Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Rain, Glorious Rain - And Other Bits

(Interweb photo)
We are finally receiving rain in Oregon.  According to the news reports last night, our last day of measurable rain was back in July when we received a mere 2/10 of a inch. Not much at all.  It has now been raining all night and the air smells fresh.

Of course it's raining and the Off Highway Vehicle areas are once again open to motorcycles - our vacation is over.  Last week we were on vacation and originally planned to play in the dirt.  Those plans were foiled when the OHV areas were closed.  Our plan B was to go explore the Oregon Caves National Monument located in Cave Junction, Oregon located off Highway 199.  A nice bit of twisty road that runs between Grass Pants Grants Pass, Oregon to Crescent City, California. Those plans were foiled as well when a new forest fire burst forth between Cave Junction and Grants Pass.  

We opted to stay close to home and have a "staycation".  Mountain bikes were walked ridden, and mountains were hiked.  We even managed to squeeze in a visit with our new nephew Max and my brother and sister-in-law.

Here are some tales and photos from those adventures.


On Thursday September 11th, Troubadour thought it was a good day for riding the bicycles.  I agreed. We hadn't really ridden them since our ride around Dorena Lake.  A new mountain bike trail had opened at Alsea Falls, about 25 miles from the house.  We loaded the bikes onto the car and headed out.

From the trailhead it was a 3 mile incline up a forest service road to the beginning of the bike trails.  A 1,000 ft in elevation gain.

(Alsea Falls Trailhead)
We walked a portion of the road.  I was just recovering from a chest cold and the incline was not helping my breathing.

(Waiting to start the Highballer)
We made it to the top and started the Highballer trail.  It was labelled a blue/intermediate trail.  If that is intermediate, I never want to see a black/difficult trail.

(Photo by Troubadour)
I like to joke and say I took my bike out for a walk that day.  I did ride parts of the Highballer, but it was a little extreme for my hybrid bike and I walked down most of it, stopping periodically for pictures or when I dropped the bike and fell over.  Yes, leave it to me to fall over when walking the bike downhill.

The following three pictures are some of the switchbacks from the Highballer.  All three photos by Troubadour.

On one particularly high banked switchbacks the bike started to slide and I gave it a hearty shove in frustration.  Bad words might have been said.  Unfortunately it popped the front brake clip and bent it a little.  Troubadour came to the rescue and fixed it for me.

A little bit of fun on the way down was spotting the two gnomes.  Of course I had to stop for pictures.

(Gnome One and a bit of trail)

(Close up of Gnome One)

(Troubadour and Gnome Two)

(Close up of Gnome Two)

(A bit of the trail - very dry hard packed dirt)
At the bottom of the Highballer is the start of the Springboard trail.  

(Looking back at the end/bottom of the Highballer)

(Start of the Springboard)
The Springboard is a nice green/beginner trail that was wonderful and made the grueling walk down the Highballer almost fade away.  Hardly any pedaling, just a smooth roller coaster of ups and downs.  At the crest of one whoop-dee-doo my left pedal clipped a tree root and broke off a reflector.  I had to laugh.  I've only had the bike since June and it now looks like I've ridden it hard for years.

We were having so much fun we didn't stop for any pictures until we came to this little wooden boardwalk.

The Springboard ended and I believe we took a bit of the Dutchman trail back towards the car.  A rapid and smooth descent.  We came to a small bridge and stopped for a look.

(Wasn't much water in the creek)
By the time we got back to the car, the bike and I were both covered in a red dust from the trail. My white running shoes will never be the same.  Maybe I should go for a walk in the rain.


Two days later on Saturday the 13th we decided to go for a hike up Mary's Peak.  The highest peak in the coastal range.  For some reason I thought we would drive the 20 miles or so to the observation point parking lot off of Highway 34 and hike the 1-2 mile meadow loop to the lookout.

Troubadour had other ideas.  A map we'd purchased several weeks ago showed a trailhead off Woods Creek Road in Philomath.  From there you could hike up the north ridge of the mountain to the parking lot.  Sure, sounds like fun.

