Laurel Mountain Plateau

Per the last post, D. and The Logging Road Cyclist had some unfinished business around Laurel Mountain. D. and TLRC are as one in this sort of thing: There was no doubt that they would go back and close the loop left open by the last weekend’s shenanigans. The plan this time was to head straight to Boulder Pass, then approach the endpoint of their last attempt from the other side. Thus, with a quick passage around  le massif, and a known (ahem) point to head for, success would be assured.

As he pulled up to D’s suburban manse, he saw a strange bike on the rack on D’s truck. A new rider! If D. got another one beyond this, and they each got 2,… why, in only 4 generations, there would be 18 to ride together. TLRC’s lonely vigils would be a thing of the past. On the other hand, 18 is rather an unwieldy number, logistically speaking, and TLRC would no longer be TLRC, but merely ALRC. This, he thought, might be too much of a good thing.

Walking up the driveway, he noticed the bike. Two chairings, flat pedals. TLRC sniffed contemplatively. Just then, D. introduced the new rider to TLRC. A yoot, definitely class sub-forty, maybe the age of an imaginary TLRC son? TLRC pondered this. Yoot, two chaingrings, flats. Was this a Callow Yoot, over-geared, under-pedaled, over-enthusiastic, or a Machine Yoot, one who would levitate away  from TLRC up the steep grades, leaving him gasping in self-recrimination at the vicissitudes of age and too soft of a life? After all the Machine People (cf. Columbia -Stanislaus Loop) had rigs like this, they were of the same “certain age” as TLRC, and this is what happened on rides with them. This pleasant young man certainly seemed to inhabit the “Machine” category.

Loaded up, off they went. It was a beautiful day. Low 40’s, maybe colder, not a cloud in the sky. Reaching the gate at the start of the ride, ice abounded. As all donned their gear, a startling discovery: Da Yoot had brought his cleated shoes, which, as a few seconds of experimenting showed, would simply not work on da flats. Da Yoot had forgotten to change pedals from his town flats to (more appropriate) clipless ones! Here was where TLRC felt his affection towards Da Yoot start to grow. Nonplussed, DY simply pulled out the bathroom slippers he had worn on the trip up, and with a little conjuring with some of the contents of TLRC’s ever handy emergency kit (the use of which tickled TLRC to no end), he (DY) had a set of handily Teva’d  Croc-slipper-things (later augmented by nifty and re-useable duct tape anti chafing pads):

 Off they went, up the wintry road.

Two companions!!!

As the first steep miles began, it became clear the Da Yoot was indeed a Machine Yoot. Off he levitated leaving TLRC and poor D. gasping in his wake. TLRC muttered something about how they must not try to maintain this pace or woe is they. D. gasped back “Well, you know, he has to go faster with that big ring.” to which TLRC muttered back: “For the love of god D: a) TLRC is perfectly aware of that, and b) D. is missing the point, it being that it isn’t that he has to go that fast, it’s that he can!” “Well,” a suitably chastened D. replied, “it’s good for us.”

Away they went, the 22 toothed TLRC and D, following the 34 of DY, who the former would occasionally see silhouetted  against the bright blue sky, track-standing while patiently awaiting his companions until the high ground behind Riley Peak, whence the trio whooshed around behind Laurel to the Boulder Pass nexus.

Here, TLRC, Dallas and Valsetz quadrangle in hand, snooped around for his limestone, leaving navigation to D. TLRC soon realized he’d need an afternoon and a rock hammer and/or shovel to find any real rocks in all the ground cover and alluvium. Loath to keep his companions waiting (TLRC is widely considered to have impeccable manners, having been brought up that way), he returned and described his circumstance. D. suggested a Bobcat might be useful on the next trip.

The next leg was off into the unknown. Having armed the group with a Google Earth image, the better to navigate-by-clearcut, the immediate choice was clear, up the godawful steep road through the giant clearcut above and E of the pass. Struggling up the loose, steep mess, TLRC spotted some white rock spattered about the surface. Dismounting, he climbed up the bank and found rock that clearly did not match any of the prevailing Siletz, Yamhill or gabbroic intrusives. Surely, TLRC had stumbled upon the Rickreal Limestone outcrop lying above Boulder Pass described in one of the 1950’s Oregon Geology publications he had dug up one way or another (just goes to show, TLRC thought, there’s no such thing as too much trivia). Here is what he brought home, the result of his struggles over the last year:

After much jubilation (by TLRC, at any rate), the ride continued and the road worsened.

“Road” heading E above Boulder Pass

Another couple of hundred yards of this nonsense brought the trio to a major (if loose) gravel road, the one D.had pointed out a while before as a possible route, which TLRC dismissed out of hand as not being the “route” since he was determined on Boulder Pass and this “route”. Besides, had they taken D.’s suggestion, not only no hike, no limestone.

Now on the Plateau proper, The Installation was clearly seen

JSS ARSR-4/FPR-130 Facility on Laurel Mtn.

Now navigation was strictly by Google Earth. Since TLRC could not be bothered to put his readers off and on, D. took over and guided them clearcut by clearcut along a series of low-gradient, but high woody-debris roads. It was rare to ride more than 100 feet. Finally they reached the point where the road of last week joined a main road the group had found themselves on. A faint trace led into the woods. “Give it 100 yds?” asked TLRC. His companions agreed and off they carried their bikes. In a short way, a section marker was spotted. After a bit of discussion, they realized that the nail marking their location exactly  coincided with the “road” on the map that they were shooting for. Another few hundred yards and they found the terrible ditch near where D. and TLRC had stopped last week. Back out of the forest on the fast gravel towards home, D. and TLRC were busily congratulating themselves on a Loop Well Closed when DMY observed, “So, if you quit this ride because the road was so bad, why exactly did you come back here the next weekend to find it again?”

Da Don and Sancho.

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