Thursday, July 30, 2009

Oregon, Day 4 - Siuslaw Coast

Day 4 we hit the coast, traveling west from Eugene we popped out in Florence, just south of the Siuslaw Coast. The road out to the coast was a hoot in the Camaro, and the road up the coast north of Florence was even better. Driving back, I'd get clocked by the fuzz trailing behind an Accord going very fast. Somehow the Accord got the ticket...not sure how that worked out in my favor...probably the first time an Accord got a ticket over a Camaro, but thanks Oregon State Police!

The day was a perfect overcast foggy day on the North Pacific shore. This is what the Pacific seems like it should be. The Gulf down in Tampa should never be cold and wet and foggy, and the North Pacific should be a rainy overcast mess that makes you want to dress like the Gorton's Fisherman!

"Devil's Churn"

Looking south down the shore.
We'd eaten up in Yachets at a place called the Dive Inn. It was a restored tavern that back in the day was notorious for a very Hemingway-ish lifestyle. Folks who came to the Dive back in the day, and got a little too tipsy and started stuff with their bar-neighbors, would be hauled upstairs to the makeshift boxing ring to settle their differences like real men. Suck it up!

Jane points out a fishing boat being tossed around pretty good by the turbulent seas. We also saw whales, which were really only visible by their spray, and discernible from smaller critters like dolphins by the big black back that would rise out of the water following the spray. There must have been some underwater formation off the mouth of Devil's Churn that attracted the whales, or their food anyway, because they were everywhere.

Bridge for Highway 101 over the creek at Heceta Head Lighthouse. The big grey steel bridge was a perfect match for the big grey steel day.

Much like Ruby Beach, just to the north along the coast of Washington, there were large rock formations jutting from the turbulent surf.

And like Ruby Beach, the rocks were home to a billion little critters, including this little fellow, which Jane proclaimed was Nemo's house. She then spent 20 minutes trying to say Anemone.

Next Stop...Crater Lake National Park!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Oregon, Day 3 - McKenzie River

Ride Pics!

This is McKenzie River Trail, in the Willamette National Forest. Trail starts out as a lava strewn disaster of sharp rocks and pain, but smoothes out nicely as it descends. Unfortunately, by the time the smooth part was on deck, I was absolutely pulverized by the upper technical portion, and felt more as though I was working a construction gig, or maybe boxing against Ali, instead of riding a bike. My analogy was, that I felt like the trail was laborious, rewardless pain. Like beating my 'crank' on a rock for no reason....

At least it was pretty. The trailhead sign where we deposited the third car for the shuttle.

After the drive up, the trail begins with a clear volcanic mountain lake.

The Volcanic theme extended to the trail surface of the upper portion as well. Sharp, leg-gutting rock. Not a good place to hit the deck. Easy enough, yeah?

More Lake Views, a little further down the trail.

Split log river crossings were pretty common. I think there were three?

The McKenzie River

Falls on the River. Very pretty trail, and less painful than up higher on the route, so it was easier to compartmentalize my pain and just enjoy the least for a while.

More Lake views. There were quite a few of these lava-rock bottomed lakes along the route as well. Not at all like the tannin filled goo we call fresh water here in Florida.

Western Woods Research?! The EWR did great. Much better than my big ass did anyway!

A hard day. A good day, but a hard day. I was pretty bummed that the trailhead was so far from the house, some 2.5 hours away, total of nearly 5 hours drive time, which made for a 12 hour day in total, but still...I'm glad that we did the trail when all was said and done.
"The McKenzie River National Recreational Trail is one of the best rides anywhere, and that's not limited to Oregon. The spectacular scenery... seems perfectly balanced with the rides challenging singletrack and all-day distance."
Kissing the Trail
Northwest and Central Oregon

by John Zilly
ISBN 978-188158312-7

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Oregon - Travel Days

We flew out of Jacksonville, with a plane change in Houston, and arrived at the Portland airport on Saturday night. We secured our rental car (more on that in a bit!) and checked in to the old standby Hampton Inn, conveniently located on the airport grounds. Hampton Inn's are great to travel with kids, as they are always, always the exact same experience, and the breakfast in the morning is complimentary.... Free Coffee equals good!

Photo of Mount Hood, just east of Portland, taken from the 737 we flew on from Houston. In the background that's Mount Jefferson, and just to the left of Jefferson, waaaaaaay off in the distance and barely visible, the Three Sisters. Not every day you can snag a shot like this from a plane! Especially now-a-days, where airlines have 12 year old pre-pubescents with little flight experience controlling the stick.

