3 Days Discovering the Oregon Cascades

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by liv2day, Aug 3, 2019.

  1. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

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    There are times in life when I've found the only option to maintain any sense of balance requires getting on a motorbike and going. In the past, I would have jumped on my street bike and headed off to enjoy the incredible roads we're fortunate to have so close. Those days are gone, but dual-sport and adventure riding has taken the mantle and given me so much more geography to explore.

    As such, after getting a massive curve ball thrown my way and life going completely pear-shaped, I reached out to a good friend as I needed to get out, even if it was only for a few days. A plan was hatched and thanks to the efforts of @Apple Jam and others who crafted the Cascade Discovery Route, the tracks for a decent loop in the Cascade Range came to fruition.

    Here are a few teaser images to get things started.

    Fack.
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    On a great FS road
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    Don't leave food out!
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    Will revisit this lake with my boys
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    Love riding in the mountains
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    Always great to scavenge wood and have a fire
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    Stunning
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    Mother Nature is truly a thing of beauty
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    Mt. Jefferson
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    To be continued with a short day 1 that required headlamps to repack the bike and setup camp
    #1
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  2. OG1

    OG1 Been here awhile

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    In for this one for sure
    #2
  3. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

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    The plan for the first day was open, wasn't able to get out of town until after 6 and with the days getting a little shorter, I figured we'd ride until dusk and find a place to camp. I was coming from the west side of town, taking the fastest way to get out of dodge using the interstate (which isn't all that fun on a loaded 2-fiddy...lol). Met up with my buddy in Estacada and we headed west on asphalt for several miles before peeling off that crap to get onto a nice FS road heading southwest.

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    Didn't stop much on the way out as there wasn't much to see and take pictures of. Don't get me wrong, it's a fun ride and although you have to watch out for the random SUV barreling down the FS road in the opposite direction, it's pretty quick riding too. We bombed along for an hour or so, passed a mountain biker who'd set his tent up on the side of the road (more on that later) and then we came across a small campground to the east of the FS road and I decided to stop to get an idea of when my buddy wanted to stop riding, etc.

    We said we'd ride for a bit longer and try to find someplace well off the main road as we still had plenty of daylight left. I put the 250 in gear and started to go, only to realize she felt like a frickin' marsh mellow. Looked down and sure enough - damn flat :baldy :baldy

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    Multiple obscenities ensued, couldn't believe the damn thing was flat. No use complaining though, so off came the luggage and weight, up with the rear of the bike, off came the wheel, and out came the tube. Before all that crap, found the source of the flat. How the hell did these damn things end up on a FS road :eek7 :eek7[​IMG]

    I joked with my buddy that he should have been riding in the lane I was in and then he'd be the one yanking the rear wheel off and changing the tube.

    Being the cheap bastard I am, I decided to patch the tube rather than use my spare - still had a couple days of riding. It was easy to find the hole, those damn nails (finishing nails?) were stuck straight through the tire and made a nice big hole in the tube (very much like the flat I had in DV rolling into the parking lot of Panamint). So, patching commenced, then filling with air to make sure she held.

    Didn't hear any leaks and there wasn't any bubbling when sprayed with water. Throw the tube back into the wheel and get everything loaded again. Just about ready to start riding when I look at the rear wheel and it's going flat...again :doh :boid

    By now, it's dark and I'm not pulling all the luggage off or the damn rear wheel. My buddy scouts ahead and says there's an off-shoot about 300 yards up. Not super nice as there are shell casings everywhere, but it's better than camping in the road like that poor mountain biker.

    Sinc the bike's fully loaded and the tire's flat, I'm not riding the thing up there and destroying the tire. So, I put the bike in first and walk it up. Now, that might sound easy, but walking a fully loaded bike whilst trying to feather the clutch in full gear was a serious effin' workout :splat 300 yards felt like miles, not sure I've ever been so happy to put the goofy kickstand down and take all my crap off. We proceeded to get tents setup in the dark, then sat down to enjoy some whisky and good 'ole MREs. On the plus side, no light pollution and we could kinda see part of the Milky Way. I need to pull my tracks off the GPS, but I'm pretty sure we didn't log more than 30 miles off road - hell of a day, huh :lol3 :lol3

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    That's it for the first day, was pretty wiped after working all day, pulling the wheel and (unsuccessfully) patching the tube, walking the pig up a slight hill fully loaded in full gear, and then getting camp setup.

    I'd have to deal with the flat the following morning, but at least I'd be rested and ready to go.

    More to come :ricky
    #3
  4. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

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    The clear skies from the night before were gone and there was a low cloud deck with mist rolling through where we camped. Nothing bad, but it made for a chilly start to the morning - which was good with me because I woke up knowing I had to pull the damn wheel off the bike (again), pull the tube (again), put a new tube in, then put her back together (again). Made some instant coffee to knock the cobwebs down and got to it.

