Sailing away with Nikk and Jan

Posts tagged ‘Mt St Helens’

And Now For Something Different: Cycle Oregon

Maybe some of you have wondered “Where are Jan and Nikk?” Balance crossed over to San Carlos, on the mainland side of the Sea of Cortez, in mid-May. Two weeks of clearing out the food and other items that couldn’t stand a summer of sizzling temps, then oiling all the teak below, performing tasks too numerous to name, and Balance came out of the water and went to the storage yard alongside over 400 other boats.

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An all-day bus ride to Phoenix in air-conditioned comfort, and a plane ride the next day to Portland brought us back to stay four and a half months. One summer in sweltering La Cruz was enough for us, and there were two houses that needed a lot of work, first the rental property that was trashed by the tenant, then the cabin up by Mt St Helens that belonged to Nikk’s parents (with maybe 60 years of accumulated stuff, those of you with aging parents can relate). Now it’s three months after leaving San Carlos, and we’ve been enjoying our time with family and friends. The cabin has very, very slow or nonexistent internet, so no blogging for a long time.

Back in January I decided to ride Cycle Oregon with my brother Steve. It’s a week-long ride in Oregon, fully supported, except for providing my own tent, bike, and gear. You can read about this week’s ride, the good work and benefits Cycle Oregon provides for communities, and much more at http://www.cycleoregon.com. Most people train for months, and some ride all year, especially since this year involves over 30,000 ft of vertical climbing. I’ve only had three months to train, but staying much of the time at the cabin in Northwoods, on Swift Reservoir, south of Mt St Helens, meant many rides of climbing, climbing, climbing. The roads wind through forests of fir, pine, and deciduous trees, past foaming creeks and rivers, with views of mountains (and clearcuts, unfortunately). Nikk rode on a lot of training rides with me up at Northwoods, his aerobic engine is phenomenal (he was a very good long-distance swimmer back in antiquity). Here’s a few photos of the views we earned:

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Mt St Helens from the McClellan Viewpoint on Curly Creek Road (10% grade for 4 miles)

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A huge Douglas Fir near Upper Falls on the Lewis RIver Highway

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Mt Hood from the top of Larch Mountain, 4000 ft elevation gain and 65 miles round trip

Whew! I’m making myself tired remembering all those rides, but today I am in the tent city at The Dalles, our starting point tomorrow. There are 2200 riders who will be challenged by this year’s demanding course, all camped in a beautiful park next to the Columbia Gorge Community College. There will be entertainment by musicians onstage every night, people we will meet in towns along the way, hopefully some spectacular vistas of mountains and rivers, lots of good food to eat, and the chance to spend time outdoors for a week. I’ve been missing our life on the boat, especially the six weeks in the Sea of Cortez, on the water or land, but almost always just a few steps away from direct connection to the natural world. My goal is to write about the Cycle Oregon experience every day this week, so if you’re curious, come along with me, and also check out the CO website and FB page. I’ll leave you with a photo of my “hood”.

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