Tuesday, June 21, 2011

It was all a dream. I used to read Bicycling Magazine...

It would seem that I have rediscovered my Trek Travel blog. I’m not sure if this is a good or a bad thing for anyone (un)fortunate enough to stumble upon it in the coming weeks and months, but I’m sure we’ll find out soon enough.

A lot has happened since this webpage last heard from me. Firstly, I finished out a pretty stellar first season with Trek Travel. All told I guided in six states, two countries, and four national parks. I pedaled countless miles over spectacular terrain. I met scads of fun, quirky, interesting, fit, and not infrequently stupid-rich people (the amount of wealth that they had amassed was stupid… not the people themselves). I ate more mouth-watering, belly-filling, cardiac arrest-inducing, world-class meals than I care to mention. I generally had a really awesome time.

My season was capped off with a fantastic final trip in California’s wine country with one of my favorite groups of guests thus far, after which I rushed back to Florida where I had the honor of being in the wedding of my close friend Brandon Moore to his beautiful new wife Stacy Acquista. They have since adopted each other’s last names in a very fashionable way. I already miss those two and hope to have a reunion sometime after this season. Sadly, I will not be able to see them until then, as I’m guiding in Europe for the remainder of my season. More on that later…

The rest of 2010 was spent back in St. Pete. I snagged a bartending/serving job at the Acropolis Greek Taverna where I met tons of cool people and made a few amazing friends. I’d list them all here, but they know who they are (hugs). I was also fortunate enough to be a part of the opening crew for Sake Bomb 2.0, St. Pete’s hottest new (old) bar. The America!

Some time around March I got the call from Trek Travel asking me to get back on the road, and I happily obliged. The first couple months of my guiding season were spent in Solvang, California… which will be the subject of my next post.

For now, a few pictures of life over the past 8 months (note: refer to my FB page for pictures of most of my time in St. Pete. many of them are slightly incriminating)...

Hiking along the Yellowstone River:

Brandon and me at his wedding:

Keeping it real in "sunny" California.

Sideways pic on top of the Passo Stelvio in Italy. Yes, it's not upright. I got lazy.

Until next time!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


I saw seven of them. Yup, seven! Over the course of my two weeks in Glacier National Park and Waterton Lake Park I saw a couple grizzlies, a black bear mama and cub, and more grizzlies. One even decided to snack on some grass about 20 yards from the road we were riding on. Thankfully, he/she didn’t seem too interested in snacking on cyclists.

The Glacier trip was fantastic. We had great guests. The riding was spectacular. The views were breathtaking. Liz and I joked that anyone could be a great photographer out there. Just point your camera and shoot. Nature does the rest of the work for you. Heck, after two weeks out there I felt like friggin’ Ansel Adams (in color, no less!).

I definitely got my climbing legs under me, as well. Over two weeks I probably logged about 15,000+ feet of climbing, possibly more. There was also an absolutely epic time-trial into a 30mph headwind. That was probably the toughest 8 miles I’ve ridden in my life. So far this has been my favorite trip (and since I'm soooo far behind on updates, I feel like I can say that with some degree of "oomph" behind it).

After Glacier I got to take a scenic (kind of) unit drive from Kalispell, Montana to Anacortes, Washington, where I moved the bikes into the guide house and awaited the arrival of co-guide extraordinaire, Liz (shown below with her best penguin friend):

We ran our San Juan Islands trip and it went swimmingly (not, fortunately, while we were on our sea kayaking trip... that water was cold!). It was a family trip, so that added an entirely new dimension to the guiding experience. Having 7 kids aged 10 to 15 on the trip kept things fresh, fun, and occasionally loud. I actually got a 13-year old boy to try foie gras, and he liked it! I definitely really like that area of the country, and if my months off were in a bit warmer part of the year I think I would spend them there. Oh well.

I think it's about time to end this post, as it's late and I have to be up early to drive from Taos to Santa Fe. If you're confused about how we jumped from northwest Washington to the high desert of New Mexico, stay tuned. There will be more updates, hopefully in a more timely fashion than this one!

I'll close by wishing my Grandma Brooks a (very) belated happy birthday! She and my Grandpa read this blog together from Ohio and I'm told she enjoys it, so this post is dedicated to you, Grandma. Love you and miss you guys!!!

New (old) post coming tonight, I promise. Just gotta drive/ride an 80 mile route this afternoon and then I'll get it up.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

There and back again

I find it interesting that the last time I posted here I was discussing the San Juan Islands, and lo and behold, here I am back in the San Juan Islands!

That isn't to say that I haven't been moving around, because I certainly have. I've been to California for a wine country long weekend trip. I've been to Montana (and Canada!) for a trip in Glacier National Park. I've also driven the van from Montana to the Washington coast. Fun!

OMG it's IDAHO!!!!

The California trip was a breeze and a blast. We met in San Francisco and headed north to Bodega Bay, then inland toward Healdsburg. The changes in scenery were pretty dramatic, from the tight, frenetic pace of downtown SF to the sleepy oyster-shucking villages along the Northern California coast... from the cool, sunny and windy fishing town of Bodega Bay to the majestic trees of the Armstrong Redwood Forest... to the seemingly contradictory pace of life in wine country that is an odd combination of rural leisure and Beverly Hills panache. It was a great departure from the cold weather of the northern trips that we've been running, and a great chance to work with another guide: Justin!

Sadly, the trip was over all too soon and it was time to bid California adieu. :(

More to come in a few. Look forward to some mountains, glaciers, ground squirrels, and BEARS!!!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Update time (part deux)

Now, where were we?

