Ashland Bike Ride Media

Day’s Verse:
Run to me, dear lover.
Come like a gazelle.
Leap like a wild stag
on the spice mountains.

Song of Solomon 8:14

If I picture is worth a thousand words, what’s a video worth? Here are some videos I took of riding in Ashland, Oregon. This blog post will give you the impression that I went to Ashland for biking. Although the biking was exceptional, we were actually there for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. I’ll put up another post about the plays and that experience, so stay tuned. Meantime, on to the media from the two hill climb rides I did in Ashland.

The first ride, I went out to the delightfully-named Dead Indian Memorial Road and did hill repeats. I guess you can call it a repeat if you do it twice, right? The interesting thing was going from down low, which has these sere hills, some scrub oak, and various other similar dry, hot-weather plants, up to higher elevations that are populated with gorgeous pines and evergreens. Here’s a video from lower down.

And here’s a video of the same road, a few thousand feet higher.

The next day, I rode up Mt. Ashland. The metrics don’t sound that impressive — 50 miles roundtrip, 5000 feet or so of climbing — until you realize almost all the climbing was in 15 miles going up the mountain. I now understand how different climbing 5,000 feet spread out is compared to all at once. Anyway, the ride was truly spectacular. Here are videos from that ride. They really don’t capture it; I kept getting these amazing glimpses into the valley all the way to Mt. Shasta off in the distance.

Here’s the lower-down video:

And here’s the video a few thousand feet higher up.

Definitely go take a look at my Flickr set for some cool pictures of Ashland and our drive down Highway 101. There are some very neat pictures there. Here are a few I just have to share.

You don’t see these at home. I cautiously walked across the cattle guard, not trusting myself to ride across it safely. How dumb would it be to crash on a cattle guard?
They Don't Have These At Home

This was the road lower down, heading toward Mt. Ashland. There was no traffic because partway up, one of the bridges was closed. Happily for me, the closure was for paving, which was essentially finished — they just still had equipment sitting around. I went around the road-closure barriers without any trouble. The result of that, though, was virtually zero traffic on that road, before or after the bridge. People saw the road closure signs and avoided it. Great for biking!
Mt. Ashland Road: Lower Down

Here’s the view from the top of Mt. Ashland facing…um, I guess south. That’s Mt. Shasta off in the distance.
View from Mt. Ashland

And finally, a vignette and accompanying picture. The story: When I got to the top of Mt. Ashland, I rode by a little boy who enthusiastically hailed me. There was nobody else up there — just me, this little boy, and his mom. And their black lab, Joy. Anyway, I stopped and asked the boy’s mom to take my picture at the top. The boy, who was incredibly gregarious, immediately gravitated to my bike and started examining it with great interest. He talked nonstop. I quickly learned that his name was Ian. He really wanted to be in my top-of-the-mountain picture, so here it is: Me and Ian at the top of Mt. Ashland.
Katie & Ian at the Summit
After that, he got fascinated with my bike pump and I let him carry it off in order to get a picture by myself. Turns out his little bike had a low front tire, and he immediately cottoned on to the idea of using my pump to put air in his tire. Unfortunately, the valves were incompatible and I had to leave without putting air in his tires. I rode down, taking one hour what had taken me two and a half to do going up. Boy it was fun.

Sometimes I really wish I could just ride and never stop.

At Long Last, Crater Lake Pictures

Day’s Verse:
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:13

Part of Lithia Park in Ashland, Oregon.
Lithia Park

First view of Crater Lake.
Crater Lake: First View

Obligatory picture of us, commemorating our trip.
Ian & Katie at Crater Lake

Looking south (I think) across Crater Lake.
Crater Lake facing South

We hiked down the Cleetwood Trail to the lake level.
Crater Lake: Lake Level

Ian even looked happy when we reached the bottom. That changed on the way back up.
Ian at Crater Lake

There were some really staggering panoramas of the landscape around Crater Lake, too.
Panorama on Drive Home

Drive Home

Drive Home 1

On the drive home, we stopped at a scenic overlook where the Rogue River had carved out a canyon in the volcanic rock.
Rogue River Waterfall

Rogue River Canyon

The next day we hiked up and all over the top of Lower Table Rock. Things both big (landscapes) and small (flowers) captivated us.
Ian At Lower Table Rock

California Condor

Lower Table Rock View

Lupine

Lower Table Rock Grassland

Firework Flowers

I took a ton of HDR-ready pictures but haven’t had the time to combine them yet. In the meantime, I hope you enjoyed the pictures from our trip. And don’t complain there weren’t any of Ashland or the plays — no pictures allowed in the theaters, and Ashland was nice but not particularly photographic. The end!

