Saturday, June 21, 2008


My two friends, Andy and Ros just got on the shuttle back to Portland. I would have taken them but I need to mark the Pickett's Charge course today. They stayed in our house for over three weeks, it seemed like three days. We tried to pack in as much stuff as we could, even though Kathy and I both had to work. We went through the Columbia Gorge, hiking to the top of Multnomah Falls and then seeing the wildflowers just east of Hood River. We went on many bike rides, and checked out the shopping in Bend. We went to the Painted Hills and to Clarno Fossil Beds. I had never been to those places before, close, but I never stopped and looked. 
Last week we took an old fashioned vacation. We went to the Umpqua to hike, ride and camp. That was spectacular. Then it was off to Ashland to see some Shakespeare. Seeing Shakespeare in Oregon with two friends from England was eye opening. They loved it. They thought it was fresh and innovative. Both plays were comedies and we all laughed more than usual. Ros was a stage director in England and really was impressed at how well the plays were put on. 
After two days of a cottage in Ashland it was back to camping. We decided to show them the Redwoods. Kathy and I met in the Redwoods, and both Andy and Ros work for the Forestry Commission in Scotland. We thought some real trees would be fun. We camped at Jedediah Smith State and National Park.WE had bacon and pancakes for breakfast, roasted marshmallows over an open fire, went to the most amazing Redwood Grove I have seen. It is called the Stout Grove. Words do not come close to describing what this grove of trees is. 
On the way home we through in Crater Lake for desert. There is so much snow still that hiking and riding were out of the question. It was spectacular. 
It was fun to show them all these places we live so close to. I now have a new appreciation for what we have.
I miss my friends. They are going back across the sea to England. With the price of fuel so high I feel an uncertainty about travel in the future. When will I see my friends again? That is a sad thought. Maybe next year in Spain? I will make it happen if I can. 
In the mean while I will enjoy Bend to the utmost, I will look at everything like it is new and fresh.  Every time I ride my bike I will think that Andy is with me, enjoying this trail for the first time. I hope all of you do the same. We have this special place we call home. Enjoy it, cherish it, and go out and see it.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


Big Jon, the one on my left, is moving to Eugene on Sunday. Today we went on farewell ride. I will see him again, for sure, as we have been friends for about 10 years. It has been long enough that I can't remember the year. I know it was before the remodel though. I  remember him in the old store. He was a young kid then (19 or so). Now he is a young man. He came in as a customer and is moving as a friend. You may recognize Damian on my right. He was brought in by Jon. Friendship is an interesting thing. Why do you connect with some people and not others?I really don't know that answer. We all love bikes (well so do most customers of our store), I have been married for well over 30 years these guys are single. They go out, I go to bed. But non the less we are friends. We joke, we laugh, we agree on most politics, they make fun of me being old I make fun of them being young. 
I like that my customers are my friends. I don't like to keep my business separate from my social life. That way at work is fun. I help my friends. It is always a pleasure to see their smiles and hear their laughs. I hope it is the same for them when they see me.
In the first year or so that I knew Jon he had a very bad bike accident. He was in local group ride when there was a pileup. He got the worst of it. His face was one big mess with most of his front teeth missing. I went to the hospital to see him. His jaw was wired and he had a hard time talking. I gave him a Sunnyside Jersey. He smiled and cracked some joke. I think that is what made us friends. Jon never blamed anyone and he was not bitter, nor did he feel a victim. He crashed, and then he recovered. He liked the fact that some bike store owner really took some interest to his life. I did and I do. Jon is a great guy. I am going to miss him in the store, seeing his face around town, and going on rides with him. Maybe he will move back when he is done with university. He talked about being a high school teacher. Why not in Bend. The kids here could use a guy like Jon around.
Good luck Jon and we hope to see you around.

Saturday, June 7, 2008


The cotton death row is an inside joke. Last year Kathy and I were in Zion National Park, and we decided to hike up to the Narrows. We went to the outfitter to rent special boots, walking sticks and a special waterproof bag. We then had to go to the safety talk. We learned that if you wore cotton you would probably die. Of course when we got to the creek we noticed almost everyone was wearing blue jeans and flip flops. We felt like the overdressed gringo.

That was then, now we have two friends visiting from Scotland, Ros and Andy. They are not Scottish they are English. I have known Andy for 4 years or so. We have spent a lot of time in Spain together and some time in Scotland. Having friends from other countries is a great thing. If you speak the same language, even better. It is fun to hear what they have to say about high gas prices (our fuel is half the price of fuel in GB), large cars and pickup trucks, great mountain bike trails (ours) and just funny things about life. In the photo Kathy, Ros and Andy are sitting above the Painted Hills near Mitchell in Eastern Oregon, and it is just about to start raining.  I, of course was wearing wool they all had cotton.  We managed to get back to the car before the rain so no fatalities that day.
The real big bonus of having friends from Scotland is when we visit over there. A holiday spent in some one's home is so different than one spent in a hotel or B and B. The evenings are spent talking, eating home food or even night mountain bike rides. 
Next week we are off to Ashland, Crater Lake and the Redwoods. It will be fun to show off our best to our friends, just like they do to us when we are over there. 
After a week of visiting we have become a little looser, the humor more personal and interesting. I am already looking forward to my next trip over to Scotland to see all my other friends.
Thanks for reading,