An Old Fashioned Dome Raising Party

Our floor was FINALLY poured Thursday and we were told we could start framing this weekend so I invited/ begged a few friends to come over and give us a hand with the framing on the inside

After a long Saturday of building with 5 good friends, Char and I, we managed to get a huge amount of progress  More than half the walls are framed and there were not tour normal square/ 8 foot jobs  We were wrestling 13 foot boards into place and many had complex Curt’s to fit the curves of the dome

80 percent done, 80% to go


Home Build – Pouring the foundation through inflation

July and August were busy, both for the house build and otherwise. For the house we’ve poured the foundation, filled it in, and inflated the outside skin of our house.


Due to flood regulations, our foundation is over 2 feet tall and we’re going to have to build up around it with dirt once it’s completed. Our foundation was poured on July 19th with only one minor hitch, the concrete company was about a yard and a half short of what was needed to complete the pour and ended up having to make a second trip with just a tiny bit of concrete to finish the job. The result is outstanding though.

With the foundation complete, our contractor spent a few weeks filling in the floor and prepping the pad for the airform, finally in the middle of August, everything was ready. He stacked up all the equipment he would need inside the dome after the airform was inflated, covered it up so nothing would puncture the airform, and lifted the airform onto the center of the pad.

At about 700 pounds, the airform was a beast to get into place and it turned out all Wayne’s assumptions were a bit off, we put the airform in the center of the dome but it needed to be aligned with the front door. These things should come with instructions!


The moment of truth! Char is cutting open the airform which had been sitting in storage for the past few months waiting for the pad to be completed.

With the final location squared away, it was time to unroll and spread out the airform. It’s like spreading giant tent out.

During shipping, some of the primer was punctured and leaked all over things. You can see a bunch on the black cloth to the right of the airform. Fortunately we still had enough primer to get the job done correctly.

Fully spread out, we still had to drill and attach the brackets along the outside of the airform before it could be inflated. Roughly 320 holes drilled into the concrete later, after that plus some additional prep work, it was ready to inflate on August 14th.

Just like a giant balloon. On the first day we didn’t have the air lock attached, so we just inflated it for the evening to let it stretch out a bit then lowered things back down.


Here it is fully inflated, the airlock is the blocky white thing in the background. The blower makes the airform quite firm.


A couple days later with the airlock in place, we were able to explore our house from the inside for the first time. Here it is, looking back at the airlock which will eventually be our front door. The orange color is sunlight filtering through the vinyl and the black lines are thick seams welded into the thick skin of our house.

Next we’ll install the door and window frames and start spraying insulation!

S2R Coltus to Waldo

This post is part of a multi-post story about a 1 week trip we, started in Bend.

After another cold night I was just starting to figure out how to best deal with sub freezing temperatures and slept the entire night without having me feet go numb. I work up early again and was treated to another awesome sunrise, this time over Coltus Lake.

Breakfast was French Toast again and we headed around the north shore of Coltus and caught the Metolious Windigo again as it wound it’s way towards Lake Waldo. The Metolious Windigo is a lot less volcanic here without the rocky road texture which made it so fun between Sparks Lakes and Lava Lake. This section has a lot of deadfall and we cleared a couple trees along the way.


After curving around Lake Coltus, we passed Deer Lake and Coltus Mountain, eventually leaving the Metolious Windigo for good and climbing towards Charlton Lake and Lake Waldo. (Photo is Jerry shortly before Charlton Lake)

On the leg just before we turned off of Metolious Windigo, a branch snagged on my rear tire and snapped a spoke. I finished the ride with 27 spokes on one wheel.

Kevin above Lake Charlton

This leg of our trip had a lot of climbing and only a few really good downhill legs, but the section approaching Charlton Lake has some of the only really challenging technical terrain before we get to Fuji and Bunchgrass later on. (Pictured is Gabrielle just below a tight technical S-curve)
Lake Waldo is always beautiful and Shadow Bay campground was quiet due this late in the season.


