My 2 to 10 week mountain biking vacation and relocation
On July 5th, I worked the last day of my job as a customer service representative for a major online financial company most people on this forum have done business with. After leaving my job, I spent most of the following week swapping out parts between 2 bikes, catching up with friends, and trying to sell the last of my furniture and other items I owned on Craigslist.
On Sunday, July 14th, I spent most of the day cleaning out my apartment in Omaha. Shortly after midnight, I had my SUV packed with everything I still owned, including a mountain bike and a cyclocross bike, and landed at Imperial Nebraska a little before 5am to spend the night at a friend's. After sleeping in until almost noon and visiting a little while with my friends, I headed toward Colorado Springs, almost running out of gas to avoid paying $3.79 a gallon, only to ride on fumes to the next town that was charging the same amount!
If you haven't figured it out, I quit my job to take a mountain bike vacation and to relocate. My ultimate goal is to relocate to Boise, Idaho, a town that I've heard great things about, but staying in Colorado Springs for a week has me wondering if I should settle down here. After I leave the Springs area early next week, I plan to spend the night in Northern Utah before heading to Boise for a few hours to check out the town. From there I plan to go to Southern Oregon to visit my dad for about a week, before heading back to Boise or Colorado Springs to find a place to live.
If the right job comes along, I will start work right away but ideally, I'd like to take some time off to mountain bike and to try and get in better shape, not to mention to just enjoy life without a lot of stress. I can afford to take up to 10 weeks off work if I need to, but will try to get a job within 6 weeks. I know, its risky, but I was not very happy at my job, and at my age (41 going on 25), it was pretty much the first day of the rest of my life, and I had the opportunity to do what not many people have the opportunity to do, so I figured why not?
Today I spent about 2 hours riding at Fox Run Regional Park, just North of Colorado Springs. Over the next 5 days, I plan to ride several hours a day at various trails in the Springs area. Since I'm not in the best shape, and because I'm riding a 26/39 crankset, I'm trying to focus on riding the easy stuff first, while gradually increasing the difficulty level throughout the week - Fox Run was a great place to start! I've also found some a great place to ride my cyclocross, so I'm pretty glad I brought 2 bikes!
I'm looking forward to riding in Utah, Oregon, and Boise as well in the weeks to come. I took some pictures of today's ride, but the chord connects my computer to my camera is floating around someplace in my hotel room, but hopefully I will have some pictures of my mountain biking adventures later today.
Over the years, I've been a little bumbed about not being married, but its pretty clear to me that I wouldn't be able to do something like this had I been tied down, so I guess there are benefits to being single. Anyway, thanks for reading, and I hope to update this post with photos and stories of my adventures soon!
Last edited by getagrip; 07-19-2013 at 03:44 PM.
hit up boming4x when you get to Boise
Save a tree & wipe your butt with an owl.
Thank your local Sierra Club.
Wow that's awesome. I wish I had found MTB'ing sooner so that I could have tried something like this. Best of luck to you. Definitely post pics and share your experiences with us.
Be careful that 6 week target can soon turn into months and months like it did for me. Take off as much time as you can while you can and make the most of it, there are few times in life when you don't have commitments. Take some part time work if need be to extend the time off and explore as much as you can. There is incredible riding all across the west. If you want to be able to ride year round, or ride/ski in season you are now able to make that possibility happen.
Thanks for the replies. Yeah, I'm debating between a part time job and just going back to work full time. What I'm finding is that I'm not spending THAT much more time riding my bike(s) than when I was working, so I'm considering going back to work full time very soon, but for now I'm enjoying just being in a new place, riding, and exploring the town, not to mention not having to deal with customers screaming in my ears all day!
Anyway, here are photos from the first day of riding at Fox Run. I will make separate post for days 2 and 3.
On the second day of my vacation, I went riding at 2 places: Bear Creek Regional Park and Red Rock Open Space. At first, when I drove by Bear Creek, it seemed too easy, so I just kept driving (in the wrong direction) before I finally found my way to Red Rock. After riding at Red Rock for about an hour and getting my butt kicked, I decided to go back to Bear Creek. I was really glad I did because it was a lot of fun. I may head back to Red Rock because it seems like there is a lot more to explore. In places it was a little too technical for me, but I did have a lot of fun on the wider trails, not to mention the fast downhill back to the parking lot! Here are photos from the rides:
Yesterday I decided to ride my cyclocross instead of my mountain bike...and that turned out to be a mistake, at least in the beginning. I went out to Gold Camp Road, thinking my cyclocross would have no problem handling the terrain, but it turned out to be a lot more rugged than I anticipated, mainly because of all the loose gravel. After taking a short ride to the tunnel, I decided to turn around, which seemed like a good move anyway because I could hear thunder. After seeing some mountain bikers take the road that went the other direction, I took my cyclocross down a brief stretch in that direction before turning around again and headed back to my SUV. It was a pretty short ride, but I still built up a good sweat!
From there I went North of town to ride in an area which seemed pretty safe, and it turned out to be ideal for my cyclocross, and A LOT of fun. I kept running into these small sections of trail along the roadside, and there was also both paved bike trails and dirt bike paths, right next to a business park and residential neighborhood. If the rain lets up I will take my cyclocross out again today! Here are some photos from yesterday's ride:
The start of a fun adventure, for sure.
Looks like a lot of fun! If you feel like you're in a place you want to settle just wait until the end of your trip before you get set on the Boise area.
