How Myths Got Started?

The Logging Road Cyclist took his dogs out for a long walk on Sunday. The perfect Fall weather was impossible to resist, so the three headed up McCulloch Peak. At a stop on a landing out in the new clearcut, TLRC basked in the brilliant sun and looked over the broad expanse of Valley and Coast Range spread out to the south while the dogs wallowed in a convenient mud hole.

Traversing the Peak, they headed home. Just down from the top, TLRC heard a swooshing sound. Thinking it was the legs of his Carharts, he ignored it the first couple if times, but after it persisted, he really stopped to listen, and finally spotted the raven that was swooping through the forest alongside him and his dogs. The raven would let them pass and get ahead, and then he would glide through the forest and get alongside or a bit ahead of them and perch in a tree, watching them walk along. This was repeated over and over. The raven seemed most interested in the dogs, in particular Devil Puppy. TLRC started to feel like Tippi Hendren.

Now this wouldn’t be much of a story, except this went on all the way down to the bench on the road between the starts of Uproute and Innuendo, quite a distance, probably a mile and half?

Were TLRC a supersticious sort, or given to finding omens, this might have been one, just of what, he couldn’t say. But he had an inkling of what it might have felt like to be a forest dweller in an earlier time when such things were understood to signify more than just a curious bird.

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.

How a “ride” becomes a “project”.

As diehard fans of the website know, The Logging Road Cyclist likes to ride on the Laurel Mountain massif . He has, in fact long had his eye on a circumnavigation of Laurel Mountain via the prominent plateau, or rim, that surrounds the Mountain proper. On all the maps, there is a pretty clear route around that has, at either end (as visually determined by TLRC himself), really big roads. One was lead to believe then, that the road all the way around was big too. As will be seen, one was wrong.

As a sweetener for this proposed ride, at the far northern end of the loop, where various roads form the nexus at Boulder pass, there is some fine geology to look for. TLRC recently found a wonderful website that contains all the published geological maps in the country. Here, he found the geological map of the Dallas and Valsetz quadrangles, and there, he found that at Boulder Pass, not only is there delineated the long-sought Rickreal Limestone Member of the Yamhill Formation, but a dip-slip fault juxtaposing it, the ubiquitous gabbro of the high peaks and the Siletz Volcanics! Truly a place deserving of some nosing around.

Thus Saturday found TLRC and his stalwart Sancho Panza , Big D., heading off into a day that looked pretty wintery, but still held some possibility for the optimist.

Rather than follow the main 8-7-6, 8-7-6.2 route shown on all the maps, TLRC  (having spied on the maps a road that followed an elegantly curving creek up to a high point on the circumnavigational rim) persuaded D. that this was the Way. In his mind’s eye, TLRC saw a pretty, forested ride, not the actual vicious clearcut that really was there. But there was hope. After a false start, they found the true road and started up the creek. The road had serious decommissioning ditches every 50-100 feet, but TLRC was persuaded (somehow) that once they got into the forest, this nonsense would stop. On and off the bikes they went, and forest or no, the ditches were constant. Of course, after putting in a half an hour or so on this, the pair was too committed to retreat, and so continued up to the final forest wall below the ridge where the road ended in a tangle of saplings, blackberry and downed logs.

Crossing a ditch early on the trip up Windmill Cr.

Reversing the process wasn’t much more fun, but the silliness of the whole thing was keeping D. and TLRC pretty happy. Finally obtaining the main road, off they went,  so exhilarated by the sense of speed that the cold wind and hail was hardly noticed.

View roughly S from the 8-7-6 showing part of the plateau.

Just past the point where the last picture was taken, the “main” road plunged off to the E, while the “correct” road got suddenly a lot smaller and headed off into the woods, which were quite pretty. The road steadily shrank and got worse, with lots of derailleur-grabbing sticks, logs to jump and and logs to walk around.  Finally it minimized itself to an 8-foot wide ditch. Even so, once in the forest, with the winter conditions howling about outside, this was a wonderful place to “ride”. At this point, TLRC and D. agreed they were on the losing end of the deal and probably should cut their losses for the day. Good thing: later GPS analysis showed they were about  1/3 of the way around, with a lot more obscure sections to push through.

Where the 8-7-6 still looks like a highway. Note rhododendrons thriving in the 120 in. of rain per year.

