friends in Southern Oregon

Bonnie, Clem, and Echo

I spent the last week in Southern Oregon visiting friends who I’d not seen in three years, or longer. In Phoenix I visited Bruce Meek, who I lived with while living in Ashland  to get my master’s in Environmental Education, 1978 to 1982. Bruce’s family is Christy Hope and James, and Christy’s sister and nephew were also visiting. I had lunch with Ty Hisatomi in Ashland, catching up after longer than three years. I also spent some time just looking at Ashland to see what has change and what remains the same. Lithia Park is as always a pleasure and unchanged, but there is a tremendous amount of housing that wasn’t there before, and the town must be much busier and crowded.

I then visited Bonnie Brown and Clem outside of Gold Hill. They are still there, and as they said, will always be there. They live up Sardine Creek Road on a place with a large garden and fruit trees and forest. We hiked up to an old mine, and spent a lot of time just hanging out and talking. Very, very enjoyable.

The whole trip was done on public transportation and bike. I took Amtrak to Klamath Falls, and the bus to Medford, rode to Bruce’s, rode to Ashland and back, and rode from Medford to Gold Hill, including along the Rogue River in the (ex-) Gold Ray Dam section. They back to the bus and back to the train and back home.

Photos at https://allisondan.wordpress.com/2012/02/26/friends-in-southern-oregon/. I neglected to get any photos of Bruce and family, so I’ll just have to visit again.

The Brompton

Dan's beautiful new Brompton

After thinking about it for more than a year, I finally bought a folding bike. It is a Brompton, probably the best made folding bike in existence, though Bike Fridays seemed pretty good too. I love it, love it, love it.

I’ve only taken one trip with it so far, from Reno to Sacramento and back on Amtrak, and it was a real pleasure. It tucked into the baggage shelf just fine. It folds down to the size of a medium suitcase, so works well for train, bus or plane (at least on Southwest, which is all I fly anyway). I’m going to fly with it for the first time in January, part of a trip to San Luis Obispo for Contra Carnivale. The rest of the trip is on train.

It was great to have a bike while in Sacramento. I rode the American River Parkway one afternoon, got to the conference I was attending (Safe Routes) on light rail and riding, and rode to dinner twice and the grocery store once. I’ve taken my road bike to Sacramento and even San Francisco before, but always had to use the bus to Sacramento because the only way to take full bikes on the Amtrak California Zephyr is to box them.

I’ve ridden a lot around Carson City, and everywhere I go I get compliments or at least comments, which was rarely true on my road bike. Kids especially think the bike is cool, and many ask me if they can ride it.

Though I test drove the bike for a couple of hours last summer, I was unsure about how different it would feel and handle from my road bike. My road bike is a 1971 Motobecane Grand Touring (made in France, 10 speeds, classic steel frame). The weight is not much different, and it doesn’t really handle much different. I lose a little power due to the small 16 inch wheels, and a little to a more upright riding position, but not much. Handling is a bit looser. not a bike to ride hands-free, but it tracks well. And it has fenders and wider tires, so it was no problem to ride it in a few inches of snow this morning.

I bought the bike from Channell Wasson in Palo Alto, who used to be the only US dealer, and the bike is made by Brompton in London, England. Channell spent about four hours with me talking about Bromptons and bikes in general, and I’d recommend him to anyone.