I Fought The Law, And The Law Won

Day 58   August 6   Part 2 

On this evening, I received an email from the Portland, Oregon police. After I had reported to them that one of my blog readers had emailed me that he had found my stolen bike in Portland, they had spoken to him and then gone to check it out.

The bike in question was locked up in plain view, in a busy waterfront location. The front tire was missing, presumably taken off by the current “owner” so that nobody could steal it and ride off with it. The irony.

The cop on the case took a few photos of the bike, and attached them to the email. This was un-freakin-believable……this was MY bike!!

My bike had been customized over the last few years with certain high-end components. This was not a combination that you just purchase off-the-rack at a bike shop. This was, without a doubt, MY bike!

Now the sucky news. The cops could not legally cut the lock to retrieve my bike, without proof that the bike was mine.

Since I’d be traveling for another couple months, I didn’t have any way to check my files at home to see if I had recorded the serial number. I called Trek, and I called the shop where I’d purchased the original bike, and neither of them had a record of my serial number. (and, now that I’m home, I checked my files, and did not record the serial number. dumb)

No serial number, no bikey coming back to me.

There you have it. Some a-hole stole my bike, and probably sold it to someone who has no idea it was stolen and no idea how valuable it is. If they knew these things, they most definitely would NOT leave it outside.

So many lessons to be learned here. Such a bummer. A suck-fest. On the other hand, I think I’m over my hatred of Portland, Oregon. I think I’m ready to go back there someday.

Me, Jaymes, and The Cops…A Freaky Coincidency Event!!

Day 56    August 4     Part 2

The world wide web is a weird and freaky place to be hanging out. Bad shit happens here. And good shit happens too. And today, the good and the bad came together.

Back on June 21st, Summer Solstice, which should have been a joyous day, but turned out not to be, my super nice Trek road bike was stolen. I’m still holding a grudge against Portland, Oregon for that tragedy.

Fast forward to yesterday, August 3, which at this point in my way behind posting, wasn’t yesterday at all, but was more than two months ago. But in keeping with this chronological journal, it was yesterday.

Yesterday I received an email from someone named Jaymes. I don’t know Jaymes, but, he apparently reads my blog. (Hi Jaymes…if you’re still out there reading) Jaymes wrote that he found my stolen bike, and that I should call him as soon as possible.

I, of course, figured this was a scam to get money from me, and I immediately called the Portland police. The Portland police told me that they’d call Jaymes and check this all out for me.

Today, August 4th, I received a call back from the police. They talked to Jaymes, and said that he sounded legit. Jaymes told them where my bike supposedly was, and the cops said they’d go check it out.

Just like a fine suspense novel, I’d have to wait another couple days to hear back from the police. I was excited, but also skeptical that this could possibly be my bike!

Skeeter Lake, Idaho….A Mosquito Haven

Leaving Hood River. Will miss the Beautiful Columbia River Gorge area.

Leaving Hood River. Will miss the Beautiful Columbia River Gorge area.

Day 13 part 2

Since we were going through town anyway on our journey eastward, we drove through Hood River to have Lew look at a couple things on our rig before we went on our way. The main thing being, that our fridge kept turning itself off for no reason. This was making it real difficult to keep our beer cold. Plus, we did have to throw out a bunch of food too, and it was starting to tick me off.

Lew didn’t find anything wrong with the fridge other than that, for some reason it was not switching properly between 12v and 110v. We would have to try to find an Airstream dealer somewhere on the road that would take a look at it.

After meeting with Lew, we did the almost unthinkable…we stopped at McDonald’s for lunch.

Besides the bizarre stuff that fast food restaurants try to pass off as real food, I was struck by another bizarre thing. Southern accents. Why, or how, is it that folks who don’t live anywhere near the southern part of the country, end up with southern accents? I decided it was just one of those unexplainable phenomenon…like on the X-Files.

On Rt I-84, heading towards Idaho

On Rt I-84, heading towards Idaho

On Rt I-84, heading towards Idaho

On Rt I-84, heading towards Idaho

Baker City, Oregon. Still making our way to Idaho.

