Memorial Day weekend in Sunriver, wherein I am reminded that it does not suck being me.
Twenty miles of trail riding past Benham Falls and Dillon Falls.
“It’s hard when it’s fun.” “It’s fun when it’s hard!”
“Fortune favors the depraved! Err…, I mean, the prepared.”
The view from the hottub:
Single track riding around Cultis Lake, until we were stopped by snow drifts.
“My robots match my shoes!”
“No, I’m not in a huge rush. I’m not chomping at the bit. Well…, I’m licking at the bit.”
This past weekend, two girls and I went down to the Bend area for a long Memorial Day weekend of bike riding in the sun.
I am neatly sandwiched between the two girls (heh) in terms of bicycling ability. I think I’m a bit stronger and more confident of a rider than Mags, but I have way less experience and far fewer miles than Bobo. Mags picked our routes and destinations, and I think we all anticipated some leisurely riding on easy paved trails. Ha!
To our collective surprise, very little of the routes were paved at all. We rode on dirt and gravel trails alongside the Deschutes River, dodging potholes, climbing roots and creeping over rocks. Bobo was on her mountain bike, with front suspension and big fat tires that seemed to float over obstacles. I was on a hybrid with no suspension and slightly thicker tires, so I managed okay, though I worried about popping a tire on some of the rockier sections. Mags was on a hybrid with very skinny tires, and had more challenges with softer trail, where the bike wanted to slip sideways. In hindsight, we all agreed that if we had known the trails were gonna be like that, we might have demurred.
But the river was beautiful, the skies were bright blue with big puffy clouds and the temperature was ideal. Over the three days, we did nearly 50 miles, and had a blast doing it. There were long flat stretches where we did a gentle slalom through the trees at reasonable speed, other times when we inched uphill while popping over small obstacles, and downhill runs done a little too fast with some skidding around corners. We even found several odd sections of trail with rollercoaster, up-and-down hills a couple of feet high that we rolled up over and down over and over again.
All in all, we had an amazing time. Mags acquired some bruises, of which she is inordinately proud. I built some additional riding chops and gained some confidence in tackling hills. Bobo got to share her utter glee in mountain biking with her newbie friends.
Winter be damned; Spring has hit my yard with a vengeance! Here is today’s set of flowers, blooms and blossoms.
The canopy of cherry blossoms from the trees in the front yard.
Clique here for moar pix!
On a bike ride Saturday, I stumbled upon a house that had suffered a major fire recently. My riding partner has a real thing for abandoned buildings, so of course we had to take a closer look.
I didn’t think much of it at first. Ragged, charred holes in the roof, smashed windows, door hanging open on one hinge.
But then I reached the front porch and the smell hit me. Even after all this time, I know that smell, down to my very bones. Smoked sheet rock and lumber laced with the flat dull smell of barren dirt. My family home burned to the ground when I was nine years old, and that smell still jumped out at me as vivid as yesterday.
The insides of the house look just as sad as you’d imagine. Everything ruined, from the combined effects of the fire, the mind-bending amount of water used to extinguish the fire, and the subsequent exposure to the elements.
I started to write this as a response to a response to a post, but decided to make it a post of its own instead.
Long before I eventually moved to Portland, I visited frequently to see friends and my girlfriend’s family. I was in town in February of 1997 when a really big ice storm. We were staying with my girlfriend’s dad and step-mother when we lost power and were iced in for three days. We huddled next to the fireplace and listened to the quiet stillness punctuated occasionally by the rifle-shot crack of limbs snapping off trees from all the excess ice weight.
Somewhere during that storm I took a picture of an ornamental cabbage MJ had that was coated in a perfect layer of ice.
MJ is long departed, dead from cancer just over two years now. Which still seems impossible, somehow.
When I saw ornamental cabbages for sale at a local market this fall, I instantly thought of MJ and bought several. And this morning, I snapped the modern, much-less-dramatic version of that original photo, of my own purple cabbage dusted with snow.
I love you, MJ, and miss you bunches.
Took a quick trip to bend this weekend, just for a change of scenery. Turned out to be a great idea! Bright blue skies, clear, piercing sunlight, and lovely weather for hiking some of the area buttes.
I visited Tumalo Falls, just outside of Bend. Next time I’ll plan the whole day around that site and do a full day of hiking.
A few more photos from my wanderings around “The City” this weekend.
I love this detail of the scowling buildings from this Mona Caron mural (behind the Safeway at Church and Market)
The Hotel des Arts. Can’t you just smell the art coming off this building?
(Click on either picture to see the full set.)
I spent some time wandering San Francisco, between The Mission and The Castro, and just couldn’t stop taking photos. I forgot to take the “real” camera on this walk, so all of these pix came from the camera in the iPhone. Pretty impressive, considering. And it’s just as well, since I forgot to pack the cable for the “real camera”. Le sigh.
(Click to see the full set.)