A “Best of” Commute

I’ve often said that I’ve been pretty lucky, over many jobs in Portland, to have some of the best commutes possible. Some of this is just me loving any commute, but some of it, I’m pretty sure, is objectively true: I’ve had some pretty great commutes.

The other week, I relived a bunch of them.

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(daffodils over Highway 26)

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Totally antsy and stir-crazy, I took an extra long early-morning “commute” back to work at home, in what ended up being a highlight tour of some of my favorite parts of some of my favorite old commutes.

Starting south down the Springwater Corridor, I re-lived the ride from when I was teaching middle school in Milwaukie. This is the commute that ultimately precipitated my getting binoculars and starting to learn about birds, in large part because of the bald eagles I would see almost every morning on the way to school. On this hodgepodge pandemic commute, the eagles are still there — different individuals, I’m sure, but still there, and joined by so many other birds I now know so much more about.

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(Oaks Bottom Wetlands, off the Springwater Corridor. I would hang out here if I were a bird; wouldn’t you?;)

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From there, I crossed the Sellwood Bridge and rode up Riverview Cemetery — a double old-school commute, since when I first started teaching, before we bought our house, that was my ride home to SW, but it was also my commute even before then in college, when I was a nanny for one of my professor’s kiddos in Sellwood. That summer, on my super beater mountain bike, I learned that I could, in fact, go up hills.

Riverview Cemetery remains one of my favorite close-in places to ride in Portland.

I considered heading toward Lake Oswego from there, biking through Tryon Creek State Park, but given that the path there is not super wide and I wasn’t sure it was actually even open since Oregon State Parks are closed, I opted instead to stick to wide-open roads, heading north and west over to Hillsdale and then up Council Crest. That’s right: going up (almost) to the top of Council Crest was actually a real commute for me too, back when I was in grad school and student teaching way the heck out by Beaverton.

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(I made some artsy biking friends on the way there)

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Dosch Road is a long hill! But I made it. (Phew!) And when I got to the top, a Portland Parks employee grandly opened the gate for me. Ha! It’s closed to cars right now, but he happened to be standing there, and rather than make me get on the sidewalk to go around the gate, he just opened it up all for me, which was sweet:)

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(misty wonderland at the top — plus flowers:)

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From there, I kept going on my student teaching commute, Hewett Road over to Highway 26. But rather than keep heading west from there — I did actually need to get home for work, after all — I turned eastward, the short and little-used path that takes you to the Oregon Zoo and into Washington Park. That’s another of my favorite commutes, the Washington Park road up to the zoo. I took it in reverse, back down to Portland downtown, and then the river, and then back home.

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(I even got some super nice sunshine and cherry blossoms for a bit!)

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When I set out originally, I didn’t mean to take an old commute ride, but about halfway down from the zoo I realized I had inadvertently combined much of my favorite close-in commute riding into one fake work-from-home commute. It’s a little long to do every morning, but starting tomorrow, I’ll be furloughed for a bit, so who knows. Maybe I’ll incorporate my rides out to Gresham and up to Vancouver into a SUPER long fake-commute that doesn’t even end at work-from-home anymore! Maybe not, but a girl can dream.

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(one more gratuitous flower photo, from the long way home from Vancouver on a different ride)

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That’s all. Just feeling lucky that I’ve had such good riding over the years, and that if I leave early enough in the morning when there aren’t too many people out yet I can keep riding some of it. Also feeling lucky that I actively want to ride my commutes, both past and present, even when I don’t have to. How cool is that, especially when I don’t have anywhere I actually have to (or even can) go?

2 Comments:

  1. Wow, you really have had some great commutes. Spring looks good on them too! Thanks for sharing a highlights reel :-)

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