Outside Death Valley

National Park that is and I am not ready for its name sake.

I left Cape Lookout on the OR coast driving S to Florence. From there I made a sharp east turn and left the ocean for the mountains. As I neared Eugene fog appeared, air stagnation. east of town towards Oakridge I drove out of the dead air. Blue sky. And dense big water loving trees.

I pulled into the bike shop, Willamette Merchantile, to start my grounding. Derrick was working. I surprised him w/ my out of season visit. But he as well as others I connected to made the necessary adjustments. Derrick ran the Cream Puff this last summer. Great warm friendship. Next was Brewers’ Union, the local brew pub. Ben arrived for another great connection. I spent the evening learning about what GOATS are up to for land advocacy. I switched my IMBA club membership to GOATS. They told me about their trail work. Flat Creek was a new one.

I spent the night out of town. After Bfast I drove to Flat Creek for a hike. The trail starts right where I slept last summer. 92% hand built & what effort and art it took. I hiked a long ways then turned around for the coast down. I visited Derrick b4 leaving and complimented him all for the effort. I will figure out a visit next year.

No snow, warm. Ski slope @ Willamette Pass is closed, just no snow. All the snow stakes & signs are posted yet the highway was bare and dry. I don’t care to drive on snow. My tires are M&S which are acceptable.

I headed way east stopping @ Quartz Mtn summit Above Lakeview, OR. Snow park was bare. The CXT outhouse was barricaded closed because of repeated vandalism. First CXT outhouse I have ever seen closed because of vandalism. Perhaps trash was being thrown down the holes. Back in the sage and lodgepole Ppine mixed forests. 13 degrees @ wakeup, inside a toasty 43. Big mismatch between heater output and heat loss.

Yesterday I continued East and south to Winemucca, NV, home of Bloody Shins trail I rode years ago. trails are cow paths are cow paths that are below grade w/ broken sage twigs to gouge your shins should you drift. I headed east some more on I-80 to Battle Mountain and the state highway down to Austin on route 50, the loneliest road in America. Must have been the same trip that I visited here. The bike shop was boarded up. They hosted the NV state championship mtn bike race b4 I got there the first time. I rode their trails which were mostly jeep tracks. I remember not taking enough h20 and having difficulties route finding. I almost resorted to a cow watering trough.

Darkness was falling as I continued South towards Tonopah. Appears that the land is public, either BLM or FS. Numerous roads left the highway. Finally I picked one in the dark and drove on a well maintained gravel rd looking for a flat spot. Then the road became snow covered. Shit, I might be forced to turn around on a dark 1 lane. But what to my wondering eyes did I spy but a CXT outhouse: I made a trailhead parking lot: Arc Dome Wilderness. Cold clear solitary night. I fussed a bit about being able to turn around and drive back out over the snow. This AM I awoke early and got it on. I made it out. Elevation was 6230.

I continued to Tonopah which is a played out resource extraction desert town. I bought groceries for my planned several day visit @ Death Valley. Highways are snow free and of excellent condition: speed is mostly 70 mph. I drive just about 60.

I am now in Beatty, NV w/ internet connection. Next is Death Valley. And below sea level.

I plan on making Sedona by this weekend.


Heading South

With my right leg paddling in the ocean.

I spent Christmas eve up the Hoh River @ the XG @ the trailhead for Olympus. One other camper and several day hikers. Overcast & chilly damp. I hiked 3 miles up the Hoh to Tom’s creek then turned around. I noticed the Hoh is running clear instead of milky from glacier silt. Amazing amount of plant life from the highest evolved tree to nature’s bottom rung. What water will do. Amazing that I had 3 bar 4G reception way out in the boon docks.

Christmas day I continued driving S down US 101. I camped @ Ocean City WA SP just in shore of the transition zone. I walked out to the shore. Here vehicles are allowed on the beach. Flat land that holds the rain. There were water puddle issues in the campground. My $20 bought a shower. I gambled on $1.00 of tokens for a 6 min shower. After dinner I steeled myself for a chilly cleaning. Amazing: the water was hot almost @ once; Amazing: it wasn’t hot enough nor plentiful enough for a comfortable shower. Those aerating nozzles mix in too much air. To date coldest hot shower was Jim Thorpe, PA in October where I had to pull a chain to release a drizzle while in an unheated concrete block rest room.

I just read that scientists have determined that a human cold is not caused be getting cold. Also that any uncovered body surface radiates heat. The head is just square inches of surface area. With that I can’t comprehend bare legged women.

Today I rejoined US 101 heading South crossing the Columbia¬† into Oregon where they pump your gas and don’t charge sales tax. I bought a cooked Dungeness crab that was cooked on the 24. I asked her if she was able to tell any taste difference between just cooked and several days old. She said they all tasted the same. Was she truthful or was she selling me 2 day old dead crab? Tasted good for dinner here @ Cape Lookout Oregon State campground. I am even closer to the surf line. No vehicles allowed on OR beaches which are all publicly owned.

I am ready for the mountains. I am planning on crossing the Cascades thru Oakridge, OR and stopping to visit.

I have spent some time w/ the new Freehub mag reading and observing about me. Magazine devoted 12 pages, 9 of which had pictures of me. Thanks Brandon and Ben.

I have ringing in my ears.

Today I stopped in Tillamook for groceries. A major dairy food company shares the town’s name. Dairy equals cows which consume plant material in the front end and out the rear squirts the left overs. Dairy cow manure. I arrived w/ my windows rolled up. When I slid open the side door the odor smacked me upside the head. The odor pervaded the grocery store. I don’t imagine there are wine tasting events going inside. Tacoma had the aroma of Tacoma from the Kraft paper mills. Other towns have a distinguishing odor. Manure just turns my nose. And yes, I eat dairy so I am driving a consumption market and I buy Tillamook products.

Tonight’s campground is the most crowded so far. My newer Core doesn’t like being @ 0′. I calibrate the elevation to 0′ then watch the elevation climb. The older Core mimics the same behavior. I plan on visiting Death Valley which is below sea level. I am curious as to their elevation perception.

My right rear tire had a small leak. Today I found a Les Scwabb right on 101 and stopped for repair. No charge complimentary flat repair. Said there was a small nail.

Excitement on the dining room table dinner time as Mr. Gumby makes a fateful move
Excitement on the dining room table dinner time as Mr. Gumby makes a fateful move



Way West

XM reception was intermittent @ camp site. I listen to the Bob Edwards show @ 7:00. Today Bob rebroadcast a Peter Sagel interview, he MCs Wait Wait don’t tel Me on Sat that I make a point of hearing. I wanted to here the interview again so I stowed sleeping stuff and drove the road i walked last night down to Rialto Beach where sun was just starting to warm.

Stiff sea foam, looking south towards La Push
Stiff sea foam, looking south towards La Push

The beach is cobble, no sand. Waves roll the rocks onto the shore then drag them back into the surf. Perhaps sand resides way out to sea. Strong waves will literally pop the cobble out of the water.

I found a rock that was before its time:

an odd ball

Forecast is still holding to sunshine. I am writing this on the beach where satellite reception must be from LaPush. I will now leave here for the Hoh River rain forest  deep inside the park where there will prolly not even be cell phone coverage.