As I alluded to in yesterday’s post, we were getting snow. The rocks that we were standing on to take that photo got somewhere between 15″-20″ of snow overnight.
Down here in the valley, we picked up 6-8″, depending on where you stood. Walking through the forest at sunrise to get this photo, I pushed through knee deep spots in places.
It sure was nice. Although I couldn’t see the sun.
It was still snowing, as you can see by the streaks in the photo.
Or you can play with the fake snowflakes on the screen by moving your cursor around. Make it a gentle snow or make it snow sideways.
But back to real weather, we’ve established a trend.
Other than one short-lived snow day in spring of 2012, this is the first measurable snowfall here in town since 2008. What’s changed? Goddess and I are here. Prior to that, the first winter that we lived in Germany was the worst in 40 years. The second winter, the worst in 41 years.
Anyone want us to move near them? The stipulation is that it has to look like here. And feel like here.
Although this was taken only eight days ago, it sure seems a lot longer than that. It’s been a busy week, but a good week.
That and the fact that I know the view looks nothing like that this morning. Yesterday we received 4-6″ of snow in just a few short hours and we’re 5,500′ below the summit of Mount Ashland, from which this photo was taken. I know the mountain received quite a bit too, as I was able to watch it all day on a webcam. By mid-afternoon, a few hardy folks were up there in the middle of it, strapping on their snowboards and trying to eke out a run in the few inches of snow covering the rocks.
They weren’t having much success.
Anyway, this picture was taken on Thanksgiving afternoon. It was a balmy day in the 50′s. Enough to get us sweating on the approach to the summit, which sounds more impressive than the reality that we parked about a mile away from the summit, just a couple of hundred feet lower in elevation.
As you can see, a beautiful day. A grand view of Mount Shasta, some 54 miles distant, as the crow flies.
It was a great Thanksgiving, spending the day with friends we haven’t seen since 2006, all of us taking pics and looking at things in our own unique ways. It’s always fun to see how two (or three or four or more) people can stand side by side, take pictures and come out with significantly different images.
For their take on the view, please browse over to their post at Welliver Photography.
For those of you following my blog these past few months, you know that I’ve been going to the United Bicycle Institute (UBI) to learn not only how to work on bicycles as a mechanic, but also to learn how to build frames.
I’ve gone one class left, but I’m far enough along now that I can honestly say that I’ve completely built my own bike. In this case, a mountain bike frame made of titanium tubing, joined by TIG welding (a new skill for me), custom built to my own specifications.
It is what’s known as a 29er mountain bike, built around 29-inch wheels. Traditionally, mountain bikes had 26-inch wheels (click this link to see the size difference) but a few years ago some smart folks decided to make the wheels as large as a standard road bicycle (29″/700C). There are advantages (as well as some disadvantages) to the larger size, but since I already have a 14 year old 26″ mountain bike, it was time to try out the “new” technology.
Not only is the titanium frame completely built by me, but so are the wheels. Custom made for this purpose. That’s another skill I learned at UBI. These wheels gave me fits that we didn’t encounter in school, but with the skills I learned, I figured out how to overcome the issues and turn out two pretty darn perfect wheels. The last set I built was for my road bicycle, which doesn’t have to deal with the impacts and forces that these will have to endure. For the first few weeks, I’ll cringe just a bit as I bash these through the rocks, over the roots and off jumps.
The color scheme was really dictated by my front shock. It was the end of season sales, so I jumped on a great deal before class even started. As you’ll see in a moment, it’s aluminum, white, black and red.
The black and red work really, really well with the bare titanium frame.
Don’t you think?
And before someone gives me a hard time about mismatched front and rear tires (you know who you are), after discussing with a local bike shop owner, I bought the Continental Mountain King 2.4’s, knowing that they run small, much closer to a 2.2. When we built the bike we measured and figured that 2.2′s would fit fine in the rear triangle. Well, a few mis-strokes of the file and some other decisions along the way, plus the fact that the titanium pulls like crazy when it’s heated and that almost-2.2 tire needed at least another 2mm of clearance on the knobs for it to work.
Since it’s a small independently owned shop, he wasn’t as keen as I to swap out the entire set just so I could have matching tires; I understand that. So for now I’m running a 2.4 with very aggressive knobs up front (where I personally want them) and a less aggressive 2.1 in back.
The three pics immediately above were taken right before the yesterday’s maiden run up the fire road and back down the singletrack. I picked my path purposefully to not be too technical, since there was a lot I needed to get used to. For one, the bike is an upgrade from my 26” mountain bike that I bought in 1999, so these wheels were going to accelerate and roll across obstacles differently. Plus, the handlebars are a good 200mm (almost 8”) wider, so I needed to get used to those before I hit the narrow paths between the trees. Also, the SRAM X7 drivetrain shifting is quite a bit different than my 15 year old Shimano XT drivetrain.
So best to go (somewhat) gentle while I work things out.
Not two minutes into the downhill portion of the run, the bike showed me who’s boss. It will take a few days for the skin from my hip to ankle to return.
But I can’t wait to ride it again.
- Handbuilt titanium frame – .035 tubing; 74° Seat Tube; 70° Head Tube; Effective Top Tube Length – 630mm; Bottom Bracket Drop 58mm; Chainstay Length 450mm
- Handbuilt wheels – Shimano XT M629 Centerlock hubs; Sapim Race 2.0/1.8/2.0 Double Butted Black Spokes; DT Swiss M520 29″ Disc Rims
- Fork – Manitou Tower Pro – 120mm of travel
- Headset – Chris King Red Sotto Voce
- Stem – Spank Spike 50mm, 0° rise
- Handlebar – Spank Spike EVO 777mm
- Disc Brakes – Shimano SLX; Centerlock hub mount; 160mm rotors
- Drivetrain – SRAM X7, 3×10 (yes, that’s 30 separate speeds, although it really means that there are ~24 usable gears). There are five gear combinations that are between 1:1 (22×22) and 1:0.61 (22×36). Those sure made riding up the steeper parts of the fire road more comfortable.