I wish I could do something like what you are.
Good advice. Part of me wants to settle down here in Colorado Springs, but I really do need to wait to see what Boise has to offer. There is a lot I like about Springs, though. I think that the mountain biking here in Springs will be better than Boise (at least off road riding), but I have a feeling I will like the town of Boise better...but we will see.
Originally Posted by wally247
I was in the same boat as you just a couple months ago (except I am married with a chid). I'm 42 and had quit my job so our family could travel around in an RV for 9 months, searching for the ideal place to relocate (based on jobs, scenery, biking, culture, etc). We were moving from B'ham, AL but had previously lived in Colo Springs. We seriously considered the Springs again, but wanted something a little smaller and more of a college town, so we chose Fort Collins. For sure there is great biking in the Springs (I miss Cheyenne Canon and Palmer Park), and the job market is better/bigger, but so far I just love Ft. Collins. The riding here is great, the mountains far less crowded, the biking infrastructure is much better than the Springs, and if you like road riding, there are many low traffic mountain roads here with stunning scenery just out your back door. You should definitely consider checking it out.
Forgot to add, if you desire any type of water sports, Ft. Collins has Horsetooth Reservoir and the Poudre River, not to mention several reservoirs around Loveland.
Very great! A friend of mine and I did a two week cross country road trip with our mt bikes and it was the best. Before settling on a town, I encourage you to use your 6-10 weeks to explore, explore, explore. There's a whole world out there. On our trip, we went where curiosity led us and then called the local bike shop for riding suggestions. I thought Missoula, MT has a lot going for it. College town, mountains, good scene and lifestyle in general.
Hope you decide to take the back way to Boise, perhaps drop down to hit southwestern Colorado, Durango, Cortez, Moab, swing over to Grand Junction and Fruita, then zip west on the Interstate, up through Price, Utah, then along the Salt Lake and up to Boise -- lots of beauty to be seen if that is new country for you.
Originally Posted by GottaGo
Alternately, a trip up the Front Range to check out Ft. Collins and then over could be quite scenic.
Just check out rest of the West before you settle in Boise!
Nice. Do it while you can. Soon we plan to quit our jobs and take our boat for an extended sailing vacation. We will also bring our bikes and try to do as much riding in as many different places as possible. We hope to make our funds last 4 years. We have been saving for this trip the last 3 years.
A segment from Missoula to Bozeman would be out of the way, but pretty nice!
Thanks again for the replies. As far as Boise goes, there are a lot of reasons why I decided to relocate there. For one, the unemployment rate is relatively low - in May, they were at 5.7%, compared to 7.9% for Colorado Springs at the same time period. They have a really low crime rate for a large city, and both Men's Health and Outside magazine rated Boise as the # 1 city in America. They have 130 miles of singletrack and from what I hear all kinds of rails to trails. Boise is about 5 hours away from Bend and 3 hours to Sun Valley, so skiing in the winter will be great, not to mention mountain biking. I'm still open to the possibility of relocating elsewhere, and as far as I know, I may not even like Boise, but it sounds like a great place. Its also a college town...gotta love that!
Having grown up in FTC, the idea of moving back to the Front Range from western Colorado makes me a little sick...
Congratulations, you've made the first step back into your own life. . .
I took me 9 months away from it before I realized how much any work sucks. It's really dangerous territory once your soul is restored to proper operating condition in this fogt up world. Having said that, I wouldn't change anything I did because the insecurity passed and made me stronger. Anymore I work my arse off for a year and then walk away from it for at least the same amount of time. I would never ever ever be able to lie to myself and claim to like working again. Impossible for an honest man to do so. Enjoy your time and learn to work only for such. Remember how pathetic the fat rich fex look when they supposedly retire in a spent body that's conditioned to sit still and a mind that needs to delegate anything worthwhile to a machine or subordinate.
Well, after taking another look at my finances, I might have to go back to work sooner than expected, but we will see. I love the idea of NOT working, but I'm running up credit card debt pretty fast with each day of my trip, and I'm closer to my credit limit than I'd like to be. Normally I pay my credit cards off every month, but I'm obviously not able to do that now, although I'm ok with the idea of paying a little extra credit card interest in exchange for a little freedom.
The good news is that I should still be good for the whole month of August without having to work, but from a financial perspective, its not the smartest thing to do, so I will probably start looking for work in Boise when I get there on Tuesday. I know, its a drag, but you have to do what you have to do! Even if I do start working again, I will try to use my weekends as much as possible to enjoy life and ride and visit new places!
Other than lots and lots of riding, there is one thing Colorado Springs has going for it - the swing dance scene is pretty good here, and I met some nice girls tonight...which were all too young for me, but it still made me think twice about coming back to Springs to look for work after spending time in Boise and Oregon.
I've got a crap load of pictures to upload from the last three days of riding, but I'm going to wait until I get to Boise to post those. Since I still have the memories fresh in my mind, though, I will write about my experiences now before I forget!
I spent day 4 on my cyclocross. I was able to drive North of town to get out of the rain, and spent about 2 and a half hours riding through the same neighborhood as before, but this time I figured out how to get to the Air Force Academy. I didn't try to go past the gate, since I was pretty sure that the Academy doesn't want people biking all over their campus, but I did notice the Santa Fe Regional Trail right next to the entrance, so I jumped on the chance to ride it.