Baker City, Oregon. Still making our way to Idaho.

Skeeter Lake, Idaho

Our travels this day, ended outside of Nampa, Idaho. There is an Airstream dealer in Nampa, and we planned to go there the next day to have them look at our fridge. We spent the night at the campground at Farewell Bend Recreation Area. It was a decent campground, with a pretty view of the lake below.

Skeeter Lake, aka Farewell Bend Recreation Area, Idaho

Skeeter Lake, aka Farewell Bend Recreation Area, Idaho

It was also the sight of the nastiest, biggest mosquitos I’ve ever seen in my life. Those SOB’s were biting me right through the legs of my pants. By the next morning, I had huge skeeter bite welts on my legs. 

We hi-tailed it the hell out of there first thing in the morning. Didn’t even walk the dogs. Just got the heck out of there, and didn’t stop until we felt we were safe!

I nicknamed that place Skeeter Lake. Mark knows exactly where I’m talking about when I mention that name. And we both vowed never to return!

Portland Sucks!!

Day #12   part 1

Loved Portland…Until I Hated It

The first half of Day #12 was painful. I hate to even write about it, so, I’ll make it quick and short.

My road bike got stolen. For those of you who know me and my bike, yes, my white Trek Madone 5.5 with cool upgrades like electronic shifting. UGH!!!

We had stopped at REI in downtown Portland, to buy some hiking shoes. We were only in the store about 20 minutes, when I remembered that we hadn’t remembered to pay for parking.

When I went outside to pay for parking, my bike was gone. Some a**hole had cut through our band new kryptonite cables and locks, had picked the lock on the bike rack, had cut through some straps, had opened up the rubber straps that hold the bike onto the rack…and had taken off with my freakin’ bike! The only good news, was that they didn’t have time to also take Mark’s road bike. 

Aarrrggggggg!!! Freakin’ infuriating, not to mention a complete let down and total disappointment in the human race. People (who steal bikes) SUCK!!

I filed a police report, and then, despondently just finished off the rest of the afternoon. Nothing I could do about it, and I tried to not think about it, and to get back to a happy state of being.

I just decided that I’d hate Portland, instead of loving it, even if just for a couple of days. And that would have to do.

Cycling Adventure & The Painfully Cold Shower

Flower fields on Sauvie Island, Oregon

Flower fields on Sauvie Island, Oregon

Day #11

On the morning of Day #11, otherwise known as June 20th, we got stuck at Target. We intended to make a quick stop there on the way out to Sauvie Island, but the quick stop turned into 3 hours.

It was all good. This was a Target superstore, and we needed some stuff, so that was cool. We stocked up on food, water, and various supplies (paper towels, paper plates, etc.). And when we brought everything out to the RV, we then got caught up in another reorganization of our stuff. 

And that turned into having to also make a stop at West Marine. We needed some hook thingies to hang some stuff with, and we needed toilet chemicals. And we needed to waste time walking all around the store ‘cause it was big and really nice and full of stuff  that is fun to look at, but that we didn’t really need.

I was pretty happy when we finally pulled out of that shopping center, and headed out to Sauvie Island to go cycling. Not sure what the whole story about Sauvie Island is, but we sure enjoyed it. It seems to be all agricultural, and nature preserve-ish. 

Let the cycling begin!

Let the cycling begin!

If you want to drive around Sauvie Island, you have to pay like $8 or so, for a permit. The guy who owned the little convenience store/bait shop (ya gotta be careful which fridge section you go food shopping in!), he let us park in his lot for free, since we were just gonna be cycling around the island.

We had a great ride. Sauvie Island is just outside of the city, but it’s completely rural. A great place, and a great sunny day for a bike ride.

Out and about around Sauvie Island

Out and about around Sauvie Island

Since we had gotten such a late start to the day, by time we finished our ride, it was already 5:00 pm. So, instead of going back to the “night is like day” RV park, we decided to just shower in the RV, and head right downtown for dinner and drinks.

