Family tradition pretty much demands that Mia and I should have been going someplace for Memorial Day Weekend. In the 19 years we’ve been together we’ve done everything from Bar Harbor, Hershey Park, Jackson New Hampshire, Sisters, Bend, Walport/Yachats, Cannon Beach, Redwood Forest, and a heck of a lot more. Her birthday usually falls around Memorial Day Weekend and it has always been a good reason for us to get away for 3-4 days.
The idea for 2020 was for me to leave on Wednesday of this last week and bike to Sisters over three days to meet Mia there on Friday afternoon. I had mapped out a route that would have had me camping near Timothy Lake on day 1, just east of Detroit Lake on day 2 and finishing off with some fantastic singletrack into Sisters on Day 3. Needless to say COVID-19 screwed that whole plan up. We’ve currently rescheduled our trip for mid-September……we shall see how that ends up.
Instead we have opted to hunker down at home like requested. I mapped out a pretty fantastic route from Hagg Lake over to Barney Reservoir on a bunch of logging roads. I added about 12 miles by leaving from my house instead of the mapped out start next to Lake Stop Grocery in Gaston. It was going to be a full day of riding too.
Other than two guys in a truck early on Stimson Mainline I didn’t see another person until near the Trask River and coming out towards Barney Reservoir. I did make sure to share the GPS file with Mia just in case things went sideways and she had to send some one out to look for me. Best to be prepared you know.
There are absolutely no services (cell, stores, etc) on a large part of this loop. Your only convenient options are Lake Stop Grocery at the start/finish and then “downtown” Gaston and the Gaston Market or Screamin’ Chicken which would be slightly off course as you are coming out off Patton Valley Rd. I had to be fully self sufficient as far as food and water went. That meant carrying 3 water bottles, an MSR Trailshot water filter and a bunch of food. I should have brought a bit more food.
There is something super nice about being out on these logging roads. There is nobody else around. If you want solitude come out here on a weekend (except probably hunting season). That is one of the joys of the Stimson Lumber properties. They are pretty nice with recreational access to their properties. So don’t be a dick and screw it up people!
While it would be nice to have rules like in Sweden in regards to public rights of way, the good Ole USA isn’t about to let that happen anytime soon.
If you stumbled across this post and decided to head on out for this wonderful ride I only have one KEY note to make. After exiting 2500′ Rd from behind the above gate stay Left (downhill). My GPS got all wonky on me and I spent almost an hour second guessing myself and chasing a couple dead ends. For me the GPS finally found the course again about 1/4 mile down the hill. I won’t make the mistake again and I certainly won’t second and triple guess myself either.
There are numerous places you can stop for a refill of your water bottles. You cross many creeks and pass several waterfalls. Some of the access points to water would require a bit of a traverse down to the water. There was one point where you have easy access to the North Fork Trask River and then the most obvious is once you hit Barney Reservoir.
I was pretty wiped the last 15 miles or so. I even swung into Lake Stop Grocery, which is only 6 miles from my house, so that I could get some emergency rations!
I love it when I don’t have to drive to a great ride. There is a certain amount of joy in leaving from your door and arriving back hours later, totally wiped, and not having had to drive.
There is so much more to explore out there. I ran the gambit of pavement, fast gravel, chunky gravel and that dirt road surface that sucks at your tires and makes you think you are getting a flat. I’m looking forward to exploring some more options out that way soon.
And before I forget…..I’ve got one more recipe for this week. Mia’s birthday is coming up and she wanted a yellow cake with chocolate frosting. So she sent me this King Arthur Flour recipe to use. I pretty much followed this recipe to the letter. My one exception was using buttermilk instead of whole milk. I also added some espresso powder to the chocolate frosting.
Now to see if I can WOW the pastry chef. Mia doesn’t mention it much but I like to brag about her. She graduated from her culinary program as “Baker of the Year” (i.e. top of the class). So I’ve got to work hard to impress her.
Thanks for reading,