Still Alive!

Day’s Verse:
Jesus stood up and spoke to her. “Woman, where are they? Does no one condemn you?”
“No one, Master.”
“Neither do I,” said Jesus. “Go on your way. From now on, don’t sin.”

John 8:10-11 (context)

Just a quick note to say that we are still alive and kicking, but after we got back from our Ashland trip on Wednesday afternoon, I’ve been so busy I haven’t had time to do more than think “I should blog,” before rushing off to do something else. The quick synopsis of our vacation was that we fell in love with Ashland and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival from the first day. That day we saw Hamlet and Henry IV (not VIII as I mistakenly said in an earlier blog). I’d never seen Hamlet as a play before, though I had read the play and seen a number of film adaptations. It was incredibly powerful; from the moment the play started, we sat entranced, and three hours flew by. Ian and I agreed we’d never seen a more masterful production. We spent the remainder of the afternoon exploring Lithia Park (along with all the other visitors to Ashland, apparently) and enjoying an excellent dinner. I had Irish nachos, which is essentially French fries topped with baked potato toppings. Oh man. Yum. We only stayed for the first half of Henry IV Part One, not because it was bad, but because it would take us another 30 minutes to get back to our campsite after the play ended, and we had Things To Do the next day.

Excitingly, as we drove back to camp on I-5, a police officer pulled Ian over. Ian, I might add, is the world’s most conscientious driver and never speeds, so we knew it wasn’t the usual reason. Our confusion quickly turned to dismay and shock when the officer informed us that both our taillights were out, and he’d pulled us over because he could only see us by the license plate illumination. Yikes! I think he could tell our dismay, horror, and surprise were genuine, because he let us go without citing us. We drove the rest of the way with emergency blinkers on and the next morning we found a gas station/repair shop and got two new light bulbs (for free! The attendant didn’t think it was worth charging us, which was nice of him).

The next day, Sunday, we went on a backstage tour, walked around Ashland some more, saw Merchant of Venice preview, and then saw Merchant of Venice. I didn’t really know anything about the story, and I was kind of expecting a comedy, since in the preview they talked about couples getting together at the end — a common ending for Shakespeare’s comedies. But Merchant of Venice was most definitely not a comedy; we came away feeling bad for Shylock and the merchant, both, and not altogether impressed with Portia’s manipulative, sneaky ways. Hamlet we knew what to expect, and sure enough, everybody died at the end. Merchant of Venice nobody died, but we left with much more mixed emotions than most other Shakespeare plays. This play required much more digesting afterward, and we had an interesting conversation about characters’ motives on the drive home.

Monday we drove to Crater Lake, and it turns out most of the drive around lake and all but one of the trails were still snowed in and inaccessible. Even so, we went on up to the lake — Ian’s first visit, and my first visit that I can remember (Mom tells me I was there as a kid, but it didn’t stick). Wow. We spent the entire time having to consciously not keep remarking on how stupendous the lake was. I filled up my camera’s 2-gig memory card for the first time ever, taking RAW HDR-ready pictures. Around noon, we reached the Cleetwood Trail and hiked down to the lake, a mere one mile, but with something like 700 feet of elevation change in that mile. Everybody else visiting Crater Lake that day — and it was many people, and the day was gorgeous — also decided to hike that trail, so it was relatively crowded and dusty. However, the lake remained serene and beautiful, and we enjoyed the views but not the mosquitoes. On the way back we stopped at the lodge for a ranger’s educational talk (“Who Really Discovered Crater Lake?” — I was expecting a discussion of Native American tribes, but he talked about the first 5 or so white guys to see the lake) and then paused at a scenic viewpoint on the Rogue River. By the way, naming a river “Rogue” opens the door to way too many puns in business names.

Tuesday we hiked up Lower Table Rock and got phenomenal views (pictures to follow). The sweeping 360° views were stunning, but I also treasured the incredible beauty of the subalpine flowers. Nearly every plant seemed to be flowering, and apparently we were very fortunate to experience that because the flowering season is quite short. In the afternoon we saw She Loves Me, which was so lovely and sweet and beautifully acted, I couldn’t stop smiling for the entire rest of the day. If I could see one of the plays again, I’d choose that one hands-down.

And the next morning we packed up and drove back home. And then we went to work the next day, which left me feeling all discombobulated. I sure could get used to 2-day workweeks, though.