Not long after I started riding the trail, I ran into a sign that said I couldn't go any further without permission from the Installation Commander, so I turned around and went the other way. After a few miles in the other direction, I ran into another gate, and looking on the other side, I noticed the same sign. DANG! I really wasn't sure if I was supposed to be there or not or how strictly they enforce it, and wasn't sure if there was MORE private property if I went further on the trail, so I decided to play it safe and head back the way I came to exit the trail.
On day 5, I went to Cheyenne Mountain and rode 2 different trails there, which were the best I had ridden in that area. After about an hour and fifteen minutes, I started to hear thunder, so I decided to call it quits as a precaution. After heading back to the hotel for a while for an hour break, I grabbed my cyclocross and headed up North. Right when I started to ride, it started to rain, but I pressed on, hoping that the rain would stop. I was able to ride North of the rain, but the clouds were very dark, and there was lots of lightening in the distance, so I was pretty much nerve wracked most of that ride, especially after I turned around, heading INTO the bad weather. It was a very intense hour long ride. Right after I got back to the SUV, it started to rain again, so I made it back just in time.
Today, on day 6, once again I got off to a late start. I had thought about riding with some guys at the bike store at Powell Park on their weekly ride, but I decided to head toward Rampart Reservoir since I read a lot of good things about it. Of course, right when I began the ride, it started raining, and cooled off pretty quickly, but thankfully, the rain subsided and I brought a long sleeve shirt to stay warm.
Not long after I started riding, I really wished I had tried some of the more technical trails earlier in the week, because for the most part, it was terrain I could handle, even though I did have to jump off the bike and push, a little too much toward the last half of the ride. This was definitely the most scenic place I had ridden, and the singletrack was also very fun. It didn't seem too technical for the first part of the ride, but I found myself pushing my bike a lot toward the last hour of the ride, as the terrain was more technical and I was running out of breath.
It took me about 3 hours to do the ride, which was the longest singletrack ride I had ever been on. It was a little nerve wracking as well, since I was quickly running out of daylight, and the trail seemed to never end, going around all of these coves, which got more technical as the ride went on. I also managed to crash - not sure how that happened, but I found myself flying in front of the bike and banging my knees on the ground. Finally, I was able to get to the damn at the end of the ride, right before it got really dark, and that lifted my spirits!
Anyway, thanks for reading and I will post pictures as soon as I can - I have to resize them all, which is a pain in the butt, but I like sharing, so its all good!
If it rains this week (and you're still in the Springs), make the drive up to Buffalo Creek and spend the day riding singletrack there. You'll love it, and you'll probably decide to cancel the rest of your trip.
Here are the photos from day 4 of riding.
Here are photos from the 5th day of riding.
And finally, here are the photos from the last day of riding in the Springs area.
Yesterday, after leaving Colorado Springs around noon, I headed for Tony Grove campground, about 20 miles East of Logan, Utah. Unfortunately, I didn't get there until after dark, and because I didn't bring anything to build a fire with, I was a little freaked out in the dark by myself, next to 2 empty camp sites.
Earlier in the day, I had purchased a 4 person tent at Sam's Club before I left town. Just like in my old job, when I was dealing with customers who shouldn't be allowed to own a computer, I was someone who shouldn't be allowed to own a tent. I fumbled around for about an hour trying to get the thing together, sometimes relying on my bike light, which made putting the tent together difficult, and sometimes relying on the lights from my SUV, which pretty much blinded me.
The final version of the tent I set up used only 3 of the 6 poles that the tent came with, and I had the rain fly on wrong way, with the part that supposed to block the window blocking the entrance, and the window being wide open, allowing any critters in the area to take a peak inside. I'm a pathetic excuse for a mountain man!
After falling asleep around 12:30 am, I was woken up by a coyote howling in the distance at around 3:30 am. I tried to get back to sleep, but the fact that my air mattress had a flat tire, and because the campsite was downright eerie, I decided that camping alone in a primitive area was not my thing, so I decided to bolt. I clumsily got my tent taken apart, which I'm sure was good entertainment for any critters that were watching, and threw it in the SUV without putting it back in the box. It was really kind of a drag because it is a really pretty area and I wanted to bike there the next day, but at the same time, I needed to get my paranoid behind out of there to keep my sanity.
I got into Boise around 10am, took a brief drive through town, and headed toward an internet café to get caught up online and to start looking for jobs. I've got mixed feelings about the town, but it is kind of cool over by the university, but after looking at the job situation here, and feeling the heat on my arms compared to the cool breezes in the Springs area, despite the higher unemployment rate and crime rate, my gut feeling is that Colorado Springs is the better place to be right now.
I'm looking for jobs in both cities, and may just settle for whichever city I can get a good offer in first. I'm undecided if I want to stay in Boise for 3 days as planned, or just head straight to Oregon and back to Springs. I may not ride here if I only stay one or two nights, mainly because my SUV is packed full and stuff practically starts to fall out when I open up the doors!
Anyway, hopefully I will have more riding photos soon and will figure out what the heck to do. This is the first day I've seriously started to look for a job, and all I can say is that the pressure to find one is ON!
Very cool trip. You can always use the tent as a rain coat (kidding). Enjoy your trip and keep sharing with us as I am really enjoying your travel reports.
Santa Cruz Tallboy
Hey dude thanks!
