(April 27, 2012) - PORTLAND, OREG. - so where were we…? Middle of the desert.. check… Riding bikes… check. Eating delicious meals prepared in the middle of nowhere with friends… check. No wait, we were putting down miles and getting to somewhere ELSE to ride bikes, right?
Yes, yes, of course… We were loading back up and pulling out of SnowBowl just outside Elko, and marveling at the scenery, somehow magically devoid of tree’d-matter, when we incited yet another iPhone-powered search for yet ANOTHER burrito-experience.
Thwarted by a botched-turn, a misinterpreted iPhone directive, and then a decision to go ‘grocery’ on our lunch-programme, we redirected towards a grocery store, where we proceeded to stuff coolers and my fridge with salad-matter, fruits and juices, ripped the vehicles apart in the parking lot, and prepared lunches on the spot and promptly sat down to enjoy.
Gassed and gone shortly thereafter, we made Bend Oregon our evening target… setting a course upon the road less-traveled, and making our way North from hwy 225>205 straight up through southern Oregon. Desolate-travel defines us. Interstate travel is best-suited for mini-vans-laden with tantrum-prone toddlers with a hasty-destination, piloted by unimaginative parents guided by needs dictated by frequent food and bathroom-stops.
We on the other hand, are out to inhale scenic vistas. To drink in the very essence of the country-side is our purpose. Connecting on a deeper level with the primordial scents of landscape, the gentle patina of light upon textures carved by the hands of time, observing life distilled to basics hues and gradients demarcating ingress and egress of day. We took on the role of observers, punctuating our recreation with deliberate movements across the geographic foundation of our country; the space which defines our place in the world as ‘americans’, as it were.
Southern Oregon passed as a great expanse of desert, eroding into high-desert punctuated by mountainous-features of which subsequently gave way to a lake-district about the time our daylight was to expire. Another gas-stop and the final push on to Bend, with a dinner-meal passing in the form of snacks and bars taken-on at the helm, headlights stabbing into another traffic-less evening across the lonely landscape.
Bend came around midnight once again (slightly before this time, actually), the final approach entailed dropping down out of the darkness towards the twinkle of incandescent civilization. Quick work was made of some brief urban navigation taking us to the south and west of town and straight to the trailhead whereupon we made our home for the evening. Phil’s trail was the subject of interest for the morning, and the cloak of darkness obscured what would provide an even greater source of interest than one single-trail could hope to provide.
0600hrs came quickly, with the air being shredded by the barking of a startled and somewhat antagonistic dog having discovered Michael sleeping on the ground between his truck and mine. I struggled with the urge to rise, prepare food, and explore immediate surroundings. I attempted to will the dog away, and to my horror, i heard more and more vehicles making their approach, yet more dogs, and then heard footfalls of runners. Runners? Do they KNOW what time it is? I remembered our proximity to Bend and connected the dots: Runners are obsessive and the fanatics tend to run early. We were close to a super-fit community. Things weren’t going to get better.
Indeed they weren’t. The parking lot population swelled to critical mass, and by 0700 or so, it was time to succumb to the urge to rise. Or maybe it was 0800?