My workbench

My workbench

Thursday, June 25, 2009

BAM

I found it!

From Eugene!

I crashed the night at Cael's, the dude I met in Croatia on the Beachsurfing adventure (the

FIRST American hitch-hiker I met!!!). He's a cool guy, with some wicked awesome plans to go

teach english down in south America and travel free; I totally support him!

I am beginning to notice a significant difference between "normal" people and the random

run-down travelers with whom I am associating and befriending. While I've got plenty of

good friends all around, the few whom I've met also living on the road seem super

trustworthy and I've just clicked with so strongly. It's difficult to explain, but I can

feel myself drawn in to some of these travel circles.

That being said, I still have a lot of contempt and considerable disdain for those 'travel

kids' whom go between three or four cities and simply get drunk and party. As everyone

knows, that's not quite my gig, and I'll pleasantly abstain.

On a completely random note, Cael's roommate Tobin brews his own beer! While his attempt at

a Belgian White did not come out as he had hoped (a little under-hopped), it was great to

taste someone's home brew, in addition to all of zthe brewpubs etc in this area.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Rambling postage

So I camped out a nigh above Cascade locks, right between bridge of the G-ds and I-84. Not the quietest campground, not a

good place for a fire, but a soft bed of ivy, along with immediate (100ft) access to running water/flush toilet. I rigged my

tarp mid-night sometime when the rain came down, and promptly crashed out afterwards. In the morning, I woke to a taut pitch

with one small trough holding (without dripping) water. I packed, headed back to the bathroom area, and spread out my gear

to dry. A nice gent with a dog dropped in, used the lav, chatted for a bit, and headed off to a short day hike with his dog.

After two hot oatmeals and a cup of tea (Stove, no fire), I repacked my gear tight and took off for Rt 14, the washington

state road (Like Rt 3A through wilderness) across Hood River from I-84.
My first lift dropped me 3 miles away, in the town of North Bonneville. From there, 20 minutes later, a lift dropped me

probably 20 miles away in the middle of a total nowhere. 10 minutes later, I got alift in the back of a pickup to the

outskirts of Vancouver, WA.
I walked my way from Exit 4 of Rt 14 to a coffee shop, picked up Wifi, called Arrow, hung out for a few hours while it

rained, and took off walking again. One sampler, two bowls of soup, and a pint of ESB (ALL of the beer was watery, and most

of it seemed to have a case of mistaken identity). I had a nice wander around Vancouver trying to find the walking path over

to Portland (need to stop asking homeless guys in WA for directions!), and away I went! I humped allll the way across

Vancouver and Portland to finally crash off next to the UP ebd/sbd split. There must have been a drug deal going down,

because I saw at least a half dozen cars driving down to an abandonded spot where I normally see homebums crashing out.
Well the next morning I walked to downtown Portland, where I caught a bus down to Tualatin, where I caught a diner breakfast

and hitched a ride to Salem. Arrow came to pick me up, and I spent a while running some errands and then showering and

hanging out at her place.
This morning, Arrow, Bolt (her daughter) and I drove down to Eugene, picking up Ben, a hitch-hiker (19, rather new to it) in

Salem and dropping him a few blocks from DirtyFeet's huose. I'm currently at DirtyFeets, having met she, her mother, as well

as Gingerail and her roommate. i'm going to crash at DirtyFeets (Ali: she lives in a Yurt!), and not sure what the future

holds. I offered to run escort for Ducky up to Seattle from Portland, but haven't gotten a response on that one. If not,

I've put out a few other offers to drop by, and will figure stuff out as I move on. Eugene seems like a pretty chill place,

and if I can find something to do/etc, I might actually stick around for an amount of time. At least, I think I might. And

then there's always MF, which Dameon invited me to go with him, and Gingerail seemed interested in. C'est la vie!

