The Fool’s Progress

After the giddy Klikitat Mtn road loop, The Logging Road Cyclist set his sights on more exotic terrain. He determined to repeat last September’s Rogue River Trail hike, to see if his feet could still take it, check out the new gear he got to improve his lot, and to enjoy the canyon in the Spring bloom. Wednesday night found him pounding down I-5 after a good-bye dinner with The Long-Suffering Girlfriend. The tasty McMinnimans burger left him sleepy by Eugene, in spite of the “Fresh Air” podcasts he had brought along for distraction, and it took a gooey chocolate chip cookie and a coke to buzz him out enough to make it to Merlin. Finding that flat-broke Josephine County (yes, home of the ophiolite) now charges $19 to sleep at the dump called Almeda Park, he backtracked to Ennis riffle and spent the night.

Getting an early start, TLRC made it 17 miles down the trail to Winkle Bar, where Zane Grey once set up shop and gathered materials for his melodramatic “Rogue River Feud”.  While getting his supper, TLRC noticed a little tick heading up his leg towards his moister regions. Wiping it off, he zipped up his tent, hoping it wasn’t too late. It was. Lying inside to get out of the rain (a VAST improvement over last year’s poncho/tarp), TLRC found and squashed three more ticks. Howling Fantods.  Ticks give TLRC the howling fantods. He shoved all of his gear to one end of the tent, checked the floor and then piece by piece went through every bit of gear. The next day he brushed more off while at Mule Creek, then getting down to the beach at Tate, and every time he left the beach, and then all the rest of the walk through the oak savanna below Clay Hill and the pastures at the end.  Part of the stress was TLRC chastising himself for being so hysterical about the ticks, but everyone he has related this story too has has the same reaction: howling fantods. This has helped.

After a pleasant week of local training rides, TLRC wanted some bigger game, and since D. was around, they decided to try the long-sought-after Laurel Mtn Massif Traverse, Falls City to the NF Siletz, back through Valsetz. Looked like 45 miles or so. Weather was so-so, 55 degrees rain (showers). After the last failure on Fanno Peak (cf. Anticipate the Obvious), TLRC was loaded for bear: rain pants, a couple of synthetic jackets, new rain jacket, neoprene overboots, food. Even D. brought a big lunch. TLRC changed in the Falls City Cemetery as usual, where he discovered he had only one contact lens. He put it in his dominant eye. D had forgotten his helmet. Off they went into a downpour which turned into a downpour with high wind, then a light snowstorm with high wind. They lowered their sights and decided to backtrack TLRC’s attempted loop around Fanno from a few weeks past. Topping out into the newly bare land comprising the edge of the highlands, the weather got bad. D had no gloves and was rapidly losing feeling in his fingers. Retreat was the obvious choice, but D’s fingers were really suffering on this long descent.

With his native generosity and inventiveness piqued by D’s plight, it occurred to TLRC that his neoprene overboots might help out, and they did.

D made it back to Falls City without excessive misery, although there was some sniveling about hands that “smelled like feet” (wait until the toe fungus gets him!).

Feeling rather smug about being so well prepared, TLRC was looking forward to snuggling back into his dry Carharts. His hubris was repaid by the discovery that sometime between changing and trying to get dressed, he had misplaced them somewhere. Not in car, Cemetery or along any road they could see, TLRC was reduced to rain pants, combat style, for the whole ride home. Worse, just a year ago he lost a pair of ($$$$$) bike shorts to the same Cemetery. Real Twilight Zone stuff.

 

Klickitat Road Loop

The Logging Road Cyclist’s buddy D. may wax lyrical about the Ride Around Prairie Mtn or  the Feagles Cr. Loop, proclaiming them the best  in the compendium, as is his right. And TLRC can see his point of view. TLRC, however, maintains his own counsel, and a personal favorite is this Klickitat Mtn. Road Loop. Real roadies beware: there is gravel here, maybe a total of six or seven miles overall. But given the many miles of remote single-lane pavement in a beautiful setting, why deny oneself the joy of doing it on a light, fast road eatin’ machine?

The Other Bike: an old Merlin Agilis, Mavic/King wheel set, Specialites TA Carmina triple for the hills, &c, &c.

