Jill’s Grand Tour

So a couple Fridays ago Steve and I headed out for my first ride of any real length. It was supposed to be close to 20 miles. Started bad right from the start with my chain coming off on a side street as I was getting reacquainted with my gears and shifting. There I was no chain, no speed, clipped in and yelling for an also clipped in K-mann to rescue me. I decided it was time to learn the track stand. Somehow I stayed upright until Steve could get one foot unclipped. Then I sort of tipped over onto him. Whew. That ended well enough.

We are on our way. Everything is going well, my chain does come off AGAIN but no big deal as I smoothly unclip and call for my mechanic. Storms are approaching though. We decide it is best to keep moving steadily toward home. We’re smart like that.

Mile thirteen headed for home, five plus miles to go, I reach the top of a climb, KABOOM! Rear tire and tube blow. Steve gives it a quick look and thinks no way to repair. We have a patch kit but no tube. As we strategize where to leave me while he bikes home for the team car, a serious roadie stops on his bike and tells us it can be repaired. He leaves us with an old race # to boot the tire. Whatever, with no spare tube it ain’t happening. Clouds darken.


Steve takes off for home. I casually start walking my bike. I’m a mile or two from a park and shelter. Local kid’s bike/ski coach comes along in his van; gives me a ride back to town as the skies open. We pass Steve. Coach drops me off near the Mormon church, I hang out on their covered patio, successfully dodging both the storm and missionaries.  I give Steve a wave on his way past, he quickly returns with team van and all is good.

In the rest of the story department it took two weeks for my bike store employee husband to show up with a new tire. GASP!


Action Sports Avalanche

For years now in all those where to live conversations, Steve’s constant refrain is, “I want to be able to do stuff right out my door.”

Way back when before New Zealand, before winery work, when we were just hatching out of Kentucky our plan was to find and settle in a place that had climbing, skiing, trail running and biking close by, really close by if possible.

Now we have all that and more within a short drive or no drive at all.

We are enjoying the bounty, climbing one day, biking another, skiing on the first day of summer. With us though, that is not where the story ends. We are completely overwhelmed trying to find time for it all.

Summer Nord

Did I mention we have three-day weekends? We were lucky to land jobs that have us working through the weekend leaving us to play mid-week. We love the idea that we have fewer folks to share the trails and cliffs with but this is Central Oregon everyone is out all the time.

Its going to get a little wide...

Lately we’ve managed to fit in climbing, skiing, running and some form of biking into those three days. We want to sign up for a couple trail races this fall but that would require us to run more than once or twice a week which might mean we would have to not do something else one of those days. Ahhhhhhh TWEAKED!

I’m counting on Mother Nature to bail me out of this one. The temps are rising and the snow is melting. This should take climbing and skiing out of the weekly rotation. Of course that opens up the potential for peak bagging. And what about a SUP (stand-up paddle board)? Those look fun.

LTD Bend

Such a poser.

We’ve got road bikes, but no couch! We’re a half hour from Smith Rock! A town of 80,000 people shouldn’t have this many micro breweries!

While the dream of the nineties is alive in Portland, Bend is our high dessert, mountain dream town. Dismissed in our road trip of 2009 but with a second look, we’ve fallen hard. Even tossing around the H word; Home. Stay tuned for adventures as we settle down and get out the door and out of the van more than ever before. Living the dream!

Sick Daze

Now on my third box of Puffs, nothing seems to stop the tidal flow from my nasal marshland, occasionally I hit upon a combo of cold medicine that for a moment gives me hope but it lasts only a moment and I’m back creating a snowy pile of bedside tissues. The coughing has abated enough that it no longer leads to throwing up but I still find myself doubled over heaving like a pack a day granny but perhaps with a bit more gusto.

We’re on day ten of this misery. I say we in a nod toward my “in sickness and in health” partner. Bet he’d like to take that back. Poor boy is so patient. He tries to get me out and about, to explore this new place we’re trying to call home. I go along, barely hiding that I only have interest in a fresh ginger ale and reruns on Hulu.

“Toughen up! It is just a cold,” I told myself on days 1-8. “Don’t go to the doctor. DO NOT beg for antibiotics. Taking antibiotics is simply naughty. Don’t contribute to drug resistance.” Day 9 found me at the UTC lamenting my misery.

The nurse he didn’t care, reducing my tale of woe to, ” So a runny nose and cough?”

“Yes,” I said with a chastised slump.

The doctor was a bit more compassionate toward my complaints of aching gums and cough strained throat. Impressed she was that my nose didn’t look stuffy. A raging river does not stuff. A sinus infection diagnosed. Antibiotics and full octane Sudafed prescribed.

With hope restored I took my new meds, tucked in and waited to feel better. I woke this day ten as I have every morning through this cursed journey thinking, “Maybe just maybe….SUCKER.” Three steps out of bed and Granny Gusto cough returns and a river of raging…well you know.

Dump Bike

When I was a kid I used to love a trip to the dump. It was a real treat to hop in the cab of the pick-up with my dad or granddad and haul off a load of junk. Our ‘local’ dump was out there in the middle of nowhere. A place you only go to get rid of stuff, legally. On many of those trips I’d wander off from the task at hand, dumping our junk, to pick through other people’s junk. And from time to time other people’s junk would become my junk. It usually wasn’t much really, but as a kid it was nothing short of awesome.

Over the past few months Jill and I have been hauling a lot of junk out of the holler to the dump. Truckloads of junk. And while it was really just a trash transfer station instead of a real life landfill, it still brought back found memories of going to the dump. In all our trips I didn’t come home with a single thing. Until last week.

I backed the truck up to the un-loading dock right next to the red Dodge Ram brimming over with junk. Jill and I quickly went to work on our own load.  A voice rose out of the pile of junk next to us.

“What size tires you got there?!” asked the old guy next to us. He wanted to give us some of his junk.

We quickly defused the situation, they were too big, and went on emptying our junk. There was a queue forming so we quickly finished and hopped in the truck. Jill and I looked at each other and wondered aloud about the bikes in the back of the old fellows Dodge.

A challenge alright.

Chain guard, check.

Before I knew it I was headed home with two rusty bikes that had seen better days. Maybe they were some rare old brand. Maybe I could part them out. Maybe they just needed to go back to the dump.

Putting the shine on my newly 'created' dump bike.

A few hours and some WD-40 later two bike had become one. A swapped wheel, the least rusty stem and a ‘better’ set of handle bars later I had merged two into one. A steep frame, single speed with coaster brake. Awesome.