Airstream Time

Exploring North America in an Airstream

Posts from the ‘Biking’ category

Savannah National Wildlife Refuge

May 13, 2018

Martha went for a kayak trip on the Skidaway River for about an hour and a half. She had two porpoises swim beside her for a bit.

We then went to the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge. It was a hot day at 91 degrees at its peak. The sun was very intense, and with the humidity at 87%, it’s oppressive. There is a fabulous 4-mile drive through the refuge. Originally rice plantations, where gates flooded the rice fields. There are no more rice fields, but it is planted with a variety of wildlife foods. There was a huge variety of birds, and we saw a number of alligators. This is a very cool place, with the Savannah loading docks in plain view. I could have shot pictures all day. 

sa·van·na, noun: savanna

a grassy plain in tropical and subtropical regions, with few trees.

We got the bikes out and rode the Little Back River Trail for about an hour. There is a lot to explore here with hiking trails and biking trails, viewing blinds and a driving tour. There are 31,551 acres of wetlands. 

Hunting Island Day 3

At low tide I took my camera up the beach for some pictures. This is such a cool beach Where wildlife manages to survive among humans. 

We then took a bike ride on Magnolia Trail and Lagoon Trail, then back on Maritime  Trail. I went for a swim in the ocean to cool off after that. It was just the right temperature to cool me off. A father and his teenage kids were having fun surfing the waves.  

Bike The Galloping Goose Trail

Monday, October 16, 2017

We hiked from the campground to the Galloping Goose Trail, a rails-to-trails that runs from Victoria to Leechtown, just north of Sooke. This is 55 km, but they are building an ENN Trail in Victoria that will connect. Seeing how pretty it was, we walked back to camp and brought the bikes back up. We rode 12 miles up to Sooke and back. It goes along Lake Matheson and Roche Cove and into Sooke. It was all through a beautiful rain forest where moss grows a foot thick on trees, and ferns grow out of rocks. There were trestles across streams and great views of the lake, cove and the Straight of Juan de Fuca. Some beautiful houses sat on rocky outcrops with great views. We might have gone further, but with a prediction of rain and gathering clouds, we turned back. It didn’t seem as far going back, and it was all flat. This is a gorgeous trail with benches in scenic locations, kilometer markers and maps along the way.

We went back into Sooke to the grocery store, then Martha wanted to stop and get some beer at a liquor store. I couldn’t believe all the craft beers. How could you ever choose? It’s like buying wine now. She bought one big craft beer, Dark Lager by Tofino Brewing Company and a six pack of something else. The Dark Lager was excellent. We cooked a nice dinner of rainbow trout, rice, a nice Italian bread and leftover ratatouille.

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Capilano Suspension Bridge, Vancouver Aquarium

October 4, 2017

Riding our bikes north along Capilano Road, we came to Capilano Suspension Bridge Park where the Capilano River cuts through a gorge. Huge cliffs stand on the east side of the gorge. A cruise ship must have just come into Vancouver, as it was crowded with people speaking Japanese. I’m sure this swinging bridge will support all the people you could cram onto it, but it is also a long way to fall if something goes wrong. Of course there is always someone who wants to make it swing more. Others stop to take pictures of themselves or their families. Once on the other side there are wooden walkway trails and canopy walks. Except for the masses of humanity, it is all very pretty amongst beautiful, big trees. Back on the starting side, is a cliff walk that is cool. At least it doesn’t move. It’s $40 to get in, but they have done a fabulous job of building it, while minimizing the impact.

We rode back to camp, which was all downhill. I don’t know which is more frightening, the swinging bridge or biking in the city. After lunch, we took the more frightening route across Lion’s Gate Bridge. Traffic is always busy across the bridge that goes into Vancouver, but the bike/walk trail is protected by cables. The scary part comes when other bikers want to pass, and you have to move over toward the right where there is a slot big enough for your tire to go through. You wouldn’t go through, but it would cause a fall, which could knock the other rider into traffic. Thinking of all that makes it difficult to hold the bike steady while someone passes.

Vancouver Aquarium gets an A+. It is a great aquarium with the usual porpoises, sea lions and fish in tanks, but they do some cool things. They have a 4-D movie about the great sardine migration and all the animals who depend on them for food, complete with water splashing in your face and whooshing wind at your back. They also have lots of very cool jelly fish displays. There is a room where they have pictures of different places in British Columbia with a tank below showing what lives in the water. There was a good video on sustainable fisheries. I know wild-caught is the rage and probably better for you, but it is not sustainable. How there are enough fish to feed the masses of humanity, I just don’t know. Then there are all the other animals that need to eat.

Getting back on the bikes and riding through beautiful Stanley Park, we agreed we could have spent a month just exploring this great park. I am getting excited about leaving tomorrow for Vancouver Island.

Vancouver

October 2, 2017

It’s not a bad drive from Seattle to Vancouver of about 3 hours. We checked into Capilano RV Park, then got the bikes out and took a ride over Lion’s Gate Bridge to Stanley Park. This is a gorgeous park in a forest with huge, old trees. Biking, hiking and carriage trails go all through and around the park. There is a lovely teahouse overlooking the water, and there are other places to get a coffee or something to eat. Some bikers were like us, touristing along, while others were out for a serious workout. It was a beautiful day, sunny and 70 degrees, perfect for a bike ride.

Hike Squirrel Cache, Bike to Ralph’s for a Milkshake

September 29, 2017

As we got ready to hike Squirrel Cache Trail, Ken and Ruth came over. We had spoken last night as they were cooking dinner because they have a new 19’ Bambi. They are from Spokane and wanted to get their new Airstream out. They knew all about the campground and the area. Previously tent campers, this is all new to them, but Ken is an avid reader of the Airstream Forum. As we stood there talking, another couple came up. They too have an Airstream, a 23’. Both couples were very nice and interesting to chat with.

The Squirrel Cache hike was an easy hike, even though we made a wrong turn somehow. I keep looking at trees with holes all through them for a baby owl to be sitting in the opening.

After lunch we rode the bikes into Bayview and Ralph’s for ice cream and WIFI. Riding the Lynx Trail over gravel, rocks and tree roots slowed things down quite a bit. It makes it interesting for a while, but we rode on the road coming back. Bayview is really a nice, little town in a beautiful setting with big mountains surrounding a beautiful lake. I ordered a double scoop chocolate cone, while Martha went for the Huckleberry milkshake. Both were outstanding. I’m going to miss Ralph’s. He is sponsoring a fishing tournament this weekend and had 78 entries.

Back at camp, Martha cooked salmon, potatoes and brussel sprouts over an open fire. She is very good at cooking this way.

McCall, Idaho and Ponderosa State Park

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September 13-17, 2017

McCall is a nice little town on beautiful Payette Lake. It has a population of 3,278, but swells to 20,000 in the summer. Many people from Boise have summer houses around the lake. It is also a ski area in the winter. There are interesting shops and restaurants, lots of bike hiking trails.

We went to the farmer’s market and bought a melon, a loaf of bread and honey. There weren’t a lot of stands, but they were good ones. There was a vintage sports car rally in the park, so we checked that out. A Triumph GT6 in immaculate condition caught my eye. What a beautiful car, reminding me of a GY3 I wanted to buy in college. I had worked road construction all summer, putting in a lot of overtime building I64. A sports car restoration place had just rebuilt an older GT3. I had the money to buy it, but Dad said he would buy me a new car when I graduated from college. Graduating in 1968, he bought me a white 1965 Ford Custom, as plain a car as ever made. It did well though, and probably kept me a lot safer.

Then I went to Jamie’s Barber Shop and got a much-needed haircut. It’s a small one-chair shop with a piano on one side. Several books of music were on the stand. A nice jazz station played through the internet. Turns out that Jamie plays five or six nights a week around town and for personal parties. He taught himself to play, never having a lesson, but obviously loves it. He also cuts hair, but just in the afternoons in this small town. With the door open to Lake Street, the main street through town, I watched people passing by as we talked. A very neat guy, Jamie cleans up between each client, cleaning all the instruments, sweeping the floor, and wiping all surfaces. It was a far-better haircut than my last one in Oregon.

After lunch, we took a bike ride around Ponderosa State Park. It’s a great path, paved on the west side and gravel on the east. Lots of people were walking and biking, enjoying a beautiful day. Three of the campground loops will close next week, leaving just one open. It is getting down to 30 degrees some nights, and it takes a lot of work to winterize everything. For the first time in months, we built a fire in the evening. It was a perfect evening for it.

As we sat there, we noticed an older man having trouble hooking up an old Excella Airstream, so Martha suggested I go over and help. I don’t know how old Bill was, but he couldn’t line up the hitch and ball. He had taped a flashlight just behind the ball. There was a mirror attacked to the back window of his truck bed shell so he could see the ball. It was an odd angle, so he just couldn’t get it. He was very appreciative for the help, and with a few tries, we got it. This old Excella had obviously been a lot of miles. He said he bought it used in 1992, and he hadn’t babied it.

On Sunday we drove up to Brundage Mountain Ski Resort. Usually they run the ski lift to take people to the top of the mountain where they rent mountain bikes to ride back down, but they were closed. It is no longer summer and the road was being paved. Seeing the road construction delay, I started to turn around when the pilot car driver came running back to us. He said they were about to start up the mountain, and the delays were very short. Who ever saw a pilot car driver do that? At the top, he said he thought Brundage was closed, but said if we continue on the gravel road to the top, there is a beautiful overlook. Past that is the reservoir. Six miles past that is another lake, and 10 miles past is another. It never ceases to amaze me how far westerners will travel on a dusty, bumpy gravel road to get somewhere.

The overlook was indeed beautiful, looking down at a beautiful trout stream that is impossible to get to. The reservoir was very low, but one boat was fishing and someone had pitched a tent. Several cars passed us, one zooming back toward town. Martha suggested going to the next lake and fishing. I quickly calculated six more miles at 25 miles an hour, then six back and then down through construction to town. With maybe an hour of fishing, it would shoot the whole day, so we headed back down.

After lunch we rode the bikes on North Valley Rails-to-Trails. It was a pretty ride through farms and houses and a pretty marsh. The wind picked up as a front started to push through. Rain is predicted to come.

Lancaster County Bike Ride

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41℉ at 5:00, high of 64℉

Monday, October 31, 2016

I went to Nissan in Lancaster to have a pinion seal replaced. Suddenly I was just like everyone else, rushing to get somewhere. At 6:15 in the morning, there was a lot of traffic. I wasn’t expecting that at that time of day. I wouldn’t have made it without the GPS telling me where to go.  It was nice to catch up on posting with their great WIFI. As I drove back I saw Martha walking home from shopping. She had seen some good things, so we went back. I needed a snack, so we went to the pretzel shop on Main Street. A young Amish girl greeted us, and we asked for two whole wheat pretzels. She suggested we sit outside while she made them, and she would bring them out. I got a freshly squeezed lemonade and we sat outside. Fifteen little chickadees knew the routine. Sitting on the railing, in a bush and on the deck, they watched our every move. Once the pretzels came, they really got excited. The pretzel was so good, hot, soft, but I should have requested massive amounts of salt. Otherwise, it was a perfect pretzel.  I saved a few crumbs for the birds. 

There is a great jam and jelly store, where they make everything right there. I watched them for a while cooking and stirring, and loading jars. There were several cool things about this store. One, you could watch them making it, so you know that part is authentic. Two, you can taste everything with sampling jars and chips or crackers all around. Three, there are some concoctions I have never heard of. I wanted to try them all! 

On the way back, we passed a beautiful Vis-a-Vis carriage. Two young ladies were removing the gear from two beautiful Percherons. They had come to take a disabled girl for a carriage ride. I wish I had seen all of this in action, but we had a nice chat as I imagined driving this beautiful rig.

After lunch Martha took me for the bike ride she had done yesterday, along the Scenic Road, along Ridge Road and to the ice cream store on one of the farms. This was a good ride through beautiful country. Little children were happily walking home with their bright yellow alert vests on. We turned into Lapp Valley Farm, up the drive and past the house. Across from the barn where someone was feeding the milk cows was an ice cream store. A porch surrounded it with tables and chairs arranged around it. I pretty kitty cat greeted us from the railing. Three young Amish girls greeted us. As she scooped our chocolate and raspberry ice cream, I looked around the store. There was a window behind the counter, and realized people were driving around back to order from their cars. There was a pretty steady line. A gentleman walked out with a bag of pints of ice cream. They don’t take credit cards, so there was a handy ATM machine to the side. Two tall rotating racks were filled with Amish books. I thought several would be interesting reading. We headed out tot he porch in the sun and sat down. The kitty followed and soon was crawling down Martha’s arm to get a taste of our ice cream. Her twin followed. I politely put them on the ground several times. Surely the girls would be watching, and they were very cute cats. We had turned out backs to the table, trying to protect our prize. When we finished I held the cup shoulder level. Both kitties put their feet on my shoulder and put their heads into the cup, quickly cleaning it. 

Riding back over the hill and turning along a ridge, a buggy turned out behind us. I could hear the lovely clip clop trot behind me. On level ground he was catching me. I love that sound! I looked at my bike speedometer that registered 11mph. That’s a fast trot! When I was eventing horses, I used to say a horse walk was 4 mph, trot 8mph and canter 12mph. Of course a racehorse can run 40mph. This trotter behind me had to be doing 12mph, which is a fast trot. We came to a down hill stretch where I coasted at 15mph, putting some unwanted distance between us. I will miss seeing the horses on the roads, in the barns and working the fields. 

We went back to Kauffman’s for some sausage to go with the sauerkraut. Then I went to a couple of antique stores looking for campfire tools, but couldn’t find any. I have been so amazed by the tracks and  grooves the buggies leave, I took some pictures. On one, you can see the wheel tracks that are rimmed with steel, but the other amazing thing is the deep groove the horses make in the paved road.