Originally Posted by TX_Shifter
Days 8 and 9
After taking a day off from biking and acting like a girly man at the campsite on day 7, I was back on the saddle on day 8. I spent the first 7 hours or so in Boise at an internet café, mostly looking at jobs, and I was rather tired by the time I checked into the place I'm staying at. So, I took a nap and woke up not long before it got dark. After taking a shower, something I hadn't done since leaving Colorado Springs, I headed for downtown Boise and rode my cyclocross for about an hour. It was great!
Downtown Boise has a very unique feel to it for a larger city. For the most part, it seems very safe, is very clean, and there are people on bikes everywhere. There are a lot of one way streets, so you have to be careful, but barring the frequent stop lights you run into, its just an awesome place to ride, especially at night when it cools down. I also rode through Boise State University, which was pretty cool. I'm not sure what their rules are about bikes, but they do have a trail that runs through campus, so +1 for them!
Today, on day 9, it was about noon by the time I finished having my oil changed and eating lunch...er breakfast at lunch time. Still feeling a little out of shape, I didn't want to take a stab at the steep Boise foothills just yet with my 26/39 crankset, so I opted again for the cyclocross...but not before a three hour nap! I always feel really groggy in the mornings and sometimes it takes an afternoon nap to get me going. I should move to Spain where they have siestas, or work for a company that allows them.
Once I got downtown, I parked in the Whole Foods parking lot, where after the 2 and a half hour ride, I would go back to and buy beer and peanut butter from (the only foods I can afford there) . Boise has an awesome trail that runs along the river, where there are rafters everywhere. There are a ton of bikers on that trail! One thing I liked about it was that there are lots of trees that shaded you from the sun, which made the ride much cooler!
A few miles after I set off, I ran into a dirt section, which was about perfect for my cyclocross, and rode up to a park where most of the rafters set out on their journeys down the river. When I turned around, I noticed a "no bikes" sign at the beginning of the dirt section, but unlike the trail by the Airforce Academy, there were no signs indicating that your bike might be shot down if you proceeded, so I figured what the heck and went back the way I came. Turns out I missed the clearly marked "no bikes" sign at the beginning of that section. Oops.
After the ride, my worst fears were realized when I arrived after getting lost on my way to what I thought would be swing dance: it was full of old and middle aged people, slowly weaving and bobbing to some Whitney Houston like crap! Nooooooooooo!
Yeah, I know, I guess at 41, you can call me middle aged, but when I'm in shape I can pass for about 28 (well, three years ago I could - maybe more like 31 now), and I just have a really young mentality. Don't get me wrong - there are a lot of really cool middle aged and old people - its just not what I'm looking for in dance partner or a future wife.
That was a HUGE disappointment though, and I ended up bolting right after I got there, right after the instructor made eye contact with me. LOL Really, though, I'm hoping that was just a fluke and that there are normally younger people who attend their venues to better music (1920s to 1950s). Colorado Springs was definitely the winner in that category!
Anyway...really wished I would have thought to bring my camera on today's ride, but it slipped my mind. However, I plan to go back there tomorrow with my mountain bike to ride some of the short singletrack trails that are right next to the river. Afterwards, I will head to Oregon unless I get a job interview here in Boise and have to stay an extra day or two.
I really do recommend Boise if you are looking for a potential place to relocate to, or at least visit. Its definitely a cool place, and it turns out that it is closer to skiing than I previously thought - the Bogus Basin ski area is only a few miles away from downtown Boise, and you can mountain bike there too!
Since I have a 10 hour drive today to South West Oregon, and still have to reload my SUV, I've decided not to ride today so that I don't keep my dad waiting too long. Probably better to shoot for a 9 or 10pm arrival than a 11pm or midnight arrival. Anyway, if you want to see some photos of where I rode yesterday, just go to Google images and type "Boise Greenbelt", which will bring up lots of images of their trail system.
So far I've applied for at least 3 jobs here in Boise and have heard nothing back...its quite the downer. I applied for one job in Colorado Springs and got a response right away - I have to take this online assessment thing, and then if I pass the hiring process would continue. So, we shall see...
I've driven over 2,100 miles since leaving Omaha, and depending on which route I take, I have between 496 and 519 more miles today, so given the fact that I'm averaging 17 to 18 miles per gallon in my SUV, this trip has not been cheap! But its definitely been worth it!
Anyway, one last thing I want to mention before I leave is that if you ever decide to visit Boise, there is a great place to stay called "Hostel Boise" in Nampa. The people are really nice and its really cheap - I've stayed the last 2 nights for around $22 a night after tax, so I highly recommend them! Here is a link to their website:
| Hostel Boise | Where friends meet
Well, I guess its time to load the SUV. Kind of sad to leave here, but there are more things to see on my journey. Can't wait to mountain bike in Oregon!
I lived in Co. for 30 yrs. Loved it. Moved to Boise 13 yrs ago, because I wanted less winter. There is still skiing at Bogus Basin 30 min. from town. (and where you should mtb in the summer. 20* cooler up there) End of July to Aug. it is hot in town, as you found out. But, there is 3 more months of Spring and Fall here than Co. Ride all winter in the foothills. As to the job market in Idaho, while unemply. is low, so are wages. 48th in the country low! Can't go wrong with Co. or Idaho or anywhere nearby in the west. Good luck
Originally Posted by smmokan
FWIW, I moved out of NJ when I was 41. Took the family with me. It's not so hard, even if you are married.
