COVID-19 Wk 51: Rail(ing) Trailing It


It is getting to that time of the year/season when I am tired of “riding” my bike on the indoor trainer. As I get more and more rides outside, and daylight savings approaches, returning to the garage for another trainer session becomes less and less appealing.

This is getting old

Work really wore me down this week. I was looking for a reason to escape and get a change of scenery. The weather forecast for the weekend in Forest Grove was looking rather blah but by Thursday afternoon I had formed a rough plan. Blow out of work (or in today’s work environment… log off) a tad early on Friday and drive out to the Lower Deschutes Rec Area for Clifford’s first official night of camping.

Clifford the Big Red Van goes camping

Apparently I find myself camping here every couple years or so. January of 2019 was the last time I was out here to survey the 2018 fire damage. Prior to that it has been the base of operations for Oregon Stampede rides. In late winter and early spring it’s a great place for those of us living on the westside of the cascades to come and get away from the wet. In general the further east you drive from PDX the drier it gets.

The A-Loop

While I could have camped at the back of the campground, in the T-Loop for $7 a night I opted for the A-Loop at $24 a night and proximity to a flushing toilet. I was solo for this trip and wanted some peace and quiet/alone time. I was thinking the chance of having to interact with people might be slightly increased back in the primitive sides since it’s just a large field. A-Loop has a bit more defined campsite boundaries.

Me time

Unfortunately about 15 minutes after I got there it started to rain steadily. I had been hoping for a fire and maybe a walk along the river. Instead I had dinner and read my book for three and half hours.

I slept fairly well. The temps in Clifford were in the low 40’s by morning but flannel sheets, a wool blanket and sleeping bag unzipped and on top of all that let me sleep warm enough. We do have a Little Buddy Heater but I forgot the propane tank at home.

Overcast to begin the ride

I promised Mia I’d be home no later than 2pm on Saturday. That meant starting my ride just before 8am under cloudy and cool conditions.

Cleared up quickly

By the time I was approaching where the trail ends at a large washout the clouds were clearing and the sun was just starting to come over the hills. It was still cool in the shade but any sections in the sunshine were quite pleasant.

The wind was gusty heading back to the campground. So while it is slightly downhill all the way back it was a fight at times pedaling into a stiff breeze.

I’d like to head back some time in April for an attempt at the Oregon Stampede Loop. I need to get in some long rides in preparation for the Skull 120 in June. We shall see how thing progress in the next 4-6 weeks. It’s also fun to ride that loop with one or two people but given COVID it may be hard for me to get my schedule to mesh up with the one or two people I’d feel comfortable riding with.

Thanks for reading,

3 Comments Add yours

  1. adventurepdx says:

    Man, it’s been about three years since I’ve been to the Deschutes Rec Area. I need to go, and soonish, as I don’t relish the summer temps out that way.

    Is the “primitive” site new? I don’t remember it from the last (and only) time I camped there in 2014. (In 2018 Emee and I stayed at the Balch Hotel in Dufur and drove to the trailhead.)

    1. Onrhodes says:

      The primitive camping is the last bit of the field before the hiking trail starts. It’s just past the group sites.

  2. Always enjoy reading your posts. Rick and I purchased a 24 ft. RV the year we retired. We did two cross country trips, two trips across Canada, and a trip through the Merritimes. We absolutely loved it. Hope you enjoy Clifford as much as we enjoyed ours. Hi to Mia!

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