- Seatpost – FSA SL-K Carbon Fiber, 0° offset
- Saddle – Diety Pinner Downhill
Huge thanks to Mike DeSalvo (who, other than Goddess, is the only one to see this bike in person so far) and Rich Arvizo (UBI) for getting me through the frame build. I’m already looking forward to the steel TIG class in March.
Sunrise is always much more enjoyable than sunset.
The same colors.
Did I mention it’s less crowded?
This was just a few days ago. I’m glad we bagged it, as it’s been snowing like crazy all day yesterday and into this morning. I’m sure that’s beautiful too, but it doesn’t look like the Park Service is maintaining the road up to this viewpoint too well right now. But I suspect that’s normal.
Winter appears to be here. Not only was it snowing like crazy up at Crater Lake, but also in the mountains around town. And with the next several days below freezing even down here on the valley floor, the snow on the slopes will stick. A perfect start to the base for the ski runs.
Bring it on!
While many were standing in line at god-awful early times to get some post-Thanksgiving shopping done, we were driving by so that we could watch sunrise.
We chose well.
It was a great Thanksgiving weekend, spent with friends of many years, people who love to spend the entire day out looking for scenes to capture. I was able to introduce them to new places and see their different views on what has become familiar to me.
Plus, it’s a bit fun to catch each other in action. Sometimes funny, sometimes interesting. Mostly funny.
Like the time I should have taken the path on the other side of the tree, a path that didn’t require any steps over long drops.
But life is an adventure. An adventure best experienced with friends.
Thanksgiving 2005. Goddess, The Boy and I were spending our Thanksgiving weekend in Kyoto, Japan.
A fantastic place. A place where Goddess and I agree that we could spend the remainder of our days. A place where, every November, our thoughts return and we check airline ticket prices.
That weekend involved our favorite Thanksgiving meal ever – in an Irish Pub, eating fish & chips, drinking Guinness and sipping on some fine, fine Scotch. Playing darts between bites and sips.
What a fantastic memory.
Here’s an image from that trip, where we happened to run into friends from Tokyo and spent a couple of days chasing pictures and images around the area.
This Thanksgiving will be here in Oregon. It sure is beautiful here right now.
What will make it better is that we will be spending it with friends that we met in Japan; friends we have not seen since 2006. Not the same friends that we spent the weekend in Kyoto with, but friends whom we also spent a lot of time running around Tokyo, chasing images. They are now living on the central California coast, creating their own art.
So we may or may not be eating turkey today. We may or may not be chasing the sunrise at Crater Lake or somewhere else in the mountains.
Whatever it is we do, I’m thankful for the opportunity.
Yeah, I know I’ve been pretty quiet around these parts lately. I’ve been in school the past couple of weeks, building a new bicycle (more on that later). Those days are long and exhausting, starting right after sunrise and ending after sunset.
That puts a crimp on taking photos.
Plus, Goddess is doing her school work in the evenings and on the weekends, so we’re doing a lot of waving to each other as we pass in opposite directions. Our schools are less than a block apart from the each other.
So in the evenings, I get home for what may or may not be 45 minutes with her to sit, have dinner and talk about whatever is going on. Skinny gets fed during that time.
I know, because I see it.
But within two minutes of Goddess leaving for school, he tries to play me like a a kid would. “Dad, I’m wasting away! I haven’t been fed for DAYS!”.
It’s like clockwork every night.
He has become quite vocal in his protests. It’s quite funny.
Although I try to teach him patience, he gets one last bit of dinner. If I didn’t, we wouldn’t get any sleep. Actually, Goddess wouldn’t. I don’t hear Skinny at night.
Here’s a shot from last winter, from our living room in Germany. Skinny has been served a portion of his dinner. He’s just waiting to be released to scarf it down.
Truth be told, he does eat better than most humans.
He deserves it.
A throwback to September, 2006.
Walking through Hopkinsville, Kentucky, I spied this image on the side of a building. Old, faded, multi-layered painted store names and advertisements that made me laugh.
Young Hard Red Spot, indeed.
The humor and patterns caught the eye of friend and songwriter Kluso. We met 10 years or so ago when we both lived just outside Tokyo, Japan. He now lives further south in Okinawa, creating and playing music.
He decided to use this image for the cover of his third full-length album, Young Hard Red Spot, now available in iTunes.
And for those keeping score, of his three full-length albums, this is the third cover that he’s honored me with a request to provide the image. For more info on that craziness, click here.
Yesterday Goddess and I celebrated our anniversary. I was in school all day, using lightning to melt metal to make bicycle frames. She was in school all evening, engrossed in her coursework.
I guess you could say we’re doing a little bit of changing.
But that’s not what the title is about. It’s a reference to my blog post of two years ago, talking about where we experienced truffles in the Dijon region of France and what a life-changing experience that was.
Some six weeks ago, I was able to break away to visit with dear friends who had traveled from all over the country to celebrate the accomplishments of one. Although we sure did spend a lot of time toasting the accomplishments of all.
At the celebratory dinner, the experiences of France rushed back as we had our appetizer.
It had been quite a while since I had last ate popcorn. But popcorn popped in truffle oil?
As was the time with friends.
As is my time with Goddess.
A baker’s dozen years, which is a nice start.