Prairie Mountain, East Summit

UPDATED, 19 April 2016: There is a gated section on the descent to the SF Alsea Rd. below Prairie Peak. This is a new red gate with a forbidding sign and cameras. One can get through, but doing so pretty clearly constitutes trespass.

Readers of the website will recall The Logging Road Cyclists’ fondness for Prairie Mountain.  He has been all over it, with one glaring exception: the high point lying roughly east of Gunsight Pass. When looking at Prairie from around Corvallis, this is a prominent feature, but TLRC had always just gone to the more glorious and higher (by 100′) Prairie Peak with it’s spectacular views, or miserable weather, depending. Short of geographical curiosity, there isn’t much reason to go to the East Summit itself, unless added in as a little bonus to the Prairie Mountain Loop. There is a nice summit meadow, disfigured by antennae, and a subsidiary lower meadow that does have nice views to the east.

Feeling adventurous, but not too much so, TLRC headed off up the well-trodden Tobe Cr. Rd. with the East Summit as a goal. The day was bright, beautiful and very cold. Still besotted by his new mistre…uh, 29er, he had left the old faithful Desavlo hanging in the garage. The had had a lot of good days together, to be sure, but (TLRC mused), perhaps like so many steadfast couples they has begun to grow apart of late. Nothing serious, but the shiny new light Lynskey, with its comfortable big tires and promise of trail excitement not easily gotten on the Desalvo had turned the TLRC head. Was he fickle? TLRC thought not, but was considering taking up the issue at his next men’s group meeting, or perhaps in the drum circle. He would eschew discussing it after yoga. Given the high percentage of female practitioners he felt unsure about getting a fair hearing.

Not that the new philly was without her little problems. There was a persistent snick snick snick coming from somewhere. It was hard to pin down on gravel. Not a brake pad…not sprues on the new tires…hopefully not one of the brand new King hubs…TLRC’s excitement with his new ride held off the inevitable loss of temper for a good ten miles or so, after which he was on and off the bike trying to reproduce the sound while walking so as not to bean himself by riding while trying to get his ear down by the front hub, all the while trying to remember that he was probably the most patient fellow one could meet. At the same time, he was also checking for slip on the new carbon seat post that had also been providing a wonderful tool for cultivating calmness. He had carbon-pasted it, ever so carefully crept up on the torque, to no avail. Finally he cut a piece of seat post shim and affixed a second clamp on the seat post above the seat tube. This seemed to be holding, and incidentally guarding TLRC against encroaching insanity from the snick snick snick, until, when leaning forward to listen once again, his thigh hit the nose of his saddle and the seat swung about 45 degrees out of alignment. But it didn’t slip down.

It seemed a longer than usual ride up to Gunsight pass. Heading east, TLRC found the road up to the East summit without much trouble and briefly enjoyed the sun and weird antenna array.

Summit facility, East Prairie Mtn.

Closeup of bizarre antenna array.

TLRC decided to risk the ice on the Alsea Falls road and make a loop of it. Buttoning up, he found his way down Coleman Creek and then picked his way through the ice patches on the paved road back to the truck. On the way, he determined that the snicking was a loose valve stem with no nut on it. In Philomath, he bought some brass shim stock which seemed to snug up the seat post…..


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