Wear of the road outside Intercourse where the horses trot along

Biking Lititz in Lancaster County

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59℉ at 6:00 am with high of 82

Sunday, October 30, 2016

We have enjoyed our neighbors so much. A young couple from Alabama, Page and Jeremy. They were packing up to leave, so we visited some more and said our goodbyes. Then we loaded Martha’s bike to go for a bike ride in Lititz. While waiting for Martha to get ready, I talked with gentleman hooking up a Nissan Titan to his giant trailer. He was in the horse business and used to haul horses all over, driving diesel dually trucks. I said I was worried about my transmission since I downshift so much on big hills, but he said it is a lot harder on the truck if you don’t downshift. Like me, he was worried about it being enough truck to pull the trailer that weighs 7,600 pounds, but he said it does great. He hardly knows the trailer is there, and he loves the engine. He said he measured his gas mileage at 19.5! I don’t measure mine very often, but it’s more like 15. 

We drove through the cute little town of Lititz, where a lot of shops were open on Sunday, and it was pretty busy when we drove in. I thought we were biking in a park, but Martha handed me a piece of paper with 28 turns on it and the mileage between turns – Sheez! We rode right up main street with cars parked on both sides and traffic coming through. A few turns later the route carried us along a pretty stream and past beautiful farms and some very expensive houses. Then it came out on a busy highway with a narrow bike lane. I wasn’t happy. Then through neighborhoods and back down main street. I felt like the Amish driving their buggies – fortunate to have survived. 

Then we drove across the county to the Toy Train Museum, which is very cool. It is built and maintained by toy train enthusiasts. Built like a train station, it seems to be in the middle of farm country. We chatted with the nice lady behind the desk before paying the senior rate with a AAA discount, of $5 each. There were maybe 21 different exhibits or setups, some with small trains and some with large. Pushing buttons, you could activate a train or equipment. A little boy was telling his mom all the details of what was going on in an exhibit. He was so excited. A bent old gentleman was doing the same with his patient wife. The lady at the front said once a year there is a toy train convention. People come from all over the world, bringing the same enthusiasm, trading and buying cars and accessories. 

Next to the museum is a caboose hotel where you can stay in one of a whole bunch of cabooses. What a cool idea. As we drove through to the far end, we heard a train whistle. There is a little train station there, but this train didn’t stop today. It was a sightseeing train with many cars and a lot of people touring Amish country. This would be a great way to see it. 

It was supposed to rain today, but it hadn’t come when we got back. I wanted to go out to the ridge road at sunset and take some pictures, but by the time we showered, the rains came in hard with a lot of wind. We settled in with a glass of wine and listened to one of the Neil Young CD’s I bought from Ken.

Lancaster County Day 2

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32℉ at 4:30

Saturday, October 29, 2016

I can’t get on the WIFI….again! We did laundry in the Beacon Hill Campground. They have a very nice laundry with good machines. The showers are also very good. You can borrow movies in the office, so we watched Robert Duval in “One Night in Mexico”, which was fun, but won’t win any awards. We get 20 channels on TV here, a first, but we just kept rotating channels trying to find something. 

In need of a haircut, I went over to Paradise. It didn’t open until 9:00 on Saturdays, so I walked around a bit. When I got back, Ken was opening up. Walking in to the two-chair shop, I was struck by hundreds of records in the small room. CD’s were arranged in boxes, some being for sale. As his new kitty tugged on my blue jeans, Ken began cutting. Of course we talked about all the music. There was an impressive array of equipment in the corner – turntable, receiver, CD player etc. He has collected since he was a kid. He said he has rooms of music in his home. He was proud of his new laser record player he got from Japan for $13,000 that will play very old, scratched up records without a flaw. He played a CD he recorded from WWII 78’s. It was flawless. I bought some CD’s as we continued to talk. This is a man who loves music, a very interesting fellow. I am so happy I needed a haircut! If you are ever in Paradise and need a haircut, or you love music, go see Ken at Sweigart Barber Shop!

We went into Intercourse (finally). Martha wanted to visit the bike shop to get some routes to ride. I walked the street and got a few pictures. I counted 8 tour busses parked a block off Main Street. It’s only a few blocks of town, but it looked like Bar Harbor. The Amish were also doing business and shopping on this Saturday morning, carriages and horses in the middle of busy traffic. They are allowed to use bikes without pedals, so we saw several using them. We drove up to Kauffman’s Store. Although the parking lot was full and a tour buss across the street, they moved people through quickly. All kinds of apples, apple cider, a great meat counter and all sorts of other goodies. We loaded up.

By the time we got back and had lunch, I didn’t feel so good and had a nice, long nap. Martha went for a bike ride through the beautiful farms. I hated missing that, but felt better. As you ride through the farms, you can find all kinds of treasures. Vegetables are everywhere, along with pumpkins, and watermelon. Some have baked goods, pies and breads. Some leave things on the corner to buy on the honor system. We passed a shoe store with five buggies parked in the front, and there is a hat store on a farm up the hill from our campground.