Jul 202016

If the wind can blow your troubles away, you should spend a few hours around here and you’ll be good to go. The Columbia Gorge wind is legendary and it’s living up to the reputation for the past few weeks. There has not been a calm day for weeks so kayak fishing on the Columbia River has not been happening. We’ve given up hoping for calm days and would now settle for anything in the single digit wind speed. It’s been a great summer for the kiteboarders and sailboarders. Here’s a link to the live cams in the Columbia River Gorge. As far as kayak fishing goes, we’re hoping things settle down because salmon fishing season is just a few weeks away.

Since kayak fishing is out, we have been riding bikes as much as possible. I’m trying to keep up with the guys in the Tour de France and ride nearly every day. The weather is nice, despite the wind and the summer days are long so you can’t let a single nice day go by without doing something or you’ll regret it in December. I look at it as a month long training camp. There’s a lot of places to ride around here, but being able to ride in some of the nicest areas of the Pacific Northwest without getting in the truck is a real blessing for which I am grateful. Riding bikes in the Cascade Mountains is a good workout. Should be in pretty good shape by the end of the summer.

Ride until you run out of road

Road cycling gives you more bang for you buck as far as workout time goes and we ride to the end of the road. Mountain biking is more fun and a good workout. You can head off into the woods and ride all day long.

Pacific Northwest forest road

Riding a mountain bike in the Cascade Mountains is a lot of fun and can be a real adventure. You see something different every time you ride. Below is the view through the trees as you head up towards Mt. Hood. Mt. Adams is in the middle with Mt. St. Helens off to the left. Both the mountains, volcanoes of course, are in Washington.

Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Adams

There’s a lot of wildlife in this area, you never know what you might run across. In the summer, we also have a quality assortment of bugs. Luckily, only a small percentage will bite or sting you and some of them are pretty amazing to look at.

Colorful bug in the Cascade Mountains

We are hoping for a little more fishing action, otherwise, we’ll be trying to get in shape on the bikes. This is the time of year for outdoor chores, we want to get all of that and any truck repairs out of the way before salmon season.

Jul 052016

We are not getting a break from the wind here in the Columbia River Gorge. 15-20 mph wind with gusts over 30 mph pretty much every day. If you are a kiteboarder or sailboarder, these past few days have been fantastic. Warm days, relatively warm water and plenty of wind. Not so good for kayak fishing so we are spending much of our recreational time riding bikes. If the wind keeps up, we’ll be in shape for the Tour de France.

Can’t really complain, this is one of the best places for cycling, either on the mountain roads or the mountain trails. Riding on mountain roads is a great way to get in shape. An hour or two riding in the mountains is a pretty good workout.

Cycling on the roads of the Cascade Mountain foothills

This past weekend was the July 4th holiday and with this area being a very popular summer destination, there were a lot of people from out of town in the area. That’s not a good time to be out on the local roads on a bicycle so we headed up into the mountains to get as far away from the holiday crowd as we could.

Cascade Mountains in central Oregon

The snow is still melting, but starting to run low so the seasonal streams are starting to dry up. The year round streams are at the point where they can be crossed somewhat safely. The stream in the photo below is usually knee to waist deep in the spring, but at this point in the summer you can ride across on your bike. If you are riding alone, it might be wise to take off your shoes and walk across. The rocks are slippery and this is a long way from town with no cell phone coverage.

Stream crossing in the Cascade Mountains

Some of these trails are not on the map and don’t have a name, but they can lead to some amazing places.

Hood River Valley in Oregon with Mt. Adams in Washington in the distance

Looks like more windy days ahead so more bike riding and probably more stuff for the watermanatwork.com website.

Jun 182016

Berries are in season here in the beautiful Hood River valley. You can get fresh blueberries, raspberries and cherries straight from local farmers. If you’re out riding your bike around Hood River, stop and get some fresh berries or cherries. You can pick them up on the way home if you buy more than you can carry on your bike. Montavons Berries off the Dee Highway is a great ride from Hood River, the berries are the best and the family is really nice. Here’s the berries today:

Montavons Berries - Parkdale, OR

Looks like the wind may let off for one, maybe two days, so we are going to give the kayak fishing on the Columbia River a shot tomorrow. The upcoming watermanatwork.com kayak fishing video is about half finished, hoping to have it wrapped up by the end of next week so keep checking in.

