It’s September 20, 2012. My last blog was July 2011. Once again, time has marched on as I’ve kept way too busy by keeping my fingers in way too many pots. First for a little recap… 

After 5 years I have finally completed my BA at Evergreen, graduating with a major emphasis in Business and Organizational Leadership. I continue to bike race, albeit as more of a racer/social rider. While I spend a lot of time on the bike, I am not fully committed to the racer lifestyle. This may come, or not. The jury is out at the moment. Racing is a bit of a love/hate relationship. I got a late start to racing this year due to a heavy class load in fall quarter and a desire to do well with classes through the end. I did okay though, finally finding some form about the time the Capital Stage race arrived on the calendar. While my own results were not stellar, I was more than satisfied with my performance and being able to help teammates. 

As I noted in last year’s blog. Summer came late. This year, I think it was nearly mid July before the stranglehold of NW marine weather gave way to sun and warmth. With so much going on, Jean and I had not planned a vacation, so when the opportunity came up for another Sierra Supper Tour, we decided it was the right thing to do. Even though it would be a repeat vacation from 2009, we were okay with it, figuring it to be a new experience. And it was. The group was fantastic. The riding spectacular.

 This time the start was in Columbia, California at the Marble Quarry RV Park. We rode 6 days, 400 miles and climbed roughly 40,000 feet. After completing the ride, a route which was mostly the same as last time, with a few different routes on certain days, we made our way to the northern California coast and Redwood Forest. Then on up into Southern Oregon Coastal area and a final stop to see friends in Corvallis, Oregon. 

Noteworthy experiences included cycling in one of the most spectacular areas of the Sierras, warm weather topping new 100 degrees on some days, brutally steep and slow climbs followed by blistering fast crazy descents, amazingly delicious and healthy food (it is SUPPER tour after all), and a trip home that brought us from 95 to 55 degrees in 24 hours. Can you say BRRRR! 

The coast redwoods are amazing. 15′ diameter, 330′ tall giants. WOW. We learned the climate that redwoods thrive in happens to be quite foggy. Not much sun when you are close to sea level, however it only takes  a little altitude and the sun reemerges. This took some getting used to, especially after the Sierras and the fact we live with 10 months of cloud and rain each year in the PNW. The fog continued as we drove north to Florence, Or. We didn’t get to see much of the Oregon Coast due to the fog and wind, but we stopped at the walking Safari north of Bandon for something different to do. We got to pet a baby cougar, bobcat and bear. All were about 6 months +/-, if I recall. That was pretty neat. I had been there 25 or so years before and held a baby lion and tiger cub. 

Our friends Steve and Dominique provided a welcomed stop in Corvallis, Oregon. They recently relocated and are remodeling a newly purchased home. Steve took Jean and I for a nice 30 mile, pancake flat ride which included bucking 20 mph winds on the latter half. It felt much like climbing steep grades in the Sierras. Great company, food and wine prepared us for the last leg home that included a stop at Ken’s Bakery in downtown Portland… Delicious!

Blackberry Tart from Ken’s Bakery in Portland
And now for a brief Sierra Supper Tour and Redwoods photo essay…

We found a Tea shop in Columbia. Literally 100’s of teas to choose from.

The stagecoach still rolls in Columbia, CA

Gary minding the gap after completing the first brutal pitch of Sonora Pass which ranged from 10 to 17% for  2 miles. Gary is not English, but Jean and Paul are.

Taking a break at 9,600′ before the awesome descent.

Day 2 featured 80 miles and both Sonora and Monitor Pass… L to R, Ron, Jean, Michelle and Derik. 

Looking south from Old Luther Pass road

Old Luther Pass Road – adventure route got us off the hwy for a bit.

On this 5th day, for most it was 55 miles, for others (Paul on right) it was 75 or 80. Needless to say a cold swim felt great!

Gear explosions are common with any outdoor adventure.

Looking for Harry Potter.

Typical evening in camp. We were all happy the chairs fit in Bill’s van.

I ate both those jalapenos.

We enjoyed wines from Paul Musson and Mimi Frey.

From the Frey family vineyard. 
Bill Dunn at Scrabble

Not enough can be said for Mimi’s cooking. Potatoes with Beets.

Hanging tree…

I think we can squeeze in a couple more tents…
That’s some milkshake miss Jean!!!

Our good friend and fellow cyclist Steve Rogers (Fridas) had a mishap descending Echo Pass Hwy and was airlifted to Reno. We’re glad he is going to on the mend, but it was a sad day in camp and a sobering reminder of the perils of road cycling. Speedy recovery to Steve.

 And on to the redwoods….

Redwood photos from Stout Grove near Jedadiah State Park.

The bark can be 12″ to 18″ thick.

Spiraling up.

A stroll in the woods…. redwoods!

So straight and so tall.

No words….

And a walking safari..

Peacock at the Walking Safari

This Lama had to reach over the fence, stretch his/her neck… but oh so refreshing!!!!

Water pick for Lamas!

Bah ram ewe.

Bobcats have really soft fur.

I want more food that is in your hand!!!
Jean hugging a bear while he nurses a bottle.  His fur is not so soft…

The End… until the next adventure or blog….