3 Days, ~600 Miles, Cascade Discovery & Washington BDR

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by liv2day, Sep 28, 2017.

  1. liv2day

    liv2day Been here awhile

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    What originally started as an annual guy's weekend of camping in the woods some 17 years ago has slowly morphed into the same camping with 2-wheeled fanatics thrown into the mix. One great upside is we have support vehicles and don't have to haul everything on the bikes, makes it so nice knowing there's ice cold beer in the cooler and instead of chowing MREs or trying to find a restaurant, we cook like you're supposed to when camping.

    The overall group for this year's weekend was really small compared to years past, but no problems on that front, meant fewer sites reserved and likely less irritation from fellow campers...lol. The dual-sport peeps for this rip included yours truly, JP on his 500 adventure bike, and relative new comer DS on his 701.

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    The first day's ride was going to take us out to the Mt. Hood National Forest so we could connect with the northern section of the Cascade Discovery Route (thanks AppleJam!). Total mileage would be 230ish, though a chunk of that was on pavement getting to Mt. Hood and then getting to our campsite (Memaloose - would not recommend unless you really enjoy interstate noise interspersed with freight trains...no sleepy :eek7).
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    I started things off proper as soon as we left asphalt. Stopped for a quick break to check in with the guys, parked too close to the drainage ditch on the right and whilst attempting to put my foot down; found myself wedged under a 690 a couple feet lower in elevation. At least the guys didn't have time to get their cameras out - too worried about the idiot stuck under his own motorcycle :doh . Wouldn't be the only time I kissed terra firma over the weekend, wouldn't even be the only time I touched down on the ride out...lol.

    Note bike parked in the middle of the road now.

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    Our ride through the Mt. Hood National Forest was outstanding, perfect temps with mostly blue skies. It had rained like mad the days leading up to our departure, so there was no dust and the traction was fantastic (most of the time).

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    Releasing some water after all the rain.

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    We stopped along the CDR at Frying Pan lake for lunch - not another soul around and even though we couldn't quite see Mt. Hood poking through the clouds, the lake was the perfect place to kick back for a bite.

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    Immediately after leaving the lake, we were presented with a couple of small lakes in the tracks we were following. I had the great opportunity to relearn a lesson when considering any water crossing - check to see how deep the water is before proceeding. Things were going well until they weren't, the front end dove like a sub and hucked me off the side. Fortunately, she died before sucking any water into the motor. And at least my idiocy ensured the following 2 riders didn't succumb to the same abuse...lol.

    The left side was deeper...I swear...lol.

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    A quick fuel stop along Hwy 26 and we were back on our way. Having passed the sign for Frog Lake hundreds of times going over 26, I wanted to stop and check it out - the parking lot was nearly always full during the summer months. Pretty cool little lake right off the highway; wouldn't want to camp there as way too many people, but a nice, quiet place to hang in the off season.

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    I was worried that our original route might have to be altered because of fire closure and sure enough, we hit closed roads as we attempted to make our way east. This was a bummer as the Barlow Road is a blast and getting to go through Rock Creek OHV would have been fun too, but no worries - we can route around and get back on track with only skipping ~25ish miles.

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    Everything was going great until we started to climb in elevation. Not only had it rained like mad a week ago, the snow level had dropped to 5k feet. The Bennett Pass section of the CDR goes well above 5k. The track started out looking like this.

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    No biggie right, plenty of traction to be had in the tire tracks some cage had laid down. Then it started looking like this.

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    Ok, still not too bad as we can ride the tracks and keep going. But 'keep going' meant climbing and it soon started to be like this.

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    We hit this point and decided that ending up on the news because we were too dense to turn around and back track wasn't wise. I mean come on, we still had that ice cold beer waiting.

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    Turned back and found a bail-out section that would get us down to the highway where we'd have to slab it several miles before being able to hook up to the CDR again. We discussed just slabbing it all the way to camp as the day was passing quickly, but come on - where's the adventure in that. Saw some cool things on the bail-out track anyway.

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    Getting back onto the CDR was a hoot, outstanding 2-track that wound through the forest. I was given the opportunity to test gravity again and sure enough, it still works like Newton described. Tried to walk the 690 over an angled log, stepped on a wet log already down and had the stoopid bike land on me once again. This time it was the pipe side, so I now have a great stripe down my pants where the pipe burned the top layer away. Told you we should have moved that log JP...lol. At least DS had company when he walked his over it.

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    Keeping trees across trail theme going, we ran into this beaut shortly after. At least this one was rotten - we kicked a good portion of it apart and that made it possible to squeeze by.