I've spent the past few days in Eugene, which I've found to be a really REALLY cool town/city in oregon. My plans are

finally taking form, if only because I've puttered around enough that I'm running out of large chunks of free time. So, it

looks something like this:

I'm going to Cougar Hot Springs to camp for a day/night
heading to Portland to see NickC and some friends, and I've just recently found that Alex will be in Portland Fri/Sat.
AMF goes from Monday to the 6th of July, and I'd like to attend SOME but not all.
Cael, the hitcher I met in Croatia, lives in Eugene. I'd like to stop back in and visit w/him.
I need to book flights to NYC and AMS/FRA.
Hiking in the sierras, which leads in to meeting with dad. This ends with my return to NYC, which leads to flying to Europe

a few days later.
Visiting with Anu for her birthday, checking back in with Casa, and hitching to Odessa for 7/8/9
Returning west a bit, meeting up with ANu, and traveling around with her somewhere, sometime.
Touring around Scananavia/the Baltics until I need to return back to the US.

That should drop me in NYC around the 10th of Sept.

Along the way, I'll be looking at visiting old friends etc.

NO idea what i'm doing this winter, but it could involve work, travel, or some combinatino therin. Work would include

working somewhere in/around the Gorge just east of Portland, Squaw Valley (Tahoe), Moonlight Basin, or heading to Colorado.

MANY possibilities.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Shelter thoughts?

Gatewood cape with Meteor Bivy...$250, but could SERIOUSLY be worth it eh?

18 ounces for no bugs, with a half-bivy and raingear! Also carbon fiber tent pole (45", see if it can be cut in 12" instead of 15"?)

The stuff is from Six Moons designs, and I know a few folks whom have traveled with the Cape. The big appeal is the multi-use design, as well as 360 degree coverage. I don't like single-use items, and I've been moving away from a tent as the versatility of one is definitely questionable.

Also, I'm in Vancouver, Washington (Just north of Portland). I'm headed down to Salem tomorrow, and from there to Eugene (Staying at Arrows sat. night). Ducky is looking for a hitch partner up to Seattle, and as I've never been there, I offered to go for some escort duty..waiting to hear back from her.

What've i been up to?

I hitched up to Government camp, was unable to make contact with Nikki, so I drank some beer, camped out, turned around, and left! So far, the Big Horse Brewpub in Hood River has had the best beer around, although there are plenty more places to check out. I especially loved the Belgian, though the Scotch ale and IPA were both worth writing about. The food was bomb aswell, especially since i was there during happy hour, and it was dirt cheap.

The gentleman (Jeff) whom gave me a lift from Government Camp all the way to Hood River had only been planning on driving 5 miles, but instead changed his mind and drove me the 40 to Hood River. As it turns out, he used to do what I am doing now, namely traveling around aimlessly. He now has two children and a wife, but continues to travel with the family on a less-than-wandering basis.

Bill gave me a lift from Hood River to The Dalles, and actually ended up giving me a lift across the bridge to Rt 14. He's been driving trucks for 35 years, starting out when he was younger and was discharged from the Army. At one point a few years ago he owned 112 trucks rented to various drivers, but as time progressed, he sold the trucks to the drivers in an effort to simplify his life. Despite his cheap car, he owned a SWEET Subaru NX (turbo), and was considering purchasing outright a pub in his area. He gave me $20 despite my protests, and in return I helped him hook up a printer in his office and showed him a few simple computer tricks which should make his life a bit easier.

Last night, after hitching in to Stevenson and enjoying some ice cream, I walked across Bridge of the G-ds and checked out the Pacific Crest Pub. Dale, a local from Washington, bought me four beers between he and his sister entertained me for the better part of three hours. Dale gave me a sweet bottle opener (in the shape of a credit card), which while excess weight, will stay with me. Kinda reminds me of Vanja's foot-bottle opener, which I gave to another traveler (probably at Big Sky? I can't quite recall...).

Today I walked back across the Bridge of the G-ds and hitched down to Vancouver, WA, where I am currently typing. This involved three rides, one in the back of a pickup truck. I spent a half hour staring at clouds while roaring down the highway (Don't tell mom!), but it was beautiful. Now I'm going to check out another brewpub in Vancouver, and walk back into Portland.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Eastbound plans

So, I spoke to Mom, and will be doing so again later (mom or dad), but either way, I've worked out a pretty inexpensive eastbound trip via plane to get back from Lone Pine (where I will be hiking with dad) to JFK airport.