Problem…the hot water fault indicator light kept coming on. Damn! We couldn’t get hot water! I was determined to take a shower, and so I just took an all-cold water shower. The water was colder than I bargained for. It was painfully cold, and the entire 1.5 minutes of my shower, I screamed and cussed like a sailor. Smartly, perhaps, after hearing me screaming through my shower, Mark decided to just wipe down with a wet paper towel and skip the real shower. Smart man. A little dirt and sweat never hurt anyone.

Downtown Portland

Downtown Portland is cool. It is so cool, that, right off of the city center, there exists the coolest Apple store ever. It is all glass on three sides! WOW!!! For Mark and I, being the Apple lovers that we are, it was an overwhelmingly beautiful site!!

Apple store, in downtown Portland

Apple store, in downtown Portland

OK, seen the Apple store. Next, dinner and drinks at the roof-top restaurant at The Nines (hotel). Nice views overlooking the city. Great food. Great drinks. Pricey, yes. A thing to do once, definitely! 

View from the top of the Nines

View from the top of the Nines

View from the top of the Nines

View from the top of the Nines

And so concluded Day #11. Another perfect day (except for that darn shower!!).

Hello Portland, Oregon!

Portland, downtown sky scape

Portland, downtown sky scape

Enough of nature already. On Day #10, it was time to leave the Columbia River Gorge area, which was full of spectacular scenery, and head west to the big city of Portland.

We made only one stop, in Troutdale. Just a small nondescript town, with a most excellent Italian restaurant! Pompello Ristorante. Best Italian food I’ve had in a long time. 

If you go there, don’t be put off by the slightly grumpy owner. Maybe we annoyed him because we changed tables three times before we ordered. Well, there were problems with each of the tables!! duh!

We got to Portland around 2:00 pm, and headed directly into the downtown area. Portland is full of many cool little urban neighborhoods. Lots of energy, artsy-ness, lots of cafes, galleries, and shops. I really dug the place!

Hangin' out @ a downtown coffee shop

Hangin’ out @ a downtown coffee shop

Trixie, diggin' the Portland coffee house scene!

Trixie, diggin’ the Portland coffee house scene!

Fish gate on a downtown store front

Fish gate on a downtown store front

We’d been warned by friends about bike theft in Portland, and so we made a stop at a local bike shop and bought another kryptonite cable lock to lock the bikes up to each other and to the bike rack on the back of the RV. 

I was craving veggies (yes, I love veggies, and hadn’t been getting enough of them on the road), and was thrilled to spot a tiny little juice stand right near the bike shop. Got me some super-duper-veggie charged drink, and immediately felt healthier!

Juice & smoothie stand.

Juice & smoothie stand.

The day was getting on, so we headed about 7 miles out of the city, to the Jantzen Beach RV Park. We got ourselves a nice little spot, wedged in tight between the other RV’s, and right smack dab underneath a huge security light. You know the kind of lights that are installed on big poles in big parking lots to keep crime down? Yep…right under one of those suckers! 

And so, the day came to an end…or didn’t come to an end….perpetual daylight was upon us!! Very disorienting when I woke up at 1:00 am, and thought it must have been 10:00 am ‘cause it was so bright!! Oh well. There are much worse problems to have in life than a little too much daylight during the night!

Good Beer & Pizza Makes Us Happy!

Flight of Beer @ Double Mountain Brewery

Flight of Beer @ Double Mountain Brewery

After 8 or 9 days on the road, Mark and I were falling into our “jobs” quite nicely. Mark cooked, I did the dishes. Mark dealt with the electric/water/sewer hook-ups, while I dealt with cleaning the bathroom, and sweeping the floor, and doing the laundry. 

At home, I usually do most of the cooking. But as soon as I’m in the RV, I become cooking impaired. I’m like a deer in headlights, and can’t even begin to figure out where to start on a meal. Thank goodness, Mark took to it right away and has been enjoying being the head chef. I enjoy that he cooks for me, even if he is a wee bit bossy when he cooks. He’ll deny it, but it’s true.

