Posted in 2018 Oregon Bikecation (Bike Rides Northwest)

Another Chance

Sunday, July 22, 2018           Seneca to John Day

56.76 miles
14.6 average
3 hrs. 53 min. riding time

I did miss on the night temperatures last night. It was 35 degrees F. when I got up at 5:15 this morning. I think the cold woke me during the night. I had to get up and put more layers on and then hike to the toilets in the dark. Eventually, I fell back to sleep and was able to get up and moving early. However, I was not well organized. I lost track of how many trips I made between my tent and the car.  Once I was finally ready, my friends had already left. That was ok as I had a comfortable start to my ride and still caught up with each of them.

Start of ride today.

About mile seven, we turned onto a forest road that was unpaved. That’s where I saw John and Mary Lou. I went ahead and finally got back on pavement. Nice road at that point. Rode through healthy forest. I passed Wendy on the downhill. I was following another rider who stopped where several others were stopped and blocking the road. Safest move for me was to stop too.

Their group said we’d missed a turn. So, I pulled out the phone to check. If we did miss a turn, we were back on track. During that time, Wendy passed me. Just before the first rest stop, I passed her. (we did miss a turn and so missed Murderer’s Creek)

John and Mary Lou made it to the rest stop while we were there so I sat and munched with them. Then I took off.

There was some climbing and then a long, long downhill.  I passed a lot of riders on that portion. Our next turn was onto Hwy 26. A section of this road was one part of last year’s ride that I’d missed so I’m glad I got another chance to do it.

As we entered town, we passed by Moose’s house.
A few more moose in Moose’s yard.

Met up with Don at the second rest stop. We finished the day about 1pm.

Don and I at the fairgrounds which was the campsite for the night.
Showers are in a trailer.  There is an open area where everyone changes clothes with individual shower stalls. As I was taking off my sports bra, my hand flung out and I hit a woman in the head. Poor lady, she survived the day on the road only to get a concussion in the shower.

After my shower, I just sat in the shade trying to stay cool. I put my head on the table and went into twilight.

Later Don and I went to a presentation about some local history and got to see the Kam Wah Chung building and its contents.

The Kam Wah Chung building.
The building was filled with items from the past. This is just a sampling.
Bedroom of the proprietor. Although he was wealthy, this is what he had for sleep space.

Hope I drank enough today.
from BRNW Oregon 2018:

John Day history

Surrounded by the Strawberry Mountains and the Blue Mountains, the John Day area has a remarkable and complex topography. Perhaps it was this landscape, and the mighty John Day River cutting through it, that drew the first homesteaders in Grant County to stake their claim on the land that is now John Day.

In its early days, John Day was much smaller in comparison to Canyon City, which was at the time a mining boomtown. Several fires in Canyon City led to the relocation of many of its residents to John Day, including 1,000 Chinese immigrants drawn to Eastern Oregon in the gold rush. Originally built in the 1860s as a trading post, the Kam Wah Chung & Co. business was converted into a general store, clinic and social center in the late 1800s and continued to operate into the 1940s.

Originally called John Day City, the Western outpost for mining, cattle and timber harvesting that sprung up in the 1860s has retained much of its heritage—lumber and ranching are still mainstays in John Day, while its geologic features draw both paleontologists and outdoor lovers to marvel at the mark of geologic history written in the Painted Hills and fossil beds.

Things to do/see in John Day

Grant County Museum in Canyon City. The town also boasts Oxbow Wagons, where you can see horse‐drawn stagecoaches and wagons, lovingly restored.

It’s a bit off our route, but worth a trip back to explore the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, about 35 miles west of the city.

At 284 miles, the un‐dammed John Day River is the longest free‐flowing river in Oregon, and third longest in the United States, making it a rich ecosystem for fish, including Chinook salmon and endangered steelhead.

Kam Wah Chung & Co. Museum: This unique state park museum captures a time in Oregon’s history with exceptional clarity and detail.

Posted in 2018 Oregon Bikecation (Bike Rides Northwest)

New Friends, Old Friends

Saturday, July 21, 2018

After repacking last night, I was almost organized for the ride but not quite.  A relaxed morning and then I headed north on 95 out of Winnemucca. Kept my eye out for 78 and made that transition. Next was 205 or 395. Based on what I’d seen on Google maps, I would hit that just before Burns. At sign for 205, I turned left. Wrong! Took me 20 miles to figure out that mistake. Reality was – go through Burns onto 395. No 205 involved at all.

Still arrived in Seneca in plenty of time for the community lunch provided at the only store in town. Overcooked burger with no toppings other than ketchup. Bleh. Still, met Kim from Vancouver and Pam from Tuscon when I sat down to eat. Kim invited me to camp near her since we’re both “single” for the ride.

