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Trainspotting by Bike 11.15.2009

Trainspotting by Bike 11.15.2009

There was more than one engineer hat, and a whole lot of trains spotted on a afternoon bike ride to train locale in Portland, Oregon. We met up fora greasy hearty breakfast at the Overlook (right off the yellow Max train line). Some of us even had a milkshake! And others of us had leftovers for the next two weeks. We then pedaled over to the Skidmore Bluffs for some trainyard spotting – a little quiet on a Sunday, and a group photo before heading to the main attraction of the day – the Columbia Gorge style RR. With public open houses ONLY in November during Train Month! We were delighted by a minaturized Portland-Columbia Gorge (including Union Station, Multnomah Falls, and Crown Point). The train folk said our group (20+/- ) was the largest bike group they’d ever had, and they ran out with a camera to document the occasion. Also to be noted, since my last bike tour I led here a few years back, they had added a sign and area for bike parking! And we filled it. Then our group sped down the Russell Hill, and as we reached the bottom, we heard the Woo Woo of Train and had spotted yet another train! Then as we rode down Interstate we rode along side of another train!! And when we got to the Esplanade entry bridge we saw another train! (or was this just the same train?). Dusk was arriving and the Willamette River was glowing pink with sunset. We rode along the water to go the ‘backdoor’ route to Union Station over the train bridge. As we looked down we could see the 4:45 Empire Builder heading to Chicago loading up with passengers. At Union Station (right now quiet) we had a wander – which included a trip to the Women’s Lounge – everyone went – to see where they moved "the dig" artifacts (It’s not like Union Staion doesn’t have plenty of room elsewhere!). And then we wandered upstairs – Yes Union Station has an upstairs – and descended back into the Station in Baggage. We oohed and ahhed over the imported marble from Italy and earlier I told folks that the Broadway Bridge was painted to match Union Station and this railway station is the only one where a sturgeon has been caught inside the receiving department! (during a huge flood)! All these handy facts are from a little book on Union Station sold in the shop for 3.75! All day the weather had be holding off. There were a few droplets at this point as we biked out of the station, but our tour was almost over. On our way to the ‘Sushi Train’ we stopped to look a mysterious iron door with an old locomotive design on it just a few blocks from the station. At Burnside and Broadway is the Famous Sushi restaurant that has a train that brings you your food! right now that’s total service. An it also happened to be Carl Larson’s birthday and guess what the the Sushi Train brought him a Icecream Train Came! Yay! Alas we did not visit ‘Peggy’ up on the way to zoobomb hill – but it was train packed day and all is well. Woo Woo!

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