These nice folks organize a route, reserve campsites or cabins if necessary and even hand out cue sheets. Riders are given a full description of what to expect as far as ride difficulty and terrain, campsite amenities and even food stops . These weekend trips are free (yes, free!) except for the cost of the overnight sight.
Even though I was already acquainted with two of the three founders and love bike touring, I had somehow never gone on tour with this group. That all changed a couple of weekends ago when I joined Matt and three other friends on a 40 mile trip out to Green Canyon campground.
Although early October in the Pacific Northwest usually means cold and wet weather, we had beautifully sunny, warm and dry days for our tour. We met at the train station in Gresham and rode east along quiet country roads, including some of my favorites like Shipley and Marmot.
The name Shipley reminds me of an alley in San Francisco where bike messengers would gather to drink out of paper bags after hours. But this Shipley is a short, treed-in, narrow little street with a gentle grade. It leads to Marmot, which is a rolling hilly, cow-covered, meadow of a place with stunning views of Wy'East, or Mount Hood, as the locals now call it.
We arrived in Welches to stock up on groceries, then rolled out for the last three miles of road to camp, where we laid claim to the very best site. This gorgeous green campground was well-stocked with free firewood and we enjoyed a roaring fire all evening. Dinner included rice and bean waffles, wine and messy s'mores made with jumbo marshmallows.
In the morning, Matt delighted us with pancakes made from scratch and prepared in the cast iron skillet he had carried to camp on his bike! He followed that up with a fancy egg scramble dish and bacon. There was also plenty of oatmeal and coffee on hand. We waddled out to Welches, where we split off to see the hillier scenic route while the others to hightail it on the highway.