After camp was set up, I walked back to car to drop off stuff. Heard, “Nikki! I recognize that braid.” It was Mary Lou with John. My friends from Fremont Freewheelers Bicycle Club. Funny thing is, none of us live in Fremont area any more. Got the news: Vanessa and her hubby cancelled but Don and Wendy are still coming.

Wandered around. Made several trips back to the car. Last one was to leave jewelry in trunk and get my cycling shoes. Yes, I missed them on all the other trips back and forth.

Saw Don and Wendy around five. They’d just arrived so they sat with John, Mary Lou and I at dinner. Also met Dan and Kathy from Bend. He’d worked for Shell at various locations around the country during his career. (Spent 14 years in Huntington Beach). Decided to head back to “state of origin” when they retired. Kathy was wearing earrings with same design as mine.

I think I may have miscalculated for night temperatures.  Will know more in the morning…

Seneca history (from BRNW Oregon 2018):

Nestled in the Blue Mountains, at the lowest part of the Bear Valley, the small logging town of Seneca borders the Malheur Forest and has been recognized as one of the coldest places in the United States. At 4,666 feet above sea level, it can be 15‐20 degrees cooler than the neighboring town of John Day—the lowest recorded temperature here was ‐54°F in 1933.

First settled by the Paiute, homesteaders and trappers came to the Bear Valley in the late 1800s, and in 1895 the city of Seneca was named after prominent Portland judge Seneca Smith. Seneca experienced its biggest boom in the 1920s and ’30s, when it became a logging outpost for the former Oregon and Northwestern Railroad, owned by the Edward Hines Lumber Company. The town became essentially a company town, housing lumber mill and railroad shop workers. Since the decline of logging in the area, the population of Seneca has also diminished, hovering around 200.

Situated at the confluence of Bear Creek and the Silvies River, Seneca offers sweeping views of Bear Valley and the Strawberry Mountain Range.

Posted in 2018 Oregon Bikecation (Bike Rides Northwest)


Friday, July 20, 2018
Leaving Groveland, I was looking forward to getting out of the smoke from the Ferguson Fire. I thought it was getting better as I crossed Sonora Pass.

When I arrived at Hwy 395, I couldn’t make my left turn! Construction had 395 backed up. It was only a 15 minute delay. While sitting there, I heard thunder and saw dark clouds but there was nice breeze. Sure enough, as I headed north on 395, I drove through rain! There were sections where water was running deep across the road.

Although the rain cleared the air through that section, once I reached Carson Valley, the smoke was back and just as bad as at home.

Driving over the Sonora Pass kept me on my toes. It is steep and curvy. No sleeping there!

When I got onto Hwy 50, I realized it would not be hard to fall asleep at the wheel. Straight, wide road with no change in scenery.

As I entered Fallon, I was looking around at the buildings and businesses. Glad to see a sign, Hwy 94 straight ahead. As I left town, I had a suspicion I missed my turn. There’d been a sign saying Fallon 8mi./Hwy 95 9mi. I stopped to check on my phone map. Yup, I missed it. Going back, there was NO sign saying turn right to get onto Hwy 95. The road wasn’t even marked as Hwy 95. It was Maine Street. I guessed right about where to turn and was back on route.

Next turn was onto I-80 heading east. Still seeing smoke but not as thick. Speed limit was 80 or 70mph on that road. I wasn’t comfortable going those speeds with the winds and my bike on the rack on the back of the car. So, folks passed me by. Even so, the traffic was light. The last hour, from Lovelock to Winnemucca, seemed to stretch into forever but I finally arrived at 5:15.

Checked in with Mom and Dan so obligations done. Checked to see if there are any wild fires around here. Don’t want to be breathing smoke all week.

Should have brought ‘fingertips.’  I don’t have a good device for typing my thoughts so am hand writing them. My fingers are getting sore from holding the pen.  (I found a store that sold ‘fingertips’ – good to go now).

In case you were wondering…
Posted in 2018 Daily Life

Oh Deer!

I caught my first buck this evening and I wasn’t even hunting. As I was going past a neighbors yard, I noticed several deer munching on grass and trees. Then I saw where one of the bucks had rope or twine wrapped around his antlers. Then I saw where it was a very long rope.  So I managed to step on the end of it and wrap it around a metal water faucet/pipe to stop the deer from running away with all that wrapped around his antlers and trailing behind him.

The deer realized he was caught and tried to get loose but then calmed down.

I tried calling our homeowner office but they were closed and didn’t have a number for the safety department as an option. So I called another friend to see if she could call safety for me. Dan was at her house so the two of them came in a golf cart from one side of where the deer was waiting. Bad timing…another couple came up on the other side of the deer in their golf cart. The poor deer was freaking out.

