A Southeast Portland Adventure

I love it when a routine bike ride turns into something a little different.  This morning, with a promising break in the rain, I set out on my 1975 Centurion for what I thought would be my usual route out to Oaks Bottom and back to town on the Springwater Trail, with a brief stop at Tadpole Pond.  But, as I was getting underway, I could see that other COVID escapees had a similar plan.  My initial leg of the journey was crammed with pedestrians and other cyclists, as well as a fair number of cars.  So, en route I veered off course.

I headed south on SE 28th, past Clinton and Powell, and at that point thought that maybe a stop at the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden would be first up.  I cycled past the encampments which line 28th as one approaches the East Moreland golf course.  The course was fully stocked with golfers teeing off on its manicured greens, and offered a disturbing contrast to the disarray of the encampments just across the course’s fence line.  But, I kept my thoughts in check as I maneuvered the bike through the debris and then pulled in to the Rhodie Garden’s parking lot.  There were only two other bikes parked there, including a cargo bike with kid’s strider bike tucked neatly into its giant bags.

Unfortunately, once again everyone seemed to have the same idea as I did, and the Gardens were jammed with people taking in the serenity of the 9.5 acre park, with its teeming waterfowl.  So, I opted not to go in.  The above videos are from a recent visit (middle of the week, rainy day) when I was lucky to be one of just a few guests.  The birds featured in the 2nd video above are American Wigeons, a type of duck with an interesting, delicate call.

Upon deciding not to head down to Oaks Bottom, which I suspected would also be crowded, I meandered back into town going first north on 22nd from the Sellwood area, and then followed previously un-vetted (by me) cycling “greenway” routes back in to town.  As is sometimes the case with Portland’s cycling infrastructure, the recommended routes can be ill-conceived which I discovered when I found myself at the apex of a 5 way multi-lane intersection with no bike lane in sight.  Once I’d found my way again, I finally had a chance to see the Gideon Crossing, a structure which was built to accommodate cyclists and pedestrians waiting on railroad crossings.  This part of my route was at one time a section of my regular commute but I haven’t been out this way for about a year and a half.  I tried out the elevator, and then walked my bike across the bridge.  All worked fine, and the view from up top was fun.

Once back in town, I stopped off at one of my favorite local haunts, and a place that I miss now that “hanging out” is not an option.  Often there are interesting bikes (and persons!) parked out front.  Today it was quiet, so I ordered a latte and began a walk through the neighborhood while I sipped my decaf, in between re-masking whenever others were nearby.

And that’s when today’s special moment happened.  I approached an intersection that I ride every day on my commute, but I came at it from a different direction.  I caught a whiff of something extraordinary and unexpected during the height of winter:  the fragrance of jasmine, strong and powerful.  I looked up to see a lovely stone house with a front garden which has to be the envy of all its neighbors.  It was teeming with jasmine plants in full bloom and with ripe berries as well.  What a fantastic way to wrap up today’s journey.  In that instance, my trip turned into an adventure instead of a ride. The fragrance of the jasmine is still with me.

8 thoughts on “A Southeast Portland Adventure

  1. I have a Centurion Le Mans RS my joy ride. It’s not fast nor is it slow it just takes me where I want to go 😜

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