Thursday, June 30, 2011

Bend to Ellensburg

Today was a long drive. The wind was just howling all day, and at no time was it a tail wind. We went up 97 to the Ellensburg KOA. This is Grass City, Oregon. It's way out there in the middle of nowhere.

This would also be out in the middle of nowhere. But it's kind of pretty, in a remote sort of way.

Here we are on the way down to the Columbia River. It's a very steep 4 miles or so, I don't like that stretch of road.

The bridge over the Columbia River.

Once on the other side of the river, in Washington, they were paving with chip and seal. It was fresh gravel, much of it hit the front of the RV. The gravel is through the gel coat into the fiber glass, so now we have little brown dots on the front of the RV. It's very aggravating.
Tomorrow we are on to Issaquah and our summer abode.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Birds Nests

The birds built a nest in the RV pin box. Poor choice of location. It's sad, there are five eggs that won't become birds and the parents are denied passing along their genes. Location, location, location.

Twenty three miles today, I am cooked.
Tomorrow we head out to Ellensburg on the way to the summer destination, which is Issaquah.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Rhodies in Oregon

Are they not lovely?

Riding in Sisters

Roger and Peggy are up from Utah, it is always good to see them. We rode the Peterson Ridge Trail yesterday. It was fairly warm and somewhat humid. Much of it is up and down through old lava bombs. I rode more of them this year than last. It would be a good place to go just to practice riding them.
The wild flowers are out.

We went in to Sisters for lunch. The Cottonwood trees down by the river are releasing pollen. Sisters is just covered in it, it's everywhere.

Poppies seem to be the town's signature flower.

Ancient car, it's been beautifully restored.

It was a fun day. I rode without my elbow or knee pads, which was nerve wracking. It was just too hot for them.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

What We Saw Today on the Trail

Pilot Butte off in the distance. It's a funny formation, it's just right there in the middle of town.

Clouds. The color was pretty spectacular.

We didn't ride much today, I'm sort of tired after yesterday. We may take tomorrow off.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Skyliner Trail

Today we climbed up to the top of Lower Whoops, and then we took the Skyliner Trail up towards Skyline Road. It was a totally not wonderful trail. Much of it is side hill, and narrow. There was a lot of downhill departing signpost 29, and then a lot of up hill toward the trail head. It's not a pleasant trail, and once one is at the trail head at Skyliner, getting back to post 29 would be a bear. So - it's not a repeater. We ended up taking the road back down to Forest Service 300. At that point I was too toasted to climb 310 back up to the top of Lower Whoops. So, no Whoops for us today.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

It's Always Something

We mountain bike with Camelbaks, they are back pack hydration systems, with a bite valve at the end of a tube. The most important thing about owning a Camelbak is: don't put the pack down on the bite valve. Never ever, it lets the water out. Tuesday I put my Camelbak in the closet on top of the file folder box, with the pack sitting on the bite valve. About a liter of water went into the box with the files. It's always something. We spent the day with papers hanging up drying. Then we ironed them to flatten them out a little.

It's midnight, do you know where your bite valve is?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Snowy Rides, Epic Rides & Lonely Dogs

I took this a couple of days ago when it was trying to rain. The setting sun lighting up the trees against the dark cloudy sky was very striking.

Monday we were planning to ride around Swampy Lake, which is higher up on the mountain than we have been riding. No, there is still snow. Snow! In June. Never occurred to me that I would be thwarted by snow.

In addition to mountain bike trails, and snowmobile trails, there are cross country ski trails. Bend is truly the destination for the out door enthusiast. This is a warming hut. Wood is burned in the drum to take the chill off.

After abandoning the snow covered trails we went down to scout part of C.O.D. Due to an error in map interpretation we were not where we thought we were and ended up on the black section. It's really rocky. We were talking to a guy from Quebec who was riding the boulders so beautifully, he said it's what you grow up with on the East Coast, so you have to do it. Then his 71 year old father came through and rode it, too. My hat is off to them. So far my sense of my mortality is not encouraging me to tackle those sections.

Yesterday was a long day. Remember we've got about 8 pounds of water and stuff on our backs, heavy bikes and knobby tires, so when I say 30 miles is long, it felt like an eternity. We climbed up to the top of Storm King (about 8.5 miles up), and then rode down it. It's pretty loose this year, many of the outside edges have been nibbled away by people riding too close to their edge. It's still a fun run down the hill, about 4 miles to the highway. We didn't do the second section because we wanted to get more water at Inn of the Seventh Mountain, which was a very nice place to split the peanut butter sandwich. It's 4 downhill road miles from the Storm King exit to the resort. Then it was a few more miles to get to the access point to C.O.D. which gets us back to the truck. This is a gruesome hike a bike. It's steep and dusty and hard to wrangle the bike up it.

