Home Building Update: The UFO Landing Pad

Things are really starting to move now and we’re almost ready to pour the foundation. It’s hard to see from this image, but the inside surface is tight, the forms are butted right up against each other with tight grooves between them so when it’s poured it will be a smooth circle. We’re going to fill with dirt around the base near the doors so we don’t have to put stairs on each side. Next step, they put an inside ring of plywood then, pour concrete, then bend the rebar down so they can clamp the airform to the outside of the foundation. IMG_1305.jpeg
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Ape Canyon, Mt St Helens

One of my all time favorite rides. The views are fantastic and the riding is great. So far every time I’ve been ride here I haven’t scheduled enough time to ride the full loop but even as a 13-15 mile out-and-back this is an amazing trail. Make sure you get all the way to the top though, the Plains of Abraham are spectacular with unparalleled views of St Helens and views of Pikes, Mt Hood, And Mt Adams.

If there was any downside to this trail it’s the heavy traffic, even of a Friday afternoon I encountered about a dozen hikers and cyclists on the climb up and a few on the return trip. The other slight bummer is the descent isn’t very technical…. but you are so busy soaking in the views you hardly notice.

If you are planning a PNW trip, Ape Canyon and the Plains of Abraham should be on your short list.

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Home build update: Pre-foundation

Now that the weather is cooperating things are moving at a good clip. We went from a ring of dirt to a fairly substantial packed gravel slab in less than a week. We’re waiting on tests coming back to ensure the gravel is packed tight enough, but the guy taking the samples seemed to be confident it’s ok. According to Wayne from East-West Concrete we should have forms in place next week and hopefully the foundation poured shortly after.

The floor is going to be about 2′ 7″ above ground level due to flood concerns which is why it’s built up so high. That puts our roof 19 feet above ground level.

Septic is finally in the home stretch, we’re taking delivery of 60 tons of fill dirt tomorrow to cover up the leech lines then we’ll be fully operational (after inspection).

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Over Old Highway 242 With Dan’ger

I’m pretty vocal about the fact that I don’t really care for road riding so it might come as a shock to some of my friends that I went on a long assed road ride and had an absolutely fantastic day. I attribute this to the fact that it was a pretty fantastic place and that there were almost no cars.

The place was highway 242 in Oregon, it goes from just a bit east of McKenzie Bridge all the way to Sisters Oregon. It winds its way up (a lot of up!) through lush west Cascades rain forest; through a huge lava field to Dee Wright Observatory; then down into the east Cascades and Sisters. If you are familiar with any of those places you know they are each pretty special and fantastic, getting to ride through them on a bike in one day is quite epic.

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This ride is normally good, but I wouldn’t do it because the roads are quite narrow and people in cars are dangerous to cyclists on the road. Fortunately, for a few weeks at the end of spring the road is closed to cars and accessible to bikes… which makes this ride worth doing.

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Originally I was going to meet up with Dan (aka Dan’ger), a mountain bike buddy I knew from long ago on (MTBR)[http://mtbr.com] and a few of his friends, but due to some confusion I missed him and I took off at a fairly aggressive pace all the way until I got to Dee Wright Observatory which is more or less the top of this ride. By the time I got to the top I’d kind of given up on catching them and just soloed it.

The Three Sisters

On the way down to Sisters, there was a veritable parade of riders coming at me, I must have zipped by a couple hundred people doing the climb up from Sisters as part of a big organized event. (Pictured above are the bottoms of the 3 Sisters viewed from Sisters.

Mount Washington

After the ride down to Sisters I did the 2,400 foot/ 18 mile grind back up to the Observatory. (Mount Washington in the above photo)

Mount Washington

The views on this route are amazing, the combination of elevation and lack of vegetation in the lava fields means you can see for miles. The lava fields themselves are so unusual they could easily be from another world. This ride reminds me a lot of climbing to the Plains of Abraham on the back side of Mount Saint Helens.

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When I got back to the Observatory I climbed to the top… and there was Dan and his friend Jeff! No, he wasn’t standing there like John Cusak from Say Anything with his bike over his head… he was actually hunkered down low trying to stay out of the stout breeze, it was COLD.

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Turns out they had started from their camp ground, not realizing they were about 7 miles and 1,200 feet below where we were supposed to meet. I had been so far ahead of them I’d caught them on the way back.

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After a bit of catch up and discussion I decided I would bomb down to Sisters again and ride with them for the rest of the day, adding another 30 miles and 2,400 feet of climbing to my already long day.

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We had a quick bite of pizza in Sisters and turned around for the grind back to the Observatory. I was feeling fantastic the whole climb up and it was even more fun with old and new friends along the way. (Dan is just rolling up to the Observatory in this photo and Jeff is in the foreground).

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Back at the Observatory, we goofed around for a bit then it started to rain a bit so we jumped on the bikes and blazed down to the bottom.

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This was a truly fanstastic day, miles and miles of fantastic landscape, surreal terrain, and good company. The scheduling snafu at the beginning could have been a bummer, but turned out to be just a bit of spice to a really fun trip.

I’ll be heading up this way again next spring when the roads are opened up again because this was a fantastic trip.

By the end of the day I’d clocked 85 miles and about 6,400 feet of climbing. Easily my most ambitious and enjoyable road ride ever.

A few quick updates on the house

… it’s been a long time since I’ve blogged about much, so on Father’s Day 2018, I’m posting about a lot of random stuff.