Oh, and if you are running out of money, just find a sugarmomma.
Huh? I live in Golden, CO and I road all Winter. I might of had to use the fat bike about six times, but every other time there was plenty of dirt. There may be 40 total days where the trail will be snow covered, but even then the snowshoers will pack it down by the end of the day.
Originally Posted by Tim22
Days 11 and 12
On day 10, right as I was putting gas in my tank, getting ready for the drive to Oregon, I got a call from a potential employer in Boise, so I plan to be back there for the interview on August 6th. I will definitely have to take a pay cut, but from what I hear, the environment is pretty laid back, and you can earn a pretty descent wage when you factor in bonuses and incentives. They also have an office in Colorado Springs, so this might actually work out.
The drive from Boise to Bend was long, boring, and hot! Its pretty much miles and miles of shrubbery, with a few mountains in the distance to make the shrubbery a little more interesting. In addition to getting poor gas mileage, my SUV has no air conditioning, and blows hot air at my feet, making it the ultimate hot weather date mobile!
Fortunately, after making it to Bend and heading South, the scenery got much better and there were trees and shade to make the rest of the trip much cooler. I made it to my dad's place at around 10pm.
On day 11, it was time to get back on the mountain bike. I went riding at a place my dad told me about, called Cathedral Hills, about 5 miles from Grants Pass. The first thing I noticed was that the trails were a lot more hard packed than what I encountered in Colorado, but the hills were a lot steeper to climb! After exploring the trails for a bit, I climbed up a winding section that took me to a plateau with great views over the city of Grants Pass and surrounding areas. From there, I bombed down what might have been a drainage ditch, which took me away from the trail and into town. Since I didn't want to ride back up that section, I ended the hour and a half ride with a surprisingly long 2 or 3 mile road ride back to the trailhead.
On day 12, I took a wrong turn on my way out to Applegate Lake, and decided something was not right after seeing a sign that said "Pavement Ends". After following the gravel road for a few miles, I figured I took a wrong turn somewhere and turned around. I thought I'd ride at Applegate Lake some other day, and began looking for a sign pointing to the "Gin Lin" trail.
Once I got to the Gin Lin trailhead, there was a no biking sign, so I said the heck with it and parked close to the gravel road I had driven down and decided to ride there. What is really amazing is how much prettier things are on your bike! An hour and 15 minutes later, I was back at my SUV, but I still had plenty of energy to ride. From this point, I went looking for another sign I had seen pointing to the "Sterling Mine Ditch Trail". After running into another gravel road, not sure if I was heading in the right direction, I decided to save THAT trail for another day, parked and ended up riding down that gravel road for about 15 minutes before turning around. You know what? Gravel roads are pretty cool!
Anyway, I've got some pretty amazing photos from those 2 rides, but will post them later as I have to embark on a 3 and a half hour road trip that takes me into Northern California, and then up and over to the Oregon Coast. Should make for some pretty amazing riding and photos too!
I need an adventure like this.
Colorado Springs mayor just decided to increase their "crime rate" by ignoring the will of citizens and re criminalizing cannabis. Sounds like an even more backward place than Boise to this ignorant pilgrim??? Take care on your journey, follow your instincts but always listen and think about things before decisions that could trap you again.
Cathedral Hills Trail System. In the last couple of photos here and in the next series, you will see some haze in the distance. The reason is that there are a lot of wild fires in the area, and the smoke gets trapped in the valleys. More on this later.
Gravel roads and a mile or so of paved road riding, not far from Applegate Lake.
Because of fires in the area, it was an eerie drive to the Oregon coast. Picture driving in light fog that smells like a camp fire. It was like that for about 100 miles of the trip, which was a bummer because it took away from the scenery. I didn't get to my destination in Port Orford until about 6 pm, and it was a lot colder than in Applegate. In fact, it felt like Nebraska in the Spring!
Because it was getting late, and because of the cold, and because I was a little tired from the drive, I didn't think I would ride. However, after dinner, I had a change of heart, and decided to take my cyclocross for a spin, which is the only bike I brought to the coast. Of course, it was more of a photo-bike session than a ride, as I would pedal for a hundred yards or so, take some photos, pedal for a several hundred more yards, and take another photo. Toward the end of the ride, I went on speed runs through several Port Offord neighborhoods, and that made it feel more like a ride. I was back at the house after about 50 minutes, but I was able to take some awesome photos.
On day 14, I would have my first highway road ride of the trip. I decided to install my aerobars on my cyclocross to make the ride a little easier. My goal was to ride up North to the town of Bandon, a distance of about 26 miles one way, before turning around and heading back for Port Orford. However, the head winds were really strong and my ears were getting uncomfortably cold, so I took a left on Airport Road about 9 miles into the trip, to check out a trail my dad had suggested several miles down that road.
The trail turned out to be a little too sandy for the cyclocross tires, so I turned around and headed back into town. I don't have a speedometer on my bike, but I'd say I averaged between 8 and 10 miles per hour (maybe a little faster) on my trek northward. Once I turned around, however, I was quite a bit faster with the wind at my back - I'd say I was moving at about 18 to 22 miles per hour. The ride ended up being close to 2 hours on the dot, but I wasn't finished riding yet!
