International Test Rose Garden

There are approximately 7,000 rose plants and 500 varieties over 5 acres in the Test Rose Garden. New rose cultivars are continually sent to the garden from many parts of the world and are tested for color, fragrance, disease resistance and other attributes. It is the oldest continuously operating public rose test garden in the United States and exemplifies one of Portland’s nicknames, the “City of Roses.”

In 1917 a group of Portland nurserymen came up with the idea for an American Rose Test Garden. Portland had an enthusiastic group of volunteers and 20 miles of rose bordered streets, largely from the 1905 Lewis & Clark Exposition. So a garden leveraged the “City of Roses” reputation.

Wednesday was a good time for us to walk through the roses. Most varieties are pretty much in full bloom. I am not sure I would call it peak bloom though. There are lots of buds too. But the warm weather coming this week is going to cause many more roses to bloom while others may feel the stress of the heat, wilt and die. Be sure to stop and smell the roses, literally, the fragrances are so aromatic—and calming.

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Flying Clouds

On a warm Boise day with an occasional breeze in mid-afternoon I started a fat tire ride at Camel Back Mountain Park. I should have gone in the morning when it was 45.º But I am a weeny who prefers it a few degrees warmer! Me dummy! So at 77º I started climbing Red Cliffs and Kestrel out to the Sidewinder. Good spinning workout though for five miles ascending about 1500 feet. A good brow sweat was messing up my sunscreen bandaid stuck over the bridge of my nose. So it was time to feel the wind. I started Sidewiner back down hill on its curvaceous and sandy hard pack tracks—just flying with the clouds. Onto to the Lower Gulch single track which is a bit more technical with rocks, dips and drops. It meanders along a greener, lusher stream side plant community. The clouds made this ride bloggable-memorable for me!

Sidewinder and the Clouds

Sidewinder trail into clouds

Clouds made my ride

Clouds made my ride

From Sidewinder, see the Lower Gulch in the green canyon

From Sidewinder trail see the Lower Gulch (green) follows a stream in the canyon below

Salsa ready to roll on Lower Gulch

Salsa ready for “sweet” roll on Lower Gulch

Lower Gulch and clouds

Lower Gulch and clouds

That ride was two days ago at Camel Back in Boise, Idaho. Now this is where our “Flying Cloud” is currently parked—at the Deschutes River State Recreation Area, near Dalles, Oregon—just 99.8 miles from our Portland condo. Our Cloud is about 100 feet from the Deschutes River, about a mile where if flows into the Columbia. It is great location for catching various kinds of salmon. Some gravel road biking and hiking trails along the river from camp. This camp is one of our favorites.

Flying Cloud parked by Deschutes River

Our Flying Cloud parked by Deschutes River

Deschuites River flows out to Columbai River over there

Deschutes River flows out to Columbia River over there. This view is about 100 feet from our trailer.

And the drive back to Portland tomorrow will take us through the scenic Columbia River Gorge. Of course, the Flying Cloud will go to storage until our next planned trip out in July. Until then, I will be blogging from Portlandia—musing about more flying clouds. See you! Did you enjoy the trip through Arizona and Utah?

Airstream Remote, City of Rocks, Idaho

City of Rocks National Reserve is across the Utah border in Idaho. Referred to as the “City,” it is comprised of granite spires popular with rock climbers. The City has over 1,000 traditional and bolt-protected routes. A Porlandia couple we met with travel trailer told us that the City of Rocks was one of their favorites. What the heck, let’s check it out! We did! Fascinating as any rock formations we’ve walked on. The spires are extremely steep. That’s why we watched the climbers from below and stayed on trails less of a challenge surrounded by good footing and lots of sagebush. Personally, I was a bit tired of all hiking and biking the past month. Give me a break. There are also some hiking and mountain biking trails to be explored when we return.

What we most liked was our camp site #63. We pulled the Airstream through all the climber sites by the cool spires out to a more remote location in the park. The Ranger clued us in on this site. We pulled the Airstream 5 miles up a gravel road. Very steep the last mile!  I can not believe we did that except Ranger Roberta said do not worry. She and her hubby also own a ’74 Airstream too. At site #63 we could see no other camper in site in almost every direction. At 7,000 feet elevation we sat in our cozy trailer and looked out onto mountains with lightly snow dusted peaks. A huge spire called the “Finger” was in our camp front yard and more smaller spires around us. What a respite to just relax a few days. Take a few short hikes and a few pics to show what it is all about! And it is all about that rock, that rock—the City of Rocks!

The silver blip on the right is our Airstream on site #63.

