Last week I prepared for my road trip to Salem, Oregon to celebrate the birth of my granddaughter Zulee. I did a little research on biking in that area and found Salem to be very biker friendly. Many of the city streets have biking lanes and there are a variety of paths and trails to ride. I put my Specialized Crosstrail on the car rack and headed south. The day after our St. Patrick’s Day baby Zulee introduced herself to the world, I took advantage of good weather and hit the road.
The sun was shining and the scent of cherry blossoms filled the air. I spent the first hour of my ride taking in the sites and architecture of this State’s capital.
On my way to the government district I passed the Oregon State Penitentiary. The prison has been here since 1866 and still has the original guardhouse next to the street. As I snapped this photo one of the guards drove out to greet me. Actually, he came out to make sure I was not on penitentiary property.
I continued on my slow trek around the capital building area. The grounds were very clean and I found many places worthy of photos.
These columns were part of the original capital building. The bricks of the inner core were build by prison inmates in 1876.
The many paths that weave through the grounds are very inviting. Several of them have streams and other water features which invite a variety of birds to play in them and an occasional child when parents are not looking.
This church was close to the government district. It was first erected in 1854 but had to re-built in 1872 after suffering damage from a fire.
I could have spent the day just taking in the sights of downtown but felt the need to hit the pedals and get a workout.
I made my way towards the Willamette River which is on the west side of the downtown area. I found well groomed paths and a park which separates the streets from the river. I would imagine it to be filled with people during the summer months. There was a steam wheeler river boat docked and waiting to take those wishing for a river tour.
There was an indoor carousel which was full of happy children riding the motorized animals.
I crossed the river over the Union Railroad bridge which has been turned into a paved pedestrian bridge. I picked up speed as I entered West Salem and slowly left the stop lights behind. The city scene turned to residential then to open countryside. I found this to be a refreshing change of environment. Many times when you get out into the county the roads get rougher and narrower. This was not the case here. The road was smooth and had a wide shoulder. Traffic was very light with only the occasional car passing me.
As you can see in the photo above the terrain was that of rolling hills which gave me that work out I wanted. I found a quaint country church along the way. The Spring Valley Church was built in 1859. Its grounds have a graveyard on the north side. The markers are evidence that many of the early pioneers had been laid to rest here. Most of the markers were from the late 1800s.
I made my way through the hills and back to West Salem. I took a short play break at my fellow grandparents in-law Mike and Anita. After spending some time with my grandkids Zayden and Ryker, I pedaled back to my hotel room. I had only logged 25 miles on my bike this day but it was a very enjoyable one.
Today I was blessed with a sunny day, a great ride, and the love of family.
Thanks for riding with.