Saturday, November 29, 2014

2014 Multimodal Memories


My bike on a bus on a ferry. Now that's multimodal!
When I contemplate 2014 in terms of biking, one theme overrides all others; multi modal. It is, after all, the title of my blog (which rarely gets updated but I vow to blog more often). Since I purchased my Bike Friday New World Tourist in February,  I have traveled out of Eugene more often than I would have otherwise because the folding bike was built specifically for hauling me and all my gear while easily maneuvering the bike on and off buses and trains. My other tour bike, a Koga Miyata Traveller, is much larger and weighs about 15 lbs more, so it is more difficult to lift and maneuver onto bike racks, not to mention I want to preserve the integrity of the Koga for my cross country trip I plan to take in 2017 (fingers crossed).

I went carfree in May, 2013 by donating my old 1991 Jeep Cherokee Laredo to charity (which had over 342,000 miles on it!). Since then, I found a way to get up to and/ or over the mountains to camp with my bike. We are fortunate here in Eugene to have an award winning transit system. The Lane Transit District bus 91 travels 55 miles up the McKenzie River to the base of the Cascade mountains. From the last bus stop at the McKenzie Ranger Station, it's possible to bike only about a mile to the junction of Hwy. 242, which is part of the McKenzie Pass Scenic Bikeway. I also easily accessed the McKenzie River Trail, as there is a connector trail just across Hwy 126 across from the ranger station. I camped at Paradise campground nearby, and at Belknap Hotsprings, where you can also rent a cabin and/or enjoy a dip in one of 2 hot spring pools.  

McKenzie Ranger Station
Bus stop at the ranger station
Getting ready to unload the bike off bus rack
Biking the McKenzie River Trail
Watching rafters on the river
Camping at Paradise campground
At the 91 bay at the Lane transit station in Eugene
Oregon Scenic Bikeway 
Snack stop at Belknap Hotsprings
Another route I have taken from Eugene to the Cascade mountains is on the bus that runs from Eugene to Bend, with a stop in Sisters. This bus leaves from the Amtrak station in Eugene, then stops at the Greyhound station before departing for Bend. The bus is a shuttle, thus it does not have bike racks. My folding bike fits in the rear luggage compartment and, once, the driver allowed me to put it over the seats. Beware; if there is a wheelchair rider, or the bus is full of people and/or luggage, a bike will not be allowed on board. I have yet to be turned away. However, on one trip, the driver did not show up and the bus was cancelled. I was offered a refund. ALWAYS have a plan B!

Waiting for the bus to Bend at the Amtrak station
Bike over seats on bus to Bend
Drop off in Sisters
On my three trips to Sisters, I was able to access McKenzie Pass from the east side, as well as the Sisters to Smith Rock Scenic Bikeway. Sisters is a small western town with great facilities, but lacks convenient bike parking. There is camping in the city RV park but it is expensive and noisy, so I prefer biking 4 miles west to Cold Springs campground or disperse camping for free in the Deschutes National Forest. For about a month in the late spring, McKenzie Pass is closed to vehicles and open only to bikes and pedestrians. It's awesome!
Biking from Sisters to Cold Springs campground
Believe it or not, this campsite is free!
Campsite at Cold Springs
Biking through the drifts toward McKenzie Pass
Almost to the pass
It's nice to run into friends!
I had a week long vacation back in June and rode from Sisters to Smith rock, then took a transit bus to Bend and biked half the Twin Bridges Scenic Bikeway. I camped in a yurt at Tumalo State Park, then biked the other half the following day and rode Hwy 20 into Sisters. Once again, I camped at Cold Springs then biked across McKenzie Pass to catch the bus back to Eugene (Note: showers are available at Camp Yale on Hwy 242 for only $2 and they are nice and clean)!

Sisters to Smith Rock Scenic Bikeway
Alpacas on the way to Smith Rock
The Deschutes River and Cascade mtns 
Camping in the climbers bivouac area at Smith Rock
Sunrise at Smith Rock
Waiting for the bus at the Thriftway in Terrebonne
Aboard the transfer bus from Redmond to Bend
Cascades East Transit ticket gets you to a lot of places!
The transit station in Bend
Fresh fruit on the Twin Bridges Scenic Bikeway
Camp Yale on Hwy 242
Clean shower stop!
Waiting for the bus back to Eugene
On three occasions, the driver of the bus to Bend let me off at an unscheduled stop at Santiam Junction so I could travel east on Hwy 22 towards Detroit and the Cascading Rivers Scenic Bikeway. The hiking club I belong to has a cabin on Whitewater Creek just off the Little North Santiam River. I go there frequently to meet friends during biking season. It's an awesome scenic bike ride along a beautiful river and a road with wide, smooth shoulders. There are lots of nice pit toilets in all the snow parks along the route. I rarely see other cyclists on this route. If you are reading this and live in Oregon, it's a must do! Don't miss the restaurant at Marion Forks. They have excellent burgers. They don't have wifi, but will allow you to make a phone call to check in with friends and family.  The return trip is just as incredible and I usually skip the big hill on Hwy 126 between Fish Lake and Clear Lake and take the McKenzie River Trail instead. Once at Clear Lake, I stopped for food and bike around the lake to Coldwater Cove where I join up with 126 to get back to McKenzie Bridge. The trail gets too narrow and rough for my low rear derailleur and the hwy is fun with decent shoulders.