We rode for awhile on a trail another rider had shown us as a good way back to the parking lot. He told us "left at the gate." Perhaps his dyslexia was acting up that day. We headed out into the great wide open. After awhile, the first mate called for a compass check. No WAY were we heading in the correct direction.
I can not stress the importance of having a compass when you're in a place like this, it's very difficult to figure it out otherwise.

We should have turned right at the gate, we were actually very close to the truck, but we didn't know it. We decided to backtrack to our last known good position and go the long way back to the parking lot. So we got 30 miles between the woods and the road. Now that we can find the truck without bonus miles, it'll be a good loop to ride.

This is the dog next door on the other side of us. They leave this poor guy alone all day. It's mean. He should bite them.

Today we are resting and eating. We did that whole ride on 6 Cliff Blocks and half a peanut butter sandwich. I think we should eat more.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

If a Tree Falls in the Forest

Are things that look terrifying in real life, but not in a photo, really scarey? Why yes, yes they are. There's a new loop we want to do, but 0.7 miles of it are signed black diamond. We rode up to check it out before committing ourselves to riding it, and it would indeed appear to be black. The trail goes between those two rocks in the center, and immediately jumps up onto another rock. Hah! I'll be walking that. The trees on that trail are much closer together than on the trails we've been riding.

We need a new route that doesn't involve a shuttle. All the choices involve black trail sections or more distance than I'm comfortable with. We need a driver to come get us so we can do one way rides. Maybe after we win the lottery.
We used the new rack today, it has definitely improved quality of life over hoisting the bikes into the truck bed. Duct tape, pipe wrap and bungee cords have made the rack very useful.
The weather has reverted to stunningly gorgeous. The long range forecast is also good. Here's hoping that Seattle improves before we get there.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Tumalo Falls and Return of a Bike Rack

Yesterday we rode up to Tumalo Falls. I would give the trail a solid "would not do again". It's sort of a boring trail and there's not much to look at.
This is something we've been seeing in the woods; big piles of brush with logs piled on top. They're everywhere. Why are these here? Some of them are really old, some are new. It seems like if a fire started these piles of fuel would really make it worse.

A view from the trail, when not in amid the trees and bushes.

A stream.

The falls.

Remember this rack? It's baaaaack. We have an anti-wobble collar on the Thule when it's on the RV. When installing it in Tucson, my massively strong husband broke one of the screws, and now the entire shebang must be left on the RV. So, a new rack was required for in-town use. We bought another Sport-Wing from Amazon. Lifting the mountain bikes in and out of the bed of the truck is painful, they're heavy!
It required some work. There are two metal shims for use with a 2 inch receiver. We have a 2.5 inch receiver with a 2 inch sleeve. We had a lot of wobble between the shims and the sleeve. Duct tape was used to affix the shims to the rack shank and to enlarge the diameter of the whole assembly so there is less movement. Here is Jim completing a precision installation.

After that we still had movement, bungee cords were required. Pulling the bikes down toward the bottom of the rack minimizes movement of the bikes.

For the money it's a decent rack. It works with full suspension bikes and it didn't cost an arm and a leg.
The fall on Whoops has not resulted in too much damage. Yesterday the muscles around my shoulder blades were pretty tender, but today not so much. Hopefully the rain will be gone tomorrow and we'll be able to get out and ride again. June is almost over! The itinerary marches us onward.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Good Weather in Bend

After a weak start, the climate in Bend has improved significantly. It's been sunny and very nice. The skies here are really blue.

Is he not cuuuuuuuuuute? I had to stalk him a little, but he held still long enough for me to get close to him. The chipmunks are everywhere in the trail system. They're so dumb, instead of running across the trail, they run down it, right in front of your bike.

Today I was tired. We parked on a fire service road 5 miles uphill from where we usually start riding. We had the intent of exploring a new trail that we could see on the map, but we could not actually find it. I think we're going to have to start at the other end, which we can find, and ride it backwards to where we think it should start (note the use of a conditional in that sentence). Here is Jim at the Helicopter Pad, which is a high point in the trail system. We contemplated going back down from there, but .7 miles of the trail are signed double black diamond, so we decided not.

Does this look like a killer rock to you? Well it is. I approached it from the uphill side, and just buried my front wheel in the dirt at its base riding off of it. Apparently I did something wrong, not sure if my weight on the bike was wrong or what. It's difficult to learn from mistakes made mountain biking. One second things are fine, the next you're laying on the ground. I landed well, I hit the ground with the full length of my left side, and then rolled on to my back; it's good not to stick wrists or elbows in to the ground.

