After the Bigfoot Ride, a strange lassitude crept over The Logging Road Cyclist. He had been on the road a lot this summer and the driving was wearing thin. Perhaps the stress of cat/ape threats looming through the trees had taken their toll. At any rate, the comforts of a smooth road ride on a summer’s day, enjoying the new fit on the Merlin that let TLRC crank out a quick 30 or 60 miles had its attraction. No navigation or beasts to worry about, just a straightforward ride, no pack, no reservoir, no map.
Thus a few weeks passed, until one hot afternoon, TLRC rode by a rolled car on Fern Road, just out of Philomath. He must have missed it by minutes, and who knows what would have happened had he been there at the right (wrong) time. Clearly the driver took the curve too fast and lost it into the embankment. TLRC slipped by the gathering crowd before the emergency crews arrived to close the road. Soon enough, one by one, three police cars roared past going way too fast for what appeared to be a non-injury accident.
This got TLRC back to pondering why he likes gravel. Too much steel passing way too close and fast on the roads. Off he went to Waldo Lake, where he met up with the oldest buddy of all, Old Stumpy, for a ride around the Lake.
TLRC hadn’t ridden here for years, and had forgotten both how beautiful the Lake is, and how good the ride. Oh Yes: NO BUGS. On the way, they ran into a runner and his sleek buddies:
Wolfie was pretty friendly, and even sat on TLRC’s feet like a spaniel. Hermann less so. TLRC would have named them Hermann and Goering, were they his.
Just prior to all of this, was a Rogue River trip with The Long Suffering Girlfriend and her granddaughter the Bird Princess (whom TLRC thinks of as his Common-Law-Step-Granddaughter). TLRC broke his long standing vow never to go down the Rogue in the summer. There had been a number of experiences not to his taste, e.g., belligerent redneck families demanding to share a campsite, boom boxes, lines above Blossom Bar and the the boat ramp, etc., etc., etc… They had a great trip! With a bit of care taken when choosing nice and very small out-of-the-way campsites and an early take-out, no hassles! BP entertained all by swimming in the river and nearly causing TLSG a nervous fit, while dragging a dead salmon around and poking about in its mouth and gills.
It was a happy group who headed north over the pass from the take out to Powers. It’s quite a pull up to Agness Pass, and partway up, TLRC’s trusty ’97 Tacoma finally had a problem and overheated to the point of undriveability. In mile-long spurts they finally made it over and coasted into Powers.
Powers is a decaying Coast Range logging town, and it is desperately poor. The population is declining and is now around 600 souls. Logging is still stripping the rich hinterlands, and the trucks haul the bounty right through town, leaving nothing for the residents. TLRC and the gang pulled into town, and lo and behold, there was an open, functioning garage. Ready to take a big hit (really, what a mark, an overheating old truck pulling a heavy trailer home on vacation: TLRC could visualize the mechanics salivating), TLRC walked over. The greeter was a Rastafarian with a gold tooth, who told him (TLRC) to pull the truck over.
Next out were the proprietors and their hounds, Buck (redbone+walker) and little girl Weirdo (walker). They guys looked like mechanics on The Discovery Channel: shaved heads, tats and piercings. They had a few things to try, quoted TLRC a price and said the parts would come in tomorrow.
TKRC, TSLG and BP vowed to make the best of it and settled into the pleasant Powers county park, a quiet place built over an old mill site. They supped on burgers and fries in the small cafe, where the waitress, a girl of BP’s age or so, was so taken by BP’s emo styling that she asked shyly “Are you going to school here this year?”, perhaps hoping for a cool friend for the coming term.
After dinner they strolled through the park and found one of those “death to children” playgrounds that progressive places like Corvallis have done away with long ago, but that brought up fond memories for TLRC and TLSG. Two of the little foot-severing vomit-machine merry-go-rounds, teeter-totters made from steel pipe with sharp finger-chopping fittings at the pivot, high swings, slides coming out of a ten-foot high tower, and the Powers piece de resistance: a living room sized, 4 foot high concrete block with an attached block that rose another 5 feet or so, perfect for jumping and all manner of orthopedic distress.
At the park were a couple of boys, 5 and 7 (as they learned), armed with plastic combat knives, water cannon, camo-covered Warsaw Pact helmets, and a generally wild attitude: The Barbarians. Watched over by a truly long-suffering mother, they were almost completely out of control, and drew BP into their frolic with huge enthusiasm.
TLRC and TLSG sat with TLSM for about an hour watching the three of them flirt with serious injury. It was definitely one of those “… that’s alright until someone gets their eye poked out…” situations. The adults could barely contain their laughter while the Barbarians pounded BP, threw sand at each other’s faces, and played with all the death features at the park.
Exhausted, they returned to their site, where TLRC chatted up a pensioner riding around on a brand new Surly fat bike the guy had just got. “Spent my whole Social Security check on it!”
The next day, the mechanics labored away on the truck and finally concluded that it might work out with what they had done, or it might need a new radiator. TLRC thought it was time to move on and give it a try without. He offered them more than the estimate, since they had put in much more time than they predicted it would take, but the mechs were adamant in their refusal. “We’re here to serve the public, not rip them off.” They meant it too. Honest guys. The whole Powers interlude actually made the trip.
They were right about the radiator. Ten miles out of Camas Valley, TLRC finally gave up the ghost and they got towed to Roseburg, where the radiator was indeed replaced.
Back home, some road rides, some local MTB and TLRC had an itch to get out again. He wanted back in the woods and wanted some quality time with Devil Puppy, who missed the Rogue trip in favor of BP. Off they went up the Middle Willamette, into the smoke of the big, long-lived Deception fire. TLRC and DP hiked from Timponagas Lake and ascended Cowhorn Mtn.
Of course, there was swimming to be had:
and a nice nap in the pumice sand at the precious Indigo Lake.
The next day, after a pleasant camp down in the valley, they nearly (TLRC having grown almost as uptight as TLSG about DP scampering off a cliff) got to the top of Sawtooth Mtn, but contented themselves with a view of the summit from a hundred feet away, followed by more downtime at Indigo on the way back. A delightful, non-bike outing.