Day one spent in the air, and day two spent on the ground, driving from Portland to the house we'd rented as a group. The Goal for the my bicycling buddies and pack as much riding time around the priority of a good comfortable vacation with the family. We'll be staying between the Willamette and Deschutes National Forests, about 60 miles east of Eugene, 25 miles away from Oakridge, a wee bit north of Crater Lake National Park, in the heart of the Cascade Mountains.

The light was right on the 'leaving' side.

Our house for the week. Lots of space, very clean, and with a big fat kitchen and a hot tub. It will be a great home base for the trip, and that hot tub will come in handy after this unsuspecting east-coaster rides his bike in thousands years old lava fields.
And that's the rental car. Yeah. Call us Florida Rednecks, because that silver-sucker is the new Camaro. It was a very, very nice car. Well built and extremely smooth and fast. Chevrolet did a masterful job.

From the front, the house that, and the car?!

That afternoon, Kristen, Jane and I hung out and relaxed while the others struggled to finish their morning rides by 5 pm. Time estimation would prove to be the only real glitch in the trip, as east-coast ride times need to be doubled to be accurate. Plus, while the plan to stay east of Oakridge was based on being convenient to riding, somehow we still would wind up spending hours driving to trailheads across central Oregon.

Fly Right!

Pre-vacation bike shipping. We're home now, so post-vacation pictures to follow...

Friday, July 17, 2009

Not in my Britches!

The little girl is in potty-training mode. Doing a fine job with the wee part, but the poo component, as is the case with many kids, is a tough nut to crack. Of course the thing we're trying to do, one of the more popular solutions, is to just put her in underwear and send her off, as having an accident in underwear is much more uncomfortable than an accident in a diaper, or than doing the right thing and waving the white flag of surrender in the face of the rising 'tide' in the first place. Sending her off to school in underwear means sending spare underwear. Spare underwear, you'll remember, especially those of you who spent any amount of time at a summer camp as a kid, means having to put your name in them with a Sharpie.

Something tells me that her mom got a little confused here. Sorry dear, but those are NOT my britches! Whoops!

Blog Break! See you in a weak!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Tesla-Klein Connection

Google is celebrating the birthday of Nikola Tesla today. Google does this little thing of picking out various random characters from history and creating some dorky little manipulation of the word "Google" that relates to their contributions to the world. Tesla is the Big Bad Daddy of AC, or the Alternating Current. I could give Google credit for teaching me about Tesla, but actually, that credit goes to the website Hamtest Online. Yeah, I got a HAM radio license a little while back, and while I haven't done much with it (baby) some of the bizarre random information which I studied for the test actually stuck. Too bad there wasn't an "Algebratest Online" website when I was a kid. Thumbs up to Google for bringing these little tidbits of history to the unwashed masses on their way to Jumbo Jubblies Dot Com.

Anyway...looks like Nikola was a good buddy of Gary Klein, or at the very least Tinker Juarez. Leave it to Klein to emulate one of the greatest developments in modern engineering and in doing so create a rolling tribute to not only Tesla, but also furry hat wearing pimps the world over. Thumbs down Klein. Stick to fades and deep metalics. Godspeed.

I ganked the Klein pic from Retrobike, so if the bike's owner complains, I may have to take the pic down and replace it with something more relevant, like a picture of a bag of Fritos. If Google complains about unauthorized use, I'll be blogging next week as the new cellmate of Bernie Madoff.
Save the Cache! Skirt The Man!

Welcome Goatsurfer!

A buddy of mine has started his own little online presence at

Check it out. Any website that looks to be packed with boat loads of useless drivel about old bicycles (much like my own, here!) is OK by me! The Goatsurfing part? Hmmm.

Seems like a dubious pass-time to me. Skill seems to be involved, and a resistance to ( or fetish for!) farm-yard stench I'm sure.

Some level of embarrassment for the 'dance-partner' I'd imagine...

"Don't wear those stiletto heels again, pal"

Hemingway Seal of Approval...

The goats were dark. The surfing was brisk. Dark Goat-surfing was good. The goats were good. The meat was tender.

"Can I get a go, dear?" she asked.

"Hmm", I replied.

"You know I don't compete well with hobbies, dear. Do pay attention." she hissed.

"What rot" I said

The air was full of Goat Smells. Got Smells are not good. Goats are ripe beasts. Ripe is good, but never when describing a goat. Unless you are from Alabama. Alabama is not good.

"Please listen, dear. I'm speaking" she pouted.

"Hmmm", I replied.

"Fine, have your way with the ripe goats then!" she barked

I blinked, and realized she was gone. She was work. Too much work. Work should never keep a man from his goats. She was good, though. Good and ripe. Perhaps I should make it up to her with some stale Chianti in Pamplona...