Saturday, August 28, 2010

Biking in Oakridge, Oregon

After a week in Oregon, Helen had to head off to California for a workshop and conference. This was the main reason for us being in the country, actually. I dropped her off at the airport Wednesday morning and headed down to Oakridge, the self-proclaimed mountain biking capital of the Northwest.

By mid-day I was on the Middle Fork Trail, which follows the Middle Fork of the Willamette River. This is a really nice trail that rolls along the side of the beautiful river. It was great riding but very warm and I was struggling a bit. I managed to ride about 11 miles (18km) up the trail then turned around and came back. When I got back into town I discovered that it was 98°F or 37°C - no wonder I was struggling. The trail is 27 miles (43.4 km) in length so I still need to go back and finish it off.

Middle Fork of the Willamette

After realizing that I was even more hopeless than normal at riding uphill I decided to try and catch a shuttle up to the top of Alpine on Thursday. This turned out to be a really good idea. We met at 10am and $20 and one hour later I was near the top of the Alpine Trail. I wanted to amke sure I rode the entire length of the trail so instead of taking the easy left I turned right and rode up to the highest point of the trail. From there the trail turned downward and passed the Elk Camp Shelter. I didn't think the US had huts like we do in NZ, so this was a bit of a surprise to see.

Elk Camp Shelter

From the far end of the trail I had to ride firetrails back to where the shuttle dropped me off. This time I took the left turn and had a short climb to the top of Sourgrass Mountain. From here things headed down again and I was in heaven. Alpine Trail has some of the best singletrack I have ever ridden - it flows really well and is scary fast in places.

Alpine Trail singletrack

There are a few places where views open up along the trail. The picture below is a nice overlook of the town, with Diamond Peak in the background.

The town of Oakridge

After two days in Oakridge, I headed back to my parents. The next day I went for spin around Corvallis, the place I first started mountain biking. As I was riding along I realised that I started riding here 19 years ago. Wow, I am getting old...

Willamette Valley from the top of Dimple Hill

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Long weekend in Sunriver, Oregon

It has been 5 years since we got married at Crater Lake and spent our honeymoon in the Sunriver/Bend area in Oregon. We thought it was time to revisit the area and drag the Lyman's up to there, as they didn't get to spend time with us after the wedding. So we rented a house in Sunriver and Judy, Ralph, Craig, Kortney, Emmalee, Aaron and Helen headed up on Friday afternoon.

The house we rented with the two trucks out the front - with the bikes in the back of Craig's truck.

On Saturday we headed out to Newberry Crater and Aaron gave us a geological tour of the large crater including Big Obsidian Flow.

On Big Obsidian Flow - Craig, Kortney, Emmalee, Judy, Aaron, Ralph and Helen at the back.

Looking down into the crater from the top of Paulina Peak - Big Obsidian Flow with Paulina and East Lake.

Craig and Aaron at the top of Paulina Peak - you can tell they are brothers!

After spending the morning at Newberry Crater we went and explored one of the large lava tubes/caves in the area - Lava River Cave. The girls got to try out their new head torches as we headed down the cold lava cave. You could see your breath in the air - it was about 6 degrees C or 42 degrees F.

Walking through the lava tube.

After the cool lava tube experience we headed back to the house and jumped in the hot tub to warm up. Late afternoon we headed out for a ride around Sunriver - we were beginning to think we couldn't wear out Kortney and Emmalee - but I think we finally managed on the bike ride!

Sunday we headed out to Fall River and went to feed the trout at the fish hatchery.

Emmalee feeding the fish at the hatchery.

We went for a couple of short walks along Fall River up to the springs and then headed along the Cascade Lakes Highway for views of the volcanoes.

View of South Sister Volcano.

After lunch we headed out on the Deschutes River in a kayak and a canoe and floated/paddled down the flat river past Sunriver (not the section with the rapids that we went rafting on last time). The girls were a little nervous at first, but they got the hang of it and it was very relaxing.

On the way home on Monday we headed out to Three Creek Lake just below Tam Macarthur Rim and Broken Top. We walked up towards the rim and got some great views of the Cascade volcanoes - as far as Mt Adams in Washington.

Three Creek Lake below the Tam Macarthur Rim.

Views of the Cascade volcanoes - Belknap Crater, Mt Washington, Cache Mountain, Three Finger Jack, Mt Jefferson, Mt Hood (in the distance).

A fun weekend with lots of great adventures. Not to mention all the food, Scrabble and other games and plenty of time hanging out relaxing in the hot tub.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Painting has begun

We were so busy this weekend we forgot to stop and take some photos. The plasterer had finished the back rooms so we started painting the guest room and the two bathrooms. We were able to get the guest room sorted enough that we could get the bed put back together and put a few pieces of furniture in there as well. We will stay there while we get the rest of the house in order room by room.

We were also able to move most of the kitchen cabinets out of the garage and into the house so Owen can get started assembling the kitchen.

Pictures to come.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Insulation finally!

After a lot of frustration with ordering insulation (long story... don't ask!) It finally arrived and Aaron spent the whole weekend cutting it up and putting it in the new extension. We decided to use wool insulation, as it is much nicer to work with, and more environmentally sound than some of the other kinds!

Wool batts in the ceiling and walls (kind of feels like a padded cell right now... appropriately given we are going a little bit crazier with this extension project.)

There is also some other progress with the front stairs and the retaining wall and door at the back of the house.

Front stairs

Underwater retaining wall

New backdoor

We have another week and a half until we move out of our rented house next door...... still a lot of work to be done. Not to mention all the work we will have to do once the main build is finished... Anyone like painting??? Or landscaping???