The urge to get out for a quick overnight of biking and camping was pretty strong at the start of November. I knew that most of the month was booked up with birthday, Thanksgiving and the RV show at the start of the month, so I booked pretty far out and got a cabin for early December at Stub Stewart State Park. Being December there was no way I was going to camp in a tent! The cabins there are what I consider a pretty good deal at $44 a night ($54 for pet friendly). I sent out a email to a bunch of like minded friends and got a few bites. Stasia even ended up getting a 2nd cabin since it looked like we would originally have more than 5 of us. Unfortunately an illness for one, conflicting schedules for another and lastly I-84 being closed to East and West bound traffic from Troutdale to Hood River on Saturday morning for two more shrunk our group pretty quick. We could have gotten away with just one cabin when all was said and done, but it is what it is.
Dean had spent the night up at Stub in his A-liner on Friday night and was biking down to meet us. Yue Yun would join him later in the day with their dogs for Saturday night. I met Michelle, Stasia and James at the Orenco MAX stop for 10ish and we were headed out soon there after to meet up with Dean.
Dean had already sent me a few photos of snow on the ground at his campsite and on the Banks Vernonia trail as he was headed out to meet us. Toss in a forecasted rain and chilly temps and this ride was working into the “interesting” category (not epic). Everyone was up for it though.
Dean had two flats on the way to meet us and James had a flat on Evergreen Dr as we were headed towards Glencoe. I blame it on the tiny gravel the road crews tossed down for icy conditions like we had on Thursday and Friday. Not only does it flat tires but it also tends to crack windshields around here on a fairly regular basis too. We had one more flat as Stasia was losing air in her rear tire the last 1/4 mile to the cabin. That was the extent of it and as far as I know, nobody suffered any mechanicals on the ride back on Sunday.
We almost made it all the way to the BV trailhead in Banks before the rain started. Pretty soon we were all decently damp. The key was to keep moving and not dilly dally, that way we could stay warm.
The trail slowly gains elevation as you head towards the access road to the park. Down low things were slushy but rideable. The higher we got, the more “crunchy” the snow on the trail became. Several of the small wooden bridges were very snowy and the long train trestle (just behind Dean in the picture above) was almost totally snow/slush covered.
A couple times the rain was really coming down at a decent clip. I was wet on the outside, and very damp underneath my rain gear. My hands and feet were still warm which was a blessing. The first thing we did upon getting to the cabin was to crank up the heat. We had a little problem with ours though as the thermostat was not functioning. A quick fix by the kick butt Stub staff and we were golden.
There are two types of cabins at Stub. A single room with a bunk bed and futon and then the two room with a futon in the front and double bunks in the back room with a door in between the two. The two room offers a bit more privacy for anyone staying in the back and they’re about 1/3 to 1/2 larger than the single room units.
It was a fairly tame night. Dean and Yue Yun were just down the road in their camper and were in bed pretty early. The rest of us chit chatted until a little after 9pm and even then we were all lights out by 9:45 (us “old” people know how to rip it up).
Temps didn’t really move overnight. It did however downpour several times with a fairly constant rain all night. The plus to this is that it was hopefully dissolving the snow on the BV trail. The downside was that it was occasionally falling as snow!
We definitely did not rush to get ourselves on the road on Sunday. The sun peeked out here and there and the heavier rain subsided at one point. We took this as the chance to get moving. From the cabins to the start of the BV trail and then most of the first 4 miles of the trail itself are all downhill. On a morning like this one it meant a chilly 30-40 minutes until we were required to pedal a bit more on the flatter sections of trail.
we ran into just a bit of rain on the way home. The temps on the trail were about 33 degrees at the start and then almost 38 at the Banks trailhead.
It eventually warmed up to the mid 40’s as we got back towards Orenco. The sun was shining intermittently too. Not a bad way to end the weekend.
This is definitely the last little overnight of 2016. I wanted to get one more in and the mission was successful. Great to have some company along too. Can’t say I would have been overly motivated to ride in Saturday’s weather by myself.
Thanks go out to Dean, Yue Yun, Michelle, James and Stasia for joining me. Perhaps another one sometime in February? I’ll work on getting Mia and Codi to join us.