We had propane bowl heaters to keep us warm and they were definitely appreciated as it was quite cold most of the time when we were at Waldo. (Pictured: Jerry, Dan, Scott, Davey, Al, Lee, and Gabrielle)

There wasn’t a ton of partying on Tuesday night as we were all quite beat from a long day with a lot of climbing. Since it was Tuesday Dinner was of course Tacos! (Pictured: Ken, Kevin, Ogre, Andrea, Josh, Jerry, Dan, and Scott)

With 28 miles of riding which felt like mostly climbing, it’s hard to pick out a highlight. The section before Charlton Lake and a couple of the downhill sections along East Waldo were quite fun though.

We woke up to a light rain in the middle of the night which was a bit of a blessing. It knocked the dust on the trails down a bit and kept the temperature a bit warmer.

(Continued on next post)

S2R Sparks Lake to Coltus

This is a continuation of a multi-post story about a multi-day trip. Refer to the first story for context.

On Monday I work up early as I usually do when camping and was treated to some spectacular skies. Breakfast was French toast, bacon and sausage.

After breaking camp, we got back onto the Metolius Windigo and headed for Lava lake. This section of the Metolius Windigo contours down slowly and has lots of little ups and downs with bits of lava rock poking out of the sandy soil. It was super fun riding this section on the single speed.

Lava Lake is disappointingly not made of actual lava, but is pretty spectacular regardless.

We cut between Lava Lake and little Lava Lake on a road and caught a short section of singletrack which cut over to the highway. From there we followed a power-line road and some forest roads to Coltus Lake.


After setting up camp, some of us headed over to the resort for some ice cream and shenanigans. To celebrate his successful jump, Al bought us a gallon and a half of huckleberry ice cream for desert!
Coltus Lake is isolated and quite beautiful, particularly with the cloudy sunset we were treated to.


Monday’s riding was short and had a fair amount of transit along roads. The section of Metolius Windigo between Sparks Lake and Lava Lake was easily the best part of the ride, but camping at Coltus was an unexpected treat. The lake was idlic, there was almost nobody in the campground aside from us and aside from some winds in the evening it was a great place to camp.

(Continued on next post)

September to Remember (S2R) Wanoga to Sparks Lake

Since I’ve been so busy with the house build this summer I haven’t had the chance to get any really significant road trips in, so when the opportunity to go on a week long camping trip along the Oregon Timber Trail popped up, I jumped on it. It was appropriate that adding me to the trip made it a proper Baker’s dozen riders.

We were originally going to hit the first 130 miles of the Fremont Tier, but fires along the route caused a last minute re-route. Instead we rode from Bend to Oakridge, following much of the Timber Trail route, but adding a bit more single track where possible.

The first day we spent dealing with logistics and driving to Bend. We set up camp at the Wanoga snow park then did a short afternoon ride before dinner. Dan, Scott, and myself rode up to Dutchman to hit Flagline and the rest of the group rode Tyler’s Traverse. We got back just in time for a fantastic dinner served up by Charlie and Vic.

On most mornings we woke up, broke camp, ate breakfast, then hit the trail. The first morning was a bit chaotic as we were just getting used to the rhythm of things, but we managed to get out of camp by 10 am.


Our route took us up to Swampy Shelter, down South Fork and up North Fork to Tumalo Falls and to Happy Valley. From Happy Valley we jumped onto the Metolious Windigo Trail. At about 29 miles, this was one of the longer days.

Tomalo is actually a bunch of linked falls, a fantastic ride and likely a great hike.

Charlie (Our awesome Chef), and Albert rolling through Happy Valley.

Davey Sproket
Davey was one of the primary organizers of our trip…

… and Ken was the other.

After Happy Valley, we caught the Metallica’s After about 29 miles we made it to Sparks Lake which had… fantastic views.

At sunset and after the sun went down, things just got better, smoke from this summer’s fires has fled the Sparks Lake area and the stars were fantastic.

Sunday nights dinner of lamburgers was almost as good as the Fish dinner we had on Saturday and company at the campfire was great.

The highlights of this leg were the fantastic views along the north fork climb past Tumalo Falls and the fun/ fast descents down South Fork and the Metolious Windigo. Camping at Sparks Lake was also fantastic.

It was damned cold though, I wasn’t quite prepared for sub-freezing camping. (Continued in next post)

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

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.


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.


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.


Originally I was going to meet up with Dan (aka Dan’ger), a mountain bike buddy I knew from long ago on (MTBR)[] 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.


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.


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.


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.


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).


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.


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.