Mystery Connections

Wanderlust is defined by Merriam-Webster quite simply as “strong longing for or impulse toward wandering.”  I’ve got plenty of lust for wandering which may also be phrased as I have a tendency towards exploring new areas.  This is especially true when I am new to an area.  I knew the towns/roads/trails around my college town better by the end of my first freshman semester than most seniors.  You can probably also blame some part of the move to Oregon on my (and Mia’s) desire to see something new after 40 years in New England.

In these modern times I tend to start my research by following lines on Google Maps.  Back in the day it was go with someone who knew the area or just be prepared to possibly get lost, you should write down some key street names on a piece of paper and hope for the best.  Some of my favorite bike loops started out as a vague idea and a little bit of wandering around until I ended up on a road that looked familiar.

I want to make connections between areas I know and areas I want to know better or have never been to.   While I would love to just spend my life doing #vanlife, or monetize this website and have a sponsor pay for our travels.  I am also practical enough to realize that a retirement plan and health insurance are pretty sweet things to have too.  So I take what opportunities I can to get out and explore.  Never discount what can you can find right in your so called backyard too.

Not exactly true……

Today was about making a connection between Carpenter Creek Rd and Chanterelle Rd.  My messing around with Google maps shows it was probable but you have to be wary about what you see on a satellite image that could be several years old.  Especially when you’re entering timberland.  What was once a connection may now be a mowed down forest and the old road/connection you thought was there is now obliterated.

The supposed “dead end”

Carpenter Creek ends at a gate that brings you on to Stimson Lumber property.  Stimson is kind enough to allow “recreational use” on many of their properties unless otherwise signed.  They are unlike some of the other timber companies in the area who either have ridiculously expensive and limited permit systems or worse are just anal jack-holes who don’t allow any trespassing on their property at all.  Stimson seems to be a bit more forward thinking than others.  So if they happen to read this…..Thank You!

Just past the gate and around a corner you go Up (and up and up)
Up and into the mist

In the first 11 miles of this ride I climbed over 1700′ feet in elevation, most of which started around mile 6.5.  I ended up following a couple dead ends and had to backtrack a bit to find the proper cut-off.  It just meant I did more elevation that I needed to had I taken the proper cut-off on the first try.  Where is the fun in that?

The gravel road I was on “dead ended” at this little singletrack trail

I could see the powerlines for Chanterelle through the trees and had to assume that the short trail I was on would cut over to them.  There wasn’t anywhere else it could have really gone and the Google maps perusal definitely indicated they came together at some point.  The biggest worry is dropping into some one else’s backyard and not having them happy about it.

Just popped out of this trail onto a gravel road
Chanterelle and the powerlines I could see from higher up

The descent on Chanterelle down to Carpenter Creek and Stringtown Rd can best be called crazy steep in a couple sections.  I believe there are a couple more mystery connections to be made back here too.  I’ll need to spend some time playing around with Google maps, ride with GPS and maybe a good old fashioned paper map to see what is possible.  Worst case scenario is at least now I know of one connection.

Random old barn and sweet farm house
Salsa Timberjack.  Exploration machine

While it turns out this loop is more than likely doable on my Niner RLT when I am not exactly sure what I might run into on these exploration rides I opt for the Salsa Timberjack.  The 2.8″ tires and 34×46 low gear make any bad decisions a bit more bearable.

Thanks for reading,




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