Saturday, June 30, 2012

Last Night in Bend - Bend to Ellensburg

Our last night in Bend was just delightful.  Roger and Peggy had us over for dinner.  It was (finally) warm enough to sit outside.  This is the sun setting through the trees from their site.  It's a nice site, I like it better than ours, it's more open.

Here are Peggy and Roger reducing their lemon/pepper fish sauce in the saute pans.  They are using Gaz fuel canisters, and those puppies are HOT.  The two times I backpacked, we had a Primus with alcohol fuel and it was just pitiful to cook with.  The Gaz fuel system is like cooking over blow torches.  I'm impressed, we may get one.  Anyway, we had pan fried sole, which was very good, being cooked over blow torches and all.

This morning we awoke to the sound of driving rain.  Happily it stopped before we headed out to unhook the utilities and attach the truck to the RV.
We had clouds most of the day.  This is somewhere out there. Worth remembering, is how long it takes to get from Bend to Ellensburg.  It's only 250 miles, but there are many small towns, stop lights, long steep grades, and etc.

This is the Washington side of the Columbia River on the way back up from the gorge.  There is much wind farming.

Tonight we are staying at the Ellensburg KOA.  We must find something better.  We had to tour the park in order to get to our row.  Unfortunately we could not get between that black pickup, the tree and the  yellow concrete border on the right.  We provided much entertainment for the by standers.  The Blue Ox tow bar bound up, and it was just a pain to get the truck off the RV.  Eventually we prevailed over the Ox, got the truck off and made it to our site.  It's  a yukky site, the satellite antenna can't lock on  and we are missing the TdF.

This is the river out back of the park.  It's full here.  Many people are here in tents, burning wood and enjoying nature.

Tomorrow we're pushing on to Issaquah, and the rain, for the summer.  La Nina supposedly is over, so we're hoping that we actually have summer, unlike the last two years we have been there.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Peterson Ridge - West

Yesterday Jim, Peggy & Roger rode up Peterson Ridge.  I did not go because I felt bad due to not sleeping.  So I stayed home.  This is a creek they crossed on the way back.  They rode through it.  I am not a fan of the water crossing, particularly if one does not know how deep it is.

Since I was much improved today, Jim and I decided to go ride Peterson Ridge again.  He enjoyed it yesterday and I hadn't done the west side this year.  It was a nice day.  Here we are at the same creek, and here is my beloved pushing my bike across for me.

This is the very nice view from the top of the Ridge.  It's about 6 miles up.  There are two steep climbs, the rest is gradual and not taxing.  One of the two steep climbs is gruesome and I elected to walk rather than spiking my heart rate into the rafters.  This year I rode more lava bombs than last year, and the round rocks aren't bothering me at all.  There has been progress in the riding of rocks, although I'm still struggling with them uphill.

Afterwards we split a meat loaf sandwich at the place we like in Sisters whose name we can't remember.  This is a fuchsia out front.

It was a good day.  Today's key learning is to drink more water!

Tomorrow we are heading out toward the Seattle area, where it is raining. Next year I think we should get here a week later and stay later into July.  This has been sort of a dismal month what with clouds, wind, rain and cold temperatures.  Now that we're leaving, it's improving.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Chipmunk on the Tire

After two days of questionable weather, yesterday was good.  We did the Storm King loop (long version).  We saw this guy at the lunch break.  Cuuuuuute.

Tomorrow is our last day here.  It's been sort of a disappointing June, climatologically speaking.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Bite of Bend & Friends Visit Us

Greetings Earthlings!  Did you know that it's warmer in Anchorage, Alaska than it is here in Bend?  Strange, but true.  Friday & Saturday were too cold and wet to ride.  One of the places we went while waiting for better weather was Cash & Carry.  They are a restaurant supply store.  If you want to know what's in the food you're eating in restaurants, this is the place to go.  Here we have a jar of pickled eggs.  I always wondered about their origins.

This is cured pork and beef, beef heart, cereal and soy protein concentrate product, packed in a vinegar brine with artificial color.  Yummo!

Here are the ubiquitous frying chicken parts, those would be gizzards.

