© 2015 The Nielsens

Dogdander
Day Six: He Went Thataway… Portland to St Helens, Oregon Today’s mileage: 39 Total bike mileage so far: 229 Local Gas Prices: $2.81, and that is with full service Weather: Cool with a lot of smoke in the air Saddle Sore-o-meter reading: 1.5 Animals for the day:  Crises Averted:       That new bike-specific GPS we bought for this year’s trip is small, attaches neatly to Berta’s  stem, and does a great job with getting around our hometown. For instance, it knew how to get  through the university, including what exit to take on all of the bicycle path traffic circles.  However, we did notice these ominous words in the GPS paperwork: “The device is designed to  provide route suggestions only. It is not a replacement for attentiveness, good judgement, and  proper preparation”. Do we need to have all three of those things at the same time?       When we don’t have Adventure Cycling maps to follow, we plan our days by using Google  Maps with bike directions. When we set out in the morning, we don’t always have turn-by-turn  instructions. Let’s just say we COULD have turn-by-turn instructions, but we don’t. Today, we  struck out with a general understanding that we needed to go West and then North to get to  Highway 30. We fired up the GPS and asked for it to direct us to St. Helens. We climbed a hill,  Check! We swept to the West, Check! We saw a bicycle route sign that said “Hwy 30 1.4 miles  St. Helens”, Check! Then, we don’t know what happened. We pedaled up a couple of monster  hills. We kept thinking Highway 30 was nearby. We came to a nice little town with a local  version of a Whole Foods market. That may seem nice—for Berta, who likes Whole Foods, it  had potential to be nice—but the truth is that you cannot get a reasonable little bottle of grape  juice at Whole Foods. You can get a pint of Kombucha or a quart of no-sugar-added cranberry- infused artisan water. God help you if you just want a jolt of sugar with fruit flavoring.       In this market, Berta walked up to the deli counter and completed a sandwich order form. As  she handed the form to the worker, she explained that we were going to carry this sandwich on  our bikes until we decided to have lunch. We don’t want the sandwich to be all soggy but we  also don’t want crusty bread because John is very sensitive to crusty bread. This was the  challenge that our sandwich craftsperson needed today. The lettuce went against the bread on  both sides for insulation. The meat, jalapenos, and pepperoncinis went on next. We avoided  tomatoes because those don’t travel well. She would have given us two pounds of extra  containers and implements if Berta would’ve let her. Berta selected some pasta salad, so the  woman wanted to give her two forks and two plastic bowls for us to use. No, Berta insisted we  would use one fork to eat from the container the salad came in. The woman said her husband  never would eat from the same container as other people. Berta was thinking, “He should go on  a bike trip and see how desperate he can get”. Like we really want to carry an extra fork and two  plastic bowls!       She did manage to slip in a tiny sample spoon for us to apply condiments. We had the  sandwich a while later while sitting in the dry grass on the side of the road. We looked around,  decided there wasn’t poison oak around, found a clear spot, and sat down. The jalapeno  mustard was a brilliant addition to our turkey sandwich, and John did use that tiny spoon.  Carrying a real meal on bike trips has been a big advance for us—it makes all the difference to  be able to eat right when you decide you need to eat, and having something savory is a nice  change from all of those pies. Just when we were mid-bite, a woman on a fancy road bike  passed by and congratulated us on our menu.      Highway 30 into St. Helens, when we found it, had wide shoulders and the Oregon drivers  continued to be good to us. There are wildfires in the Northwest again this year, and the smoke  moved in heavily today. The big wildfire in Washington State is far from here, but that smoke  has carried. There was a small wildfire within a few miles of our route that was contained  quickly, but it also created a lot of smoke. By the time we got into St. Helens, we welcomed the  chance to get inside with conditioned air.       The marquee at the motel proclaimed “Welcome Class of ‘65”. John wanted to walk the halls,  saying “Wow! It’s been a long time since I’ve seen you!”, but all of the reunioners had pushed  their walkers and oxygen tanks into their rooms already.       Place names are very entertaining in Oregon. We rode through Scappoose today. It was  good for maybe twelve different pronunciations and several repetitions of each.        Berta ordered a Cobb Salad for dinner, thinking that it would be a lighter option. Yes, we had  reached that point when it becomes tiring to eat enough food. Not to worry, though, the salad  had what looked like one whole package of lunchmeat on the Eastside and another whole  package of lunchmeat on the West. There was a cup each of sliced black olives, cheddar  cheese, and croutons. This was all atop about six cups of Iceberg lettuce. Berta is still chewing.

