bikes general moosling travel trip reports

Riding bikes in Oregon – Part 3 (The rest)

Next up after Smith Rock was Peterson’s Ridge, near a little town called Sisters. After the Three Sisters series of volcanoes nearby. Which begs the questions “Why is it always Three Sisters, not Three Brothers?” But google confirms that it is sometimes Three Brothers, just less often.

We’d been told Peterson’s Ridge was a must-do ride, with great views. I’d vaguely assumed it must be on a ridge, and so would have awesome views. This was all lies and trickery. The trails was very nearly entirely flat, and was 95% in the forest, with views of nothing but trees. Pictured below is the “view” at the “summit”.

It is quite a nice view. The snow-capped volcanoes are very pretty. But we had to stop and look at it, as you could only see it for a few metres. On the plus side, there was a picnic table and a chipmunk there, and a big rock to sit on so as to promote greater enjoyment of the View.

It was an ok trail. Perfectly fine. But just don’t go into it expecting a ridge, or great views, or particularly thrilling riding.

Next up, I convinced Alex that we should go and ride Mrazek. And that was fun riding. Gradual uphill over many kilometres. Still not much in the way of views, although it felt like there really should be, and nearly would be at a few points. Just one really technical rocky section. Otherwise it was very much like a flatter version of Frisbee Ridge in Revelstoke. A nice consistent climb uphill, but then fantastic fun once you turn around and point your bike in the other direction – the sort of trail guaranteed to have Finn whooping and hollering at Alex “Faster Papa, WHEEEE!”.

The final big ride was the McKenzie River Trail. We weren’t sure if the single trailer would make it over some of the technical riding higher up on the trail, so we decided to do an out and back ride starting from the lowest point of the trail.

And for all that we were following a river upstream, it really didn’t feel like we were going uphill at all. The trail meandered through ferns and mossy trees, and the river burbled happily.

Everything was green.

We even released the Kraken from his trailer to go for a run.

Crossing all of the trail bridges got a little tiresome though. And so, when about 10km along, we reached one where the trailer would not fit, and instead jammed, we were pretty happy to turn around and head back.

I’m sure the upper part of this trail might be really fun, we hardly rode any of it. And it was quite pretty. But just a little boring (sorry McKenzie River trail).

And so ended our Oregon bike adventure. Well nearly. I went out alone the next morning on the local Bend trails and rode a really fun and fast loop, before jumping into the car and driving until we got to Canada. We camped the night; the next morning it started to rain on us, and by the time we got back to Canmore, our bikes were coated in ice, our deck had a foot of fresh snow on it, and biking in sunny 25oC weather was nothing but a distant memory.

bikes general moosling travel trip reports

Riding Bikes in Oregon – Part 2 (Smith Rock)

Turning off the highway and driving the final few kilometres to Smith Rock began an exercise in longing for my climbing gear that lasted until I began to realise that it was actually pretty fun to be riding here too. Smith Rock is one of THE North American rock climbing destinations. Birthplace of sport climbing? Maybe. Spectacular rock and views? Definitely.

The boy rode his bike for the first few hundred metres, then decided he’d had enough, and for the rest of the day it was just helping Alex with his resistance training.

Alex tried to sell me on the idea of starting off with an easy loop around the river trail, but I wasn’t having any of it, so instead we immediately started heading uphill, where the views are. Although of course this did involve initially dropping down from the parking lot, to the river, and then having to start the climb from the valley bottom.

We set out with a route description from an old mountain biking book. This book suggested that the trail we were headed for, Burma Road, was a pretty burly climb. Thus far, nothing we’d rode in Bend seemed to involve any climbing at all. So we may have underestimated this threat. It was indeed a burly climb, particularly with a singletrailer. Even without – there were pitches of loose, steep trail that weren’t easily rideable.

After that, things got a little saner though. We’d gained a lot of elevation already, and were spat out onto some doubletrack that was a more sensible gradient (something between the climb to the Pass in Canmore, with occasional touches of the Quaite Valley trail thrown in for good measure).