Now, when I say hike up the side of a mountain, I literally mean switchbacks cut into the side of a mountain. There was a 2,000 ft elevation gain in the 4.5 mile walk up.  

It was a long walk that took 2 hours.  We walked through second growth forests away from the ferns and chirping birds to areas with no undergrowth and no other wildlife.  We only saw 6 other people the entire way up.

(Hiking the North Ridge of Mary's Peak)

(Troubadour found a walking stick for part of the way up)
One mile from the parking lot up top, where the trail splits, is a wooden bench.  We took a wee break.

(One more mile to go)
We emerged at the parking lot to the 3770 ft elevation sign.  

We'd made it.  It felt odd to be in the parking lot without the motorcycles.  We relaxed for half an hour, ate Cliff bars for energy, and waited for the ice cubes in the camelbak to thaw in the sunshine so we'd have sufficient water for the hike back down.

We took in the hazy views of the valley.  The valley was quite smoky for a week or two because of the forest fires around the State.

The return trip down didn't quite take 2 hours. It was harder on the legs than the walk up.  At one point Troubadour found us both sturdy sticks to ease the descent.  He'd left his previous one beside the trail before reaching the top.

At one point walking down, we stopped in our tracks.  Troubadour noticed something we'd missed on the way up.  A partial piece of log stuck in a tree.  A lot of trees were uprooted during the storms of last year and the weight of the snow, but this was the first one we'd see with large pieces lodged in another tree on the way down.

(With me for size reference)
It was 6:30 pm by the time we reached the car and we were the last ones to leave for the day. Walking through the shady trees gave the appearance of it being later than it was.  Once out of the woods we returned to sunshine.


My brother's family lives on the Oregon Coast, south of us.  They only live 2.5 hours away but we don't see each other often.  We decided to meet on Sunday in Florence for lunch and then head to the beach.  We had every intention of riding the motorcycles down there, but after the 9 miles of hiking the previous day our knees wouldn't take it.  So, we took the trusty Subaru and the kites along with us.

After lunch at the Bridgewater we headed north to Heceta Beach to relax.  It was a beautiful day at the coast. Brilliant sunshine, 70 degrees, and no wind.  So rare to be at the coast with no wind.  Not even enough to fly the parafoil kite.

We visited with T&T and played with little Max (6 months old) until late afternoon/early evening and headed home.  All pictures blatantly stolen from Mrs T's facebook page.

(Me, Mrs T, and little Max)

(Me, Mr. T, and little Max)

(Little Maximilian wouldn't look at the camera on the beach so I had to rob another pic)

*     *     *     *

Last Monday we found out about Bobskoot and that set the tone for the next few days.  We didn't do much beyond shake our heads and do some yard work.

Saturday came and we did ride to coffee.  Ta-da - I still remembered how.

Monday the 22nd, it was back to work.

I got a great surprise yesterday when I found out that Pat, aka Scooterchick and her hubby Chris, aka Scootard were coming through on their way south.  I had the pleasure of their company for lunch at Laughing Planet.    Of course, I didn't have my camera with me, but luckily they did and I have shamelessly stolen the following two pics from Pat's blog.  They get full credit for both pics though.

(Selfie from Pat's phone)

(Pat took a picture of Chris and I with her camera)
Thank you again to you both for going out of your way to meet up.  I am hoping you'll be able to stop by on your return trip and let Troubadour and I take you out for lunch or dinner.

And this weekend we get to visit with RichardM.  Hooray for blogger meet ups.

- Au Revoir

Magnificent Autumn! He comes not like a pilgrim, clad in russet weeds. He comes not like a hermit, clad in gray. But he comes like a warrior, with the stain of blood upon his brazen mail. His crimson scarf is rent.... The wind.... wafts to us the odor of forest leaves, that hang wilted on the dripping branches, or drop into the stream. Their gorgeous tints are gone, as if the autumnal rains had washed them out. Orange, yellow, and scarlet, all are changed to one melancholy russet hue.... There is a melancholy and continual roar in the tops of the tall pines.... It is the funeral anthem of the dying year." ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Our Beloved Bobskoot

With a cry of disbelief yesterday I read of Bobskoot's passing on David's blog The Scoot Commute.  I am still in shock and it is hard to imagine he is gone.  I, like others, thought he'd stopped updating his blog due to intermittent wi-fi issues.

