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Friday, October 9, 2015

Sunday - Hitting the Dirt Ride

As some of you may know from facebook, on Sunday a few of us went out for a wee ride in the dirt.

On Saturday afternoon Troubadour and PolarBear went for a mountain bike ride and plans were hatched for a dirt ride on Sunday.  I decided to forego housework and grocery shopping and chose to go ride some dirt instead.  We managed to convince Melissa, fearless instigator leader of our Dam Ride, to join us.  Mel had never ridden off road before so we were curious to know if she would like it.

The guys chose the Santiam Pass Motorized Vehicle Area as the venue of the day.  Here is a link to the trail MAP.  From Corvallis the area is east on Highway 20 and up Tombstone Pass to Santiam Pass.  

(The route)
If you make a right turn (south) at the Hoodoo Ski Area on Big Lake Road it will take you around the ski hill and into the OHV area.


The alarm was set for 6:30 Sunday morning.  We got ourselves ready, had breakfast, and then I packed us a lunch while Troubadour hitched the trailer to the Subaru and loaded the bikes and gear.  We arrived at PolarBear's in Lebanon promptly at 9:30 on schedule.  PolarBear had already loaded three bikes on his trailer and soon we set out to Waterloo to pick up Mel.

We arrived at the staging area just shy of noon.  Traffic wasn't heavy heading up the pass, which was nice and the sun was shining brightly.  I believe it was 50˚F (10˚C) when we left the house. Luckily, as we climbed higher in elevation the sun warmed a little and hovered around 60˚F (15.5˚C) most of the day.

While the staging area was all gravel, the trails and forest service roads were a soft sandy dirt. Most places a few inches deep.  This was a new riding surface for me and I was a little hesitant. Okay, probably more than hesitant.  Loose on the bars..... loose on the bars..... was my mantra for the day.

We set off down one road and while looking for the 'green' rated newbie warm up loop PolarBear accidentally led us down the rabbit hole.  Not that it was a bad trail but there were banked corners with loose soil in the bottom and Mel and I weren't quite up for the task at that point. Did we still ride it?  Yes!  Did we fall over and hit the dirt?  Oh yes!  Did we have fun?  I believe we did since we were smiling most of the time and laughing as we picked up bikes.

(Troubadour in orange - PolarBear in blue - Where is that warm up loop?)

(Selfie taken as they were reading the map)

(Wait, if I turn the camera just so I can get Troubadour in there too)

(PolarBear's trials bike - Hayrick Butte in the background)

(PolarBear pointing at the Hoodoo Ski hill)

(Photo by Melissa - Troubadour, Trobairitz, and PolarBear)

(Troubadour on an XT)
We eventually found the warm up loop and had quite a bit of fun going around and around through the twist and turns learning to keep our speed up around the banked corners.

(Trobairitz in white - Mel in black)
The picture above was taken at the entrance to the green learner's loop.  The post over Mel's shoulder is the exit.  When you make the left hand corner to re-ride the loop there was quite a bit of loose soil in the turn.  On one occasion I was stopped at the intersection and went to turn left. I revved the throttle a little too hard and rode up onto the grassy area.  No big deal other than I went to put my foot down on the low side onto the trail.  Not a good plan and over I went ending up flat on my back.  Luckily, not only was the soil really soft, but I was wearing my inflatable chest/back protector so I didn't feel a thing.  Sure wish I had that on camera. 

By this time it was 2 pm so we rode back the staging area for lunch.  Peanut butter sandwiches, lunch of champions.

(Hayrick Butte mirrored by the TW200)
I had one more fall for a total of 3 that day. The guys decided we were good to ride the blue (intermediate) learner's loop.  Same type of banked corner's, some tighter turns and more of an elevation gain/loss.  On my second run through the loop I got a little too much speed in a left hand corner and instead of pressing the bars more I target fixated and rode up the right side of the bank.  The bike slid out from under me.  Again, not hurt.  I think there is an art in falling off a dirt bike so the bike lands away from you and not on you.  On Sunday I seemed to have mastered that. I think Mel must have too as we both had a few get-offs usually in about the same spots. 