Tomorrow morning we'll see how much damage has been done, at the moment it doesn't seem to bad. I will say that arm and knee pads are my friend.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Riding Uphill on the Road

Yesterday's ride was cut short by thunder and lightning. Today we took the road bikes out to climb from Sunriver towards Mt. Bachelor. Again we have to learn the lesson of lapse rate. It was cold coming back down. Next time I'm bringing the knee warmers regardless of whether I think I'll need them or not.

There is a lot of snow left. It's farther down the hill than it was last year.

Other than that I have nothing to report.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

First Ride at Phil's

Oy! We rode at Phil's trail system today. I am tired. It's an 8 mile climb to the top of Whoops. Last year Whoops was a swoopy down hill with bermed corners. This year it has been regraded with many hillocks. Think about the profile of a camel, with the two humps. This is the trail profile that has been added in many places. I'm not hitting those full on fast. The steep part is steeper, when I got there it made my eyes widen.
This is the intersection of five trails. It was here last year, but it's been upgraded with paint and words.

This is one of the dogs next door. He's a long haired chihuahua. Cute, cute cute cute.

So, 6 weeks of not riding have had the expected result. We've lost cardio and muscle mass. Putting it back will be what we're doing for the next couple of months.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Spring is here in Bend. It's odd to think of the various climate extremes we've experienced in the past week. The garden center at Lowes is just packed with people wanting to get out and plant something.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Bend, Oregon

We're in Bend. Finally! It's been a strenuous 4 day drive. This morning was just glorious. The storm moved through and it was bright and sunny. This is what we saw on the way out of the Likely RV park. Cows.

This is what our refrigerator looks like. I think tomorrow we're going to have to break down and go grocery shopping. After doing a complete dump of perishable food before leaving, it's tough to remember what used to be in there.

We're in slot 423 which has a clear view of the southern skies. We'll be asking for this site next year. No trees.
So, our time in a car/truck is over. It's time to recover the fitness that we've lost over the last 6 weeks.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Tonopah, NV to Likely, CA

It was a dark and windy day. The skies were interesting to watch. This is just outside of Tonopah.

This is somewhere.

This is also somewhere.

This reminds me of the opening scenes of the show "Saving Grace."

We're staying at the Likely RV Park and Golf resort. It's so so. Water pressure is very low, sites are not level and there's nothing out here. It's 3 miles off the road, surrounded by cattle. The Verizon mi-fi is working well here, we're the only network in the area. It's the only game in town, so there you go.
Note to self: Hawthorne has a good looking park, so does Mina.
There are several military installations out here in the middle of nowhere. One of them is the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, which amuses me because it's desert.

Tomorrow we'll arrive Bend and happy we are about that.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Blythe to Tonopah

We're in Tonopah, NV in a tiny RV "park" behind a casino. They don't take reservations, it's first come first served. We have a really crappy site, it took two boards to level it. Basically we're in a parking lot with hook-ups behind the casino. We ended up with 30 amp, and the plug receptacle in the power pole is installed upside down so we could not use the surge protector. I'd give this place a solid 1 out of 10. Although it does have good internet, so maybe a 2.
US95 in Nevada is better than in Arizona. Southern Nevada is very unattractive. After about Indian Springs it gets a little better.
We saw brothels on the back roads of Nevada. Here is one now, called the Shady Lady.

Doesn't this look like a delightful place? Ewwwwwww.

Today was, and still is, windy. Fortunately it was generally a tail wind, sometimes a cross. It's so windy at the RV park that the satellite dish can not lock on because it's jiggling. It's very aggravating, I don't like it when my technology is defeated by nature.
On the bright side, there are no ants.
Since we drove a long time today (8 to 4), we may be able to take a day out of the previous schedule, which would be good. After spending 25 days driving around Germany, and 4 or 5 days driving to Bend, I am very ready to be out of a vehicle and back on my bicycle.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Tucson to Blythe

Today's route was good - I10 to I8 to 85 to I10 again which totally avoided driving through Phoenix.

We're at the Blythe KOA. It's hotter than the seventh circle of hell. The park attracts people with jet skis, boats and etc., to go play on the river. We're on a grass site populated by what my Grandmother used to call 'piss ants'. They're tiny and they're vicious. I stepped on a nest and they came out biting. I retaliated with bug spray. Other than the ants, it's not a terrible park.

There is an elevated pipeline full of some unknown substance, crossing the river.

The 4 guys in the boat have really bad sun burns. Apparently they did not get the memo about sunscreen.

There is a tiny little beach. It's full. Much beer is being consumed down there.

Tomorrow we're on to Beatty, NV. It took me awhile to find it on the map.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

We're in Tucson

The flight from PA left at 7:30. The pilot flogged the airplane and made up much lost time in the air. We arrived Phx at 9:00 and make the connection to Tucson with 10 minutes to spare. It was a bumpy flight, no sleeping occurred. I'm just punchy today. Now we are off to pick up the RV and return to normal life.