Roger and Peggy Hancock are visiting us from Utah.  It is always a treat to see them.  We rode at Phils's yesterday.  It was cold, but a good ride.  Afterwards we went to the Bite of Bend.  Jim and I have given up on things like the Bite of Seattle, because it's just too crowded.  Wall to wall people do not make for a fun time. Bend, being a small town, had a small bite and it was very enjoyable.

They had one street dedicated to cocktails.  We did not imbibe, way too early!

The big smoker was there.

We could not decide if these women were in a band, a cult or what, since they were all wearing wife beaters, skin tight jeans and inappropriate foot wear for walking the Bite.  I was walking behind the woman on the right with the wedge shoes, and she was having difficulty with ambulation.  The shoes don't bend, which was giving her a very odd gait.  There were also issues with ankle stability.  They're hard to see, but the blonde in the back is wearing two inch platforms.

These are cool.  They're upright PVC tubes and you can grow crops in a very small space.  They would be a storage issue for us, but I thought they were clever.

Here is Jim's leg.  Jim failed to notice a manzanita and drove his bike into it. He'll recover, but for the next couple of days he'll be using paper towels on that leg, rather than a bath towel.

Other than that, Earthlings, I have nothing much of import to report.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Road Ride to McKenzie Pass

A beautiful day here in Bend.  It was in the low 80's.  We decided to do the McKenzie Pass ride out of Sisters.  It's 15 miles to the summit, and climbs 2100 feet. These are the Sisters Mountains as seen from Hwy 20.   They used to be called Faith, Hope and Charity.  Now they're known as North, Middle and South.

Generally, the road to McKenzie Pass is closed to traffic until July.  That was not the case this year.  The road was open to cars today which was kind of a bummer.  Note to self, the gate is 9 miles from Sisters.

This is Windy Point.  It's about 12 or so miles into the ride.  That's a lava field stretching out toward the mountains.

This was taken just past the Windy Point scenic overlook.  That's more lava flow.  It's just amazing how deep it is.

I had to laugh at us and our packing for the ride.  Every single road ride we've done in Bend has resulted in our freezing our tooshies off when descending back to the truck (all rides in Bend are uphill).  Today, we thought, will be different.  We fired up the Lapse Rate Calculator and determined that it would be cold at 5300 feet.  So, we took vests, arm warmers and knee warmers.  We were expecting something like this (with the road closed), but there was virtually no snow.  So, our clothes took a nice bike ride, and we stayed warm.

This is the summit.  That's a lava field, with a trail put in to it.  We were wearing cycling shoes so we didn't walk up to the top.

The view from the parking lot.  More lava.

Here is Jim and the summit sign.

It's a nice ride.  I kept my speed down so as not to spike my heart rate.  It's not that steep, and it's a beautiful ride.  The descent, however, has solidified my desire to not ride down Mt. Lemmon.  It's really tiring going down hill for 15 miles.  It makes my feet and hands hurt.
We got a brief thunderstorm this afternoon.  I'm hoping the Phil's trail system got wet so it will settle the dust.  Now the sun is back out and it's a beautiful evening.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Marvin's Gardens & RV Maintenance

Today was a pleasant ride - it was short!  We were up at oh:dark:thirty to take the RV in for some service.  We had a rattle in the engine, a poorly performing water pump to be replaced, and a loose slide seal that wanted replacing.  We took it to Beaver Motorcoach and were pleased with their service department.  Another place to which we will return - cool.
After dropping the RV off, we went to the Big Bear Diner for breakfast.  We will NOT be returning there for any reason.  I have never seen a plate of food glistening with the amount of grease that was in front of me this morning.  It was just terrible.  When did it become so difficult to eat out without being poisoned?
We hung out in the resort lounge at the RV park for awhile (I had a little nap) and then got dressed for the mountain bikes.  We headed out on the Marvin's Gardens trail, which is not bad.  It took us up to the upper entrance of the Lair.

This is definitely the way to get here.  Much easier riding.  Jim and I both rode the blue trail named Enter the Dragon.  We rode it so that our tires never left the ground, it was fun.  I'm just not brave enough to start jumping this late in life.
This is the beginning of one of the black trails in the Lair.  Notice they provided some steps so you can get up it.

We also rode the Wonderland Trail which was fun. There are some big berms on it, as well as a short half pipe.
It was a good ride.  We got the RV back early in the day, did some laundry, and we have dinner!

