Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Camping & Canoeing

With our three-day weekend last weekend we decided to go camping.  Instead of moto-camping with the bikes we opted to take the canoe out since we haven't had it in the water for a few years.

Friday morning we loaded up the car and headed to the coast.  When Troubadour was chasing Bobskoot he noticed a large lake off of Highway 101 and there was a campground and trail head across the Highway.  Our destination was Tahkenitch Lake Campground.

We stopped in Florence for fuel and a few groceries and arrived at the campground around 2 pm. Three circles through the campground and we picked our spot - #11.  It was the furthest one from the restrooms, but also seemed to be quite private.  We unpacked the car, set up the tent and our bedding.

Troubadour proceeded to build a fire.

After roasting veggie dogs for dinner we decided we needed dessert.  A healthier option to roasting marshmallows is to roast bananas, and that we did.

I think the bananas would have been tasty smashed between two graham wafers and dark chocolate as a slightly healthier s'mores option.  We sat there enjoying the peace and quite and remarking on how few people were in the campground.  There were no RV hook-ups or electrical at any of the 30 sites so we didn't expect it to be too busy.

We headed to bed just after dark and that is when we realized how noisy the traffic out on Highway 101 really was and that we'd forgotten ear plugs.  We thought traffic might ease up at some point but it didn't.  Just as we'd fall asleep a large truck would come along and jerk us awake. Finally after hours of tossing and turning we gave up trying to sleep and discovered it was 5:30 am.  Might as well light a fire, make some camp coffee and get the party started.

We watched the fire as dawn approached and others in the campground stirred awake.  We packed up the car knowing we wouldn't be spending a second night.  We decided to check out the trail head.  It was only a mile or so to the sand dunes then another mile to the ocean.  It was a beautiful trail through the woods.

As we got closer we could hear the ocean, but the fog was rolling in so we couldn't see it.

And then we were abruptly at the dunes and we could see what it would be like to walk a mile in that soft sand.  With the fog rolling in and a chill in the air we decided to forgo that last mile to the ocean.  We wouldn't have been able to see anything and the chance of losing sight of the trail over the dunes wasn't appealing.  Here is the panoramic view from where we stopped.  Just to the left of center is the trail over the dunes to the ocean.

Troubadour was adventurous and went down the hill to take a few pictures.  I stayed up the hill knowing I didn't want to climb back up the loose sand.

When he walked back up I used the camera to take a picture of a little piece of driftwood buried in the sand among the grass with one lonely dandelion bloom for company.

Then we got goofy with the self portraits.  No sleep and strong camp coffee will do that.

We made our way back into the woods and when I saw this bench I had to climb aboard and make vroom-vroom noises.

As I sat down I noticed a large banana slug on the front of the log and the legs of the bench had mushrooms on the ends.  Troubadour also noticed a colorful snail eating a mushroom.

(A fallen log feeding new growth)
(Troubadour trying out the soft focus feature)
We made it back to camp and drove to the Tahkenitch boat launches.  Both were quite busy. One in another campground and the other a day use boat launch.  There were at least 20 trucks and trailers sitting there with their boats already in the water.  We opted not to canoe around the fishermen.  We drove up the road a little trying to find a more remote place to put the canoe in the lake.  We stumbled upon a large section of ripe wild blackberries and decided it was snack time. We ate our fill and filled up a small container to take with us for snacking later.

We drove south thinking we might not get the canoe in the water and then we passed Elbow Lake. Just before a passing lane Brad spotted a driveway in the general direction of the lake and took it. We were glad he did as it was a little makeshift boat launch area.  With no one around and no one else on the lake, the canoe was getting wet.

(You can just see the car on the far right shore)

(Close up)
A view from the car.

I was looking out over the lake as Brad was taking pictures and didn't notice he took a picture of me with the car.  Apparently he realized he chopped my head off and had to take another.  Here they are - take I and take II.

We got back in the car and decided we'd head towards home the long way and see if we could find another spot to camp overnight.  We went east on Lower Smith River Road which turns into South Sisters Road and then Oxbow Rd.  All paved/chip sealed forestry roads.  Nice twisty bits of fun great for two-wheels.  We'd been down this same way in 2011 on our three day adventure. Although I don't think the road was in the same shape back then.  Time hasn't been good to it. Early on we passed this mill operation and Troubadour went across the bridge for a closer look.

We did pass three different camping areas and drove through them, but we were so out of place in our Subaru.  They were full of lifted pick up trucks with screaming children and dogs running amok.  You could almost hear the banjos and folks sayin': "you ain't from around here is ya?"  We finally lost hope for another night of camping.