About 8 years ago we bought a place along highway 58 with the goal of building a house on it “Next Year”… and every year since then it’s been “Next Year”. Last year we thought it was finally the year it would happen, but delays in the permitting process and weather prevented that, but it’s looking like there is a very good chance we’ll at least start building *this year* and very soon.

(This is the site plan for our property, we have 4.5 acres)

Lane County dragged their feet on granting us our building permit and didn’t finalize it until very late in the year. So late in fact that we were only able to just barely get the driveway finished before the rains started in earnest.

We also contacted a septic installer to install our septic system, but they’ve proved to be the least competent septic installer in Lane County and our septic system is *still* not complete, and suffered some damage over the winter because it wasn’t buried.

We still absolutely love the property with one small exception, we are right on highway 58 and the noise from the road is bad. We are working on a fence which should help a bit, and we’ve planted over 80 trees which should help block site and noise.

We’ve been living in the RV for about a year now which… sucks… but not quite bad enough where either of us want to move back into an apartment in town. Being on our place and being able to work on the driveway, plant trees, install irrigation, and enjoy the wildlife on our property makes up a whole lot for the RV life.

Our septic system should be completed within the next week or two and our main builder is just finishing up a project and will soon by starting the grading and build up required before building the foundation. We’ve been told everything is lined up to be ready to move in August.
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Creampuff 2017 Survival Story

I’m alive… I survived the Cream Puff.

I woke up feeling ok, I got a good night’s sleep, glad we slept here at home rather than camping or getting a room in Oakridge (Thanks Alan Bennet for that bit of wisdom).

The first lap went really well, my goal was to average better than 5 miles an hour and though I haven’t uploaded the stats yet, my first climb was much better than I’d hoped. My entire first lap was fast and I had a ton of fun. On the climb I wound up watching a lot of people roll away from me, but by the time we got onto Tire Mountain I started catching people who weren’t as strong as I am on single track. The first lap time was just about 6 hours and felt way shorter than it should have.

The second lap on the other hand was not fast. After a quick cool off at the Aid station and a rather pleasant roll along North Fork trail, we hit the road 1910 and the climb from hell. My legs were toast and I was crawling up the climb at about 2-3 miles an hour. By the time I started the climb it was just afternoon and the temperature had crept up over 90 degrees… I was slowly baking alive and ran out of water way before the water station halfway up the climb.

The Puff organizers have a couple of angels patrolling the road in a pick-up with a water sprayer dousing anyone who wants it. They met me about 3 miles in and I took a long, cool shower in the middle of the road… It was amazing and kept me cool until well after the water stop. The rest of the climb was less suffering from heat and more about just pushing my burnt out legs up and down until Aid 2 where Mic Coleman and some other awesome people gave me electrolytes, chocolate milk, and I refilled my bottle with Perpetuem. Then I made the final push up to Aid 3, where Olivia was waiting and teased me with the idea of giving up.

I didn’t stop at Aid 3 long and pushed on, then about 5 minutes up the trail on a hike-a-bike section I stopped and sat down and contemplated turning back for a long time. Three people rolled past me and finally I decided I would just take the rest of the race 1 Aid station at a time. If I could just make it back to Aid 3, then I’d take inventory and see if I could make it to the next Aid station, etc.

And so it went, I had a good time descending Chrome Toilet and since my legs were rested the climb back out was tolerable. The climb and descent on Sourgrass Meadow and Jedi were even better. By the time I was at Aid 2 again, there was no question I could press on and I had plenty of time even if I walked most of the climbs.

But I didn’t. I spun up most of the climb after Windy Pass, I slowly ground my way up Cloverpatch (and even passed someone!) and the descents down Tire Mountain and Cloverpatch were amazing. Road 130 was miserable as expected, but I pedaled the whole thing in spite of twinges from potential cramping. Then, near the top of the switchbacks above Road 130, the guy I passed on Cloverpatch nearly caught me which lit a competitive fire in me and it was full game-on.

When I hit the road that feeds back to Buckhead shelter I stood up and sprinted up that stupid little climb. But I was fighting cramps back and got some full on cramps and had to walk them off… but then after cramping I changed strategies. Knowing how close I was to the finish I just doubled down my efforts. I stood up on nearly every climb in the last 6 miles (Thank god I trained so much on the SS)… and I tore up the downhills. It was awesome. The final 6 miles were glorious and amazing with some epic views, blazing fast descents, and 100% pure fun. It was a fantastic way to end the day.

Getting that hat was onerous, having a huge smile on my face when I got it was epic.

Side Notes

  • I podiumed! 3rd place Men’s 45+!
  • A big part of the suffering up the climb on lap 2 was because I decided to do 1 water bottle… a strategy that worked very well for most of the day but really hurt for the 45 minutes or so after I ran out on the second climb. Next year I’ll bring a second bottle or pack just for that climb.

Appreciation

  • Thanks to all the awesome people who encouraged me and helped me out during the race. Mic was awesome at Aid 2, Chris B., Paul Timm, Olivia, Misha, Ellene, and many others. Also, my buddy Jason who is responsible for me doing this race and gave me encouragement when I was at my very worst.
  • Double thanks to those who helped me train, because it’s hard to get out and do 45 mile days solo. Especially: Jamie, Bridget, Greg, and the Wednesday Whypass regulars.
  • Huge thanks to Collin, Olivia, and Eugene from Paul’s on Alder and the Mechantile in Oakridge for helping me out with mechanical issues in the weeks leading up to the race.

Finally… thanks to my awesome wife who tolerates my adventures and is the best pit crew ever.