Here goes:

Bus leaves Lone Pine 10:10AM, arrives Lancaster Greyhound 1:15 (MWF only!)
Train leaves 1:40PM from Lancaster, Arrives 3:33PM Union Station
Walk to Alameda St/Los Angeles St (NW corner)
(4PM)take bus to LAX City Bus CTR (1 hour)
Arrive LAX 6PM

Flight leaves at 915AM on 7/24
1.25
11
20.5
$34 from Lone Pine to LAX
$160 from LAX to JFK

NOTE: Dad, if you fly into LAX, you can do MOST of this in reverse, just change some of the times.


now THIS is how you PLAN. And travel inexpensively. Also, there are delays built in to each stop, to account for orienting myself, bathroom breaks, delays, etc.

There are just theoretical, nothing has been planned YET.

Brilliant new hitch-hiking sign

This is my new hitching sign. I'm honestly not sure how well it will work, but hey, I AM in Oregon. What's the worst that could happen?

brewpub tour?

So I had the brilliant idea to try a brewpub tour around the pacific northwest region. Sounds pretty cool eh? Well unfortunately i stumbled across a website...
Brewery and Brewpub map

Check it out. I'm actually hella intimidated, there must be 200 brewpubs in this area! I couldn't hit every one in a MONTH, much less a week or two. Especially not hitching around...

So I'm at something of a loss as what to do. I am completely overwhelmed by...Beer? I'm going to attempt to hit two more brewpubs today, ending up near Mt. Hood, and hitting up Nikki and Rick to hang out for a bit. After that, I'm thinking of heading south to Bend, and from there to Salem, which puts me back on the road to...Portland! After that, really, this time I'm heading east. Probably. I think.

Skype!

So, for those unaware, I picked up a new Netbook (Acer Aspire One 10.1), and it's great. 6-cell battery, wifi, and a webcam! With that in mind, WHO HAS SKYPE? I have a decent amoutn of time on the net, adn I can Skype people while I'm working etc. Almost every town has somewhere to pick up wireless internet (library, cafe, college, etc), and so I can actually stay in contact with people! So, if you've got skype, my e-mail address (as everyone knows) is llipschutz@gmail.com, look me up, add me, and we can talk. Mom, I'll set up your videocam when I get back there and we can vchat even.

Still in Hood River, I'm planning on doing a bit of beer touring today (3 breweries!), and then I'm probably headed back towards Portland (just got word that Nick might be headed into town).

So that's about it, had a good chat with Mecha yesterday, and outlined some possibilities of plans with Anu for touring a bit of the North. I still need to find a flight over, as well as figure out what i'm doing with Dad, etc. No real idea yet, aside from some concrete locations, so we'll see... (There is still a possibility I won't make it to 7/8/9).

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Portland Pride

So I am back in the Portland library, after spending a day attending the Portland Pride parade with Elise and some of her friends. It was awesome to see her and chat, and to know that not everything has changed. It was interesting to see, and quite a bit different, but a lot of fun.

Otherwise, enjoying my new netbook! It was a HUGE impulse purchase, but it's nice to get connected now and catch up on a lot of the stuff I've missed (or haven't really MISSED, in the emotional sense). Also this allows me todo a lot of my precious research, which is always helpful.

So, current-ish plans:
I want to see NickC when he and his bro roll into Portland, so I'm sticking around this area for a week (sorry mom and dad. i SWEAR I'm headed ebd [Eastbound] soon!). I'm going to visit Arrow down in Salem, and try to connect with Nikki and Rick in Hood River. I may be skipping Big Sky, but I happened to notice the UP might stop in Pocatello, which gets me in range of Big Sky via idaho falls (Idaho...:shudder:) and West Yellowstone. It's a risk, but it might be worth it just to swing by and visit Kris.

That's about it. SHOULD take 4 days to get to Chicago, and another 2 to get from there to NYC. I told Val that I would visit her, so I will either in-between or afterwards (I'll even take Amtrak if I have to. HAH!)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Portland!

Alright, so I made it back to Portland! Good times, happy things, etc etc. I don't have too long on the net, so I am not going to spend a lot of time updating everyone right now, but suffice it to say I'm safe, feeling well, a little dirty, and having fun as always.

I'm considering a few different paths, but all of them will be leading back east! I'm returning home! I might go via Canada, I-90, Train, or some combination therein. Don't really know yet, don't really care right now.