My big contribution on Day #9, was that I rigged up a way to prop the bathroom door open so that it didn’t just slam shut on us. It’s small things like this, that make life easier on the road in a tiny space. It’s now day #27, and my contraption has held up well, and we use it every day.

I spent a good part of the day reorganizing stuff in the space shuttle. This wasn’t my first reorganization, and wouldn’t be my last. The more organized stuff is, the easier day to day life is. Small things, like having crap fall out of the overhead compartment onto your head every day, can aggravate the hell out of you. So, organizing your stuff is important!

So yea, Day #9 was pretty laid-back. 

In the evening we drove into downtown Hood River. With the weather being super clear (i.e., so much wind, there wasn’t so much as a cloud in the sky…Hood River is like the windsurfing capital of the planet, for good reason), we had a stellar view of Mt. Hood as we drove across the bridge. Glorious!

Mt. Hood, Oregon

Mt. Hood, Oregon

And then, probably the best part of the day…..dinner & beers at Double Mountain Brewery. Yummy pizza & beers, good service, nice people! Seeing Mt. Hood was cool, but it’s just hard to beat good pizza and beer for the Number 1 spot!!

Double Mountain Brewery

Double Mountain Brewery

Celebrating Crummy Canned Foods From the 1960’s

Multnomah Falls, Oregon

Multnomah Falls, Oregon

Day #8

Since we’d un-virginized  the RV propane stove yesterday while preparing a wholesome  dinner of Dinty Moore Stew, it was easy to do the same today. So, while sitting in the Bridge RV Park in White Salmon, Washington, while Lew Farber began work on our solar upgrade, we dove right into another culinary bastardaization…lunch…Chef Boyardee Spaghetti and Meatballs.

My normally healthy eating habits were on a speedy decline. And I was actually enjoying it. I devoured the spaghetti and meatballs. I have heard people say that everything tastes extra good when you’re glamping, and I was beginning to believe it, ‘cause here I was, kind of enjoying my can of spaghetti!!

After lunch, Mark and I headed out on a day trip in a rental car, while Lew worked on the rig.

Lew, working on our solar panel install & upgrade. White Salmon, WA

Lew, working on our solar panel install & upgrade. White Salmon, WA

We drove west from White Salmon, through Carson, and ended up at the Columbia River Gorge Interpretive Center. Cool museum.

Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center Museum. Washington

Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center Museum

Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center Museum. Washington

Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center Museum

Ya know what I learned at the Interpretive Center? That in Skamania County, it is illegal to hunt Sasquatch (Big Foot.).  The reason being this….If Big Foot was killed, and was deemed a human, than he would fall under the jurisdiction of the Sherriff’s Department. If Big Foot was killed and was deemed an animal, he would fall under the jurisdiction of the Department of Fish and Game. Neither department wanted to deal with it, so they just made it illegal to hunt him. Makes sense.

Enough of filling our brains with cultural stuff and information that’s difficult to retain. So we drove back over to the Oregon side of the river, to Multnomah Falls.

Multnomah Falls, Oregon

Multnomah Falls, Oregon

Multnomah Falls, Oregon

Multnomah Falls, Oregon

Mark, hiking back down @ Multnomah Falls, Oregon

Mark, hiking back down @ Multnomah Falls, Oregon

Hiked to the top. I think it was about a mile to the top, via some steep switchbacks. We did secret races against the other hikers. Kicked ass on every single one of them. Slow and steady never wins any race. Faster is better, even if it kills you.

Is It Summer or Winter, And Why Is It Hailing On Us?

Crossing the river from Hood River, Oregon to White Salmon, Washington

Crossing the river from Hood River, Oregon to White Salmon, Washington

Ya know how I’ve mentioned, at least a couple times, about how cold we’ve been on this trip so far? Yea, well, this morning, while filling up with gas and checking the air in the tires, we got hailed upon. 

It is freakin’ Summer…the middle of June…June 16th…and it is hailing on us!! What up with that??!!!