© 2015 The Nielsens

Day Six: He Went Thataway… Portland to St Helens, Oregon Today’s mileage: 39 Total bike mileage so far: 229 Local Gas Prices: $2.81, and that is with full service Weather: Cool with a lot of smoke in the air Saddle Sore-o-meter reading: 1.5 Animals for the day:  Crises Averted:       That new bike-specific GPS we bought for this year’s trip is small, attaches neatly to Berta’s  stem, and does a great job with getting around our hometown. For instance, it knew how to get  through the university, including what exit to take on all of the bicycle path traffic circles.  However, we did notice these ominous words in the GPS paperwork: “The device is designed to  provide route suggestions only. It is not a replacement for attentiveness, good judgement, and  proper preparation”. Do we need to have all three of those things at the same time?       When we don’t have Adventure Cycling maps to follow, we plan our days by using Google  Maps with bike directions. When we set out in the morning, we don’t always have turn-by-turn  instructions. Let’s just say we COULD have turn-by-turn instructions, but we don’t. Today, we  struck out with a general understanding that we needed to go West and then North to get to  Highway 30. We fired up the GPS and asked for it to direct us to St. Helens. We climbed a hill,  Check! We swept to the West, Check! We saw a bicycle route sign that said “Hwy 30 1.4 miles  St. Helens”, Check! Then, we don’t know what happened. We pedaled up a couple of monster  hills. We kept thinking Highway 30 was nearby. We came to a nice little town with a local  version of a Whole Foods market. That may seem nice—for Berta, who likes Whole Foods, it  had potential to be nice—but the truth is that you cannot get a reasonable little bottle of grape  juice at Whole Foods. You can get a pint of Kombucha or a quart of no-sugar-added cranberry- infused artisan water. God help you if you just want a jolt of sugar with fruit flavoring.       In this market, Berta walked up to the deli counter and completed a sandwich order form. As  she handed the form to the worker, she explained that we were going to carry this sandwich on  our bikes until we decided to have lunch. We don’t want the sandwich to be all soggy but we  also don’t want crusty bread because John is very sensitive to crusty bread. This was the  challenge that our sandwich craftsperson needed today. The lettuce went against the bread on  both sides for insulation. The meat, jalapenos, and pepperoncinis went on next. We avoided  tomatoes because those don’t travel well. She would have given us two pounds of extra  containers and implements if Berta would’ve let her. Berta selected some pasta salad, so the  woman wanted to give her two forks and two plastic bowls for us to use. No, Berta insisted we  would use one fork to eat from the container the salad came in. The woman said her husband  never would eat from the same container as other people. Berta was thinking, “He should go on  a bike trip and see how desperate he can get”. Like we really want to carry an extra fork and two  plastic bowls!       She did manage to slip in a tiny sample spoon for us to apply condiments. We had the  sandwich a while later while sitting in the dry grass on the side of the road. We looked around,  decided there wasn’t poison oak around, found a clear spot, and sat down. The jalapeno  mustard was a brilliant addition to our turkey sandwich, and John did use that tiny spoon.  Carrying a real meal on bike trips has been a big advance for us—it makes all the difference to  be able to eat right when you decide you need to eat, and having something savory is a nice  change from all of those pies. Just when we were mid-bite, a woman on a fancy road bike  passed by and congratulated us on our menu.      Highway 30 into St. Helens, when we found it, had wide shoulders and the Oregon drivers  continued to be good to us. There are wildfires in the Northwest again this year, and the smoke  moved in heavily today. The big wildfire in Washington State is far from here, but that smoke  has carried. There was a small wildfire within a few miles of our route that was contained  quickly, but it also created a lot of smoke. By the time we got into St. Helens, we welcomed the  chance to get inside with conditioned air.       The marquee at the motel proclaimed “Welcome Class of ‘65”. John wanted to walk the halls,  saying “Wow! It’s been a long time since I’ve seen you!”, but all of the reunioners had pushed  their walkers and oxygen tanks into their rooms already.       Place names are very entertaining in Oregon. We rode through Scappoose today. It was  good for maybe twelve different pronunciations and several repetitions of each.        Berta ordered a Cobb Salad for dinner, thinking that it would be a lighter option. Yes, we had  reached that point when it becomes tiring to eat enough food. Not to worry, though, the salad  had what looked like one whole package of lunchmeat on the Eastside and another whole  package of lunchmeat on the West. There was a cup each of sliced black olives, cheddar  cheese, and croutons. This was all atop about six cups of Iceberg lettuce. Berta is still chewing.