January 20, 2012
[EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the FIRST INSTALLMENT of the Catalog Tales. It's the story of the adventure to collect photos for a catalog that morphed from a traditional piece to the publication now available by contacting us here.]
The Lowell Covered Bridge emerges from the haze like a dream while its reflection dances like an apparition in the nearly placid Dexter Lake as I drive past along Highway 58 headed east from Eugene into the mountains.
That would make a stellar photo by anyone’s standard. Since I’ve donated my Labor Day weekend to that particular cause, finding great photos of the essence of Oregon, the temptation gnaws at me.
I’m just 20 minutes into a weekend of travel and exploration, so I zip past. I could drive 20 minutes some other morning for this shot, and maybe catch the rowers in an 8-man scull in a perfect position. Not today. The clock is ticking.
The morning light that brings Dexter Lake to life won’t last forever. I’m hoping it at least holds on until I can get to Waldo Lake. That would be a perfect beginning for my adventure.
I have no more than a vague outline in my head of what I hope to do. Sure, there are some back at the office who shook their heads when I pitched my idea.
“I don’t understand why you think you need these photos …” the Devil’s Advocate said so matter-of-factly.
To be honest, I’m not sure I understand, either. The need comes from a source within, possibly my Muse. Maybe this is my only way to properly communicate how I feel about Bike Friday, both the company and the bikes.
A Picture is worth …
I’m a writer. Words, sometimes, don’t feel adequate.
So that’s why I packed up three Bike Fridays, camping gear and squeezed in my black lab Ridgely. That, and the fact that I’m about to produce my first catalog for Bike Friday.
I believe in themes in any communication. This catalog will celebrate our 20th anniversary. A lot can change in 20 years.
One thing that stayed true, through it all, was the commitment by Hanz and Alan Scholz to keep building Bike Fridays in Oregon.
Bike Fridays represent the independent spirit of adventure that defines Oregon, that was born with the Oregon Trail and lives on. I wanted to capture that in the photos.
So, Waldo Lake emerged as stop No. 1 on my journey, if for no other reason, it was the first great photo op on my way to the quintessential Oregon scenic — Crater Lake National Park.
The main artery that pumps life into Eugene, the Willamette River, begins in the crystal clear waters of Waldo Lake high above the mountain bike nest of Oakridge.
For some hardcore Oregonians, the aspect of the Waldo Lake experience that reveals our essence beyond its breathtaking views is the sound of silence.
You cannot run a combustion engine on Waldo Lake. Interaction with the lake remains natural.
The fact that I zoomed past Dexter Lake with the image in my head of rowers gliding on glass is not lost on me as I pull up to Shadow Bay and see men preparing hand-made wooden kayaks for morning of paddling.
They prove to be as intrigued by my folding bikes as I am with their kayaks.
They take the time to explain to me the details of ordering a kit, and building your own kayak. I watched from afar as a neighbor and his friend slowly pieced together a wooden canoe, and despite my lack of handyman skills, I’m tempted.
Likewise, I surprise them with word that Bike Fridays are built right in Eugene. They remark how well a folding bicycle would have worked on a recent trip that involved short portages from river to river.
I point out they wouldn’t be the first to strap a Bike Friday to their vessels.
The New World Tourist appears on the boat ramp, with the kayaks launching.
The Pocket Llama waits its turn in the truck.
About 30 minutes later, I’m heading for the north side of the lake feeling that it is going to be a special weekend.
My mind wanders as I race morning light to the other side.
What I love about Waldo Lake is that you could easily find any one of these three Bike Fridays here.
If you’re touring through Oregon on your New World Tourist, the route from Eugene to Crater Lake would take you up Highway 58, through Oakridge, past Salt Creek Falls, Waldo Lake and over the Willamette Pass.
Shelter Cove on the west end of Odell Lake offers a calmer side of that legendary splash in the Cascades. A stop at the Odell Lake Lodge is a must, if, for no other reason, than to see the mounted Mackinaw that lurk beneath the surface.
The Mackinaw – huge lake trout that can exceed 30 pounds — always capture my attention.
But don’t let me get ahead of myself. That’s farther up the road.
I’ve yet to come to Waldo Lake when the roads are clear of snow and not see roadies taking advantage of the challenging terrain and wonderful views.
Driving through the campgrounds, mountain bikes like the Pocket Llama have only a slight edge in numbers of Pocket Rocket-like road bikes.
Which, of course, brings me to the Llama.
It comes out of the truck on the north end of the lake, screaming for action.
I have one particular photo in my mind’s eye that I cannot leave without.
To get that photo, however, it will mean, however, hitting the trail.
So much for keeping this brand-new Ink Black Llama in pristine condition for its photo shoot. The dusty trails that wind through the Taylor Burn area en route to my destination turn the Big Apples a shade of burnt orange, not to mention coat the rest of the bike.
A bath in the stream helps a little, and I get a bit carried away with some experimental photos.
They toy with my mind.
They look interesting, but really, what’s the story?
This Bike Friday just decided to head out on a log, and see how far it could get?
Somehow I’m transferring Ridgely’s curious personality to the bikes.
It might be a loooong weekend.
I eventually get back on the Llama.
About 20 minutes into the ride I’m completely overwhelmed by the joy of scooting up and down the trail, exquisite views of the lake popping in and out of the trees. I’ve forgotten this is my Bike Friday, and not my Gary Fisher Cake.
When I find my spot for my photo, the temptation to throw away the rest of the day on the trail and complete the 23-mile loop around the lake — one of the outstanding mountain bike adventures Oregon has to offer — is cranked up in intensity by my heart rate.
The calming views of my photo bring me back to reality.
I’ve got miles to log before the evening light. Photos to shoot.
[STAY TUNED FOR INSTALLMENT 2 ....]