Oh, and I just found out that Elise is in Portland right now! I have absolutely NO way to contact her, and only have one shot at the Net, but it's worth it on chance to hang out in the city for at least a day wandering around Downtown on the off chance that I might run into her. That would be AWESOME! Well, one can hope...

More later, including a song/poem I'm writing.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Echo Lake to Tahoe City

McDonalds coffee is damn good, I don't care what anyone says. Also, it was a good place to wait out the rain. I grabbed a bus down to the Rt 50/89 intersection, where I began hiking in mild misty rain towards Echo Lake Resort, 2.3 miles away. Quickly, the edges of the road dissolved, and I imaginged myself clipped by a car in one of the rock passes, dead. So, naturally, I bushwhacked my way OVER the rock areas, for a mile or so, until I found a large metal pipe, perhaps 3 feet in diameter. I figured this had to come from the lake, and sure enough, following it back, I found Echo Lake, and HURRAH! The Pacific Crest Trail resumes. I camped a few miles in, at a very slight angle. This is becomming a common theme, and I do not like it one bit.

The next morning, I ascended to a small meadow, occasionally following tracks in snow. Naturally, the tracks lead me wayyy off trail, to a lake (I figured out which one later). Again, intuition took over, and I ascended a small ridge to see the layout. I didn't bother looking at my compass, which, if I had, would have told me that what I THOUGHT was north was actually east, throwing off my directions considerably. Two hours, and three free-climbing descents, two glissades with a PVC pipe (I loaned my axe to Slim), and a fair amount of bushwhacking later, and I was back on a trail! Well, *A* trail. From there it was a mile ascent back to the PCT, and from there, a few miles of climbing up to the top of Dicks Pass. More snow, VERY wet feet (my goretex socks are now useless...As are my Thorlos, after over 1000 miles on them!), and a LOT of standing glissades, and I was down from the pass, skipping most of the switchbacks, and back on trail-ish (well, occasionally).

So, I made it down from Middle Velma lake, got a chance to hang out and dry my stuff while reading some more (I picked up a 1000 page paperback 4 days ago, and finished it this morning. Good book!). Proceeding down to Phillips Creek, the trail dissapeared again amongst a thousand tiny streams. Pulling out the "guide book", I checked my estimated position relative to the map, and approximated my distance from the trail. I climbed the ridge where the trail was supposed to be, assuming I would find what the guidebook SAID was a 50-yard pond (not on map), where the contours COULD have placed it...but did not. I bushwhacked for an hour in the direction of the trail, and FINALLY found it. Man was I glad to be out of the wet! I kept my dry socks in my pack, as I only had an hour of light left, and wanted to use them for sleeping. I did cook dinner, easy-mac type stuff with some added tuna (DAMN good!), and dropped into the valley to find a spot to camp. Once again, I was on a sliiiight incline, but enough that I did not sleep very well.

The next morning, waking up late (I should have camped on the EAST side instead of the WEST on the hill, oops), I started off. A few rousing hours of postholing, along with a cheery game of hide-and-seek with the trail lead me in an ascent to Barker Pass. Finally, without snow! Eating lunch, I started to ascent nad quickly...found myself lost. A trail intersection. Checking my "guidebook," i saw no such intersection. At this point, I considered dropping the book in the privvy at Barker Pass. I continued for a few minutes before deciding to drop down and head into Tahoe City. I road-walked for 7 miles, making camp less than a mile from Lake Tahoe, near a river in a mosquito-ish area. My bug net is useless, but my DEET is not! More reading, journaling, thinking, and sleeping, and by next morning I was ready for a little hike. A mile down the road, and then four or so into Tahoe City, and, well, here I am!

I stink, I'm dirty, and I'm a little bit tired. I've come to a few realizations (some very old):
I need a better set of maps. I would give away the guidebook, but for fear that someone else might actually use it! SO very glad I had my compass with me.
I am going to buy a GPS, if for nothing more than travel and luxury.
I am going to buy a Neoair thermarest, they are hella comfy and light/small.
I'm considering a small-ish solo mountaineering tent.