We rode a little further down the dirt forestry road intending to make it to a viewpoint.  There were trucks out on the road (mostly hunters in their camouflage and orange vests - although why they are allowed to hunt near an OHV area is beyond me).  They were polite and moved over but we still had to squeeze the bikes past them.  At the turn off for the viewpoint the road went up and turned at the top.  PolarBear and Troubadour decided to ride up and scope it out.  I hear a rumor Troubadour tried to ride up a sand pile up there some where, but that might just be an urban legend.

They came back down and decided we'd save it for another day.  We headed back to staging to load up the bikes and strip off all the extra gear.  As we were leaving the park we turned to check out Big Lake campground.  We stopped along the way and took a picture of the Subaru/trailer combination.

(Trusty Subaru Forester pulling the bikes)

(Boat launch at Big Lake Campground)
The campground looked like a nice spot.  There were a few trailers parked there and a few people milling about.  While we didn't see any bikes or quads, we did see gas cans sitting by trailers which would indicate they were off playing.  Some campsites had kayaks as well so people were there for the water.

We left the campsite and headed back towards the highway.  The photo below is Three Fingered Jack to the north of the ski/riding area.  You can actually see where it is on the map at the beginning of this post.  Three Fingered Jack is a Pleistocene volcano.  Click the name in the caption below for more information.

(Three Fingered Jack)

(Heading north on Big Lake Road leaving the area - following PolarBear's rig)

(Our bikes followed us down the road - TW200 and XT250)
We arrived home around 6:30 pm and the temperature was a balmy 75˚F (23.8˚C) in the valley.  I went inside to start dinner and Troubadour grabbed a beer bottle of motivation to get the bikes unloaded and trailer put away.  

(TW200, XT250 and a Portland Brewing Noble Scot (Scottish Ale)
I think we all had a good day and we look forward to doing it again.

- Au Revoir

" It is the blessing of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them." - Ralph Waldo Emerson
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34 comments:

  1. What's more fun than taking a nap on soft dirt, taking a nap in several deep inches of slimy goodness on a trail that's been rained on for days. Soft dry dirt is fun too.

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    1. I guess taking a nap on soft dirt is better than taking a "dirt nap". I think this was probably better than slimy goodness, but a day of light rain might have done the trail good and increased traction.

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  2. Trobairitz, it has to be written somewhere that when it comes to dirt, falling gracefully is the first step to riding successfully. :D

    And you’re absolutely right: It’s a shame that someone didn’t capture a photo of you wrestling with the soil—such pics are invaluable.

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    1. I am sure it was a sight to see when I fell that time...... right in front of the others. You laugh, upright the bike and get right back on it. I still shake my head and smile when I think of it.

      At the end when the bikes were loaded I was trying to figure out if I fell all three times on the left or it one was towards the right, then Mel graciously pointed out my right hand guard was clean while the left was all dirty. Ha, thanks Mel for clarifying.....

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  3. You seemed to have taken the falls like a pro, Brandy. And you have properly dressed for the occasion. It really sounded like you had a fun time. After my encounter with wet clay my enthusiasm for dirt riding has gotten a damper, though ;-)

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    1. I dunno about pro.... I just fall enough in the dirt to get used to it and know to let go of the bars. I had a lot of gear on. MX boots, knee pads and riding pants, long shirt, t-shirt, the chest/back protector which had shoulder pads, jersey, helmet and goggles. I should have had my elbow pads on but forgot for some reason, they were still in the gear bag in the car.

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  4. Oh, and thanks for the geological tidbit.

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    1. You are welcome. I knew the Cascade Mountains were full of volcanoes but I didn't know Three Fingered Jack was one until I looked it up.

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  5. Ahhhhh, falling off in the dirt. I remember those days well and my mother could always tell when I didn't ride. I asked her one day how she always knew when I didn't ride and she said, "Thats easy, you're not bleeding." Always wore the helmet and long pants in the dirt, but not much more in the young and dumb years.

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    1. Luckily no bleeding was involved. I think Mel might have had a wee bruise though. I am pretty cautious but rookie mistakes are made.

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  6. sounds like a fun day......never done dirt bike riding.