Off the bus at Santiam Junction
Pit stop for photos
I walked out into the road to get this shot of the mountain
Beautiful river and a downhill ride
Great food stop
Yummy burger
Nice campsite at the cabin
Made it safe and sound
The start of the McKenzie River Trail near Fish Lake
Clear Lake, Middle Sister, and South Sister volcanoes
Breakfast at Clear Lake
Exiting the McKenzie River Trail
Eugene's water source, the beautiful McKenzie River
Being car free in Eugene doesn't mean you can't get out of town for bike overnights, short tours or an extended bike vacation. I have only begun to discover the byways and bike ways that are in and around Lane County. While I am limited to what I can do on a bike in the Cascades in winter, I can still take the bus over toward Sisters and Bend and rent a fat bike for snow biking. I hope to experience this at least once this winter. In the meantime, happy biking in (and out of) Eugene!








Monday, November 24, 2014

Coffeeneuring 2014


My first coffeeneuring weekend was actually the second weekend of the challenge on Sunday, October 12. I chose to make my coffee at home and put it in a thermos for drinking later on my ride to Dorris Ranch. My coffee of choice was Guatamala forestal blend from Grounds For Change (organic, fair trade, shade grown and carbon free coffee). My coffee grinder stopped working so I hand ground just enough beans with my small mortar/pestle...now that's dedication to coffee!

Mortar and pestle grinding is hard work!

Hot coffee on the banks of the Willamette River

Day drinking

My total miles for this ride was about 20. I don't really count miles when I bike so it is a good estimate. I love Dorris Ranch because it is a great ride and there is access to the Middle Fork of the Willamette river and a real working farm that allows you to bike through their property on the gravel trails. The new paved bike path from Dorris Ranch to Clearwater Park in Springfield is awesome.


Path along the Middle Fork of the Willamette River
Filbert grove at Dorris Ranch

The second of my coffeeneuring days was Saturday, October 18. On Friday, 10/17, I put my Bike Friday on the transit bus that runs from Eugene to Bend and the driver let me off mid trip at Santiam Junction where I rode 26 miles to a cabin to rendezvous with some friends. The following day, I rose early and filled my old percolater pot with creek water (fresh glacial water!) and put it on the fire to make a pot of Ethiopian Yirgecheffe. I then poured the coffee in my thermos and biked 15 (uphill!) miles via McCoy Creek Rd to a wonder-Full view of Mt. Jefferson in the Cascades. I waited patiently for the summit to emerge from the clouds so I would have the perfect photo on a beautiful fall day. I then biked the traverse road out to the upper Triangulation Peak trailhead to meet my friends (who chose to hike up via the Cheat Creek trail to meet me). Once there, we made a small fire in an established fire ring to warm up and enjoy sharing a hot beverage together. I am blessed to live in such a beautiful state and have such awesome friends. Needless to say, we all returned under the black of night! (Bike friendliness: The bus I rode from Eugene to Santiam Junction does not have bike racks. My Bike Friday fits fine in the rear luggage compartment if there isn't much luggage. I have yet to be turned away with my bike, but a larger bike would not be allowed. The LTD bus from McKenzie Bridge has 3 bike racks on the front and drivers will allow extra bikes inside).

Cheers!

