Friday, February 26, 2010

First Signs of Spring in Salem

Last weekend gave us Oregonians a great little espresso-like shot of sunshine, and boy did we all take full advantage in big ways! Sunday there seemed to be an unusually high number of smiling people who were just glad to see a break from the gray even if for a little while. It actually felt warm enough to not really need coats and jackets. The afternoon air remained so still it was almost unreal, like that moment between breathing out and breathing in. On such exquisite days in the Willamette Valley, when clouds and wind take the day off, there are magnificent views of Jefferson, Hood, St. Helens, and Adams. They gleam brighter and appear closer than ever when the air is this pure. And on this kind of a day, down below on the valley floor, thousands of folks like me go spinning on our bikes in sheer, goofy pleasure.

Months after the move I’m learning Salem all over again on my bike. It’s been more than thirty years since I used to live here as a kid. Now it's almost impossible to call up memories from my bike rides from that long ago. No matter, I'm checking out the whole town and charting out the places I want to ride like it's brand new to me. Sunday afternoon I took a few minutes to roll through Bush Park, down past Willamette University, and the State Capitol. I slowed my pace enough to take notice of the early bloomers, the handful of shrubs and trees that could not wait any longer to bust out a bit of color and fragrance. Couldn't resist snapping a few pics since I'm blogging and all.

Blooms in front of Oregon's Capitol Building, Salem

Historic Bush House in Bush's Pasture Park, Salem

My work requires me to drive a lot in and around Salem and Keizer. Normally I'm in my car anywhere from Orchard Heights in the west to Cordon Road on the east, and from Chemawa to Sunnyside north to south. I’ve tried to take mental notes about where the bike lanes, hills, and scenery are located for upcoming rides. Sunday’s ride gave me one such opportunity...soaring down Croisan Creek. Uninterrupted downhill joy on two wheels, for sure. The posted speed limit there is 30... :)


Jessica said...

I believe that first "shrub" is a rhodie... I've NEVER seen one bloom this early!
I also went for a bike ride on Sunday, and it was glorious! (Although, I only rode 12 *flat* miles.)

The Hillbilly Banjo Queen: said...

I too went for a bike ride that weekend on Saturday! I went out to West Linn and back home to make a 20 miler. It was a beautiful day, for sure! Your picture of the Capitol is very nice.