The adventure began not with a bike ride, but with a ridiculously long car drive, from Alberta to British Columbia, through Montana, and on to Idaho and then Washington.
There we stopped for the first night in Spokane, and the boy roamed the streets on his strider bike.
I arrived in Bend the next day in a haze of sleep deprivation, as it started to precipitate on us in a manner suspiciously similar to snow, and we ran to hide in the REI store. And then realised that releasing a recently car-bound small person into an exciting store was a terrible idea. Attempting to un-release the kraken proved challenging, but we managed to escape the store with minimum destruction and with some useful maps of bike trails.
The next plan was to work out where to stay. We didn’t want to go far, and the weather looked unpleasant. After dithering about on airbnb, we settled on Mill Inn, which had the combined benefits of bike storage, available rooms, and being walking distance from both the REI district (or Old Mill District, as it calls itself) and downtown Bend. Both of which places looked like they were straight out of a modern Urban Planning textbook (pedestrian oriented design! roundabouts! place-making! alternative traffic calming measures!).
The first morning of riding turned out rather disastrously, as I still hadn’t caught up on sleep, and was having micro-naps on my bike. This doesn’t work in lava rock gardens, and so I was returned to the Inn for more napping, while the menfolk rode some more, ate icecreams, and avoided painful death at the beaks of numerous Canada Geese.
The following morning began with a run up Pilot Butte, after which I started to feel a little more myself, and was followed up with a move to Tumalo State Forest campground, and a cruise around the Phil’s Trail network.
At the campground we’d opted to stay in a yurt, despite having our tent with us. I had strong and conflicted feelings about this. The yurt was expensive! But so convenient and comfortable! But does this mean I’ve become old and bourgeois and too good for a tent? Who did I think I was? I felt a little better when I reminded myself that there was no running water in the yurt, and it only had plastic windows, so really it was just a large and comfortable tent.
On the plus side, the boy absolutely mastered the art of sleeping in a sleeping bag while staying in the yurt, possibly helped by not lying in a tent right next to me in my sleeping bag, which is apparently always much warmer and more comfortable than his.
And so we’d settled into the yurt, ridden a few easier trails near town, eaten icecream, and taught the boy to refer to Canada Geese as Evil Geese. The weather forecast was looking better and better, and things seemed to be going well. To Be Continued…