First Bicycle Adventure of the Year

Dear Liza,

With warm and sunny weather in the forecast, it was only a matter of time before someone said, “We should go out for a bike ride.” This year, it was Auntie Bridgett.

So we did! There was some time spent pumping up tires and untangling bungee cords, but very soon we were off! Grandpa Nelson and Bridgett wore shorts, but I don’t own any! I wore jeans.

We decided to stay on “Greenways”, which are regular streets, but designated as “Bikes have the right of way”, and on special bikes-only paths. This means we didn’t have to worry about getting run over by cars. Always a good thing.

We headed down 34th to the Clinton neighborhood. I thought we were going for ice cream, but we kept going and going. We crossed the railroad tracks using the overpass, and the elevator was surprisingly working! It was very cool.

Not so surprisingly, we found ourselves at Grandpa Nelson’s favorite place : The Tilikum Bridge.

We hopped off the bikes and enjoyed the views of the river right below us and Mount Hood, covered in snow almost a hundred miles away. We were being watched over by a light fixture that looks like something from Star Wars.

But we were feeling the miles and the sun, and decided to head back towards home and find some nourishment. We found another branch of Broder, the Scandinavian restaurant we have enjoyed in the Mississippi neighborhood. Not needing lunch but desperate for sugar and hydration, we ordered ableskivers, lemonade, and cucumber soda. What a treat!

Ableskivers are a Danish speciality, round-like-the-globe doughnutty pieces of fabulousness, and are served with lemon curd and lingonberry jam. We stuffed ourselves and slurped the sweet sodas. It was wonderful.

Eventually, though, we did need to start back. I was dreading going back up the hill, but once I figured out my gearshift ( I have to re-learn it every year) I was fine.

We pulled in, parked the bikes, drank more water, and pretty much crashed. We had only done four miles, but with muscles that hadn’t been used in more than two years.

We will get out for another ride soon, I hope!

Love,

Grandma Judy

Poet’s Beach

Dear Liza,

On Saturday, I took Auntie Bridgett on a walk to one of my favorite places, Poet’s Beach, on the West Bank of the Willamette. It is a three mile walk from our house, but it is all a gentle downhill slope, so it doesn’t feel that far! And since it was National Teddy Bear Picnic Day, we took Patches and Brown Bear along.

Walking through new neighborhoods is always fun, so I try to take streets I haven’t been down. This time, we discovered this new tiny free library. It has a chalkboard for messages, and the door opens UP, like a garage door. Very pretty and practical.

As we left the neighborhood and got down by the railroad tracks in the industrial area, shade was hard to find. We were grateful for our hats and the cool breeze from the river.

We found a beautiful new street mural in front of the Portland Opera. It is too big to show in one photo, but here is a fisheye lens picture that shows a keyboard producing music, which then swirls out into the world.

We got to the best bridge in town, the Tilikum Crossing. This bridge is only for pedestrians, busses, and trains. No cars! It is also the newest bridge and not a drawbridge, so it is quieter, without the bangity-bang of the older metal ones.

We picked up lunch at the Starbucks just on the other side, and carried it to our picnic spot by the river. Poet’s Beach!

This is a small area, just under the very loud Marquam Bridge. The river bank here is sandy and the bridge makes deep shade, which we really appreciated on the warm day. The reason this little area is called Poet’s Beach is that there are poems by school children etched into stones along the path down to the river.

We had our tasty lunch, harassed by a very bossy flock of geese who wanted some. They got a surprise, though, when a lady and her dog showed up, and the dog scared the geese right back into the river. We went on our way, too. We enjoyed watching folks play in the fountains and along the promenade of the Tom McCall Waterfront Park.

We walked back across the Willamette on the Morrison Bridge, and then figured out that we were pretty tired. We caught the magic number 15 bus home and rested while watching the Giants beat the Washington nationals.

Another day in Paradise, as they say.

Love,

Grandma Judy

Long Walk to the River….

Dear Liza,

I woke up Tuesday feeling the need to take charge of something, to get out and DO.The weather was predicted to be cool in the morning and get really warm by noon, so whatever I was going to do had to happen early.

Bright changing leaves dazzle the eye…

So, right after coffee and before Grandpa Nelson was out of bed, I headed off for a long walk through the Fall sunshine. I headed toward the river. This is sort of cheating because it is all down hill, but the neighborhood is wonderful.

I found this poem by Jellaludin Rumi framed in a safe place. I liked the sentiment, but also the way my reflection got into the picture. It made this idea of “being human” even more human!

“This Being Human” by Rumi

I continued through Ladd’s Addition and into the more industrial part of the Southeast. This fabulous mural, with live plants for hair, was painted by Fin DAC and is called “Attitude of Gratitude.” The building houses a fancy Cuban restaurant on the ground floor and apartments above, and the main office of Solterra, a company that makes vertical planters like the lady’s hair.

Attitude of Gratitude

The area by the railroad tracks and warehouses is a bit run down, but in the bright sunshine, with the river and West Hills just beyond, everything looked pretty.

A bit cluttered, but very pretty…

After about an hour of solid walking, I found the Willamette River! On this sunny day, it was busy with kayakers, jet skis, and motorboats, all dancing on the sparkling water.

The mighty Willamette River

Tilikum Crossing Bridge is the newest bridge in the city and my absolute favorite. It was built in 2015 just for transit and pedestrians.The blue of the sky and the white cables made for a lovely sight. Mount Hood, just sixty miles away, was barely visible through the haze to the East.

Not so far away Mt. Hood

I spent quite a lot of time on the bridge, soaking up the breeze and the sunshine.

Built with no right angles, to let the wind spill off

But where to go next? I’ll tell you tomorrow!

Happy me!

Love,

Grandma Judy