Sunday, July 18, 2004

Nature's Canvas

Mary and I went to daVinci Days today. As usual, it was a great time. The mud bog of the kinetic sculpture race is always fun. These guys (ahem... people) try to get their human-powered vehicle through about 100 feet of 18-inch deep mud. People have trouble walking through it (several fell), let alone pedaling a bike-like structure through. The mud seemed to trap more people than usual this year.

Some of our favorites, Time Flies and Rogue Towing were back. Time Flies is just an amazing piece of engineering - a persin sitting in between two 7' high wheels. And the artistry is beautiful. Rogue Towing was also back, but there were 3 vehicles linked together behind the first one. Very cute - and only piloted by kids - high school down to the youngest who was probably 6. I was a little sad to not se my favorite from last year, the Mullet Bullet.

Mary and I watched the mud bog and spent some time at the end of the water section watching the people come out of the water. Buns of Steel had problems in the mud (the front wheel folded under) and was towed through the water at the end (don't know what happened to their paddles).

Unfortunately, we missed pretty much all of the jugglers and comedians (my favorite part of the rest of the fair), and they were replaced by the Nia dancers. So we wandered around a little more and headed home.

Mary was a tad sore from our 30 mile bridge ride at Scio yesterday. Scio really tried to make the tour a special one - they had people at all the bridges (well, we hit 4 of the 5, Gilkey, Hoffman, Shimanek, and Hannah) to stamp your "passport" which would qualify you to enter in a raffle or something. In a big field next to the grocery store they had a stage with a band on it playing good old banjo music, complete with tone-deaf singers. The music was really good, the singers ... not so. But they were cute. Along the route there were a couple of art sales, the morning started with a pancake breakfast, and everybody had maps for you to use.

Scio had obviously put some effort into making the day special. But they were mssing one critical element, people. We saw 2 other bikers the entire day - one who was doing the bridge tour, and one who looked like he was in the middle of his 100-miles training and couldn't care less about the bridges. And there couldn't have been more than a dozen or so people driving around to the bridges. So that was a little sad.

In fact, just today I picked up a copy of Oregon Cycling that had an article about logging towns that are turning towards tourism, most notably hikers and mountain bikers, to give their local economies a boost. The next 20 years should be interesting in terms of watching how the small rural towns cope with the influx of bikers and hikers.

So I hope Scio gets a better response next year, perhaps a little advertising would help (yeah, with what money?). All in all it was a very nice experience, except for the grandma that honked at us loudly and was pretty obviously pissed we were interrupting her 20-mph Saturday afternoon drive. She didn't move over at all while passing us, and she never got going faster than 20. Ahhh... perhaps some day the story of Sam and the angry lady at Skyline and Cornelius Pass will have to be told. Gotta love angry drivers.

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