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    Although I wasn't able to get my camera out fast enough, one of the coolest things I saw as we were finishing our trek on the CDR was a black bear in the middle of the track. It scampered off into the woods way too quickly for me to get stopped and yank the camera out, but it was crazy cool to see one relatively close. My guess is the bad fires in the Gorge likely pushed a whole bunch of wildlife into new areas. Not sure if this was one of 'em, but really neat to see something that big go booking off into the woods. Turns out it wouldn't be the only bears seen during the weekend either, but more on that during day 3.

    Although several hours later than anticipated, we finally made it to camp. DS learned a good lesson in carrying extra straps, at least for next time. If you see a beige North Face tent somewhere in the Mt. Hood National Forest, please chime in...LOL. Good thing our support vehicle brought an extra tent and said driver didn't mind sleeping in his support vehicle.

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    The rest of the night is sort of a blur, but at least I had enough wits about me to keep the camera out. Lots of good grub was consumed, with plenty of beer and a fair amount of whisky too. Pretty much a perfect end to a great day of riding.

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    Nothing like some moonshine to add to the mix.

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    That's it for Day 1.

    Day 2 had us heading up into Washington to do part of the first leg of the WABDR and then cutting across the Gifford Pinchot National Forest in the hopes that the supposed roads on the Garmin topo maps actually existed and would allow us to loop back toward base camp. It mostly worked out :D:D
    #1
    ShineySideUp, eXe, loco4ridin and 4 others like this.
  2. Mudclod

    Mudclod Mojo Moto

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    Outstanding images man! You guys are living large.
    #2
  3. liv2day

    liv2day Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Thanks Mudclod (great screen name btw!), appreciate it :thumb
    #3
  4. liv2day

    liv2day Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Onto our 2nd day of fun :D

    If we had a couple more days planned for this trip, I would have liked to made the trek all the way to Randle and then turned back south, finding somewhere to camp along the way. For future use and flexibility in the ride we wanted to do Saturday, I threw together different tracks with various cut-over points. We opted to do the 2nd cut-over point which should have given us a ride of around 182 miles. Didn't quite turn out that way as a couple of the roads we wanted to take simply didn't exist, but I'd say the rip Saturday was definitely one of the best rides yet.

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    Before starting our trek, the fog had to clear from the night before...lol. This required copious amounts of coffee as well as a good helping of bacon, sausage, and eggs. Yep, definitely better than instant oatmeal and Jetboil. Also took the time to walk down to the river-side of the campground and snap some shots of the Columbia. Even with stoopid interstate noise and trains thundering by, the Gorge sure is an incredible place.

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    Breakfast and coffee done, we jumped on the bikes and headed north across the Columbia. Pretty cool crossing the bridge, though steel grated bridges on knobby tires isn't a blast. At least it wasn't wet.

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    We had to slab it a while before getting off the beaten path, one of the cool places we traveled through on our way was the tiny town of Willard. Imagine these folks must love living where they do - thousands of acres of fun is literally out their back door.

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    The weather was absolutely perfect for our ride and the tracks of the WABDR were in excellent condition - easy to cruise along at a good clip. Aside from the drainage trenches you need to be mindful of, the pace was crisp and the sights along the route reminded me why I love coming up to Gifford Pinchot.

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    Along the way, we stopped at a great snowmobile warming hut maintained by one of the local clubs. Talk about a super cool structure in the middle of the forest - can only imagine how nice it would be to get some warmth in this place after a day of playing in the snow. We chowed some lunch and then continued on our way.

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    Packed some calories and hit the road, heading toward our cut-over track. Not much more to say about how fantastic the views and scenery were - simply awesome to experience the woods and forest like this.

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    Aside from the detours we were forced to take as the road vanished, we took one on purpose as the name of "Hungry Peak" was too much to pass up. We were hoping for a killer view of the surrounding terrain; that didn't occur, but our short hike did reveal something many have likely not seen in person - and that was cool.

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    Obligatory shot on Hungry Peak :D

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    We had another reroute when the track we were following kept going on the GPS, but stopped in real life...lol. Not a problem though, afforded us pretty cool views of Mt. St. Helens in the clouds and other great scenery as we trekked west toward base camp again.

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    We made it back to camp without any issues, covering 200+ miles and thoroughly enjoying the entire rip. Again, nothing like coming back to camp with ice cold beer waiting, great food on the menu, and awesome friends to kick back with.

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    Here's the actual loop and elevation profile for the day, nice one to have in the books!

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    Day 3 up next...
    #4
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  5. Apple Jam

    Apple Jam Forest Flyer

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    :clap

    Nice RR !! and good pics, too.
    Snow on Bennett Pass already?...Uh-oh...