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    About the time I'm done getting the wheel back in the swingarm and luggage re-loaded, that mountain biker we passed on our way out comes pedaling up. Talk about a cool story. Turns out he's a Kiwi who's been out pedaling solo around California and Oregon for the last several weeks. Great guy named Michael who has a DR650 back in New Zealand, saying he hasn't done any type of overland travel with it, but says he's leaning toward doing so now. We had a great chat and I gave him my cel in case he needed anything while in the PDX area. His next adventure after going down to Detroit (where we were headed) was to get back to PDX and then head up to Mt. St. Helens. Pretty damn cool.

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    We packed up and continued our journey south, though we never did see Michael again. Though most of this FS road has you riding in the woods, there are times when it opens up and affords an excellent view of the surrounding Cascade range to the west.

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    We made our way to Timothy lake and stopped for a snack by the dam. Perfect place to relax while getting bearings for the next leg. This point started the southbound section of the CDR and would be tracks I'd never ridden before - was stoked to see what they had in store.

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    The tracks did not disappoint, some fast, flowing 2-track that had a short section of single track, some rocky stuff, some rutted stuff, a section that had been completely messed up by the logging equipment going back and forth, and a cool lake we detoured to.

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    After leaving Summit Lake, we started on the track that'd been chewed up by the logging equipment - was slow going. And as we continued south, we ended up running into active logging operations. We'd seen the signs well ahead of finding the operations, but what spooked me a bit was cruising along and hearing the sudden thump, thump, thump of a helicopter that seemed to come out of nowhere (having ear plugs in kept the sound from reaching me until it was pretty damn close).

    We stopped and watched the chopper do its thing while 2 giant backhoes with claws did their thing. It was seriously damn cool, that chopper made 7-8 runs in the 5 or 6 minutes we were sitting there. It'd pick up a small collection of trees somewhere off in the woods and drop them where the backhoes would grab and stack. And the backhoe operators were just as efficient - effin' crazy.

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    In between chopper loads, the backhoe driver motioned us through and we continued on our way. One of the highlights for me was stopping by Olallie Lake as I'd never been before, but had seen signs of it for many years. Man, what an incredible lake. Mt. Jefferson as the backdrop only adds to the beauty. I can definitely see coming back with my boys at some point down the road. Not a fan of packed campgrounds, but it's easy to tell this place is special and I know it'd be fun to hang out for a few days and enjoy the lake.

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    My buddy took this shot, quite apropos given life right now - contemplating the what ifs of life.

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    It was tough leaving such an idyllic spot, but we still needed to get to Detroit for fuel and water. For those that haven't ridden the section of the CDR from here, a warning that a small stretch is rocky and would be tough work on a big bike. Hell, it was hard work on my 250. Climbing out from Olallie and going by Breitenbush lake (and several others) was a good workout. That said, there are a bunch of seriously cool lakes to camp at/near in this area. I can easily see coming back on my bike and camping by some of them, imagine there's a bunch of tracks to explore too.

    Don't remember the name of this one.
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    Or this one.
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    Ahh...great two-track.
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    And fantastic views.
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    I'd somehow missed the northern loop into Detroit, so we ended up slabbing some before heading off FR 46 to end up on the east side of Detroit. Great fun and good road all the way there. We hit Detroit and fueled up, also decided to have a bite to eat on the great deck the store has overlooking the marina.

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    With full bellies, we decided it would be a good idea to figure out where we were going to camp. Definitely not in Detroit as there were far too many people, so I looked on the map and found a small lake that was on the return trek for tomorrow's ride. Plan in place, we left and started off onto unproven tracks (which would bite us the following day).

    Dunlap lake turned out to be fantastic, small with only a couple spots and one taken by a young family who's kids were very interested in the bikes that pulled in. We setup camp and it wasn't too long that the kids came over to investigate - which we'd suggested after talking to the parents :-) :-)

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    Scavenged a bunch of down branches and wood so we could have a fire and kicked back to enjoy a good, solid day of riding. Some whisky and a MRE was the perfect combination, only thing missing was smores, but those are tough to pack...lol.

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    All in all, a great day of riding followed by a sweet camp spot and virtually no skeeters. Couldn't ask for much more.

    The next day would provide multiple navigation challenges and lead me to curse the damn Garmin topo maps many times. But, that's tomorrow.

    Thanks for following along :D
    #4
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  5. Apple Jam

    Apple Jam Forest Flyer Super Supporter

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    Thanks for taking us along!!

    If you stay at Olallie Lakes overnight with your kids.....bring skeeter spray and keep the fire big :nod
    #5
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  6. tireatr

    tireatr Let's go for a ride

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    Very cool. Thanks for sharing this experience with us.
    #6
  7. zedx9

    zedx9 Been here awhile Supporter

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    Liv, fun to see you going at this with the same gusto you did with your street adventures:D I'll pass on your flat tire luck though. Maybe take the tact that @LittleWan subscribed to, "make flats your favorite"
    #7
  8. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

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    Thanks @zedx9! I recognize that screen name from many moons ago, though it's been so long that your name escapes me (embarrassed - memory isn't what it used to be...lol).

    And yeah, getting out to explore all the non-asphalt tracks we have...frickin' amazing. 3 weeks in Baja last year, a week in Death Valley earlier this year, trips out to SE Oregon, and small trips around here. If I could do something about this damn job thing and have more time, I'd be off in the woods for weeks or months at a time.

