40 Mile Loop, Part 1

As a sort of penance for failing to turn in my field journal (and then loosing or recycling it during our move), Mike Houck has allowed me to make up the difference with a little make-up work. The deal we made was that I get to keep my grade if I ride and blog about the 40 mile loop (with pictures). He figured it would be fitting since I showed him two previous postings related to the class, and I can only guess the PR section of his brain thought this would be an appropriate replacement. I could have recreated the field notes in excellent detail in roughly an hour, but I figured this would a great motivation to actually ride the trail (in sections) this summer. Today I did the North Portland stretch out to Kelley Point.

Unfortunately, much of the 23 mile ride wasn’t actually on the loop, and large sections of the loop are still incomplete. Imagine my surprise, for example, when I reached a sign out by Kelley Point that said “40 mile loop – End.” Call me crazy, but I thought loops didn’t have “ends,” but rather looped around forever.

I rode out to the NoPo section of the trail by the Portland International Speedway on Interstate Ave. The trail starts in an industrial area along the Columbia Slough and pretty much stays in one for the entire stretch out to the point. There is a brief break near the Smith/Bybee Lakes Wildlife Refuge, but you’re still next to train tracks. I only saw one other biker on the trail at 10am on a Saturday, which was a bit of a surprise. The refuge was also deserted (of birds) though a few families were out walking.

Once I reached Kelley Point, I rode out to see it and was pleased to find another place where Barley might be able to get some swimming in. As I started back, I encountered the “end” of the trail and decided to follow Lombard or Marine Dr south and hopefully around to the St. Johns Bridge. Sadly, there were detours and I got lost as a result of losing my map. At one point I smelled what I thought were bad deli sandwiches, which I then figured out was because I was smelling pickles. Sure enough, a little bit later I passed a big food factory. By the time I made it back into a somewhat recognizable section of street names, I was beat, it was hot, and I was hungry.

I’ve got more to do now – including replacing the map. Maybe I can find it on the Internet somewhere.