The guy in the other cart pulled out a pocket knife and cut the deer loose. 

It turns out the “rope” was actually the electric deer fence wire from up along the runway. By the time it was all over, the wire was more of a mess around the buck’s antlers and he still had a long tail to pull behind him. Unfortunately there’s nothing more we can do.

If stands stiff in a poor man’s pocket. If there hadn’t been so much going on when Dan arrived, I think just the two of us might have had a chance of cutting the wire a lot shorter and even getting it all untangled from the antlers because it wasn’t all that twisted up until everyone came and scared the poor animal.  Sigh

Posted in 2018 Alaska trip

Home Sweet Home

Friday, June 15

Since most of our stuff had to be packed last night and set out for staff to take, we had a small case for last minute items and the clothes we’d worn yesterday.

Made it to breakfast before the dining room closed then it was sit and wait. We went to the wrong room but Jim and Barbie were there so we visited with them until it was time to move to the correct waiting room. As we walked toward the correct room, Wayne and Tony hailed us. We all went to wait together.

Our color and number was called so we were released to leave the ship and go find our luggage.

In order to get out of San Fran before traffic got worse (it was a Friday remember), we decided to all walk with the luggage to the car park. Got lost along the way but eventually found the correct garage and the vehicle.

Made it home without too much traffic delay. So nice to be back.

Friends with us on our journey:

Wayne, Tony, Barbie, Jim
Todd, Yvonne, Darlene, Frank
Posted in 2018 Alaska trip

Another Day At Sea

Thursday, June 14

The penultimate day is here. I had another bad night so really felt beat up this morning. In spite of that, I got up and did our laundry. Then Dan and I went to the buffet for breakfast. I wasn’t too interested in eating but did have some granola and a carrot muffin, ok I had two muffins but they were small.

Then we sat on the upper deck and watched the ocean hoping to see whales, dolphins, or some other sea critters. Thought we saw some spouting but didn’t see any animals. Today’s weather was sunny and pleasant. I soon started to fade so left Dan and went to take a nap.

The nap helped. I felt better and we went to our last dinner with our new friends. Several people ordered the baked Alaska and the entire wait staff, cooks, etc did a parade carrying some of the whole dessert on plates with candles.

We’ve become friends with our waiter, Carlos, and his assistant, Herman, too. Goodbyes and hugs.

Jimmy, our room steward, has been so positive and pleasant. Another friend to add to our list.

We have packed and our luggage is waiting in the hall for the staff to take it away for tomorrow’s departure. Hope I sleep well tonight.

Posted in 2018 Alaska trip

Victoria, Canada

Wednesday, June 13

Victoria from top deck of the ship
Yup, we’re in Canada.

This morning we  got out fairly early, bought a bus ticket and took a ride into downtown Victoria. Someone said its a rule that these cruise ships must go into a foreign port on each trip so this was it for us.

We were dropped off right by the Empress Hotel so we walked through and admired the architecture and the grounds. 

The Empress Hotel

I saw several dolphin sculptures. Some were plants trimmed to look like dolphins. Others reminded me of the frogs stationed all through Calaveras County.

Mother and baby sculpted into the shrubbery.
One of several dolphins decorating the area.

Since we hadn’t had breakfast before leaving the ship, we stopped at a little coffee shop for a bite. I ordered the Earl Grey tea and was very pleasantly surprised at how good it was! I should have asked if I could buy some tea but didn’t think of it until later. Sigh.

Right across the street from our breakfast spot, there was a Giant bicycle shop. Of course, we went it to look. The young salesman was very chatty. So he and Dan jawed while I looked around.

They sold Giant brand cycles here.

We wandered down to the harbor and, lo and behold, there was a seaplane base! A sailboat happened by too. It turned out to be a nice day with sunshine so several folks were out enjoying it.

Planes and boats share the same waters.

The day had started with drizzle but that ended, the sun came out and it must’ve warmed up to 50 degrees. The wind never died down but as long as we stayed in protected areas, it wasn’t too cold.

Finding the bus stop for our return trip concerned us a bit because the bus driver gave us one set of instructions but the man at the visitor’s center said something different because of construction that was going on in town. Fortunately we walked down the correct street at the correct time and caught the correct bus.

Returning to our room, there was a “Happy Birthday” sign on the door with balloons. The room had also been decorated. It was fun seeing Dan surprised. Princess Cruises had given Dan a $50 gift certificate to be used in the spa. So he decided to get a haircut. He ended up getting that, a facial, a shave, and an arm and hand massage. Now he looks younger than me.