Getting water from Whitewater Creek. Note wine bottle!
Our cabin in the woods
Yay! The wine is still here!
On the gravel portion of McCoy Creek Road
Percolating over the fire in fireplace

My third coffeeneuring day was Oct. 19, when I rode the Madras Mtn. Views Scenic Bikeway out of Madras, Oregon. A friend gave me a ride from the aforementioned cabin to Sisters, Oregon where I bought a nice Hario crystal coffee funnel and found a great coffee bag for sale with 'cafe bob-o-link' printed on it. The bob-o-link was one of my favorite birds when I was growing up in NC! From Sisters, we drove to Madras where we parked and set out on a 26 mile out and back on the Scenic Bikeway. We stopped at an overlook at Lake Billy Chinook reservoir and made fresh coffee using my new coffee funnel...another cup of yirgecheffe. Afterwards, we rode back to Madras and I was dropped off at Santiam Junction where I biked downhill to McKenzie Bridge and took the bus back to Eugene. The best coffeeneuring weekend ever! (Bike friendliness: it's a designated scenic bikeway! Good parking at park in Madras and park has a public restroom. Bikeway is well marked and there are good shoulders or low traffic roads with very few vehicles).

Cafe bob-o-link burlap coffee sack I found at Sisters Coffee Co. It still had green coffee beans inside!
Scenic bikeway this way!
Fresh coffee on the rocks over Lake Billy Chinook

I ♡ bike touring!

Another shot of the lake with the east side of Mt. Jefferson on horizon

I don't know what I would do without this bus that goes from Eugene to the mtns

My fourth weekend day of coffeneuring was on the cold and rainy day of Oct 25th. I met my daughter at our favorite Mexican restaurant just a few blocks downhill  from our home, so I had to ride my Koga commuter bike around the neighborhood prior to the meeting to make the 2 mile minimum on mileage. I was cold and wet and glad to get in the restaurant, where I ordered a mexican coffee that included a nice coffee liqueur and tequila. It was hot and delicious...but so strong I couldn't finish the last third of it. I will have to include this one again next year! (Bike friendliness: Chapala has only 1 bike rack in rear of restaurant near kitchen exit. I would never feel safe parking there. I park bike across the street at the racks near bank, or at nice covered racks at the market nearby).

It's cold and wet outside!

Specialty coffee menu at Chapala

Special...and strong!


My fifth coffeeneuring weekend was November 1st...after a long afternoon spent in my garden, I biked to the local Market of Choice and ordered a mocha with lots of whipped cream and a mini cannoli. I deserved it! Total miles to and from garden/market was only about 3, but it was all I could muster after hauling 23 wheel barrows of mulch! (Note bike parked outside window under covered parking...yay for great bike parking, but they need more racks!!).


Garden before wintering over with mulch

Garden after mulching

Mocha and cannoli

Th sixth coffeeneuring weekend was Nov. 8th. I took a 6 mile neighboorhood ride to my fave local bookstore and to the U of O and back. I stopped at Barry's cafe and bakery to get a loaf of challah bread and also ordered a nice mocha. It was enjoyable to sit there in the setting sun and sip on a hot beverage. (Bike friendliness: The bike racks are nice, but I usually just lock my wheel lock and step in long enough to get coffee to go and sit outside with my bike. You can easily view bike through all their windows).


Mocha, again. Nice to see the sun

The seventh and final coffeeneuring weekend was Nov. 16th. I rented a carshare on Saturday to drive to Portland on 11/15, where I shopped for a few new bike extras and was desperately seeking a new lock. I finally found the Abus Bordo lock that I needed at Clever Cycles. On Sunday the the 16th, I wanted to try out the new lock and get a long ride in so I biked about 14 miles, out and back, to our local arboretum. I stopped at the Dutch Bros. Coffee stand to get a nice cup of black coffee to take on the ride. The Abus lock is the first lock I have owned that works so well with my Bike Friday without using a cable, as I can now lock the frame and the wheel to the bike rack. (Bike friendliness: they have a lot of bike racks because bikes are not allowed on any of the trails. Car break ins are common, so I assume bike parking long term would be a bad idea. Take all items off bike and lock up well, or go when it is busy-not too early or too late in day on weekends). I took my cafe bob-o-link bag with me again and enjoyed sitting on a little bench next to the creek to enjoy my last cup of coffeeneuring  java for the year. Cafรจ bob-o-link will definitely return for coffeeneuring 2015! Cheers...


New abus lock and bike racks at Mt. Pisgah

Entrance to Buford Park, Mt. Pisgah Arboretum
Cafe bob-o-link by the creek

I love the new Dutch Bros holiday cups!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING AND HAPPY COFFEENEURING TO ALL!

I couldn't help but notice that all but 2 of my coffee rides were coffee drank outside, or coffee without walls, aka #coffeeoutside. As a carfree person, I like this a lot. I love the freedom of biking everywhere, especially because being carfree allows me to have extra $$ for coffeeneuring. I only repeated one stop (Barry's) from last year, so next year I plan on visiting different areas/coffee shops as well. Happy Coffeeneuring to all!