May 082016

Summer is getting closer, days are getting longer and warmer so the bike rides are getting longer and deeper into the Cascade Mountains. We’ve been out and about on trails that are way off the beaten path. Most of the trails are far from paved roads and some are not accessible by vehicles of any kind, maybe a motorcycle. You have to ride your bike to the trail because, after all, it is a bike ride. Since the trails are hidden away in the forests of the Cascade Mountains, you can pretty much count on a healthy dose of climbing, it is the mountains.

Trailside creek in the Cascade Mountains

This is an amazing time of year in the Pacific Northwest, plants and trees grow at an amazing rate. Everything is bright green in the springtime sun. We had a wetter than normal winter so there is maximum plant growth. The snow is still melting but some of the seasonal creeks have already dried up and the water level of the Columbia River has already started to drop, so we’ll see what this heavy spring growth will mean at the end of the summer when fire season starts.

Pacific Northwest springtime green

The further into the mountains you go, the more spectacular it gets. Around every corner is a new adventure.

Shady Cascade Mountain road

Also as summer gets closer there are more and more people in the area so we avoid the more well known bike trails, which can get pretty crowded. While riding with a few friends is common around here, many of the weekend cyclists from the local big city think that if riding with a few others is good, riding with ten or twenty people is better. Every weekend there is a caravan of squeaky clean cars with equally clean bikes on them headed to the local trails. It’s easy to find the trailheads by following the trail of empty coffee cups and fast food garbage on the side of the road. The trailheads themselves are marked with more trash, piles of dog shit, human feces and wads of toilet paper. We’ve taken a few people out on local trails, to thank us for this, they put the trail all over the internet, now the trails are full of weekend warriors. Mountain bike tour “companies” run shuttles and herd tours on nearly every area trail, including trails on private property where they don’t have permission to do so. What this means is more closed trails in the future.

To avoid all this, we head into the forest. These trails are locals only. No internet, no Strava, no inviting your buddy from Portland. If you want to do that, there are plenty of other trails to ride. All we want do do is ride bikes, not be part of a club or association that feels it is their place to turn forest trails into bike paths. We’re not saying people can’t ride here, they just have to find the trails, just like we did.

Hopefully, there will always be another trail to find. As long as there might be, we will keep on looking and doing just enough trail work to keep the trail open. Nature has a way of doing most of this work for us. We found this old abandoned logging road on our last ride. My legs did not have any more climbing left in them so we had to leave exploring this road for another time.

Abandoned logging road

The forest isn’t the only place things are growing out of control; you can actually watch the grass/weeds in the yard growing so I have to get out there and do some yard work before I need a machete to get to the front door.

May 022016

We were out and about on some of the more remote sections of PacNW singletrack, checking out trail conditions and doing a little trail maintenance. These trails do not see a lot of traffic so they are a little rough around the edges compared to the more traveled and widely advertised “name brand” trails seen on the internet. We prefer the trails on the “natural” side so there’s not a lot of fine grooming. The hoofed animals like elk and deer do most of the work.

Remote PacNW singletrack

This trail is shared with motorcycles and horses so it’s pretty rocky and rough. Reminds me of the rocky bike trails of central Texas Hill Country.

Rocky Cascade Mountain bike trail

What these trails lack in “flow”, they make up for with real adventure and spectacular scenery

Mt. Adams

Days are getting longer and the weather is getting nicer, time to start heading out for some long day bike rides!

Apr 282016

The early spring wind is howling here in the Columbia River Gorge so kayak fishing has been put on hold for a few more days. Time to get on the bike and head for the hills for a little mountain bike riding. This is a nice time of year in the PacNW, everything is turning green at an amazing rate. Since we had a wetter than average winter we are having an exceptional plant growth explosion. There are plenty of spring flowers along the remote trails of the Cascade Mountain foothills.

Mountain bike riding in the Cascade Mountain foothills

The spring flowers aren’t the only plants that are growing full blast, there is also an abundance of the dreaded poison oak. The wet winter has made for a bumper crop of this toxic trailside plant. You want to avoid this stuff at all costs.

Poison oak

There are a lot of designated mountain bike trails in Oregon and Washington, you can check any of the many mountain bike websites. These trails get more and more crowded every year; some of them are more like urban bicycle paths than trails in the woods. We ride mountain bikes to get away from the crowd, not follow it around in a mountain bike conga line, so we tend to head for the more remote trails that do not show up on the internet. We post photos to inspire people to go riding, but do not reveal the exact locations of these places. We found them, so can you, it’s part of the experience.

Remote trail in the Cascade foothills

There are literally thousands of miles of trails and old roads in the Pacific Northwest to discover. Instead of following the herd, learn how to read a map and find a trail or two for yourself.