Happy Birthday!
Nautical birthday decorations
Birthday boy

Since there were two birthday boys in our group, we decided tonight would be the celebration. Turns out there is another couple that live in Pine Mountain Lake who are also on the cruise, Rich and Marsha. So they joined us and that made three June birthday boys: Todd, Dan, and Rich. The travel agent gave us this evening’s special dinner as a gift which was very nice! Our waiter, from Serbia, was a hoot. He told us his name but said to call him Mr. B as that would be easier to remember.
We were all able to sit at the same table and we all had a fun time teasing one another, telling jokes and enjoying a delicious meal.

Time for bed. Tomorrow is another day at sea but we should have tail winds and not such a wild ride as yesterday.

Posted in 2018 Alaska trip

At Sea

Tuesday, June 12

Full day at sea with gale force winds. Needless to say, we were tossed about. Strange noises made me wonder if we were going to arrive on land ever again. (We did.) I decided I do not want to die by drowning in the ocean (or any other body of water). I’ve always thought, if I get hurt or killed, it’d be while biking. Therefor, I have not tempted fate by riding the stationary bike in the gym aboard ship. (I expect I’ll pay for this in other ways…gaining weight on this trip and having to start again on my training for my week long bike ride in July.)

This turned out to be a nap day. Took two long naps (how did I get so tired doing nothing?)

Spent the evening watching Nathan Foley. Good entertainer! Was his second show on board. We’d seen him before so were sure it’d be a good show.

Then, for a total change of music, we went to the classical music presentation by a trio from Hungaria. They are excellent musicians but the violinist! Wow!! The trio, Rhapsody Strings Trio, have played many times during the cruise and they are GREAT.

Paid for the naps later as I couldn’t fall asleep. It was well past midnight when I did and then it was the sleep where you don’t feel like you’re really sleeping. But I woke up at 6:30…half an hour before the alarm was set to go off.

Posted in 2018 Alaska trip


Monday, June 11

The largest in land area and the first town in Alaska settled by the Russians. Of course, the Tlingit had been here for thousands of years before the Russians showed up. We were only given half a day to explore the area. Took a bus into town which would have been a five mile walk. This really is a large town, all the others have been about one mile from end to end.

Waiting for the bus

Dan wanted to sit in an Alaskan bar and order a beer. So we found one but couldn’t stand the smoke. We went to another which also was a restaurant where there was no smoking. I’m guessing the rules here are smoking allowed in bars but not in restaurants. Then he ordered a gin and tonic. (Has to try to stick to the “no bread” diet as much as he can – wink, wink).  Turns out our bar mate was another passenger from our cruise.

There was a bar here. That counts.

We stopped at a fur store. Wow! They are sooo soft. Thought about getting the dolls dressed up in native attire for grandkids but don’t think they are old enough to appreciate them. Maybe next time.

Stopping at St. Michael’s Cathedral was almost a requirement. It is the first church built in town, Russian Orthodox.

Although it was small inside, it was VERY ornate.

Got some photos of the Alaska Pioneers Home with statue of prospector out front.

The Alaska Pioneers Home
The Prospector

Then we headed for the other end of town and enjoyed the “sea walk” which took us along the harbor where we heard song birds and saw some interesting flowers.

Enjoying walk by the sound.

At the end of the walk was the Sitka Sound Science Center. Not sound as in hearing but sound as in a harbor. I had to have that explained to me. Doh!

We visited Sitka National Historical Park with its totem poles and museum.

Other visitors were by the pole which provides good perspective on its size.
Photo of the Tlingit native to the area.

I was attacked by a bear in the downtown area!

Posted in 2018 Alaska trip

The Glacier

Sunday, June 10

Woke up anticipating the visit to Tracy Arm Fjord and Glacier. The area is spectacular.  The mountains remind me of Yosemite. Aha! The area is nicknamed Little Yosemite according to the info received from the cruiseline. Granite with greenery and lots of waterfalls were what we saw.. As we got closer to the glacier, the ice flows got heavier. I was disappointed we did not get very close to the glacier and did not see any calving. Very disappointed as this was the main reason I wanted to come on the cruise. 

The ice field begins
Tracy Arm Glacier in the distance
Using camera zoom, got this “close up” of the glacier
Some of the waterfalls

We did sign up for a wine tasting class which was this afternoon. Guess I’m not really that interested because there was lots of information provided along with five different wines. Meh.

Wine menu – my favorite was the Chianti. Dan preferred the Cab.

Down time again until dinner. I’m beginning to wonder why people are so enamoured of cruises.

We signed up for a special dinner at the Crab Shack. “Special dinner” means you pay extra for it. Dan is the Crab lover so I hope it meets his expectations.  (It did and I even got dirty wrestling with crab legs.)

The entertainment at night is very good. Enjoyed a singer and a comedian this evening. That’s a plus for the cruise.