Beyond the amazing scenery and laid-back vibe of the San Juans, the thing that really impressed me about the area was the riding. It’s absolutely fantastic! There are fairly tame, flat(ish) roads through Lopez Island. Anacortes has a great bike path that crosses one of the inland bodies of water. Orcas Island has fantastic, hilly, rolling roads along coastline and through enchanted forests. I rarely use the term “enchanted,” and wouldn’t be doing it now if there wasn’t in fact an “Enchanted Forest Road” on the island. The road could quite possibly be enchanted, too. Liz and I saw a real-life traveling minstrel whilst riding on it! Well, perhaps he’s not a “minstrel” in the strictest sense, but I’m not entirely sure what you call an unshaven, shirtless, hemp-pants-and-sandals-wearing man walking alone down the road and playing a rather large drum. I’m gonna go with “minstrel” on this one.

And did I mention the mountain? (Hint: if you answered “yes,” you have clearly been paying attention to my earlier posts and have earned yourself a cookie. Congratulations! Now go find yourself a cookie. I’ll wait.)

Everyone back? Good. So Orcas Island is home to Mount Constitution, a fairly impressive little mountain with a totally sweet road leading up to it. The climb to the top is fantastic, with steep grades, sweeping switchbacks, breathtaking overlooks, and shady tree coverings. It’s only about a 5 mile climb, but it’s definitely got some kick to it. I rode it on my first day on the island and I was ready to hop off of my bike and call it quits about halfway up. Thankfully, I chose to suffer at least a little while longer and was rewarded less than a mile later with a phenomenal view of the surrounding islands, the Washington coast, Canada, and the distant Cascades and Olympic mountain ranges. The view from this intermediary stop along the climb was enough to energize me to a point where I knew I could make it to the top.

As a side-note, there’s something very spiritual about climbing (be it on foot, on a bike, or on a rope). Nature has this way of letting you know that it’s in control, and there’s no clearer representation of this control than when you stand at the base of a mountain. You, quite literally, realize your own insignificance in comparison to the world around you. As you work your way up the mountain, there are inevitably points where it almost feels like the mountain doesn’t want you to reach its summit. Pain, fatigue, and exhaustion start to set in. You may (as I did) consider just calling it quits and heading back to the ground. If you do, however, find it in you to persevere, you’re rewarded with one of the most unique feelings I think a person can experience: a brief dominion over Mother Nature. The view from the top is indescribable. Looking down on the world that you were a part of prior to the climb is fantastically empowering. I'm not sure if I'm describing this as well as I could, but hopefully you get the idea.

Okay, enough ridiculous existentialism. I need to get my mind back down to earth because right now (as I type this) it's t-minus 9 hours until we pick up our next group of guests. Since my last posts I've headed to sunny Northern California to prep for a long weekend trip in wine country. My co-guide for this trip is Justin, and we should have some good stories and pictures to share from the next few days. In the meantime, here are a few of the fun things I've seen since my arrival in Cali:

Yes, you did just see enchiladas in that picture mix, and yes, they were delicious.

Friday, June 25, 2010

For Dad


Now, Imagine a bigass trailer full of bikes, gear, tools, and food in tow and you'll get the idea of what we get to navigate around the country.

Update time (part the first)!

Well it would seem that my best intentions of updating this blog as frequently as possible have fallen by the wayside… or perhaps it’s that I am doing it as frequently as possible and I’m running precisely on schedule. Knowing myself, I’m going to go with the former option (you probably will too if you know me very well). It’s not that I haven’t wanted to update, it’s just that work takes up a massive amount of my time, and in the pockets of free time that I do get I’m generally more inclined to jump on my (read: Trek’s) bike and go for a spin or to crack a beer and just veg out. If for whatever reason you have been waiting for me to update and have been a bit disappointed, at least take solace in knowing that in lieu of letting everyone know what I’m doing, I’m probably sneaking in some much-needed R and R. ☺

Where to start?

I already posted about how I felt that (despite a few hiccups) the Oregon Coast trip was a success. Email me at loganb1104@yahoo.com and I’ll shoot you some cool pictures from the trip, beyond what I’ve already posted.

Moving on from that, Rebecca (our “training guide” if you haven’t been paying attention), left us last Saturday afternoon to head home for some well-deserved vacation time before she heads to France. Elizabeth and I are officially “flying solo” (duo?) from now on, and we’re ready to make our marks on the Trek Travel circuit.

Our first major task was to FTP the San Juan Islands. Now, the notice that I’d be running a trip in this area was met with a bit of trepidation. First, I had no idea where the heck these islands were (off the coast of Washington, just north of Puget Sound, if you were curious). Second, why was I not being sent to an exotic locale like Provence or Bora Bora (because clearly my expertise on Pacific Northwestern life and culture was much, much needed, and because we don’t run any trips in Bora Bora… yet)? Finally, what the heck were Spaniards doing so far from home when they named these islands (upon much research, I’ve discovered that they were “exploring,” apparently… whatever that means).

Trepidation aside, Liz and I attacked these islands with a fury they have rarely seen, and we loved it. They’re absolutely beautiful As one former guest put it, every direction you look has a scene that looks like it’s straight out of a postcard. There are quaint farmhouses with small sheep, cattle, and alpaca (seriously, alpaca!) herds. There are picturesque beaches. There are small towns that somehow manage to be frozen at a time far in the past while still maintaining a hip, community-oriented, stylish, liberal lifestyle. There’s even a pretty impressive mountain (which I will describe in my next post).

If I ever end up wealthy enough, or I somehow marry into vast riches, I could definitely see myself having a summer house here…