The Road to Beaverton
Don't pity that bicyclist riding uphill in the rain. He might be pitying you!
I rode my bicycle out to Beaverton and back this afternoon (if you must
know, I lost a silly little part from my camera and wanted to replace
it, and Beaverton is where the local Pentax repair facility is).
Almost rode the way I've always gone on the bus or in a rented car: down
Barbur Blvd. then out the Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway. Then I decided to
look at the street map just for the heck of it and noticed a much more
direct route involving Vista Ave., Patton Road, and Scholls Ferry Road.
Well, more direct if you ignore the fact that it goes over a range of hills
about a thousand feet high. But it's a new route to explore and I could
stand some exercise.
It had been showering lightly all afternoon, and sure enough, after I had
gone only a few blocks I felt a few drops starting to fall. Glad I was
on my "rain bike" (complete with fenders) and had a set of rain gear in
The first leg of the trip was up, up, up. I've ridden it all in the course
of exploring my immediate area. (One of my standard exercise rides is to go
to the top of Council Crest and back, just under a thousand vertical feet of
climbing.) The rain continued, and seemed to intensify the higher I got, but
I was working up enough sweat that it didn't bother me. In fact, it felt
nice to have the cool drops fall on my face and arms.
Off from Vista onto Patton. Still climbing, though not as much, then
climbing, climbing, climbing again with a vengeance. Been past that gas
station before, nice that the road levels out a little here. Wait! I know
that summit off to the left -- that's Council Crest. This is no "level
spot", I'm at the top of the ridge!
The weather gives me a lesson in orographic lift and prevailing winds --
it's raining harder on the west slope. No matter, I'm so sweaty from all
that climbing that the rain and cool wind feel refreshing as I zoom
zippity-zing down Patton, taking care not to slip on the wet pavement
at the many sharp curves. Soon the rain stops and the pavement dries.
Wow! Scholls Ferry Road already! Still going down, down, down. Zip,
zing, zoom. I keep pace with the cars on Scholls Ferry, which is mostly
posted at 30 or 35 mph. Despite being thoroughly dampened by rain and
perspiration a few miles ago, soon I'm dry. I'm at Beaverton-Hillsdale
Highway and a few blocks from the repair center in a matter of minutes.
It was all so anticlimactic and fast once I got to the summit. Scarcely
longer than a ride to Council Crest and back.
That last part of the B-H highway was pretty unpleasant. On my way
back I work out a route through a suburban residential neighborhood that
lets me substitute quiet streets for strip-mall hell. The streets not
being on a grid, it's a complex route and I have to stop to check the
map several times. A rain shower threatens to drench me, then stops
just short of the "getting serious" point. A few more drops fall as
I zip down into a little valley then struggle up the steep slope on
the other side. There's no flat land around me any more, in fact --
I'm back in the West Hills.
I soon reach the dreaded intersection with Scholls Ferry Road. Dreaded
because Scholls Ferry is damned busy, and as I'm now going uphill there's
going to be no keeping pace with traffic. A nice surprise is waiting
for me -- I planned my interception of Scholls Ferry so well that in a
manner of minutes I see the traffic light at Patton ahead of me.
From now on, it's up, up, up with a vengeance. To remind me that the
laws of atmospheric physics have not been repealed, the rain resumes,
this time a little further down the road than when I last left it.
Moreover, my legs are tired from the trip out, so it's slow going.
Oftentimes when making a long hard climb, I'll slip into sort of a trance
state, repeating a phrase mantra-like repeatedly. I don't try, it just
happens. This time the mantra is "Hold your head up", from the chorus
of the Eurythmics song "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of These)", which happened
to be playing at the camera repair shop when I entered.
Time stops. Rain falls. "Hold your head up." The smell of my
body mingles with the smells of wet pavement and the rainy forest.
"Hold your head up." Why do people waste money on deodorants to mask
something that's natural and wasn't considered "bad" until the corporate
propagandists made us believe it so? For that matter, why do people
insist that getting wet in the rain is "bad" and they "need" to spend huge
sums of money caring and feeding for those iron cages they drive around.
I bet most of the people passing me actually think I envy them in their
How much longer till the top? Don't think like that. Breathe. Pedal.
"Hold your head up." Savor the contradiction of being both soaked
on a cool rainy afternoon and warm and comfortable. There is no
moment but now. Life's about experiences, not about living to other's
preconceptions. There's nothing "wrong" with the weather today, or this
long climb. It just is. "Hold your head up." People in India consider
clouds and rain to be the sign of happiness and sunny dry weather the
sign of misfortune. What's wrong is when you convince yourself there's
something wrong, and trying to deny the environment you live in.
Is that the top of the roof of the gas station (the one that's on top)
ahead? It has to be -- there's the familiar fir-covered shape of Council
Crest with its radio towers on one end! I wonder how cold I'll get going
downhill now that I'm soaked. Maybe I should put rain gear and that extra
dry shirt on. No, I'll wait. Savor cooling off.
The rain slackens, then stops. The pavement is dry, and soon so am I.
I don't feel really cold at all. Down, down, down, through the upscale
homes of the Portland Heights. I'm home before I know it.
And bathed in that wonderful glow I often feel after a good workout.
All the breathing I've done has incorporated into my body a big chunk of
the atmosphere; I feel renewed by absorbing so much of the outside into
me. I'd never have felt that if I had taken the bus. I'd hardly feel it
at all if I was the typical sedentary "successful" middle-class American,
relying on his car for practically all local travel, and only walking
to and from that car. It's a wonderful sense of peace and renewal.
"Where were you riding?", my downstairs neighbor asks as I pass her
in the lobby. "Oh, out to Beaverton and back." "That's a long ways!
Didn't you get rained on?" I smile.
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