Update to post:  The water pump we had installed failed within 3 weeks.  After we had it removed and replaced we discovered it had a manufacturing date of 2001.  That's not a typo.  A trip back to Bend Motorcoach in June 2013 did not result in an apology or a refund.  They did give us a new water pump, but we didn't really need one at this point.  We're not doing business with them again.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

RVs We Saw Today

Greetings from the frigid environs of Bend.  We did not ride today, due to my being under the weather.  It's really weird, since March 14 I have not had one single heart incident (the unidentified arrhythmia) while hiking or riding.  Some of the riding we've done here has been quite strenuous due to the climbs.  Yesterday, I had little 20 to 40 second spurts of fast irregular heartbeats, every 10 minutes or so, starting an hour after getting off the mountain bikes.  This went on for about 12 hours, and interfered with sleeping because it weirds me out so badly.  Today I was pretty much a basket case due to fatigue.  However, today my heart rate has been rock solid.  WTH?  I really hate getting old, it's always something, and it's never good.
These are some RVs we saw today. 
This is a Jayco Feather.  Those are sleeping pods that pop out to expand the living space available in the trailer.  It was 37 degrees last night.  I hope they had electric blankets to stay warm.

We saw this in the parking lot of Trader Joe's.  It's a 1941 travel trailer.  I know it's 1941 from the license plate.  Across the top they've written "I got some 'splainin to do!'

It would appear to be an homage to the Lucy show.  Look at the power cord - it's a 110 cord, probably 15 amp.  New RVs are 50 amp, we have more stuff to run.

The RV references the Vitameatavegamin episode of the show.

It's a good looking ancient RV.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Storm King Ride & Oakridge Recommendation

Today's ride gave me a great whanging headache.  Why, you wonder.  Because the air mass today was so cold, descending back to the parking lot with all of that cold air moving through my helmet was painful.  Fortunately I had a head sock with me, but even still, it was COLD.
We rode up Ben's, down Storm King, left on COD, then FSR 4610 to 4604 to the gray gravel road to Phil's trail back to the parking lot.  It's not much shorter than going via ELV, but it's definitely not as difficult.  

This is the milepost at the bench at the start of Whoops.  Why do people feel the need to shoot the signposts?  Those are bullet holes in the post, the front of the post is torn off.  What is it about gun ownership that leads to this behavior?
We met a couple our age on the trails, they're from Montana, they're driving about the country mountain biking.  They recommended an area called Oakridge in Oregon.  There are 350 miles of trails available.  It's an old logging town, remaking itself as an out door tourist activity mecca.  So, we will want to check that out sometime. 
After looking at the topo lines on the map, I have determined that the climb from the top of Ben's to the Whoops bench is an average 5.5% grade, which might explain why it takes so dang long to get up there.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Longer Storm King Ride

Oy!  We are tired puppies.  Phil's was crowded today.  There were many children on the trails.  I'm not sure if it's just the weekend or if it's a Father's Day thing.  We had to park far down the road.

Today's ride was 21.5 miles.  Up Ben's, up 310, down Storm King to milepost 32.  We went left on COD to milepost 23.  Then it was left on to 4610, and then a right on to 4604/400, left back onto COD to milepost 20.  We took ELV down to the chicken.  Note to self, there is some climbing on ELV.  If one is really tired, stay on 4610 until one reaches Phil's.  It's all down hill from there.  Or, stay on 400, and ride it down to the gray gravel road, turn left to Phil's and head back towards the parking lot.
It was enough ride!  I am just whooped.

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Lair & Trail Notes on KGB and COD

The weather has reached perfection in Bend.  Here we are on our site.  It's not the one we wanted, but there you go.  We just had the RV washed, but soon it will be covered in pollen again.  When a gust of wind goes through here you can see clouds of it in the air.

I took this in parking lot at Phil's.  This young man is wearing a HANS device along with a full face helmet.  HANS stands for Head And Neck Support. Downhillers are starting to wear them.  It's a good thing.  If Dale had been wearing one, he'd still be with us.

We took a ride out to look at The Lair.  It's a free ride park on the edge of the Phil's Trail System.  It's a large park, we only looked at a little bit because I was too lazy to go grinding up the giant hill.  See the jumps?  Look at the mid-section dead center in the photo.  Those are rocks.  There is an expectation that you will jump that section of the trail, and not ride through it.