Grabbed a couple of hot chocolates from the service station mini-mart, and once again, berated myself for not bringing a winter scarf.

The plan for today, was to just head north to Hood River, Oregon. On the way, we stopped for lunch at Eagle Crossing Restaurant, on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation. Nothing unusual to report, except for the freakishly gargantuan Indian Fry Bread Burger that Mark ordered. The burger was on the “very large” side, but the Fry Bread bun was on the “off-the-charts” gigantic size. Had to have been 8” in diameter. Could kick myself for not getting a better photo of it. You had to have seen it to believe it.

The rest of the drive to Hood River was probably beautiful, but it was hard to see through the fog and rain. Many of the little roadside stops (for fruit, crafts, etc) were closed because it was still a bit early in the season. 

I have to ask…When exactly is the summer tourist season in these parts? It was almost the middle of summer. Summer Solstice was only five days away, but you would never know it!

Narrow bridge over the Columbia River, between Hood River, OR and White Salmon, WA

Narrow bridge over the Columbia River, between Hood River, OR and White Salmon, WA

We arrived in Hood River in late afternoon. The rain cleared and we did a drive-a-bout through Hood River. Nice little town. And we had a look around some of the country roads outside of town. Very scenic. Decided this was a nice place!

That evening, we had two landmark events. First, we used our RV propane stove top for the first time. This was a big deal. I had feared the stove, and had banned the use of it. I was afraid we’d explode ourselves, or, that we’d stink the place up so badly that it’d be hard to sleep in there. And second, for the first time in my life, I ate a can of Dinty Moore stew.

We did NOT blow up the RV. The stew DID stink. The stew was palatable. And the stink eventually cleared out. And, as usual, we were pretty happy campers!

Made a note to myself to buy dish soap. Up until now, we’d been washing our dishes in bath gel.

Taking The Other Way Around!

ImageThe route untaken.

We started out Day #4 with a plan to drive north into Oregon, to a place that our friend, Carson, had recommended. Belknap Hot Springs. We never made it.

We did start the day by heading north. We drove past Shasta Lake (looked beautiful at 60mph), and caught a glimpse of Mt. Shasta from the scenic overlook spot ( at zero mph…we actually stopped to look at it). It was quite windy, cold, and starting to sprinkle. Figured we must be getting close to Oregon.


Image
Mt. Shasta @ 60 mph

Image

Mt. Shasta in the distance.

We crossed into Oregon at exactly 12:04 pm. The sign snuck up on me, so no photo available to share. It was definitely raining out now, and Mark mumbled,

The rain cleans the “California” right off of ya.

We continued heading north towards Belknap Hot Springs, when we saw a sign saying “Scenic Byway.” We couldn’t resist,  which is why we never made it to the hot springs. It was a good decision. What a fine and beautiful route is was! A meandering country road. Just beautiful. And no rain.

Image

A walk in the woods off the scenic byway.

Came across this cool car at the gas station along the way. This couple was driving to the guy’s 50th high school reunion. This is the same car he drove in high school. He’d kept it all these years, and just kept fixing it up. They bought a small trailer that could easily be pulled by the old blue car. Nice set-up!

ImageNice car!

After a lovely drive on this unplanned detour, we arrived at Crater Lake, and at the Crater Lake Campground. Got us a gorgeous camp site amongst the trees. It was raining and bloody freakin’ cold outside!! It was 43 degrees at 5:00pm. Brrrrrrr. Apparently it had been snowing earlier in the day. Nice for us Californian’s, eh?

We had a nice cozy evening indoors. I fired up the heater, and Mark fired up the espresso maker. We nuked a pizza, made a salad, and opened up a bottle of Russian Imperial Stout, and looked forward to seeing Crater Lake in the morning!

ImageOur campsite @ Crater Lake.

ImageNo glamper should be without espresso.

ImageHappy man, relaxing in the back w/ computer and espresso.

ImageDinner time. Pizza, salad, beer, and dogs at our feet.