Now that I'm pretty much healed, except for some lingering PTSD, I'm back to hiking and trail running (with a bit of Nordic skiing), armed with a Garmin InReach Mini just in case. Soon as weather begins to cooperate, I'll be back on Alvin and/or Stanley to train up for the next bike tour. A few photos from local winter trails....
; In looking forward to touring in 2021 I've decided, instead of taking the train to St. Louis for last years' deferred tour, I'll drive! I plan to visit some national parks, do some hiking and some trail running along the way. For a person who doesn't enjoy long drives, I'll load up on audio books and limit the number of driving hours per day, making for a longer crossing.
I bought an atlas and with several tour books on National Parks; I'm looking forward to visiting Death Valley, Grand Canyon, and others, car camping my way to St. Louis. When I arrive in St. Louis, a gracious WarmShowers host will allow me to park my car at their house for the 700 some miles of my bicycle tour.
All the planning for the bicycle tour was already done and with a few tweaks, I'll be ready to hit the Katy Trail and beyond.
I took a few days' road trip to explore the eastern Gorge, and test out my hiking ability and stamina. The scenery is stunningly different from western Gorge and for me all the more amazing. Here's a link to Wikipedia about the formation of the Columbia Gorge. The photos here speak for themselves.
I wasn't sure I'd even write about this, so I'll make it short. In mid-August, I fell from my mountain bike and broke my femur, a couple inches south of my hip. It was a very tough and painful ordeal getting rescued and transported to hospital. Even recovery seemed to be slow and frustrating.
Well, it's about 13 weeks in the past now, and I'm about 80% "there". I've resumed some hiking and even thinking about 2021 touring.
Corvallis to Willamette Mission State Park, 49 miles, 1047 elevation
Somewhat cooler today but still too hot. The Willamette Mission SP is way out there, close to the Wheatland Ferry, if you know where that is. Campsites are hot and dry but only hikers, paddlers (from Willamette River), and bikers can camp at this state park. Otherwise, it's day use only. Many miles of hiking trails bordered by hop vines and fruit trees. Apparently a world class, competitive disk course here. Most of the people I encountered were there for the disk throwing. Water faucet at campsite, thankfully. I left at daybreak, heading back to start, for 48 miles more.
Total distance on the tour, about 405 miles. Garmin recorded a high temperature one day at 107. Highlights - camping in the cemetery and the fresh peaches. Lowlight - heat and heavy traffic.
Stay tuned for the next adventure.
Deadwood to Corvallis, 61 HOT miles, 2100 elevation
This was the worst day of the ride. Not only because the temperature peaked at just over 100 degrees, but the traffic was miserable, as I closed in on Corvallis. I had already planned a hotel stay so I was motivated to keep going for the air conditioning, if nothing else. As the day progressed, I had to stop every few miles in any available shade. I had plenty of water and also consumed electrolytes.
Florence to Deadwood, 28 miles
I decided for a shorter day, knowing there is significant climbing and still temperatures pushing 100 degrees. I decided to check out the Deadwood Cemetery as a possible campsite instead of on the highway at the boat ramp. Up a short hill and directly above the highway, I came to the Deadwood Pioneer Cemetery, Est 1853. Beautiful secluded location. A large area that could be used for gatherings, not just funerals. There is a local organization that is attempting to identify all the graves, an generally preserve this historic site. The oldest I found dated back to the Spanish American war. Many WWI and WWII sites, logged, identified, and numbered in case one is looking for someone.
A local man, Mac, is in the process of chiseling a stone marker within the cemetery. He had interesting stories to tell, not only about the land surrounding Deadwood, but about his time as a historian on the Lady Washington Tallship. Check out the link above to their website. Mac told me the elk come through every evening on their way to the river. I waited and waited but they must have decided to keep away from me.
Ranger kicked me out of the campground so I found a cheap hotel in town. I informed the ranger that there needs to be more clarity on their website about coastal hiker biker sites being closed. I did a little walking around Florence, finding the best burger and beer in town, in my opinion, at the Beachcomber Pub. That's it. That's all I did except wash some socks.
Fern Lake/Richardson to Honeyman State Park, 65 miles, 1900 elevation
Well I decided to ride the whole way to Florence (Honeyman SP). This involved climbing from near sea level over "low pass", about 1100 feet. Yikes, 100 degrees! Thankfully lots of shade today.
The thing about routes in Garmin 830 is that they list out the day's climbs and as you approach them, you get a little countdown to climb notice. I mostly didn't want to know I was riding 8% or 10%. Although knowing I had 30 feet of climbing to go was good. Also a graphic climb profile was helpful.
I stopped at Triangle Lake at the city park for a long break. Set up my Helinox Zero chair and enjoyed the view and a snack. Most of the lake access appears to be private, as the lake is ringed with houses and private docks for water ski boats and fishing boats.
I stopped again, in Deadwood, about 30 miles from Florence and the state park. The nice lady at the market told me where I could camp, across the street, at a boat launch area along Deadwood Creek. I was also informed by a fellow customer that "riding a bicycle on highway 101 is suicide".
As I reeled in the last 14 miles to Florence and the state park, the road became 4 lanes with a shoulder between 5 and 8 feet. I was very glad for that, considering the heavy trailer and motor home traffic on this stretch. It was hot, hot, still, with a headwind, and I was looking forward to the upcoming layover day.
I was unpleasantly surprised to learn, upon arrival at Honeyman SP, that hiker/biker sites were CLOSED. No one around, so I made my own campsite anyway. They would have to carry me out if they thought I was leaving tonight.
Adair to Fern Lake/Richardson County Park, 51 miles, 1000 elevation
Amazing 5 foot shoulder traveling along Hwy 99 going south. Nice buffer with the heavy traffic. Day temperatures are climbing into the miserable range, between 90 and 100.
Silly me, I thought a route called the Apple Trail was a bike trail. Most elevation today was on this 4 or 5 mile stretch. It turned out to be a road with climbs between 7 and 8 percent. Well on a road bike maybe that's not so much but consider that Stanley weighs about 68 pounds fully loaded, plus the heat.
Fern Lake indeed has hiker biker sites, but it's just an area on the edge of the common green space area and adjacent to big tent city. I was able to find an empty site and use the power to charge up my Garmin.
Speaking of Garmin Edge 830, I had pre loaded my daily routes and found this extremely helpful for navigation except for the few times it went crazy and told me to make a U turn, repeatedly. I could still be in Salem making the same U turns if I had not started ignoring Garmin. Eventually it self corrected. If I head straight to the coast tomorrow instead of stopping for the night in Deadwood, I will have two days in one spot.