Spring mountain bike riding in the Pacific Northwest

We are using another windy day to do some bike maintenance, worn out brakes when you ride in the mountains is not a good thing. We’ve also received the replacement camera for our dead GoPro so we will be having a look at it and post a review and information about it in the near future.

Apr 032016

Today was one of the big spring cycling classics, the Ronde van Vlaanderen, or Tour of Flanders in the Flanders region of Belgium. This is one of professional cycling’s “monuments”, along with next weekend’s Paris-Roubaix, are two of European bicycle racing’s cobbled classics, named after the ancient cobblestone roads, or pave, the cyclists must negotiate during the course of the race. These races are huge in Belgium and the rest of Europe, every professional cyclist dreams of winning one of these legendary races. Today’s race was the 100th edition of the Tour of Flanders. It was an exciting race, filled with drama, won by Peter Sagan over Fabian Cancellara and Sep Vanmarcke.

We got up at 5:00AM to watch the race live on the internet and it was totally worth it. After the race was over, the sun had come up, it was getting warmer and we just had to go for a bike ride. We are starting to get into a little better shape, still have plenty of excess winter poundage to burn off, but the rides are getting a little longer every day. When you live in the mountains, there are hardly any flat roads, so when you’re out of shape you can’t go to far, so there’s plenty of incentive to get off the couch and on the bike.

A view of Mt. Adams from a farm road in the Cascade Mountain foothills

The pear trees in the Hood River valley are in bloom, all next week should be quite spectacular. There is nothing quite like it. In the span of a couple weeks, the valley goes from bright green, to pure white and back to green again. With the snow capped Mt. Hood and Mt. Adams in the distance, there really is no place else like it.

Hood River valley pear orchards with Mt. Hood in the distance

There will be some great bike riding in the next week or so and we are hoping the smallmouth bass fishing will start to heat up so keep checking in for more good stuff.

Apr 012016

The fruit trees and flowers are starting to bloom, the sun is out and the temperature has gone over 70°F for the first time this year; time for a mountain bike ride! We’ve been busy with spring cleaning and computer work, but after the long, rainy Pacific Northwest winter, when the sun is out and it warms up, it’s time to find the shorts and head outside.

Mountain bike riding in the Cascade Mountains

We headed up towards Mt. Hood, but it’s a long way off and it’s all uphill. This time of year we are out of shape and a bit overweight so it’s going to take some time before we can ride all the way up to the highest mountains. Slowly but surely you work to get in shape so you can make those long trips on long midsummer days. At this point, we are stoked to be out of the house and out in the mountains.

Mar 202016

We are hoping we’ve finally turned the corner on winter here in the Pacific Northwest. We’ve had a wetter than normal winter, that’s saying something because the “normal” winters are usually day after day of rain and snow. A few days of warmer weather, a dry east wind and sun have dried things out a bit. Time for a little spring mountain bike riding. Most of the trails are still to wet to ride and so we didn’t join the parade of weekend riders out there wrecking the muddy trails. There are plenty of Forest Service and logging roads to ride on for the next few weeks while the trails dry out.

Old logging road with Mt. Adams in the distance

It’s still not warm enough for the snow in the mountains to start melting but the rivers and streams are running full bore from all the recent rain.

PacNW creek running fast with early spring rain

After a few nice days, the official first day of spring has arrived with rain showers. Looks like rain for the next couple days, but more like light showers rather than torrential downpours.

Spring showers approaching Mt. Hood

We’ll be starting regular posts about bass fishing as we expect to be out smallmouth bass fishing by the end of the week. Check back as we get the fishing gear and kayak ready to go!

Mar 052016

The weather here continues to be somewhat damp, but the bad news is that it’s predicted to get worse. I went for a long bike ride yesterday because it looked like today was going to be rainy, but the rain held off until later in the day. We’ve been working on another kayak fishing video, but when it looked like we could get out for a quick bike ride, especially when it looks like a rainy week ahead, we had to get out there. It rained off and on last night, but the hills to the south blocked most of the storms during the day today.

Bicycle riding in the Cascade Mountain foothills

A significant weather event is supposed to dump quite a bit of rain on the area over the next week. In the photo below, Mt. Hood is being engulfed by clouds as the drift over the Cascade Mountain foothills from the southwest(left in the photo). Only a matter of time before enough clouds flow over the hills and it starts to rain.

Between rainstorms in the Hood River valley

This storm is coming from the southwest, so it looks more like spring than winter. The robins are out looking for worms, there’s small buds on the pear trees and I saw a few small flowers, so even though it looks like a rainy week ahead, spring can’t be far off.