At dinner, my dad and my stepmom were giving me a little grief about my beer drinking and diet habits, really just trying to encourage me to live a little healthier, which motivated to get me back on the bike for a while. Like the night before, this was more of a short photo-biking session that lasted for about half an hour, ending with a loud bang as my front tube exploded! I'm pretty sure I had overinflated it, but I may have screwed up the tube install to begin with several weeks before. Nevertheless, I was glad I was riding at a slow speed through the neighborhood, rather than a high speed on the highway when the tube failed!
I had only expected staying on the coast for 2 days before returning to Applegate, but both air quality and visibility due to the fires kept me on the coast. I wanted to ride on the day after the tube on the cyclocross popped, but I didn't bring my 29er with me so that was out, and I didn't want to drive 52 miles round trip to Banden to get a tube for the cyclocross. I had a decision to make: which one of my dad's old klunkers would I ride?
My choices were a 5 speed Peugeot with cruiser style handlebars, a 15 speed Columbia, or an 18 speed Girls Huffy, all of which had one piece cranks. All bikes were old and beat up, but this trip was about biking, I needed to get in shape, and I would not be denied a ride!
After test riding the Peugeot and the Columbia, I figured my best bet would be the Huffy, but like the Peugeot and the Columbia, the Huffy had a horribly out of true rear wheel. The Peugeot didn't seem that bad, but after my dad and I went for a quick ride through the neighborhood, I wasn't sure how well the Peugeot would hold up. I decided to give the Huffy a chance and loosened up the rear brake cable so that the wheel could roll freely. My dad didn't like the idea of me riding without a rear brake, so I was able to adjust the cable so that the wheel would not rub, while still giving me a little bit of breaking power.
After dusting off the cobb webbs and saw dust, the Girls Huffy was ready to roll! It seemed reasonably sturdy, and the only problem it seemed to have was that the headset was a little loose, but just like my old Specialized Rock Hopper, tightening it by hand would do the trick.
I ended up going to the Blacklock Point trailhead, where the Huffy would prove her worth. Since the seat had a very cushy gel saddle cover, I didn't even have to wear bike shorts! The Huffy rolled through the downhill sections like a champ, and even though I had to jump off and push a couple of times, it wasn't as horrible as I thought it would be up hills. Shifting was a little odd, partly because the old girl needed a tune up, but I was able to figure it out without too much trouble. Since the shifting wasn't indexed, if the chain was rubbing too much, I could just nudge the shifters a bit to change the position of the front or rear derailleur, and the noise would go away. Awesome Huffy technology! The fact that there technically isn't a top tube parallel to the ground made planting my feet in tight spots easy knowing I wouldn't ding myself on the top tube!
The trail took me to an area that overlooked the Pacific Ocean, where I took dozens of great photos, making sure to capture the Huffy at her full glory! Since I took a wrong turn on my way back to the trailhead, I ended up on a little used airport runway where I took more photos of the "aerodynamic" Huffy!
While it would have been nice to have my 29er, this ride is one I will remember for a long time. Even though I rode a girl's bike that was about 20 years behind today's technology, I was still able to have fun, and I even burned more calories on the 120 minute ride than I would on a normal bike because of the gearing on the Huffy! If there is one thing I've noticed on this trip, its that even though the scenery is better than what I'm used to, and the trails are more dynamic, the best part about the trip is just being able to ride a bike, which is fun wherever you ride, regardless of scenery, how cool the trail is, or what kind of bike you ride!
:p And for all of you Girls Huffy lovers out there!
Here are more "breathtaking' photos of the Huffy!
Yesterday, my dad and his wife made a trip up to Bandon to find some specialty foods that you can't get in Port Orford, and came back with 2 tubes for my cyclocross. I really wasn't in the mood to ride because it was cloudy and cold the whole day, but after eating a bacon cheeseburger and fries, I felt like Jabba the Hut, and I really needed to jump on the bike to feel better. With a little encouragement from my dad, I was heading down the highway with my cyclocross, burning off the calories.
I didn't plan on taking any pictures, but after about 4 or 5 miles down the road, there was a turn off to Cape Blanco State Park, so I thought what the heck and went for it. Not long afterwards, I ended up at a lighthouse, with some great views of the Pacific. This spot was a few miles South of the area I was at the day before, so some of the pictures are of the same spot, but from the other direction.
I'll probably head back to Applegate later today. I may take the fearless Girls Huffy out for a ride before I head out, but we will see...once again, its a cold cloudy day, but it will probably be a long time before I see this area again, so might as well go for it.
Rock the Huffy! Pink cables! She's been patiently waiting in the garage for somebody to take her out on the trail.
Fun trip reports and it is so beautiful on the OR coast.
Yep. LONG LIVE THE GIRLS HUFFY!!!
Originally Posted by June Bug
When I woke up, even though I had my cyclocross up and running again, I wasn't in the mood for another road ride. Plus, there was one off road trail I still wanted to ride, as I'd only ridden part of it, which was the Floras Lake Coast trail that connects to Blacklock Point trail. I went in the garage, looked at the Girls Huffy in anticipation of riding it again, and noticed it had a flat front tire! I was too lazy to patch up the tire and decided I'd ride the Peugeot cruiser instead, equipped with a partially wooden kickstand.
After I got it on the trail, it only took about 30 seconds to realize I had chosen the WRONG bike. Why didn't I just fix the Huffy? The crankset made a really annoying squeaking sound when I pedaled, which, when combined with all of the bumps I was hitting, made the Peugeot sound kind of like Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. The full suspension seat was bouncing me all over the place, and never before in my life had I wished I was riding a Girls Huffy instead!
