The only thing about riding a bike from Portland to Phoenix is that in-between there is something called... NEVADA.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Cascadian Summer

Because riding to Phoenix from Portland in December was fun, we've embarked on a summer tour of Cascadia. Follow link 'Cascadia 2013' above to live this adventure vicariously!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Data from the Trip

As mentioned in an earlier post, an automated data collector travelled with us to Phoenix. Mounted to the top tube of my bike, it collected a light and temperature reading every 5 minutes. Below are graphs created from that data.

Temperature: 2 24-hour periods had temperatures of nearly -10C : 12/13 & 12/23. 15 24-hour periods had temperatures at or below freezing. The highest low temperature was on 12/26, while the bikes stayed in the hotel room in Las Vegas on our rest day. One other pre-2013 peak stands out: 12/17. This was our rest day in McDermitt. After arriving in Phoenix on 1/1, the bikes stayed in the garage at night and didn't see temperatures below 10C.

Light: Before arriving in Phoenix on 1/1, two days show maximum daily light intensities of 0, 12/17 & 12/26. These are the two days we did not ride.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Spring Solo Multnomah Falls; weekend refresher

The trips don't stop, and neither will the blog...

With a weekend forecast of solid sun followed by continuous rain, I decided it was a good time to make a break for the woods to break out of the city-grid for just a bit. 

34 miles in 3 hours. Let's say I used 1500 Calories (hard to say how much I actually used, but this is in the middle-range of the numbers given by those "calories burned" calculators, like here). Imagine a car that gets 34 miles to the gallon. One gallon of gas contains 35,000 Calories (just for fun, a pound of fat has 3500 -- an order of magnitude less!). So, had I driven I would have used 23 times as much energy (35000/1500) and had .0001 as much fun. What else to expect from bringing along 1 to 2 tons of extra weight? For more, see this

When leaving for Phoenix, we took this same route. Somewhere near Corbett we stopped to admire a vast expanse of Brassica - now they are nice roundy cabbages!

I flew up to Vista House in what must have been record time and with relative ease - a far, far cry from the first time I made this trip - Crown Point highway just doesn't take my breath away like it used to! (note: view has not depreciated)

While securing my bike at the base of the falls, I listened to a nearby tour guide. Apparently the trail to the top of Multnomah Falls is the oldest maintained hiking trail in Oregon, which seemed to justify the urgency I use in crossing the iconic, high arching bridge below the waterfall. Soon after surviving that ancient piece of concrete, I was befriended by another hiker. Focused on our conversation, the miles flew by; I didn't much notice the forest until it demanded my attention with an awesome tree-pillar-shafts-of-sunlight-cathedral display. 

Parting ways near Wahkeena spring, I continued on the trail to Devil's Rest, and began to see snow after about 2000'.


And these awesome leaves leftover from last year.


Reaching my intended campsite just at sunset, I found it already occupied.

Ravens woke me soon after sunrise, and under cloudy skies I dallied back down the trail, poking at the plant-life.

Step-moss is the best moss! (by some accounts) - A geranium-looking thing was shooting up everywhere - And Peppercress! That must have come in on someone's shoe?

 Lichenomphalia! Macrolichens of the Pacific Northwest has a picture of this that I notice often, seeing it in person was maybe how some people feel meeting a movie star? It is no ordinary mushroom.

Octopus on its nurse log.
Somebody count the rings-- Take that number plus how long ago this hemlock-octopus was cut (50?) plus time since nurse tree death (to attain proper rot - 200?) plus age of nurse tree when it died (600?) = years ago that big tree sprouted.

On the road again, I found the Crown Point Highway closed. Lacking a feasible detour I rode through, and enjoyed the steep winding climb free of beast-breath. Not until just short of Vista House did I get a hint at the reason for the closure. Fire trucks, a large group from Portland Mountain Rescue, police, all turned to look as I polished off the last of the steep climb. Unbelievably, I made it through the thick of this officialness without a confrontation -- until a voice called down from the high, castle-like Vista House: "Hey, where did you come from?" -- happily, the Sheriff allowed me to continue with only a warning.

Neat work being done with big rocks along that road.

GEAR! This is it: sleep stuff (40 degree down bag, tarp, mylar blanket), first aid kit for me (medical tape, sterile dressing, ibuprofen, benadryl, card with emergency contacts) and the bike (patch kit, tire levers, pump, multi-tool), credit card and cash, pocket knife, sunglasses, map, clothes (hat, gloves, wool shirt, bright hoodie, bright tanktop, stretchy riding pants, bandana), water bottle, bike lock, bag to put it all in, and bungee for attachment. Not pictured: food (bean and cheese burrito, peanut butter burrito, halvah bar, two carrots, apple, orange). Practice pays off, it fit on the bike with record ease: