Sunday, November 24, 2013

Coffeeneuring #7: Coffeeshop Without Walls - Sunday, November 3rd

Michael W's wife Allison purchased a Chemex coffee maker for Michael's most recent birthday.   With the two of them having an infant at home, getting out for coffeeneuring can be a challenge.  So Michael invited a small group of us over to his home for a "Without Walls" coffeeneuring adventure!

I rode my bike over to Beaverton with the intent to take the MAX over the hill and meet Bill in town for the ride to Michael's.   The trees are still a riot of color.

On the way to Beaverton

Upon getting to Beaverton, I realized that I was early.  Very very early.  As in spring-ahead-fall-behind kind of early.  Yup, the clocks had changed and I was an hour ahead of time.

What else to do but have a pre-coffee coffee?!  I popped into Edge Coffee and had a latte while I killed time.

Showing off my LEL vest.

Edge gets it.
 Eventually I met Bill & we rode over to Micheal's house.  Micheal explained to us his process for roasting beans with a popcorn popper!

Green beans
The secret roasting equipment

Birthday Chemex

Bikes and coffee.  Photo courtesy of Bill Alsup.
The family is gluten free and Allison has a keen interest in gluten free baking.  I brought over some gluten free banana muffins I'd made the night before, and we had a long conversation about the keys to GF baked goods.

And of course, we spent a fair bit of time admiring the newest member of the family, Miss Marjorie!

Someone finally woke up!

Photo courtesy of Bill Alsup

Roundtrip miles for the day: 20.8

Total coffee mile for the challenge: 296.1

Coffeeneuring # 6: Bridge of the Gods - Sunday, October 27th

Yesterday's coffeeneuring ride with Calvin featured Oregon's rural countryside.  For today's ride, I wanted to show him some very different terrain.  We decided to do the Bridge of the Gods Loop.

My partner Jeff and I picked up Calvin in our car for the drive out to Troutdale.    Kevin met us there.  
While one can start a BOG loop pretty much anywhere, the "traditional" ride start is at McMenamin's Edgefield, where there is ample parking and, more importantly, ample beer in the pub at the conclusion of the ride!

The weather was crappy but our spirits were high as we set out.  The bike path along the Columbia River is always beautiful.

Marine Drive Bike Path.  Photo courtesy of Calvin Boo.

Crossing the I205 Bridge into Washington State is noisy and nearly all uphill, but at least there's a nifty bike path right down the middle.

Jeff crosses the I205 Bridge.  Photo courtesy of Calvin Boo.

With all the rain, we were looking forward to our coffeeneuring spot.  The Caffe Piccolo Paradiso at mile 20 in Camas was perfect.

Blurry photo, apropos of the rainy day!

Obligatory bike shot

Breakfast or dessert?

Vanilla Latte & Pumpkin Bread

My riding buddies are kinda cute, doncha think?  Photo courtesy of Calvin Boo.

 Sadly, we couldn't stay warm & cozy in the cafe, so we headed out into the rain.

Start of the climb up Hwy 14.  Photo courtesy of Calvin Boo

Lots of mist and rain.   Pretty in it's own way.  Photo courtesy of Calvin Boo

At the ride's mid-point, we crossed back into Oregon via the Bridge of the Gods.  The nice folks in the jeep in front of us paid our tolls!

Bridge of the Gods.  Photo courtesy of Calvin Boo

We had a sit-down lunch in the Charburger.  Window seat with great views of the bridge!

Photo courtesy of Calvin Boo
 It's been pointed out to me that we sure do eat a lot of food on these rides.   Yes, yes we do.

Not going hungry.

Leaving the Charburger, we found this fresh kill in the parking lot.  Looks like this guy is going to be on someone's wall soon.

Photo courtesy of Calvin Boo

From Cascade Locks west to just before Multnomah Falls, we followed the historic Columbia River bike trail.   More fairy tale forest.

Photo courtesy of Calvin Boo

You'd think  they could have come up with a better solution here... Photo courtesy of Calvin Boo.
Leaving the trail, we followed the Old Columbia River Hwy, passing many waterfalls along the way, including the ever-spectacular Multnomah Falls.

Multnomah Falls

We climbed to the high bridge

If you know where to look, you can see Jeff & Kevin!

After leaving the falls, the road climbs up to Crown Point, for one last killer view down to the Columbia River before the road heads back down to Troutdale.

The view of the river from Crown Point never gets old.

Fading daylight at Crown Point.

Finally back at McMenamin's Edgefield, we had dinner and beer, a nice reward after nearly 82 miles, much of it in the rain.

Photo courtesy of Calvin Boo

Seriously creepy 3D artwork over our dinner table.

Coffeeneuring mileage for the weekend: 159 miles! 

Coffeeneuring #5: Coffee with Calvin - Saturday, October 26th

This summer, I rode my longest brevet to date.  1418km on London-Edinburgh-London.   Long before the event, the organizers started a Facebook page for people to meet and talk about the event.  A real community developed, and by the time I reached the start line in July, I felt like I'd made many new friends.