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    1. IYou have done dirt on the Ural haven't you? Roads just not single track. Come back and visit again, we'll take you out to play. Between us and PolarBear we have enough bikes for guests.

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  7. All that talk of trailers and mountain bikes were quite the wrong intro for the first picture of helmets and goggles. I thought for a moment you were probably taking your cycling a little too seriously. Glad to see you were using infernal combustion.

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    1. Wouldn't that be hardcore on the mountain bikes. There are ones that wear off road helmets and such when riding mountain bikes but I don't need to be doing those kind of jumps and speeds downhill. I am clumsy enough at slow speeds.

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  8. "... forego housework and grocery shopping and chose to go ride some dirt.."

    Excellent choice! The other stuff will always be there.

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    1. About time I said that wasn't it? Guys are riding again tomorrow, but I am staying home to grocery shop and clean the house. The OCD only lets it get so far and that was a week ago. Must clean house...........

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  9. Falling off a dirt bike is par for the course, thats what they are for. I like the motivation..

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    1. It would have been nice to do more riding and less falling, but we had fun.

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  10. A great way to spend the day!

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  11. Great photos Brandy. I used to love riding dirt bikes but don't think I'd bounce too well these days! That inflatable protector sounds good. Does it work with a CO2 cartridge?

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    1. As we get older things break easier than they bounce. Luckily I was never going very fast on the dirt so they were low speed flops.

      There is a mini-bicycle pump type of inflator for the chest/back protector. Inflate it before you ride. No CO2

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  12. Looks like a perfect day and a great excuse to go for a thrash in the dirt. We'll see you on a big Adv bike in no time now...

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    1. It was perfect weather for a ride in the ride.

      I could get a larger adventure bike for gravel roads an even asphalt riding, but for now the Gladius does the job. Maybe I just need to put knobbiest on the Gladius, mind you it is heavy for off-road.

      Hubby keeps asking me if I want to ride his Tiger, but I think that beastie is too big for me. (stop laughing, I am talking about his bike)

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  13. I love that you left the chores behind and played in the dirt! Woot! Life is pretty boring if we don's escape the mundane boring stuff that is housework.

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    1. It was about time I left the chores at home and went riding. A first for me I think.

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  14. I read this days ago, but can't comment from my phone. Actually, I CAN, it's just a challenge, and I haven't figured out what it is that makes it work sometimes. :-(

    Anyhoo... what fun! I've been wanting to take a dirt course, but Hubby is not interested in riding in dirt and no longer has the bike for it. Just the thought of that big-ass Victory going through the woods makes me chuckle. It's fun that you had a girl to ride along with, too.I love the selfies. Glad you decided to opt out of housework for the day.

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    1. You probably saw the pics on facebook too so you got a double dose.

      We did have fun. Yeah, that Victory was not made for single track through the woods. Come for a visit, we have extra bikes. I think I prefer gravel roads traveling somewhere neat like a waterfall, etc. The single track in the OHV areas can get a little daunting.

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  15. looks like a good time was had by all of you in a great looking spot for those bikes

    now the Q is why isn't mel color coordinated like the rest lol

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    1. It was a beautiful area, but I could have done without the sand.

      This was Mel's very first dirt bike adventure. She'd never ridden off road so she was using street gear. Her kevlar jeans didn't match her shirt. I'll have to tease her on that. Her helmet and boots matched her shirt though, lol.

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  16. Maybe I need to try dirt.

    I only came off once, on pavement, and trust me, I wasn't smiling.

    The only concern is that my body doesn't bounce like it used to.

    Maybe with an inflatable body suit.

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    1. Dirt can be fun, just a matter of how dirty you want to get. Gravel roads or single track. You might enjoy a little dual sport so you can tootle off the beaten track. Of course your Vespa probably does a fine job with that.

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  17. I used to have a couple of dirt bikes, they are such good fun, thanks for that now you've made me want to go out and buy another one!

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    1. Ahhh, but when you have too many kinds of bikes it is harder to balance all of the hobbies. Do I go dirt bike riding? Road riding? Mountain biking? Too many choices especially when you add wanting to paddle the canoe into the mix.

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