Somewhere along the way we stopped by the side of the road and made sandwiches to eat by the river. We were too hungry to take any pictures.  Brad was snacking on the blackberries as we drove and I told him if there were any left I'd make him blackberry scones or muffins Sunday morning for breakfast - his choice.

Further northeast we came around a sharp corner way up high and were surprised at this sight. The clear cut logging is devastating.  That huge rig had cables hooked all across the canyon floor to the other side of the valley.  We aren't too sure how they plan on getting the logs out.  This was new to us and wasn't there in 2011.  On the far right of the panoramic photo below you can just see the road we were traveling.  Karen would kill us if we tried to take her on this one.  We were far from Flatlandia.

We popped out on Territorial Highway south of Veneta and made it home by 5 pm.  Basil was happy to see us and we had a relaxing evening.  We were exhausted and in bed by 9 pm and slept for 10 hours.

Oh, and Sunday morning he chose scones.

- Au Revoir

" Camping:  Nature's way of promoting the motel industry." - Dave Berry in The Only Travel Guide You'll Ever Need

Monday, August 19, 2013

A Visitor from Afar

Well, not really afar, but he had been from Coast to Coast and back again.

On Friday afternoon the elusive Bobskoot arrived in the valley to 90˚ weather and accepted our invitation to stay overnight.  He was interested in coming to coffee Saturday morning. Troubadour had to teach Saturday so I would have been going to coffee solo.

(Bobskoot at Saturday Morning Coffee)

We left coffee at about 11:30 am.  Hugs were given all around and I watched him ride away.  

Thank you for taking the time to visit Bob.  It was a pleasure, as always.

- Au Revoir

" The function of a friend is not to have a function." - Detlef Cordes

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Waterfalls and a Bit of Kit


After the scorcher of a ride a few weeks ago I gladly jumped at the chance to go to Premier Motogear in Albany on August 2nd for their 15% off Rev'it gear sale.  I was a little disappointed that they didn't have any hi-vis ladies gear but they did have a mesh jacket that decided to come home with me.

I purchased the Rev'it  Ladies Levante Jacket in grey.  

(Stock photo from Motorcycle Superstore)

It fits like my Siren jacket so it is comfortable and the sleeves are long enough.  I like the fact it has mesh panels, but the outer edges that might see wear in a crash are full textile.  I've used it twice now, once riding to coffee and once riding to work.  It was in the 90's riding home from work and it felt fine with the liner out.  I noticed one upgrade that they've done from my Siren and that is to attach the liner snaps to the liner and the loops to the interior of the jacket so that when you take the liner out you don't have snaps adding bulk at the cuffs.  A very nice change.

The next day we attended the vendor expo at Cycle Country in Salem.  I happened to have a gift card given to me by some good friends a while ago and was hoping to find a tinted visor for my Shoei Qwest helmet.  Success.  I found a dark smoke face shield.  They gave me 10% off so the gift card took care of it.  And because I made a purchase I got to spin the prize wheel and managed to win Troubadour a Honda t-shirt too.
(Photo from Shoei
*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Last weekend we decided to do some hiking.  Friday afternoon we drove east to Silver Falls State Park and hiked a two-mile loop around 3 of the 10 waterfalls.  The hiking trails went behind two of the falls.  Here are some of the highlights.

(Walkway behind the falls)

(No, he didn't fall in or get his shoes wet)

(Photo by Troubadour)
(Photo by Troubadour)

(Stairs we came down - there were a lot of them)

(Photo by Troubadour)
(Photo by Troubadour)

(All the stairs we came down - look Bobskoot there are people in the picture)
(We took the path on the right leading back up, and up, and up)
(Kitchen built by the CCC - Civilian Conservation Corps - in the 1930's)
(The CCC built most of the trails and all of the rock walls and stairs for the trails)
(Log Lodge also built by the CCC in the 1930's - now a nature store)
(Heading back to the parking lot)
(A lookout - south of the park.  Fields of baby Christmas trees.  A lot of smoke in the air)
Sunday afternoon - McDowell Creek Falls: We didn't take as many pictures since I'd been here hiking with SpartanBabe a few months ago.  This was Troubadour's first visit though.  There wasn't nearly as much water coming over the falls this time.  All photos by Troubadour.

For comparison here is a photo of Royal Terrace Falls when Meg and I hiked.  This is the same waterfall as the second to last photo above.

It was a fairly lazy weekend unless you count the hiking, but it was relaxing nonetheless.

- Au Revoir

" Climb mountains and get their good tidings.  Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees.  The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves." - John Muir