One of those friends was Calvin Boo, a randonneur from Singapore.  We never managed to meet face to face during the vent.  But when he sent me a note in September letting me know that he was planning a visit in October, I didn't hesitate to offer to show him the beauty of Oregon by bike.  Along the way, we could visit some far flung coffee shops for Coffeeneuring credit!

I met Calvin in town at the bike shop where he rented a very well equiped road bike.   Rando friend Jeff A met us there, and together we boarded the MAX train to the last stop in Hillsboro.  A 5 mile ride took us to North Plains, where we met up with Bill and Ray.

A pre-coffeeneuring coffee on the way to pick up Calvin.  Black, like the cup.

Multi-modal coffeeneuring!

Together, the 5 of us rode the quiet country roads to Banks and the start of the BV trail.

L to R: Bill, Jeff, Calvin, Ray and yours truly

Coffee posse.

Calvin's pre-visit research had turned up the Banks-Vernonia Trail as a route he was interested in.  Luckily, the BV Trail is one of my favorite rides.   It's a gorgeous rail trail with few road crossings.  No matter the time of year, it's like riding through fairy tale forest for much of the route.

Though it had been overcast much of the morning, I'd remained optimistic that the sun would come out.  And so it did!

At the far terminus of the trail is Vernonia, with the Black Bear Coffee Company.   Many NW rando rides use Vernonia as a control, and countless other recreational riders stop in there during day rides as well.   It's a perfect coffeeneuring destination.

Like turtles on a rock

My usual non-fat vanilla latte.
Before swinging around for the return trip home, we stopped at the park in Vernonia to look at the old train engine.

The sun was low on the horizon as we returned to the beginning of the trail.    A few miles from home, Jeff escorted Calvin back to the MAX while I returned home.

Total mileage for the day: 77 miles (including trips to and from MAX)
Primary Strava ride file here:

Coffeeneuring # 4: Extreme Coffeeneuring - Saturday October 19th

We've been blessed with absolutely beautiful weather this fall.  Sunny and dry, with the trees blazing a riot of orange, yellow and red.

Though I've been trying to reduce my riding miles while training for an early spring 2014 marathon, the weather has made it nearly impossible to stay off my bike.   And so it was that I plotted out  a 77 mile route in pursuit of coffee and sunshine.

Lynne & Asta converged on my house at 8:15 or so, and together with Jeff, we headed out just before 9:00.

These kids are trouble...

We meandered south through suburban neighborhoods, finally crossing the Urban Growth Boundary on River Road south of Hillsboro.   Took the requisite photos of cute babies at the Northwest Alpaca Farm.

Too cute for words.

Sweetpea sparkles in the October sunshine.
 After roughly an hour of riding, we were ready for some snacks and coffee.   South Store Cafe in Scholls did not disappoint!

Yup, pretty sure we've come to the right place.

The baker was a total character.  "Don't bug me while I'm baking!  Get it?  'Bug' me?!"

Cookies the size of lunch plates.   Which kind to choose??

Jeff couldn't decide what to order, so he ordered lots.

Round 1: Breakfast sandwich
Round 2: Peach Cobbler & Cookie

Asta goes for the Torta
My Pumpkin Spice Latte
Bonus pumpkin cookies!

 After (too) much eating and coffee drinking, we bought some cookies to go (well, duh...).  Lynne turned towards home while the rest of us headed up and over the hill towards St. Paul, with a plan of getting a second cuppa at The Banker's Cup.

Heading up hill the jacket came off real quick.

Overexposed and sleeveless in the sunshine!

Look closely and you can spot Mt. Hood dead center.
Along the way, we explored some new roads a bit off the beaten path that I wanted to scout for a possible future permanent.   Found some gravel, but just for a short mile or so.  Totally viable route, even on my skinny tires.

NE Mountain Home Rd turns to gravel at the Yamhill County line.

The pretty switchback up on Bell Rd.

Yard art

At least mine still runs.
Back down in the valley, we followed the St. Paul Hwy over the river to, yes, St. Paul.

Small-town Oregon!

Sadly, the Banker's Cup closed at 1pm.  We'd just missed it.  We consoled ourselves by going across the street to the most excellent Burning Boar BBQ food truck and getting roast pork sliders.

Their logo kinda freaked me out.
So far, we were definitely on the wrong side of the calories consumed to calories burned ratio.   Time to head north towards home and burn a few calories.

Along the way, we happened upon this couple on a fabulous side-by-side recumbent tandem.   They were headed in the opposite direction, but we turned around to ride along with them for a bit and chat.
Home built.

The bike had been built by the male rider, who is blind!   Quite an impressive feat.  Behind the seats is a trunk of sorts, with lots of carrying capacity for gear.   I'm sure the thing weighed a ton, and they weren't moving along at more than 10mph or so, but they were having a grand time in the sun.

By the time we made it back to my house, we'd covered 77 miles in just under 9 hours with more than 3 hours off the bike.  A lovely leisurely way to spend a sunny Saturday in good company!!

Strava route file here: