After last week’s snow event this week was all about melting. For the most part the roads were all cleared up by Tuesday. The bike lanes are still a wicked mess but then that doesn’t really surprise me in the least.
Not much news personally on the COVID front. Word from work is that us “normal employees” (i.e. not the police or operations/water/street/sewer/storm folks) are looking at vaccine availability sometime late spring or early summer. Employees who fall into the high risk age categories designated by the CDC or State are encouraged to schedule appointments through their primary care doctor. Since Mia and I aren’t old enough, “essential enough”, or in any other high risk category we’re resigned to just wait it out at this point. There is a small, dim glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. It just ain’t approaching fast enough!
After being cooped up all last weekend I was desperate to ride outside. Lucky for me the forecast for Saturday was looking pretty darn good. Temps started out in the mid 30’s but warmed up to the low 50’s quick enough. I took the opportunity to map out a new to me route out of Carlton that headed south and west. Most of the gravel riding that we do out that way hovers between north of Meadowlake Road and south of Cherry Grove. After the Peavine Loop out of McMinnville the other week I was itching for some more new stuff. The new heat map feature on Ride with GPS allows you to see where people are recording rides, runs, walking, etc and takes some of the guess work out of making connections.
I took a meandering route of pavement and gravel out of Carlton over to Baker Creek Road. The paved part of Baker Creek Road ends where Charles Metsker Park and Baker Creek Rd diverged. Soon after there is a logging gate that was wide open and about 10 cars parked along the side of the road. It looked to me like this was a popular area for trail runners since I saw 5 of them early on the gravel. I wondered if they were the reason for the strength of the heat map.
I didn’t see another soul out there after the first mile or so. It is a steady and at times demanding six mile climb to the summit just east of Ball Bearing Hill. There is currently active logging going on towards the top of the climb. Being the weekend I didn’t see anyone working out there but I did end up passing a guy and his dog in a Tacoma as I bombed back down towards Panther Creek Road.
I think the logging activity actually helped me out in the long run. There would have been a lot more snow on the ground if the heavy trucks hadn’t rutted it out. All I had to do was keep in their tracks and I was fine.
While the loop out of Carlton itself is “only” 34 miles the elevation gain comes out around 3700′. So yeah it isn’t exactly flat. Bring your climbing gears. You can find the loop I published right here. I started the mapped ride at Carlton’s Wennerberg Park but as of the writing of this post it is closed to the public. So I just used public parking off of N. Pine Street next to Tendril Wine Cellars tasting room for my excursion.
I’m looking forward to some more stuff out that way. SW Wanless Rd looks promising for future exploration.
What the heck is that?
The rain held off for Sunday too (surprisingly!) so I headed out for a simple out-n-back along the Banks-Vernonia Trail. I won’t bore you with the details of this one but I needed to share this picture of the local Great Pyrenees just lounging….smack dab in the middle of the paved trail.
I’ve seen this doggie quite a few times wandering the fields along the path but finding him all snuggled up in the middle of the trail was quite funny. He (she?) is super friendly too. We chatted for a bit before I moved along.
Spring is just around the corner…….I hope. Here is to hoping for A LOT more riding outside.
Thanks for reading,