Sunday, July 31, 2011


After a couple of weeks concerted effort, the apartment is looking very empty and all the things I've been putting off fixing for the past 3 years are in working order. This will be a lesson to me to get around to doing these things earlier next time so I can enjoy things like working power sockets for myself...

All of the packing and fixing rush was a build up to me heading south with Conor on a bicycle-infused adventure. Our destination is Ashland Oregon, where we will be attaneding the United Bicycle Institute's course fo bicycle frame TIG welding. To say this has been a long time coming would be about right. I first wrote for the course details 5 years ago and it has taken me this long, but we are on our way. Knowing very well that the journey is often more important than the destination, we left a lttle early and have been enjoying some barely-organized adventures along the way. Our first stop was with Chris and Kathleen in Olympia for a great evening and welcome bed for the night followed by a fantastic ride in the Capitol State Forest with Chris. The fast flowing singletrack there is the perfect contrast to our local trails (and Conor's birthplace as a mountain biker), the North Shore. Swooping through the red dirt and enjoying some long-awaited sunshine I felt like a housebound catepillar emerging from its cocoon as a butterfly... with wheels, or something.

Traffic through Portland sucks at rush-hour, and Friday night in late July is a dumb time to be looking for a campsite in Oregon. Despite these things, we found a place to stay for the night between Eugene and Bend and prepared ourselves for a shuttle-assisted ride down the McKenzie River Trail. This trail was 40km of mostly downhill singletrack, passing through lava fields, past waterfalls, and the bluest lake I have ever seen. The water looked like ice, and wasn't much warmer at about 5 degrees. We jumped in, and quickly jumped out again. Having been very hot we were totally refreshed in about 3 seconds. The rest of the trail was a mix of fast, swooping singletrack with occasional small climbs or a few technical sections. Despite having mostly ridden downhill, 4 hours of riding is still 4 hours of riding, so Conor and I were were ready for some further refreshment at the end of the trail. We jumped in the resevor to cool off and then sat in the sun outside a cafe. I love it when aplan comes together.

An Irishman as tall as a tree... in some trees.

Bizarre lava-rock with asphalt singletrack. Madness.

Waterfalls and forest of greenest green

A lake of bluest blue

Yes... it was really, really blue

...and really cold!
Today we arrived in Ashland and had a poke around the town which will be our home for the next 2 weeks. There's good coffee, a brewpub, bike trails from the town, and we're staying in a TeePee. I think it's going to be fun!