But heck, I was heading down hill and it was fun, so I decided to stick with it, hoping I wasn't beating up the Peugeot too much. Not long into the ride, the trail got way more technical than I expected, winding up the hillside and going through about a foot of tall grass. It also sent me over a 20 foot section of roots which really shook the poor Peugeot very hard. But hey, it was becoming a man, something it had never done in its 30 years or so of existence.
One thing about this trail that didn't take long to notice was that it was really really creepy, something like the enchanted forest from Snow White. At one point, a root or something grabbed onto my ankle, but somehow, I managed to escape its grasp!
Finally, I saw a clearing up ahead, and I made it out of the Enchanted Forest alive, landing at Floras Lake, a stone's throw from the ocean. There was no way I was going to go back the way I came, so I ended up walking a mile or so through the sand along the lakeshore, at one point completely covering the tires in sand, and eventually found the road that led back to the highway.
I had only come 3 or 4 miles down the trail, but it would be about a 9 mile road ride back to the trailhead where I started. The crankset sounded worse than when I began the ride, and at least one of the pedals was popping because it hit the ground while on the trail, which made for a rather long ride back to the SUV. Slowly limping along the countryside, the Peugeot eventually got me there, about 2 hours and 20 minutes after I started the ride.
Back in Applegate, and once again having my modern Airborne Guardian 29er, I drove to Ashland, Oregon looking for the White Rabbit trail. When I got there, I saw two things that disturbed me: a "bear sighting" sign and a no biking sign, the latter of which might have been there because I was at the wrong entrance of the trail, but hopefully not because they closed the area off to bikers. Thankfully, I did see another biker in the area who I passed driving up the gravel road leading to the trailhead, and he took off down the Alice in Wonderland trail, so I decided to follow.
This trail starts off on a nice downhill section that gets steeper as you move along. Within a few minutes, you end up at the gravel road again, where I decided to climb back up. I didn't take a whole lot of photos because the downhill moves so fast - I was at the bottom at the gravel road in 4 or 5 minutes (maybe even 3). I did see some other trails that crossed the gravel road, which were incredibly steep. The thought of riding down them briefly went through my head, but it would mean I would have to climb back up, so I decided to pass. About 25 minutes after got to the bottom of the hill, I was back on top by my SUV and very sweaty!
Just after I got back to the top of the trail, I saw a biker who I believe was riding a cyclocross. There was a barrier with a road closed sign that seemed to indicate the road might be closed to both vehicles AND bikers, but I wasn't sure. I asked the guy on the cyclocross if there were any other off road trails that I could ride, and apparently, he didn't hear me, responding with, "hey", as he continued his ride beyond the barrier. Anyway, I'm pretty sure that there is more to the Alice in Wonderland trail that I missed, but oh well.
Part of me wanted to bolt, but I decided to go down one more time to see if I could find any other trails that connected to the one I went down. On the first run, I thought I remembered seeing a more technical trail that paralleled the other trail, but apparently I missed it, and within minutes, was back at the gravel road again. After another long climb, I was back at the top of the trail, drenched with sweat, and my ride ended after just over an hour.
The quick downhills were fun, and the ride up the winding mountain road was great for my cardio as well as good practice for the Boise foothills, but I wasn't done yet. I drove back into Ashland, parked at the Safeway, took out my bike and started to ride down the road through town toward Medford. Ironically, the route out of town was pretty much all downhill, so once again, I was riding back up the hill after I got to the last stoplight at the edge of town. I rode a little past the Safeway, made a right a little ways up the road, and turned around, heading back through the Southern Oregon State University campus. Not long afterward, I was back at the Safeway parking lot, making sure to buy beer before leaving town. My ride through town added another hour to the ride that day. Unfortunately, I didn't take many photos, but Ashland is a cool town!
Last edited by getagrip; 08-04-2013 at 01:24 AM.
Day 19: BEAR SIGHTING!
Today my plan was to ride at Applegate Lake. When I got there, I had a surprise waiting for me: a bear in the bushes!
After finding the lake, it took me a while to find the trail, driving half way around the lake, and to be honest, I didn't even know if I had the RIGHT trail. When I parked my SUV, I heard a rustling in the bushes, which is usually a squirrel, but something told me this might be something different. I honked my horn to see if I could get a reaction from whatever was hiding in the bushes, but got nothing. After waiting for 30 seconds or so, I honked my horn again, this time hearing some movement.
I carefully got out of my SUV and cautiously approached the barbed wire fence and looked down the hill to see if I could spot anything. At first all I thought I saw was an old tree with black bark, but looking more closely, without question, I could see a bear! I didn't bring a measuring tape with me , but my guess is that it was no more than 20 or 30 feet away!
I ran back the SUV as fast as I could, which truthfully, was right there, like 5 or 10 feet away, and stupidly got my camera. After all, there is a saying here at mtbr.com that goes:
"photo or it didn't happen".
Well, if you see a bear, DON'T be an IDIOT like me and go back to your car to take a photo! Get the crap out of there! If people don't believe what you saw, too bad, unless you see a UFO, in which case you can take plenty of photos, interview the alien, give it some skin samples, do an autopsy on its liver, and ask for Han Solo's address.
Ok, back to the bear. I made sure the keys were in the ignition and left the door open in case I needed to high tail it out of there. I still might have been lunch if the bear charged me because I think I left the window half way down - didn't even realize it until I was driving away.
