Salem to McMinville

On my Bike Friday New World Traveler

Because the train ride from Solana Beach, California to Salem, Oregon was 31 hours, mostly sitting in coach,  I decided that a good nights sleep and a chance to rejuvenate myself in Salem was preferable to trying to get to McMinville immediately, especially since I was arriving just about an hour before sunset.  I had reservations at the Travelodge in Salem. When I got there, the first thing I did was assemble my bike. I now had transportation, so I could explore Salem. My headlight was pretty useless, but the streets are well lit and it wasn’t necessary to see.

New World Tourist & trailer in front of Travelodge

New World Tourist & trailer in front of Travelodge

I was using Google Maps to find my way. The bicycle navigation is very beta, and still a work in progress. Locals need to add their input to make it better.  Intercity routing was good, though I got off track nonetheless.  Hopefully some bicyclists from Salem will take an interest and help improve the Google bicycle routing feature.   I found my way out of Salem by way of Union Street and the converted train bridge. It didn’t even show in Goggle’s map, so that’s why they didn’t route me that way. The bridge is clearly visible in the satellite images, just not yet on the maps. That’s part of the adventure, finding your way along in a place you’ve never been before.

I love the winter colors

I love the winter colors

Once I got outside of Salem, the vistas were just amazing. I loved the colors. I’ve been in Oregon in the summer before, and the green everywhere is dazzling. But these winter colors are even more striking somehow.

Taking odds on when this barn will fall

Taking odds on when this barn will fall

Someone’s online journal was filled with pictures of barns. I decided that was a suitable subject for my lens. Once you start looking you see amazing things. Not only is this barn dilapidated, but the car in front of it is covered in moss. I don’t think I’ve ever seen moss growing on a car before.

Top of a long hill, and here's Zenith Vineyard

Top of a long hill, and here's Zenith Vineyard

I saw this hill on Zena Road from several miles away. Once I started climbing the vistas were simply magnificent. The skys were clear and mostly cloudless. Considering it was February, Oregon was having some amazing weather. The views from each successive hilltop were astonishing. At the top of this long hill is the beautiful Zenith Vineyard.

Looking back down the hill

Looking back down the hill

I rode up from way down on the left. A challenging climb but worth all the energy it took to ride to the top. With the clean air, and long site lines it seemed at times, like you could see forever.

The vineyards and the house

The vineyards and the house

According to their web site, this is is also a lovely wedding venue. I could see the attraction of a wedding in this environment. I saw beauty in every direction, even in winter.

No ice today!

No ice today!

I can’t tell you how lucky I felt when I saw this sign at the top of a hill. The roads were dry, not even a mist in the sky, so I certainly didn’t expect any ice. Another February, in another year, things might be completely different.

Barns everywhere.

Barns everywhere.

Did I mention that this is farm country? There are a lot of barns in Oregon. I think you could probably spend a lifetime trying to photograph all of them. And there are so many different barns!

Red barns with horses

Red barns with horses

When I stopped to take this photo the horse got curious and came over to see. I only saw a few horses on the road.

Orchard views

Orchard views

The orchards are beautiful this time of year. All the bare branches and the colorful leaves on the ground. Imagine when they all start to bloom, or in the middle of summer!

Amity

Amity

My brother-in-law works on the police force in Amity. It’s a very small town, and I imagine the crime rate is pretty low. Though we never discussed it. I saw other elevators like this one, that had been painted over. In my opinion, they’re not nearly so visually interesting that way.

Can you say bucolic?

Can you say bucolic?

This part of Oregon is known for a few crops. There are hazelnuts or filberts, grass seed and vinyards.

And horses, of course

And horses, of course

Horses seem to be as rare as bicyclists in this area, at least on the day I rode. I was curious to see them, and they were in turn, curious to see who or what I was. It made for some interesting encounters.

Train trestles

Train trestles

Trains have been important to the development of this part of Oregon. Lumber is shipped out on railroad cars. Not too far from where I took this picture is a door and window plant. They have a siding and there were cars waiting just up the track.

Bridge Dedication

Bridge Dedication

I enjoy the little things like this that you see while riding a bike. In a car you would never notice this plaque.  Based upon the date, this is a lasting legacy of the Works Progress Administration. I wonder how many local Oregonians know this.

Sister's house

Sister's house

I reached my destination for the day feeling rejuvenated and refreshed. This was a glorious day to ride and a great introduction for me to the joys of riding in Oregon. I look forward to more opportunities in the future. I hope every time I ride there the weather is as lovely as it was on this trip.

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1 comment to Salem to McMinville

  • WOW Neil – great photos and lovely commentary! So now Kim and I will be really expecting a great Pet Food and Nutrition column from you!

    ox

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