I don't enjoy hiking simply to hike. It's as simple as that. I love hiking with other folks, and that's very different than what I've been doing. To that effect, I'm seriously considering taking a bit of time off-trail, to hitch around and enjoy other aspects of travel for a while. When finished, I will SoBo sonora pass to Mammoth, meet Dad in Bishop/Lone Pine, hike with him, and then, who knows? That will put me near the Horde, which I may actually enjoy a bit. Anything is possible.

Oh, and yes, I am most excited about hiking with Spike. If for nothing else, than the fact that the JMT through the Sierras is BEAUTIFUL, and I haven't really had a ton of time to spend with Dad.


All is still well,

-Stove

Lone Pine, Hitching out, fun around Tahoe

Alright, so I spent a few days in Lone Pine at the hostel, feeling crummy, most likely due to town food and not having really rid myself of whatever was bothing me after Walker Pass. That settled, I managed to blow a riddiculous $200 on some nice new gear, and drop my base weight down considerably (considering what, I am not sure. I haven't used a scale in a while).
New shoes (Merrel Moab Vent Mids)
Drybag for sleeping bag
New bottom tights (Marmot)
silkweight top thermals (OR)
Buff (banada replacement)
silnylon stuffsacks (for jacket and foodstuffs)
Oh, and an awesome new MontBell fleece hat! so I should be pretty well set in the warmth dept.

Some bad weather stuck, and I decided to bail rather than face some of the weather over there. As it sounds, I flew away from a problem which is a nonissue, but frankly I think I made the correct choice (I'll explain). So, I hitched north up to Lake Tahoe (a day or so later), grabbed the Wilderness Press Norther California guidebook (I hate guidebooks), and set out towards Echo Lake.

Before I start on the trip itself, let me say this:

WILDERNESS PRESS GUIDEBOOKS ARE NOT FIT TO BE USED FOR KINDLING! I am absolutely outraged. The first few maps looked decent enough, but as I started to get into areas where I might actually NEED maps, that went out the window. Innacurate, smidged, out of focus, nd just plain incorrect, I would challenge anyone to actually attempt to use them for any form of navigation. I was tempted to cerimoniously BURN them, except I was in a no-campfire area. Seriously, it is difficult for me to describe how pissed I was. So, worthless. I need to print out some of Halfmile's maps, it seems. No real problem there. But I'm freaking PISSED. I'm just glad that I had my wits, and an overload of food, about me.

The story of the hike will follow in another post

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

More lost days, up to current

I ended up spending a few days in Hikertown, getting to know the Owner, Richard, as well as the caretaker, Bob. Both were interesting guys, and along with the other hikers made for a fun if not hectic stay. During my tenure there, I designed a few beds and the new dormitory, helped with some of the labor, and generally lazed about. After four days, Richard gave me a lift in to Lancaster to pick up Mom, and the next morning, we were off!

Hiking with mom was a lot of fun, even if that first seven mile section was walking through hell. A lot of unnecessary switchbacks and up/down ridges ending with no real net gain. But we made it! We hiked 15 miles the first day, and 17 miles the next, into the town of Lake Hughes. I threw up my thumb at the road, and the second car to pass slowed dwn and gave us a lift the 2.2 miles into town. Mom is now a [shaky] beliver in hitch-hiking. We stayed at the Rock Inn, ate and drank out fill, and the next morning got a lift back to Hikertown.

The rest I'll gloss over a bit, but it involved a few more days at Hikertown, the Andersons, some wrestling (it'll end up on youtube I'm sure), and a hitch out.

I got a little sick from some peanut butter I grabbed from the hiker box (I assume that was the culprit, process of elimination), and now I feel drained of energy occasionally whenever I am off-trail. Go figure, eh?


So, I made it to Walker Pass, hiked for a day with Mr. Chips (cool guy), stayed two nights in Kennedy Meadows, and set off into the Sierras! I quickly caught up with Spec, Maggie, D.Q, Ginger Snap and Highlander as they hunkered under a bridge waiting out the first real rain I had seen in a MONTH. I was loving it! Well, except the wet socks part...But it was rain!

I camped with these folks the first night, and upon the second night decided that I was better off following my modified plan and heading down into Lone Pine. I camped ont he road after walking a few miles, and hitched a ride down to the hostel where I am currently staying Everything loks good so far, there is a small gear shop, and I will be goig to the one over in Bishop soon.