trail, but was I running for 3 miles on the Springwater Trail on a dead flat tire?

Fortunately the sidewalls of the tire don’t appear to be at all mangled, so it doesn’t really matter, but I’m not sure if it should be encouraging or distressing that I can sail along – at what is for me a really high speed – on a flat tire for any distance at all without even knowing it (the xtracycle, with 28mm tires, lets me know in no uncertain terms when the tire goes flat – if the tire gets too low, it feels like the rear end is sliding even when I’m rowing along a tangent. 25mm isn’t that much smaller; maybe it’s the tires?)

Oct 04, 2010

Undesirable side-effects of getting old.

I turned 50 a couple of months ago, and this had the unfortunate side-effect of meaning that the vast database infrastructure of the parasitic insurance company known as the AARP rolled into action against me and has been barraging me pretty much nonstop with almost daily demands that I give them some of my money so their executives can strip themselves naked and rub it all all over their body.

Disgusting (and it certainly shows just how effective any so-called privacy laws are here in the American Imperium), but this last week it got even worse. I’ve never exchanged any sort of email with those parasites, but I’ve started getting spam (from machines in the address space, of course) whining that the executive suite is getting cold and the board of directors will start to get goosebumps if they can’t rub themselves with my lovely lovely money.

Does the AARP target people who live elsewhere in the world? Canada has become a lot less appealing now that their government is composed of a collection of parties that spend most of their day looking wistfully over their southern border and sighing “I wish we could be just like ☆☆America☆☆”, but if skipping over the border would cut down on the spam it would make up for a lot.

1 comment

Oct 02, 2010

Cute baby picture of the day

Silas works on his afternoon snack

Silas is very intently cutting up his chocolate donut into smaller & easier to chomp upon segments.

Oct 01, 2010

The welcoming committee

Spider 2

One of the three spiders who’ve set up residence right by the front door. When I go out in the morning, I can feel their beady little eyes measuring me and trying to decide whether to spin a really big web or not.

Friday Dust Mite Blogging™

Dust Mite & macbook

Dust Mite reminds me that it’s friday.

Tugboat racing

The Western Comet races me towards the Hawthorne Bridge

I’ve been down with a cold most of the week, and even though today I don’t feel quite as bad as I’ve felt the last three days I decided that this would be a good time to take the (grade separated, and easily graded) Springwater Trail from Sellwood over to the Hawthorne Bridge. I wasn’t exactly dawdling, but I wasn’t going particularly quickly when I reached the mouth of the Ross Island lagoon, but when I noticed that the Western Comet was heading south it didn’t take very long at all for me to realize that one of the two destinations for it was likely to be on the NORTH side of the Hawthorne Bridge, which would mean that I’d end up cooling my heels if it made it to the Ross Island Bridge before I made it to the lift span on the Hawthorne Bridge.

So I stomped on the gas and rode down to the Hawthorne Bridge as if I was being pursued by an army of political canvassers. And about two blocks after I crossed the bridge I heard a chorus of hoots from the Western Comet, as if it was saying “hoo yoo, here I am! Time to lift the bridge, please!”

Which I didn’t particularly care about anymore, because now I was on the correct side of the river for work-related purposes.