Sunday, September 30, 2012

Lantern Festival

Michelle and I went to check out the lantern festival on Queensborough, as it was quite close to us.

I had not shot with the mono-pod in some time (i.e. years), but I'm glad I brought it instead of a tripod.

It was nice to walk around and take some nigh photos. I probably should have cut this post down by 3 or 4 photos, but I think it's a better representation of what happened even with a few shots I'm not 100% happy with :)

Hope you're having a good weekend.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Crater Lake

No story this time, just a few of the photos from around the crater.

First, it's important to realize that the rim is at over 2000 meters (6600 feet), which is like touring around the top of Whistler mountain. It's so high that I had to dial up the idle on my bike because it was running a bit anemic due to the thin air.

The elevation is the second number from the bottom on my GPS.

When I'd been there previously, it was July or August and it was 7 Celsius. That's freaking cold for summer!

Even this year, in the midst of a heatwave, the snow is evident in this photo on the crater side facing Wizard Island.

I moved further along to get a closer view

Still further along the Rim, the rock formations are pretty neat

I enjoyed my visit

One of the interesting things about stopping here is that there is often nothing visible behind the rim. I think that's what makes the photos have an odd feel. We're just used to the water being at the bottom, with frames of reference in the background.

Just a few of the, hopefully better, images from the Crater. Being there during the middle of the day is of course far from ideal. Michelle and I have been talking about going down there for a few days next year and spending a bit of time hiking and visiting the lake at different times of day as I really would like to catch some better light :)

Monday, September 10, 2012

Road Stories - The world is shrinking

In 2007 I rode as far south as I'd ever gone, to Crater Lake in Oregon. At its most southern point, I split from Mike, who was heading south into California.

On some level, that was the start of a different kind of riding for me. First, I realize just how much I like travelling on the bike. Not just riding to get a rush, doing an hour sprint for coffee or a day ride, but a 'long' ride. Second, I realize that I enjoy being out there on my own.

Now, I did not realize that all at once, but as I traveled home over the next few days, it started a new way of thinking about bike-travel for me.

This year, after 'fleeing' the heat in California I got a chance to return to Crater Lake. It was, once again, beautiful.

But it was also something else. It was familiar.

That place that had seemed far away in 2007 was now a place I knew. And from there on, I was fairly sure I was going to be riding mainly roads that I knew. So it seemed so very much closer to home.

If I chose, I could be home in only a 2 day ride. Nothing to write home about.

Once you start thinking like that, well, maybe it's not that the world is shrinking; maybe your experiences are just expanding your mind.

Crater Lake deserves it's own post tomorrow :)

Monday, September 3, 2012

Some great riding weather

No not motorcycles (I actually haven't been on mine since getting back from my trip) but bicycles.

20 - 22 degrees makes for such a comfortable ride.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Road Stories - You ride _alone_?

I talk about riding and holidays. And inevitably, I get asked who I ride with

"So you're going with a group?"

"Nope, just me."

This often gets a double-take. It seems that there is an assumption that there is safety in numbers.

And, certainly, in some instances it's great to have someone else around. I have 2 friends I ride with and we have no problem spending days on the road together. Our riding and traveling styles are compatible and that's not nearly as simple as it sounds.

You have to want to rest when someone else does, stop when the first person gets to the point of not wanting to ride anymore and want to ride at similar speeds. You need to ensure you don't lose each other in traffic, when there is some, that you coordinate gas stops, food stops, bio-breaks.

You get the point. None of those things are really concerns when you are on your own.

I remember in 2007 when I split from Mike at the southern end of Crater Lake. He was heading south to California and I was heading back north. I felt odd riding by myself. No back up. Or so I thought.

Of course, I was wrong.

First of, you are your own backup. That means that you adjust your riding and the amount of risk you're willing to take. Not in terms of speed, but in being away from help if you need any. It also means learning about your bike, how it works, some basic fixes for common things that may go wrong on the roads and some basic spares, like spare tubes in case you have a flat.

Second, you have a cell phone and a BCAA (AAA). That goes a long way.

Finally, major highways, minor highways, secondary roads and even plenty of gravel roads are fairly well traveled. And people are nicer than you think. Not that I want to have to rely on the kindness of strangers, but most of the people I've met along my travels are actually very nice.

So, the 'danger' is mostly in peoples minds.

And the freedom of being the only one you have to consider, of being able to ride hard and push when you want, of resting when you feel like it and staying where you want for how long you want, well on some level that's one of the great joys of being on the open road.

There is one major issue to overcome though. Taking your own photo :)

But as you can see, even that can be overcome ;)