This longish ride visits three drainages, climbing in and out of idyllic, remote Coast Range valleys divided by some steep ridges traversed by lonely paved logging roads. On Sunday,  a brilliant April day, TLRC was passed by a total of two cars in nearly six hours on the ride.

The loop starts up Lobster Valley, alternating between forest and open fields.

 

Preacher Cr. Rd. climbs away out of the Lobster Cr. drainage. The first mile is the steepest part, followed by a more gradual ascent and the initial section of gravel, 2-3 miles long.

View down Lobster Cr. from Preacher Cr. Rd.

A precipitous drop into the Five Rivers drainage is followed by a pleasant ride which leads to the second substantial climb up to the 32 Rd.

Upper Fiver Rivers Rd.

Beyond the intersection of the 32 and 3250, a pleasant rolling descent is followed by the steep drop into Indian Cr. (some gravel here),

Indian Cr. Rd.

and, after some pleasant miles along this major road, the turn onto Thomson Cr., where this bucolic aspect

Looking up Thompson Cr.

belies the constant wariness maintained by its denizens, doubtless concerned about hordes of KLCC listeners descending with health insurance policies that must be bought, or else:

Getting “out of range”, the biggest climb up to the flank of Saddle Mtn (with gravel on the initial climb up Thompson Cr.) leads to Rd. 58, “The Backbone of the Siuslaw”, along which one rolls through a few miles of rock, back to pavement and the final descent back to Five Rivers and six miles of fast pavement to the end.

This is 65 miles of pretty much nowheresville, so be prepared to take care of yourself. Bring lots of food, water, tools, and tire stuff, because there sure isn’t any out there. It’s easy to start daydreaming along, given the lack of cars. Remember, the few drivers feel that way too, and you may (as TLRC has done) come around a corner and find yourself face to face with a driver just as  surprised as you. Or a bear, or mama big cat for that matter. But for an adventurous and beautiful ride, it’s hard to beat this.

 

 

 

 

 

TLRC Doings…

Since the last post, quite a while ago, The Logging Road Cyclist has been leading a quiet life. After that freeze out, he bought a Nano pullover so as to stay warmer, sent his Torrentshell jacket back to the manufacturer in hopes that they would replace it with one that doesn’t leak, so as to stay drier, and bought a rather tacky, but hopefully useful compass so as to stay more oriented.

Stem Captain

Whether or not any of this helps, well, as Donald Rumsfeld says: “Time will tell.”

TLRC has also been doing some riding, but not much that is post-worthy, mostly just the usual local training stuff. He did get out on the last sunny weekend to do the first Ride Around Prairie Mountain of the year. This is, according to D. the best of all the TLRC rides. A discussion about that led TLRC back to this gem, where he got a few interesting pics, like this one of the almost-100-ft-long-picinic-table-made-from-one-slab-of-Doug-fir in the pretty-skanky-Hubert-McBee-Park:

All this neo-Cold War feeling over the Crimea made TLRC feel lucky that Lane County is a real refuge for us all in case of need:

And there was this gentle reminder that, no  matter how remote the road, there may be a driver who can make for an uncomfortable situation:

A pretty fresh wreck above Lobster Cr.

As usual the ride was good. Even the blowdown of the last few miles wasn’t too bad, just inconvenient. Certainly worth the effort.

Yesterday, being a good Dad, he took his girls out for a hike over Cardwell Hill Road. Just over the top, Devil Puppy came bounding down onto the road, missed her landing and scraped along on the side of her face for a while before bounding away. Ten or fifteen minutes later, TLRC noticed that what looked like a coating of mud over her entire front was actually fresh, bright blood, apparently coming from a through-and-through bite wound in her tongue. There were no other visible bleeding holes and the copious amount dripping from her tongue seemed fully capable of doing the job of covering her. Back at The Forest Estate, after baths, she started bleeding again, and TLRC found a puncture  in her neck as well, so off to the 24-hour ($92 to walk in the door) emergency vet, where the final tally was:

Broken tooth, big gash in lip, two puncture wounds in neck, lacerated tongue: $850 with Elizabethan collar.

Dad loves me! He says I’m worth more than the red Chris King ISO hub set he was going to buy this month!