… Phew… what a fun weekend that was! I had such a good time even though i am now suffering the consequences (more on that later). I seriously needed the time to switch off. The weekend was totally packed but I still had time to contemplate a work-related decision. Earlier today I put things in motion so history will tell whether it was the right one.
On Friday, I left early from work in order to buy few little things from REI (I only needed new camping fork, spoon, and knife) and I ended up spending $240!!! :-) It’s all good though since I am really preparing for a loooong riding/camping trip for 2-3 weeks. Destination is yet to be determined but, after Coco’s recommendation, Baja California for some scuba diving is high on the possibilities. For now, I am going to enjoy every single weekend here in Seattle :-)
I got home and started preparing the bike for the road trip. Destination was Hood River where I was going to meet Sheryl and a group of her friends.
I wanted to enjoy some good riding so I looked at the maps for alternative ways of getting there. The fellow riders at Microsoft not only confirmed that it was a good route but suggested that it was amongst the best (if not THE best) road for riders, full of turns, up in the mountains, with great views. Well, it was SPECTACULAR. So much, in fact, that I am looking forward to doing it again.
I had the entire road almost to myself. I was able to throw the bike left and right, to take corners fast, to pump up my levels of adrenaline on a number of occasions :-). I had few scares but the only real danger was when, at a left turn, I found myself facing another rider who had decided to use my lane in order to avoid some holes in his. Grrrr!
So, with the first opportunity I am doing the Randle – Northwoods – Carson route again (NF-25 and NF-90), going through a national forest, up the mountains, and the twisty roads.
I stopped at a random grill, at a random town on the way, and I had soooo much fun. The people there were very welcoming, especially the two married women (on their own) who were totally flirting with me (or, at least I thought they were :-). Unfortunately I don’t remember the name of the town but, looking at the map, I think it was either Carson or Stevenson. After the stop for food and drinks, I was on the way towards Hood River and the Tucker Park camp, to find the rest of the folks who had arrived a day earlier.
(Columbia river as I was approaching Hood River, I just arrived, Sheryl and I go grocery shopping, the camp at night, and Sheryl)
Saturday was about hiking and swimming (well, ok… just staying afloat :-). After breakfast, we drove towards the Lost Lake area (I took the bike :-), about 20-25 miles away from Hood River. A number of us went on a 2-hour hike. The view of Mount Hood from the top was amazing! It was also fun to find a wedding party at the very top. We had just missed the ceremony but we were still able to chat with the very nice folks and the young pastor.
(Eric chilling, and being shot by Kristin, the camp in the morning, next to the Hood river)
(Lost Lake, hiking… wayyyy too hot, Mount Hood)
There are some incriminating photos of me in the lake. I will upload them when i get them from the other peoples’ cameras :-) (well, I’ll think about it at least :-)
Dinner was at a Hood River restaurant… really nice. Then back to the camp for marshmallows with chocolate (there is a shorter term for them but I don’t remember it… second time I had them… first was July 4th this year) and sausages :-)
(Sheryl, a romantic moment with Daniel who is married btw… so don’t get any ideas please, and Savas with Daniel and his wife, Sheryl, Kristin, Erin, Amanda, Alayna, and Kathy)
On Sunday, we had arranged to take windsurfing lessons. Sheryl and I arrived there a little bit late. As a result, I didn’t apply the sun block cream properly and i am now suffering from a totally burned back :-( The windsurfing was amazing though. I seriously enjoyed it and I want to learn more now. I was falling all the time, of course :-) It felt like learning how to ski. If it wasn’t for my sunburn, I would probably be aching from all the bruises now :-) Nevertheless, windsurfing was absolutely fantastic and I had a blast.
I took the scenic Highway 14 until I found I5 and then back to Seattle. I wanted to arrive back relatively early so I could concentrate on the book, on which I did some work while at the camp.
(the view of Columbia river from Highway 14)
I worked till 3am on Sunday. Today (Monday) was our 50% deadline with O’Reilly and I am pleased to report that we’ve made it!!! Chapters 1-4 & 11 have been submitted. But it seems that we are doing even better since we believe that in 2-3 weeks (if not sooner) we will be able to also submit chapters 5, 7, and 8 as well, positioning us ahead of the agreed schedule, which would be absolutely fantastic! Ian, Jim, and I have worked hard and I think the results are starting to show!
Well, the weekend was absolutely amazing, I met new people, learned (well… sort of) how to windsurf, camped, submitted 50% of the Web book, and made an important career-related decision. August has started really well. Next week or the following one we are probably going camping at Shi Shi beach. Can’t wait.
Max Elevation: 4,081ft.
Distance: 474mi (unfortunately I forgot to include the day trips)
Max speed: Would be self-incriminating
* The photographs with the rounded corners are from Sheryl’s camera.