Look dead center, that's a little kid way up in the air.  I envy Bend kids, they have such an amazing resource available to them.

Here is my beloved riding a log ramp.  I haven't done it yet, still thinking about it.  It's that whole breaking a hip at my age thing.

So today's trail wisdom is as follows.  KGB from The Lair to milepost 9 is steep and rocky, but mostly rideable.  COD between mileposts 20 and 21 is full of rocks and boulders and is not rideable by me.
Hopefully we'll get another ride down Storm King tomorrow, I still feel like I'm suffering (as in suffocating) from the altitude here.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

FSR 4610 and 400

Greetings.  This will be yet another in the series of writing about the Bend rides so we can preserve their memory for next time.  After yesterday, we were looking for an easier ride today.  So we decided to explore some of the Forest Service Roads.  These can be useful to know if one finds oneself fatigued, injured, or terrified of the next trail section.  They go everywhere and can be used to bail to an easier route home.
We went out on Ben's to milepost 16.  This is Ben's before the trail starts to climb.  There is climbing before 16.

Here we are just past milepost 16, where Ben's intersects FSR 4610.

We rode 4610 back to where it intersects Grand Slam.  We were there yesterday.  There is a sign for FSR 4604 that appears to head off in a north easterly direction.  We decided to take it and see where it went.  It's not on the map as 4604, it's on the map as 400.  We rode 400 for 2.25 miles (it's downhill).  The FSR intersects a trail, just before dropping down sharply.  See below, see trail vanishing down hill.

This is why one should mountain bike with a compass.  No trail name here!

No trail name on the other side, either!. We elected to take the turn to the north.  It was correct.  We rode a brief distance and found milepost 20.  Twenty is incorrectly located on the map, it's at the split between ELV and COD, it's not at the intersection of 400 and COD.  Please make a note of this!  We talked to another rider at 20 who told us to 'go thataway' to head back to the chicken. 

We saw this on the way to milepost 11.  It's a memorial to Bob Marley.

I love the stuff that has been left here.

After riding through milepost 11, we made it back down to the chicken, which is a known location for us.

So, that was today.  It was a good, albeit dusty ride.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Riding Storm King via Grand Slam

Today's post chronicles today's ride.  I am doing this in some detail, so that next year when we try to remember where we liked riding, we can refer back.  It has become clear to me that my memory of the trail system here is somewhat lacking.
We started up Ben's.  There was a Dad coaching his son on how to ride the rocky switch back section.  The advice given was to hit the uphill rocks with momentum, level your feet as the front wheel crosses the rock (so as not to hit the rock with the pedal), then mash down on the pedals to get the back wheel to clear the rock.  Rinse, repeat.  The kid had cleaned all but the very last rock, but Dad sent him back down the hill until he got them all.  Pretty cool to watch.  The Dad was riding a single speed.  From this we infer he's a very good rider.
From FSR 300 to the entrance to Whoops is about 1.6 miles of continuous uphill grinding it out.  I was a tired puppy at that point.  See the chipmunk sunning himself?  Is he not adorable?

We went down Storm King (which is in really good shape) to mile post 27, where we turned on to Grand Slam.  The first part of GS has several impenetrable sections of rock.  This is one of them.  My beloved took pity on my tired self and hauled my bike through it.  Some people can ride this, but I would not be one of them.

Still hauling.

After the rocky parts, the trail gets smoother, but the top is pretty steep down, with tight turns which are partially obscured by bushes.  The lower you get the easier the trail gets.  It's a doable trail, but there might be better ways to go.  Grand Slam intersects FSR 4610 just before milepost 22.  We took 4610 to the left.  4610 intersects Voodoo (a black trail), where Voodoo looks very benign.  There is a bike sculpture there.

Mountain bike art at its finest.

After crossing Voodoo, we made a right onto Phil's just above the Chicken, which is milepost 7.  The bird has a new paint job this year, and is looking fine.

Once on Phil's we were happy knowing that it wasn't that far to the truck, and it's a trail we've ridden a lot.  We got 18.2 miles today
I think next time we'll continue on down Storm King to the Cause of Death trail and see how that is.  Do you not love the trail names?