    Hopefully, I'll have some time to get the last day's story up. And then try to find some time to get a video together.
    #8
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  9. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

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    Sheesh, lost track of this and forgot that I still had a day to go.

    The last day's ride was going to be a crap shoot insofar as the track I laid out was done using the Garmin software and their seriously crappy topo maps. Over the last several years I have had mixed luck in planning routes using their software, mostly due to their topo map showing a road that simply didn't exist. The same would bite us on the return trek. I'll get to that in due time :doh

    Was a nice, calm morning when we awoke. A good chill in the air given the elevation, but no wind which meant a calm lake for fantastic pictures.

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    Packed up camp and grabbed a shot together before getting on the bikes and heading toward Elk Lake - where my track showed the road continuing (here's a hint - it didn't).

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    We stopped by Elk Lake and I marked another spot I'd like to visit and camp by, the campground was quite nice with large spaces and plenty of shade. No motorized craft in the water allowed, perfect.

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    We came to the end of the road and found that the track on my GPS turned into a trail. Time to backtrack and figure out a different way. It's a good thing my buddy Ty had downloaded offline maps on his phone, we rode back past Dunlap Lake and started our detour.

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    At least the detour afforded excellent views along the way, we wound through the Cascades making our way sort of north and west. The goal was to get us back to Estacada, but on the opposite side of the Clackamas River this time. Suffice to say, that didn't happen - not even close :lol3

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    I need to pull the actual track off my GPS as it ended up being nowhere near what the planned route was...lol. The last picture I took tells the story of the crap that Garmin topo maps are. That big brush thicket in front of us is supposed to be a national forest road. And I guess it is a NF road as we were on it for a good chunk of miles before it simply ceased to exist.

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    More backtracking ensued and I ended up in Canby near I5 after splitting off from Ty so he could make his way home.

    I'll post the GPX tracks when I get a chance, believe we covered ~350 miles over three days of riding. Not a ton of miles, but man - what a great weekend to get out and explore the CDR.

    Thanks for following along :-) :-)
    #9
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  10. UselessOnABike

    UselessOnABike Chris McCartney

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    Photos look amazing, looks llike a great trip! Mt. Jefferson looks pretty stunning in your pics! USA has so much to see, some day I will venture over to that end of the pond and have an explore haha. Couldn't help but notice the inflatable dinghy on the lake in your last pics, did you guys bring that with you on the bike? Reason I ask, I'm considering an inflatable kayak at some point, but wondering if it would be possible (or a pain in the a**) to carry (deflated) in a side case/top box? Those forests look amazing, but I bet they're loaded with flies/mozzies?!
    #10
  11. flying.moto

    flying.moto Earthbound Misfit, I Supporter

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    Fantastic photos and a story! :thumb

    That time with all the flats reminded me when I was 80 miles south of the border, going north, sun setting, and i got 3 flats within 8 miles :photog

    What a beautiful place of the country Oregon is! I must return there sooner than later! I still remember all the times i've ridden there street and not. And, alike many of us inmates here... riding my street bike after tasting dualsport, and sighing at every nasty looking dirt trail branching off the pavement up some mountain.... yeah. Nothing like being able to explore both! :ricky

    Thank you for sharing your adventure with us! :wave
    #11
  12. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

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    Thanks @UselessOnABike, appreciate the comments!

    Regarding the raft, that was the family camped next to us. I think it'd be pretty hard to carry one of the inflatable kayaks, have an old Sevylor 2-person inflatables and it's damn heavy. A single person might not be that heavy, but imagine it'll still be a load to carry on a bike.

    The bugs weren't that bad. The first night was pretty bad on the mosquito front, but the 2nd night was great - no real mosquitoes. The 2nd night was surprising given how close to a lake we were, but no problems.

    Hope you're able to get over here and explore, it's fantastic :D
    #12
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  13. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

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    Thanks @flying.moto, I remember that ride report you posted with all the flats (and the shot of your bike on it's side in the parking lot - think that was one of 'em?).

    Appreciate the comments and you following along :nod :nod
    #13
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  14. flying.moto

    flying.moto Earthbound Misfit, I Supporter

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    Yep! that was the one... and the final fix to the dreaded hole in my back tire :lol3

    I still think i pissed off some witch doctor stuck in traffic when we blasted by him doing light speed on the dusty parallel dirt track... then to be cursed with massive slice in a tire and a few flats... just so the said witch doctor could observe me fixing it on the side of the road as they creep by :photog:jack

    :ricky:ricky
    #14
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  15. weldpro

    weldpro Been here awhile

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    Awesome as per usual! I had wrote in one of your other ride reports that my brother lives in OR now so I have a great excuse to get up there, and ride. Your reports help me understand the area a bit better. Thank you for that!!!
    #15
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  16. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

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    Thanks @weldpro, much appreciated! Let me know if I can help with any intel if you get up here for a ride, happy to share GPX tracks and anything else I've stumbled upon :D :D
    #16