The silver blip you can barley see on the right is our Airstream on site #63—quiet and remote!

Now you see the Airstream by the Finger!

Now you see the Airstream better by the Finger!

One more camp site shot!

One more camp site shot!

the Finger Spire close up

the Finger Spire close up

We are watching this guy climb!

We are watching this guy climb!

That's all the climbing I am  gonna do here!

That’s all the climbing I am gonna do here!

Even  these vultures like to climb!

Even these vultures like to climb!

Lizards love to climb too in the City!

Lizards love to climb too in the City!

We nearly stepped on the rock where this snake coiled up!

We nearly stepped on the rock where this snake coiled up!

...not sure what this is, it is a stellar beauty!

…not sure what this is, it is a stellar beauty!

Spire under a cloud!

Spires under a cloud!

So we are leaving Bosie, Idaho. I mountain biked today at Camel’s Back. Gail explored Ace Hardware and surrounding river trails on her hybrid bike. We are headed to Deschutes Recreation River Area near the Dalles on the Columbia River Gorge.

Retire-less Looking for Small Wonders in a Big Wondrous Natural World

Retire-less! My definition is “work to play” instead of “work for pay.” Gail and I work hard playing. We were retire-lessly moving through northern Arizona and mostly southern Utah. We pulled the Airstream 2,600 miles in a month since leaving Portland on March 27th. The past two days we are in Boise, Idaho. Side note: we just rolled past 20,000 miles on the Airstream since we took delivery on the Flying Cloud, May 30, 2012.

The past month we visited 3 National Parks, 3 National Monuments, a National Reserve, a Navajo Nation, BLM “permit only” Coyote Buttes, 2 state parks, other BLM land—and 1 week mountain biking Hurricane. Pushing the retire-less envelope full of fun, foot-stomping, pedal-pushing and eye-pooping experiences camping and exploring the “free-to-see” wondrous natural world!

We carry at least one, sometimes two, Nikon’s to capture nature and sunsets. However, the 10X-15X “Ollo” lens on Gail’s iPhone clicks off amazing close-up bursts too. Gail has an eye for seeing the beauty in small wonders, like flowers you may just walk by. I carry a 300X zoom lens just for the chance encounter to shoot bighorn sheep, elk, condors, moose, birds, lizards—anything that moves! Thinking I need 550X! Then, every evening we decide what digital pics to keep or trash. We have 20,800 pics in the iPhoto library now.

The photos are the by-product of all the outdoor stuff we do on the road! We work in the joy of cooking a meal with scratch ingredients or making lunch to go on a hike. We search out famers markets, Co-Ops and natural food stores to restock our pantry and refrigerator. We prefer Whole Foods Stores and have shopped many in our travels out  West.

Work, work, workkkkkk we love—all very, very retire-less! By now you may be tired of seeing all the landscape pics filling up all my blogs so on this one we blend some small wonders in with the big wondrous natural world at Capitol Reef National Park.




Gail saw the dazzling beauty in a common looking caterpillar.

Gail saw the dazzling beauty in a caterpillar.

The caterpillar hair is wild

The caterpillar’s hair is wild!

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Maybe poppy

Maybe poppy

I captured by luck (more than 1 pic)  this bee in flight carrying pollen.

I captured by luck (more than once) bee in flight carrying pollen.

Cassidy Arch named after Butch Cassidy who was rumored to camp there is 500 feet above the Grand Wash. I walked over it!

Cassidy Arch named after Butch Cassidy, rumored to camp there.  500 feet above the Grand Wash. I walked over it! Whoa!

Gail's fav

One of Gail’s fav’s

So small, I wonder who you are

So small, I wonder who you are

Pic shot on hills from a ridge high above

Pic shot on hills from a ridge high above

Each lizard has a unique set of colors.

Each lizard has unique skin colors.

Marmot on the road again.

Marmot on the road again.

See how vast

Capitol Reef National Park—the Big Wondrous!

Big Wondrous Capitol Reef stretches 100  Utah miles

Big Wondrous Capitol Reef stretches 100 Utah miles! Whoa!

We are taking it easy in Boise, Idaho, at the Riverside RV Park (nice clean, amenities) by the Fairgrounds on the Boise River greenbelt (27 miles long) used by bikers, walkers and joggers. We biked to downtown along this scenic rushing river.  Across the street is a car wash big enough to pull in the Airstream and Tundra to remove several layers of dust. Nice washing machines at the RV Park to wash numerous pair of sand-filled socks. Good mountain biking near by too. Next stop is somewhere in Oregon, near our home base, Portland. For now, chow!