I had to wait until today before I read everyone's tribute posts about Bob.  My heart was, and still is, heavy with his loss.  I feel for his beautiful and patient wife Yvonne and the grief she must be feeling.

I think Rogey summed up my feelings best when he wrote, "Bloody Hell Bob".

I had the good fortune to meet Bob and Yvonne many times over the years, the first time being at the Seattle Motorcycle Show in December 2009.  He was a social person and loved to talk about anything, especially photography and gadgets.

I don't know what I can really say that hasn't already been said by others except what I said to Princess ScooterPie on facebook last night, and that was:  

"He wasn't just an internet persona.  
To those of us that had the fortune to meet him and actually get to know him, 
he was larger than life and was the friend you never knew you needed."

Goodbye to you, my trusted friend...........

(Me, Bobskoot, and Yvonne - Seattle 2009)

(Bobskoot and Yvonne - Seattle 2011)

(Taken in Joseph, Oregon - IMBC 2012)

(Me, Bobskoot, & RichardM - Joseph, Oregon IMBC 2012)

(It should say America's Most Loved)

(Taking pictures on the way home from IMBC 2012)

(San Francisco, CA - January 2013)

(San Francisco, CA 2013)

My favorite photo of Bobskoot was one I took at the IMBC 2012, and how I will always remember him......

(Our Beloved Bobskoot - IMBC 2012)
- Au Revoir Mon Ami

" There are things we don't want to happen, but have to accept, things we don't want to know, but have to learn, and people we can't live without, but have to let go." - Author Unknown

Monday, September 8, 2014

These Boots

I have always found it a challenge to find ladies riding boots for sale locally.  The last two pairs I've ordered have been off the internet.  Luckily they have fit, even buying sight unseen. I blogged about my frustrations HERE over 4 years and those two pairs of boots ago.

I have been searching for off road boots for well over a month.  We'd been to motorcycle shops in several towns and hadn't found anything.

The Saturday before last we finally found ladies off road boots at Cycle Gear in Salem.  I tried on a pair and they fit, but there was one problem - they had entirely too much pink on them.  See Exhibit A below.  Of course they are available in black and white with no pink, but no one carries those in stock.

(Exhibit A - stock photo from RockymountainATV)
Now, that may not look like a lot of pink to you, but for me it was over the top.  So what's a girl to do? Well, if your feet are small enough you turn to boys boots.  I am lucky, in that my feet are fairly small for my height.  I tried on a Youth's 7 and they fit perfect.  They even had more toe room than the ladies.  And you know what?  No pink!  See Exhibit B below.

(Exhibit B - stock photo from RockymountainATV)
And.....they were $40 less than the ladies boots.  Bonus.  I was very happy to finally have some boots, and bought locally too.  I had Labor Day Monday off while Troubadour had to work so it gave me a chance to put them on and dance walk around the house a bit to test them out.  I've sat on the TW with them on and we may have to adjust the shift lever a smidgen, but I think they'll work just fine.

"These boots aren't made for walking, so that's not what they'll do........."

We have a few days off coming up and we are hoping to get in some road riding, dirt riding, and mountain bike riding.  Hopefully the weather will cooperate.  Half the State is still on fire.  With the fire danger elevated, all off road vehicles must carry either 1 gallon of water or a 2.5 lb fire extinguisher AND a shovel with an 8 inch blade and 26 inch handle.

There is a large fire to the south of us - LINK, and to the southeast and southwest of us.  This LINK has a satellite map of the western side of the State showing smoke from the fires.  Even here in Corvallis we had over an 80 acre fire Friday night about 3 miles northeast of our house. LINK.  

Come on rain.  We just need a few days of rain with no lightning.

- Au Revoir

"Keep your bike in good repair, motorcycle boots are not comfortable for walking." - Author Unknown