    Everybody must stop to get a shot like yours near "The Terrible Traverse" coming down Bennett Pass Rd to Hwy 35....

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    I'm very glad you got to enjoy some of the best parts of the CDR so late in the year,
    including the great Frying Pan Puddle!....It was dry most of this year :-(

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    I put this link to your Ride Report on the Cascade Discovery Route Thread...

    http://advrider.com/index.php?threads/cascade-discovery-route.1041100/page-59#post-33329305

    .
    #5
  6. Sfcootz

    Sfcootz Proud to be a 0.6106142755%er

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    Yay!!! Great write up and photos. Thank you for posting this. :clap
    #6
  7. Tanger

    Tanger Adventurer

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    Great report. You guys know how to do it!
    #7
  8. Ride Now

    Ride Now Graybeard

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    Edit: Pics are showing fine for me today? :dunno
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  9. Baroquenride

    Baroquenride Everyone dies, but not everyone truly lives.

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    Pics are showing for me. :dunno
    #9
    Apple Jam likes this.
  10. liv2day

    liv2day Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Ok, onto the last day.

    We didn't have the same time luxury on the way home as we did on the way out, so there aren't as many photos and our route unfortunately involved more asphalt. But, we did have the opportunity to disregard a 'road closed' sign as well as figure out a way past slumbering logging operations.

    We had to slab Hwy 35 up Mt. Hood rather than take the fun way on that section of the CDR. It was frickin' cold. Not quite frostbite cold, but cold enough that all feeling left fingers (except JP and his damn heated grips...lol) and made me curse the lack of wind protection on the 690. The only upside is we had incredible views of Mt. Hood - nice to have the atmosphere so clear.

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    Although it wasn't many miles, felt like it took a long time to reach Bennett Pass and finally get off pavement. A quick stop in the parking lot to warm up and appreciate a different view of Hood.

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    The first section was the same route we did on the way out in reverse. Great riding, but we didn't stop to take many pictures along the way. On the plus side, the snow that had been on the tracks leading up to where we turned around had melted. It was still there, but we didn't have to slip and slide as the vehicle tracks were snow-free (we didn't check Bennett Pass itself though).

    Great fall colors along the ride.

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    Rather than simply ride the same exact route back as we did out, we decided to change things up and take alternate tracks once we crossed Hwy 26.

    I didn't realize it when planning the return route originally, but the closed road we ended up navigating through was the same road we turned back on in July when a small group of us did a quick overnight ride and camp. The funny thing is one of the guys from that ride walked down and said we could probably make it, but we had a couple big bikes with us at that time and decided not to risk it.

    Fast forward a few months and we're stopped at the same exact location as the end of July. We decided to say screw it this time and cross the little creek and keep going :D. It was a bit slick on the way down to the water crossing, but nothing too bad. Quick climb up the other side and we made it back to the road without a problem.

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    We were back to cruising along when we passed a sign asking us to please use an alternate route as the road was closed again in a couple miles. We couldn't quite turn back now, so we kept going and were met with this.

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    Thankfully, it was Sunday and no one was working. So, we moved some of the smaller trees and made our way past this backhoe and another big backhoe. Had to duck under a line at the opposite end of the road, but no problems and we didn't get harassed.

    The only other super cool thing that happened before we hit civilization again was spotting 3 bears on the road, but it was a momma and 2 cubs :eekers:eekers. They scurried up the hillside and into the bushes before I could get my camera out for a decent shot. However, momma bear sat on the ridge above us and watched the whole time, even waiting for our buddy DS to pull up and have a look. Hard to see in this shot, but there's a bear head in the middle...making sure we don't do anything stupid.

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    We made it back in decent time, pretty much worn out after riding a good chunk of miles over 3 days. The return track was only 180 miles, but good fun.

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    I have a few video clips to splice together from the ride, will get that posted as soon as I have time to edit 'em.

    All in all, great weekend of riding, hanging out with friends, eating and drinking very well, and having fun. Looking forward to the next rip :thumb
    #10
    MotoCouch, eXe and Apple Jam like this.
  11. liv2day

    liv2day Been here awhile

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    Sherwood, Oregon
    Spliced together the few clips shot during the 3 days and threw it on YouTube. If you have a few minutes to waste, enjoy :D

    #11
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  12. Countdown

    Countdown Long timer

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    Great photos. Are/did you post GP{S Tracks? Would like to know problem spots, etc
    #12
  13. liv2day

    liv2day Been here awhile

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    Happy to post the GPX tracks, though I didn't take the time to put a waypoint or mark the areas where we ran into issues. I'm going off-grid for a week starting tomorrow, but can let you know any specifics when I get back?

    Let me know!

    Attached Files:

    #13