Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Bicyclists in Kayaks and not a Moto in Sight

For only the second time this year we took the kayaks for a float on the river. We started at Buena Vista Ferry.
We were joined by the usual riff-raff from the bicycle club.
The Ferry is closed for the year. The ramps will be updated and repaired and a new ferry will begin it's run next spring. For a while it didn't look like the ferry would continue operations, but somehow that's no longer the case.
It's very peaceful on the water.
There is time for storytelling.
... and a short break for snacks.
Where have I seen this before?
This wasn't my idea. The crocs came up in conversation and suddenly a croc circle appeared . Funny how that happens whenever crocs are around? Only one pair today, but I know at least two people represented here have their own crocs at home. 
Jo and Ace ride recumbents, and have done two cross-country tours. Both can ride circles around most bicyclists. I don't even try to compete. They particularly like breezing past the Lance-wannabes.
Bill puts in a lot of miles himself. This spring he face-planted on a club ride, hopped back on his bike and rode to the next regroup sporting a bloody lip and a few bruises. I want to be fit enough to bounce back from face-plants when I'm 70.
Back to kayaking...
There is no graceful entry into or exit from a kayak.
Everyone has their own technique.
No relaxing until your bum is in the boat!
Onward to Luckiamute River.
This is my first trip up the Luckiamute this year.
The water is cleaner looking, and higher than in the past.
We paddle up a small rapid that was always too shallow to paddle.
The next one will require a portage...so we break for lunch.

Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, fruit, diet soda...
...some of the staples of a paddle trip.
It's time to head back down river. Grandchildren have games to be spectated. We must go.
Back on the Willamette River.
We float along the cliff on the west bank of the Willamette.
I've seen deer on this cliff.
Today we find only rocks and bushes.
It's good to be on the river.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Old McKenzie Highway (242)

Ron and I are on vacation this week. More of a "staycation" than vacation, but that's ok. We aren't lacking for great things to do close to home. Today's itinerary: Highway 242, the Old McKenzie Highway.

We take Marcola Road and Camp Creek Road to Highway 126. Marcola and Camp Creek roads have nice sweeping curves and get us to Highway 126 without having to ride through Eugene/Springfield.

I haven't been over Hwy 126 for many years. It's not anything special for riding, but it has nice scenery, and it's pleasant along the river. We take a short break at a boat ramp, and discover an old swinging bridge crossing the river. There is a sign that says it has historic significance, but no details are given. Now I'll have to research it out and see what I can find. Onward to 242
This is the only picture of the curves on this road. We sacrifice one lowly 35mph corner for a photo opp. We have some nice 15-20 mph curves ahead. You don't waste those curves on picture taking.
Nice little straight stretch before the fun begins.
We have just rode through motorcycle heaven! :)
Coming up on the lava fields with Mt. Washington in the background.
North and Middle Sisters
 The ride has been so spectacular I didn't even notice the mountains to the south until we pulled off the road.
Mt. Jefferson
We make the requisite stop at Dee Wright Observatory to stretch our legs and take in the scenery. It's such a surreal setting. It's nice to visit mid-week when the crowds are thin.
We head back down the road toward Sisters and lunch. More sweet curves! Once again I forgot pics of the food. We have deli sandwiches, and a fabulous slice of berry pie before returning to the valley by way of highway 20. We practically have the road to ourselves...not one truck or RV on the trip home. Way to end the ride.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Skyline and Vitae Springs Roads - We got curves

I think Friday morning was the first morning I've awoken to fog. It didn't  last long, and the sun came out as promised.

Ron and I had time to burn and errands to run. Let's go explore some backroads. The destination: Skyline Road and Vitae Springs Road. Skyline Road came up in a past comment and I made a note to go explore it one day. Skyline Road is off of Riverside Drive, south of Salem. Vitae Springs Road completes the loop back to Riverside Drive. I knew Skyline descends in a series of sharp curves coming from Salem, but I planned to climb up from the other direction. Steep and twisty? Oh yeah, more than I guessed. Once past the twisty part the road is pretty tame with some nice views and gentle corners. What goes up must go down. 
Fake google map, cuz I suck at map making
Skyline heads back downhill and ends at an annoying intersection that leaves a rider facing the wrong way if said rider wants to go left, which we did. To the right (more like straight ahead) is a nice little hill blocking the view of oncoming traffic. Do they pay people to design roads this way? We make a sharp u-turn left to get onto to Vitae Springs Road, and pick up tailgating rally-boy who shoots in from over the hill.

Vitae Springs Road. O-M-G! I went up Skyline to avoid the challenging descent. I dunno, maybe Vitae Springs was easier, but it was still a challenge for me. 15 mph curves that descend steeply. Once again no pics, cuz I can't peel my death-grip fingers from off the bars. Rally-boy is with us, "cheering" us on from the back fender. Are we having fun yet? I'll get back to you.

Back on Riverside Drive we cross the river and head to Corvallis to pick up some auto parts, then it's back to Albany for a stop at Premier Motogear. We finish the afternoon with a cool drink at The Beanery, where we have the patio to ourselves.
Fruit Smoothie

My faithful steed awaits my return.
A short, sweet ride. I think we added about 100 miles to the bikes. Did the curves scare me? Of course! But everyone else will love them.  Did I have fun?? A day later I can say most definitely!
Skyline Road and Vitae Springs Road: Recommended. 
Watch out for the nasty intersection where the two roads meet.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Quartzville Road to Highway 22

This is a ride I've been wanting to do all summer. Ron and I rode part of this route last January when I still had the Suzuki. Other than that we drove the car over it once many years ago. Always intended to drive it again, it only took us 20 some years to return. We were just waiting for the appropriate mode of transportation. Yeah that's it. I had forgotten what a nice drive (now ride) this is.

This is where the map goes...if I knew how to make a map. Really gotta learn a map program. From Sweet Home we take Quartzville Road heading toward Green Peter Dam. From there just stay on the pavement (Forest Rd. 11). Quartzville Road becomes Forest Road 11 and/or Straight Creek Road. If you come from Detroit it's Straight Creek Road off of highway 22.

Quartzville Road
I'm being followed...
Fallen Bridge under the other bridge. Guys in wetsuits, mining or ??

Quartzville Creek
Requisite moto shot
The weather is perfect. There are a lot of campers along the road, but traffic is spectacularly light. Slower traffic lets faster traffic around, and all is right in the world. It's another case of the riding is too good to stop for photos.

I'm happy when the road loses it's painted lines and becomes a single lane.  It's just better that way. We have great scenery and fun, fun curves. There are a few gravel spots, and many corners have gravel and/or debris in them.  I have one encounter with some snotty rocks that make the bike wiggle a bit. Did I mention this is a fun road?!

At the top?

We stop too soon, the better view is just around the corner...where we don't stop.

At one point a red sport bike zips by. He's taking full advantage of the corners. I divide my time between cornering and slowing to gawk at the views. We see the sport bike again at the other end of the road. While we're just finishing the ride, he is heading back over the way he came. Considering the somewhat dull ride down Highway 22, I think returning along FR 11 would be the better option. Ride over, stop for lunch and gas, then go back over again. I think I'll do that next time. I'm already wanting to do an Autumn colors ride in a few weeks. I love this ride :)

Highway 22 - Ho Hum!