Once again they struggled back through sticks and logs (but at least no ditches) to where sustained riding was possible. They day had turned cold, and back at K-Junction where they stopped to button up for the long descent back to Black Rock, TLRC took a big swig from his bottle and suffered an esophageal ice cream headache, not realizing how cold it actually was, and what that had done to his water. Once he could stand up straight again, off they went, and the rest of the ride passed without incident, except for that the rear brake pad on D.’s (handmade by himself!) bike wore down to metal and sounded like a knife being sharpened on a wheel all the way down.

Sooooo, they will have to go back, next time straight through to Boulder Pass, where  geologizing in moderation can occur, the better to save time to make it all the way around. At least they have a known point to shoot for.

TLRC did come away with a valuable lesson: Don’t use Vibram 5 fingers on rainy, muddy days. They are impossible to put on over wet feet, and if one is trying this as a preliminary to standing up in the mud to finish pulling his Carharts all the way up, it can present a rather unappetizing aspect to one’s companion…


Devil Puppy Strikes!

In his relentless effort to be a good father to his daught…um, dogs, The Logging Road Cyclist took a break from his demanding riding schedule to take Good Dog and Devil Puppy for long walk up McCulloch Peak a couple of weeks ago. They climbed up to the base of the top pitch of the South Ridge trail and gloried in the new, huge clearcut on the adjacent Starker land, you know, the one where the University used to have a sign asking mountain bikers not to use the trail because it went through a “sensitive meadow area”. On the other hand, outcrops of the gabbro that prop up the Peak are now well exposed on the west side of the trail, and the views to the south and west are simply spectacular.

Pausing at the summit to bask in the warm October sun, our trio kept to the trails as much as possible on their descent. This lead eventually to Innuendo, on foot a pleasant stroll.

About 100 feet up from the junction with Uproute and Extendo is a little 2 or 3 foot drop, no big deal. TLRC planted his left foot firmly in a convenient little scoop near the top and was elegantly extending his right foot to a little platform halfway down the drop when BANG, he found himself gasping in pain, stretched out, left lateral recumbent on the hard ground below the drop. His first instinct was to get his glasses which had come off. Found, they had a squashed nosepiece. Next was a personal assessment. TLRC was lying with his left arm tucked tight against his side, curled around to the front, fist to solar plexus. Clearly, his years of intensive Martial Arts training had left residual Ninja skills: Rather than reaching out to break his fall, and his wrist along with it, in a flash he had instinctively protected his delicate left shoulder (careful readers of TLRC will recall that in his left shoulder is a titanium/cobalt steel implant, the result of many careless years of paddling and The Unfortunate Events of ’08-’09).

The dogs, as usual, were snorting around, generally ignoring TLRC, who got up and, first thing checked to see if his shoulder still worked (it did), and where the blood coming down the side of his face was coming from. He strode home, brimming with self recrimination and doubt.

How had this happened to TLRC, that bastion of balance? Could there have been a foot-trapping root, a misjudgment?

A few days later, TRLC had a crescent of  great, rib-bruised pain, the kind where every breath hurts. It extended all the way from his spine around to his solar plexus. He, The Long-Suffering Girlfriend and all the dogs went for a walk, and TLRC steered them all to the scene of The Incident.  There was nothing at all that could have caused TLRC to plummet from this little step, as he proved by gingerly climbing up and down it 4-5 times (an act that he considered showed considerable bravery). TLSG, noting how Devil Puppy was, as usual racing around like an insane thing, pointed out that perhaps she (DP) had smacked into TLRC, knocking him sprawling. Was she being kind?

A detailed, on-site, Post-Incident Analysis revealed that she wasn’t. Had TLRC been responsible for this, i.e. slipped on is own account, he would have landed on his ass, not sprawled face down several feet from the base of the drop. Not to mention the fact that a slip allows for at least a fraction of a second of awareness that it has happened, whereas here, TLRC was standing, then down, with nothing intervening.  While TLRC understands how a disinterested reader might consider this a self-serving, face-saving Analysis done by an interested party, he can live with it.

Thus it occurred that TLRC slept drugged in his recliner for a week, unable to lie down from the pain. Each breath brought a stabbing pain to his left side. Meanwhile, Devil Puppy continued her spoiled, oblivious life….

Meantime, The Good Dog continues to provide comfort and companionship: