Matt’s writing; my pictures but I can’t resist a few words (in parentheses)
Well, our three weeks of work before the next trip to Texas and the Bird Family Olympics is over and tomorrow we are on the road again. This time, towing the Bootie and carrying mountain bikes. We’ll need the Bootie to do the bike shuttles when we ride the Caprock Rail to Trail I described in the last entry. We are going to ride it after the Olympics in Texas. That will probably be my next post unless I decide to torture you with details of the family reunion (a not unlikely occurrence- so beware). (Don’t worry, I fully intend to share the details so brace yourselves! Pam) Anyway, before we take off for Texas, I wanted to share a couple of rides we managed to squeeze in recently.
A couple of weeks ago we got a run of nice weather and couldn’t resist taking time away from gardening and landscaping (things that just had to be done before we left for Texas again) (I’m the driving factor there. Pam) to ride the bike trails in Corvallis. For non-Oregonians, Corvallis is the home of Oregon State University (the Beavers of all things) and as such is an all too hip college town with nice facilities, including beautiful paved bike paths perfect for your hybrid bikes. We rode the path (Hunsaker Bike Trail) that goes from downtown Corvallis to the small neighboring town of Philomath- about seven miles one way. Urban bike paths are nice in their own way. You don’t get the big outdoors feeling you do on rail to trail paths, but it’s fun to glide past backyards, along creeks and through little city parks. This particular path even had a section that was completely landscaped by a local group as a corridor small tree demonstration garden (The Small Tree Arboretum). All the trees, many of them exotics, and many of the other plants are numbered to correspond to a guide- pretty and educational (especially if you are trying to redo the landscaping in your yard like we are right now).
The second bike trip, a mountain bike run, we tacked onto the tail end of a presentation Matt was doing for REALTORS in Baker, Oregon. Baker is an historic Oregon Trail town in far eastern Oregon very near the Idaho line. Just over the Idaho line is Weiser (pronounced weezer), Idaho the terminus of the 84 mile long Weiser River Rail to Trail. The trail begins in the mountains near New Meadows, Idaho and follows an old railroad grade south toward the Snake River. Weiser is a river town- in fact the last town before the Snake drops into Hells Canyon. (Actually, there isn’t that much dropping any more because of the hydo dams, but that’s another story that will have to wait until we can get back and do a full scale pedal/paddle). The Weiser River trail is all gravel with access points every 20 miles or so. We decided to scout the trail for ride-ability by riding up the trail along the river from the Presley access point just above Weiser. It turned out to be a beautiful place (understatement). And, except for riding into a 20 mile an hour down-canyon wind for the first hour and half, it was a great ride. ( To be honest, the wind was a definite drag-literally as well as figuratively) The mountain bikes make all the difference on gravel trails (I (Matt) still have scars from the first gravel rail to trail we tried last year on our skinny tire hybrids). As you can see from the pictures, the Wieser River trail is not developed. It certainly isn’t crowded. We were impressed (awestruck, enthused, ecstatic, etc) and are planning to ride the whole trail this summer in a full scale pedal/paddle trip that includes tamer parts of the Snake. (Note: the Weiser River is a tributary of the Snake River).