Daylight... We'll worry about that later
I turned up towards the mountains..
For a short while we pounded pavement on narrow forest service roads that curved gently deeper into the woods. Passing the occasional car headed out of the forest - probably after a day of hiking - we rode further as the road transitioned into well maintained gravel. Turning East we hit our first trail. Trees were down, but had been cleared in the past day or two - a storm must have just come through.
The trail was great for the big Beemers, tacky narrow double track with just the right amount of grip to inspire confidence. Finding a happy speed in 4th kept the rpms around 4k - enough to give either a good boost of power or engine braking when needed - I led the way now speeding North. The occasional set of potholes caught us by surprise, and a few water bars were big enough that i stopped to warn Bernie and Shawn. Otherwise, the road was clear and before long we began to twist higher and higher - letting Shawn take the lead on the superior dirt bike.
Shawn and Bernie sped by and I waited for the dust to settle. We had nothing to complain about, this trail was beautiful.
As we did the climb dance that brought us ever closer to the three sisters, something Shawn had said to me really began to click. It was something along the lines of "in the dirt, lean the bike, and keep your weight centered" and I finally began to get it. Leaning the bike underneath me while staying upright instilled enough confidence to pick up my pace considerably through the corners. I was able to ride more relaxed, having the time to correct a slide and let the bike straighten up if necessary without risking a low side or a complete flop over.
We carried on, catching our last glimpse of Mt. Hood in the distance.
A little more dirt time would bring us even more incredible views of Mt. St. Helens.
Would have loved to have seen her before she blew her top, alas I was not yet born.
The road was excellent here, well groomed gravel and we really made some good time, all the while watching Mt. St. Helens through gaps in the trees.
Then Mt. Adams to the Northeast
Climbing higher and higher the temperature started to drop and signs of winter were still present.
Some of which got the best of me
It was getting closer to sunset so we started looking for a place to camp.
We found a small forest campground set on a lake at the base of Mt. Adams. We had a bit of trouble at the access road but eventually found a clear path to a nice spot.
And boy, was it a damn nice spot
I've done a lot of camping, and I dare say this is the best view I've ever had from my tent.
We got back and I donned my deet covered flannel as the bugs came out with a vengeance. Before long Bernie was hiding in the tent while we enjoyed the rest of the sunset and ate trail food. Nothing fancy tonight - granola bars, dried fruit, and jerky for me.
As it got darker, smoke from a campfire wafted through the trees and a large figure approached from another site. A tall, roughly aged man approached and began speaking in a gruff voice. He smoked a pipe and was dressed in a worn green wool button down and work pants, a prosthetic claw protruded from where his right hand should have been.
He introduced himself and through the course of a mostly one sided conversation he reflected upon us fishing memories from his 50 years fishing in the same boat - one his father bought when he was 12. He told about being in that same boat fishing when Mt. St. Helens erupted in 1980, and how his outboard quit from the ash, just as they reached shore in complete darkness. Covering his mouth with a kerchief, the only way to drive was to wrap multiple layers of paper towel around the air filter, drive until the car choked, remove a wrap and keep on going - with about 20' of visibility.
We finally steered the conversation to the road ahead, to which he replied "you ain't gettin out on that road, not tomorrow. Ice out on this lake was only about 2 weeks ago. 'Bout 2' of snow on that pass still." Our conversation went on, but I'll spare the details and move on as I've been a bit long-winded here.