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Old 08-06-2010, 04:26 PM   #1
CavScout OP
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Weekend at Smith Rock

It's been a bad climbing year here in the PNW, with crazy snowfall, random heat waves, and rain that lasted way past normal. At some point in May I had had enough. So had a climbing/biking buddy of mine. We got it into our heads that we were going to climb at Smith Rock for three days, and were going to get there on our V-Stroms. Come hell or high water.

We live near Eugene, Oregon, and it was snowing over the passes we had to cross. Now worries, we decided, we'll just ride through Portland, out I-84 to the Dalles, and then drop down 197. Not exactly a straight line.



We left early Friday morning to beat traffic, and, we thought, the weather. No dice. Our waterproof clothing was saturated by the time we stopped for breakfast east of Portland. I ride year round, and it was hands down the soggiest ride of my life to date. We downed a trucker's breakfast surrounded by classy Kenworth pilots and a waitress who must have been pretending to be our mom. At some point a manager came by and set a "Caution: Wet Surface" cone next to our table...we had quite a puddle going. No way would the passes have been ridable.

We finished breakfast and left the rain behind us. It took a good 90 miles for my gloves to dry out. The ride south on 197 was epic; we encountered a few packs of fellow V-Stromers and not much else through the twisties. We pulled up to Smith Rock just in time to set up camp, chance the weather, and get some quick climbs in before dark.



Saturday was an epic day of climbing in perfect spring weather (freezing snow one minute, unbearably hot the next). Sunday morning we packed up and headed towards Squaw Creek Road for some dirt riding and a water crossing.





The crossing was my first, and I'm told was a tough one. Marble-sized pebbles a foot deep, fast water, combined with random large rocks. I'll add the video of me later; for now, here's the other crazy on the trip. You can see his bike just get tossed around and dig in as the moves through the deep gravel:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FnD7JHOy9_A

We dropped into Sisters to check the weather and ask other travelers about the weather. An State Police officer gave us a pretty good take on what to expect, and wanted to know all about our bikes. I think he was more of a cruiser kind of a guy. Very nice cop, as most of them are.



After our feet dried a little and the temperature had warmed a bit, we hopped on our bikes to brave the pass. It was rainy and cold, but nothing was sticking to the asphalt—just our windshields! After 45 minutes of miserable cold, we were back on the west side where the weather had cleared for a sunny blast home. The shortest distance might be a straight line, but it doesn't make for nearly as good stories!
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Old 08-06-2010, 07:21 PM   #2
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The shortest distance isn't as much fun either!

Looks like a good ride
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Old 06-18-2011, 11:08 PM   #3
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Video of the gravelly, slippery, sketchy water crossing. Not one we could just bomb through. The water wasn't that deep, but there was 6-12" of gravel lose gravel to wade through.

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