August 2013

Cycling from Salem to Hood River

Salem, Oregon to Hood River, Oregon on bicycles with Aaron Hughes 21-24 August
Day #1 – Salem to Detroit
I stayed overnight with Aaron and Anita, so that Aaron and I could be on the road by 9 am. We took off, following the main highway out of Salem and across Santiam Pass. Our first stop was in Detroit.
The “other” Detroit, which is not going bankrupt
The Garmin map and stats of Day #1 are here…
We stayed in a motel in Detroit, and generally rested up that evening.
Day #2 – Detroit to Timothy Lake
This was the most challenging day, with over 6000 feet of climbing (according to the Garmin). The started at Detroit, heading up the Clackamas River Road past Breitenbush, until the turnoff logging road took us straight up to Timothy Lake. At Timothy Lake, I set up camp, while Anita met us and ran away with Aaron for the night. I camped out at the lake. I did my homework, and learned that the Cove Campground was intended for bicyclists and hikers. When we arrived there, it proved to be anything but that, and the campground hosts rudely informed me that I wasn’t welcome, since everything was full. Fortunately, there were three guys with their kids who immediately offered to let me stay on a corner of their campsite. I had a few beers with them, and offered them cigars. It was a nice evening. The photos were from the lake the evening and morning of my stay.
Riding along the Clackamas River road
My one man tent and bicycle
Timothy Lake
Timothy Lake
More Timothy Lake
The Garmin data for day 2 are here
Day #3 Timothy Lake to Hood River
Overnight, it had rained quite hard, with thunder and lightning. I stayed dry, but most everything else got wet. I slept in a bit longer than I should have, since I knew I had to meet Aaron and Anita at the junction of highway 26 and 35. Putting away a completely soaked tent, I headed off at about 8 am, saying goodby to my kindly hosts. It was a rather persistent climb to our treffpunkt, but arrived only about 6 minutes late, feeling like dogmeat. I was really tempted to have Anita shuttle me to the top of Bennett Pass, but ultimately decided against that. I had already gone over Blue Box Pass, and we had two more passes to negotiate, that over Barlow and that over Bennett Pass. My legs hung in there, though I did have to walk short distances just to utilize other muscles. Here are photos of the day…
Summit of Blue Box Pass
Mount Hood from the road
Meeting Aaron at the junction of 26 and 35.
Barlow Pass Summit
Aaron showing good form
Mount Hood from White River
Summit of Bennett Pass
Mount Hood from the fruit orchards of the Hood River valley
The Garmin stats for day 3
Our grand total stats are as follows… total distance 165.89 miles, 12,651 feet of elevation gain, and minimally 7000 calories burned. The road would be rated as five stars from Stayton on, but maybe would have gone backroads out of Salem. The arrival into Hood River was also slightly off of our planned route, putting us into the heart of nasty traffic in Hood River. The entire trip had enormous beauty, and was a superb choice. So, we are already planning a trip for next year. If we could get a SAG vehicle, then Aaron and I will do the Pacific Coast starting in Astoria. We would ride lighter bicycles, and do more distance. We’ll see. In two weeks, I do an ACA tour with Jonathan on the east side of the Sierras, so you’ll be seeing a blog of that trip soon.


Shostakovich Edition, by Brilliant Classics ★★★★★
I had many of the pieces in this set, such as Barshai’s set of the Shostakovich symphonies. Then, there were many performances that I didn’t have, such as the wonderful production of the string quartets by the Rubio Quartet. There were many works that I didn’t have. This is the most complete set of Shostakovich currently available, and it is a wonderful set, with great performances, and flawless recordings. Many of the pieces have been performed better by others, yet none of the performances would receive less than 4 stars. Sadly, it is not a complete Shostakovich, with smaller works missing from the set. There is much of his film music that would be best left to listen to when watching the film. Shostakovich’s operas are also vastly more interesting when accompanied by the video, as the sound does not stand alone like operas such as from Mozart which can be enjoyed either with or without the visual play action. Together, this set was an incredible bargain when purchased through Because I am a strong fan of Shostakovich’s music, I can highly recommend picking this set up, even if you haven’t ever heard him before; it will give you a broad sample of much of what he wrote.


Wagner: Complete Operas; Various artists, Deutsche Grammophon ★★★★★
The Other Wagner: Symphonic, Vocal and Piano Music ★★★★
Together, these two sets make up the complete published works of Wagner, as far as I can tell. I already had several performances of some of the operas in the Complete opera set, but the compendium had a reasonable enough price to make it worth purchasing the entire set. In the Other Wagner, there were new pieces for my collection. Naturally, the Sigfried Idyll and Wiesendonck Lieder were in my set, but not some of his early vocal music, which did not sound at all like the Wagner one is familiar with, or his symphony. The piano music was mostly transcriptions of his other vocal works; it is my understanding that Wagner usually wrote out a piano version first, and then orchestrated the piece, so having some of his piano transcripts is not surprising.
Each of the operas in the DG collection was superb. Many were not my favorite performances. The Ring series by Levine in this set is less satisfactory than the Solti and Karajan versions, yet is top ranking. The early operas (Die Feen, Das Liebesverbot, Rienzi) were all well performed and recorded. Together, both sets were bargains and worth the expenditure.
But, why listen to Wagner? He is painted by historians as a proto-Nazi, racist, self-serving prig. All of that may be true, yet most musicologists without an ax to grind will admit he is the greatest symphonist of all time, in that his orchestrations for a modern full orchestra are the most complex and creative compositions to date. Wagner created music-drama and with that film background music. Having just listened to the even more expansive set of the Verdi operas, one sees little maturation from the young to the old Verdi. Wagner is the opposite, where you would not recognize the same composer in his early vs. late works. Unlike the Strauss works that I just reviewed, Wagner does not form instant weariness on the listener. Wagner is not easy to listen to. The first time I heard Wagner, I was mystified that he didn’t do the standard opera style of Mozart or Verdi or others. There were no arias followed by choruses and mixed in duets, trios, quartets, and the like. In the Ring, rarely does Wagner ever have two people singing together. BUT, when they do, the result is profound. Who cannot instantly fall in love with the Walkürienflucht or “Du bist der Lenz”? If you are into 5 minute sound-bite music, stick to Strauss. If you like complete predictability and ensemble music, Verdi will hit your tops list. But, if you like complex music with true creativity, then you are stuck with composers such as Bach, Beethoven, Wagner, or Shostakovich. And it will be a compendium of Shostakovich music that I will be reviewing soon, after I listen to it.