I felt amazingly calm - no nerves or adrenaline or shakes like I used to get when I had to talk to foul mouthed jerk customers on the phone at my old job. At the same time, I had a survival instinct that told me to get the photos and get out of there ASAP. Looking down the hill, at first I didn't see the bear, but on second glance, there it was - freaky how well these things blend in with the foliage!
My aim was probably pretty bad - I didn't even look to see if I could see the bear in the view window of the camera, I just pointed the camera in the general direction of the bear and took the photo. The stupid flash decided it wanted to warm up for the next photo, and after what seemed like a long 5 seconds or so, I zoomed in a little and took another photo, which, if my memory is correct, caused the bear to turn its head a little (truthfully, I'm not sure if this happened before or after the photo, but I remember definitively that the bear moved its head).
Thankfully, the bear didn't charge up the hill after me and let me go peacefully. I only saw its head, and my guess is that it was a small bear. It looked kind of cute, especially when it turned its head, but unlike when I was 3 or 4 (or 5?) years old, I didn't try to pet it like the "furry" bee I tried to pet that stung me.
After getting back to the SUV, I opted not to ride and got out of there, warning 2 people I saw along the lake about 2 miles away, not that I think the bear would go anywhere near them, but just as a precaution.
Kind of a drag that I didn't ride, and I really need to break the habit of starting my rides so late, but it was probably good to give my legs a little rest, and the air quality in the area had gone from good to bad, as winds blew smoke back in the valley. Thankfully, I would have swing dance later in the evening, which gave me some exercise!
I took 2 photos of the bear, which I've posted below. The bear is really hard to spot in the first photo, but if you look at the second photo from when I zoomed in, the bear is definitely there. At first, when I examined the photo the first couple of times, I couldn't spot the bear and thought that perhaps I missed it, but after looking at a larger version of the photo, I was able to spot it. You will probably have to click on the photo so that it gets larger in order to spot the bear.
If you look at the bottom photo, look for the tree on the far right. Then, from the top of the photo, go down three branches: the bear is between the third and fourth branch. If you look closely, you can see its eyes, its nose, and its left ear, which looks like its right ear since its facing the camera.
Found this in another thread: what to do if you see a bear. Its both serious and funny. LOL
<iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/ilzEmTii_vw" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
IMO the best riding in So. Oregon is in the Ashland area (I grew up in Grants Pass) -- sounds like you got a little taste, but didn't find the good stuff up there. If you want a great ride, hire one of those shuttles to take you up and drop you off at Mt. Ashland ski area, and take the long ride all the way down to Lithia Park in Ashland. One of my all-time favorites.
Also, don't worry too much about the little black bears around there -- nothing to be too afraid of! Do watch out for the deer, though -- they are very bad for your car!
'11 Specialized Enduro Expert for the trails
'13 Felt Z4 for the road
Thanks - I wondered if I was being more paranoid than I needed to be but oh well...better to be safe than sorry! At some point, I will be back in Oregon (I'd like to go to MBO, maybe next year) and will hopefully do some fun group rides. The good thing about Oregon is that even if you are on a trail that isn't so spectacular is that the scenery is always awesome!
Originally Posted by Tystevens
My last ride in Oregon would be spent on my dad's land in Applegate and on some logging roads in the area, most of which were gravel roads. The smoke in the valley was really bad. It didn't bother me hardly at all while I was riding, but it did take away from the scenery in the nearby mountains.
My ride didn't last long and wasn't all that exciting - only 70 minutes, and I'd say 40 to 50 minutes was spent climbing. The downhills after the long climbs were great though, and I'd say I probably had not gone faster on a mountain bike. Being a cautions rider, I probably had my fingers on the breaks too much!
Here is the real sad thing: my goal was to climb to the top of one of the gravel roads in the area. One of the things that I've always hated as a mountain biker have been the climbs, but I've kind of embraced climbing and almost like it now since I've left Nebraska. I was about two thirds away from my goal of making it to the top of the mountain, but was ultra paranoid that some psycho bear would jump out at me, so I turned around early and headed back down the hill. That was the first time that fear, and not a steep hill defeated me.
I'm hoping to come back to Oregon in the future, but when I do, I don't know if I will ride solo - probably will try to find out about organized rides through a bike store or go to a biking event like MBO (Mountain Bike Oregon).
I got into Boise late on Monday, had my interview on Tuesday, and landed the job! Its honestly not the ideal place to work, and I'm taking a pretty good pay cut, but its a pay check coming in, so I decided to go for it. I'm happy to report that my monthly living expenses are decreasing by about $230 a month! I start either on the 12th or the 19th, depending on how quickly my background check comes back.
After spending most of the day yesterday going through the hiring process and looking for a roommate (which was a pain in the neck dealing with Craigslist), today I finally found a place to live. Haven't ridden in three days, but tomorrow will probably take the 29er to Bogus Basin. I'm looking forward to Tour De Fat, which makes its way through Boise in 10 days!
This more or less marks the end of my vacation as I transition into normal life in Boise. I will upload the last of the photos from Oregon tomorrow, and will make occasional updates as well with new Boise mountain biking or road biking adventures. Thank you to everyone who has read through the thread and a special thanks to those who made comments.
For anyone considering a vacation of this sort, or even a shorter one, I say go for it!
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