And then views! For some reason Alex was feeling a little tired by now, and felt like sitting down in the shade and eating some lunch.

From this point the route in the book described dropping down on fire road for no reason before climbing back up more fire road to reach Grey Butte. Alex was not enthusiastic about this option, so after lunch I did some scouting, and found some singletrack headed towards Grey Butte that was deemed acceptably not-uphill.

It turned out to be a great choice. In fact the only flaw to this piece of trail was that it was hard to avoid looking at the views. And when you did look at the views, it was hard to avoid falling down the side of the mountain. Aside from that, it was lovely. We turned around once we reached the butte though, rather than trying to ride around or up it, and headed back towards Smith Rock. Where there was more difficulty trying to look simultaneously at the view, and the narrow strip of dirt we were trying to balance on.

From here it was all smooth sailing back to the car, except for the one steep section of Burma Road, where the boy was booted out of the singletrailer. I walked him down the hill in stages, while Alex man-handled his bike with empty singletrailer down the hill.

But after ferrying my bike ahead through one piece of trail, I stopped after hearing an odd noise. After looking around, I realised the source of it was a little rattle snake sitting on some rocks just in front of me, rattling in a cranky kind of fashion. He was close enough for me to reach out and touch, and seemed so small as to be adorable rather than threatening (at least compared to Australian snakes I’m used to), but I backed away anyway, and advised Alex he’d be better off taking the high route at this point, as the low route had an irritated rattle snake on it.

And then it was time for icecream!

Distance: 17km return
Elevation gain: 660m

bikes general moosling travel trip reports

Riding bikes in Bend, Oregon – Part 1

The adventure began not with a bike ride, but with a ridiculously long car drive, from Alberta to British Columbia, through Montana, and on to Idaho and then Washington.

There we stopped for the first night in Spokane, and the boy roamed the streets on his strider bike.

I arrived in Bend the next day in a haze of sleep deprivation, as it started to precipitate on us in a manner suspiciously similar to snow, and we ran to hide in the REI store. And then realised that releasing a recently car-bound small person into an exciting store was a terrible idea. Attempting to un-release the kraken proved challenging, but we managed to escape the store with minimum destruction and with some useful maps of bike trails.

The next plan was to work out where to stay. We didn’t want to go far, and the weather looked unpleasant. After dithering about on airbnb, we settled on Mill Inn, which had the combined benefits of bike storage, available rooms, and being walking distance from both the REI district (or Old Mill District, as it calls itself) and downtown Bend. Both of which places looked like they were straight out of a modern Urban Planning textbook (pedestrian oriented design! roundabouts! place-making! alternative traffic calming measures!).

The first morning of riding turned out rather disastrously, as I still hadn’t caught up on sleep, and was having micro-naps on my bike. This doesn’t work in lava rock gardens, and so I was returned to the Inn for more napping, while the menfolk rode some more, ate icecreams, and avoided painful death at the beaks of numerous Canada Geese.

The following morning began with a run up Pilot Butte, after which I started to feel a little more myself, and was followed up with a move to Tumalo State Forest campground, and a cruise around the Phil’s Trail network.

At the campground we’d opted to stay in a yurt, despite having our tent with us. I had strong and conflicted feelings about this. The yurt was expensive! But so convenient and comfortable! But does this mean I’ve become old and bourgeois and too good for a tent? Who did I think I was? I felt a little better when I reminded myself that there was no running water in the yurt, and it only had plastic windows, so really it was just a large and comfortable tent.

On the plus side, the boy absolutely mastered the art of sleeping in a sleeping bag while staying in the yurt, possibly helped by not lying in a tent right next to me in my sleeping bag, which is apparently always much warmer and more comfortable than his.

And so we’d settled into the yurt, ridden a few easier trails near town, eaten icecream, and taught the boy to refer to Canada Geese as Evil Geese. The weather forecast was looking better and better, and things seemed to be going well. To Be Continued…