Saturday, May 6, 2017

Shakin It Down

Photo credit: Paula Funatake
The day started out a bit rough.  A mere glance at the GT Backwoods, fondly referred to as "my Outback bike", revealed play in the hub.  A lot of play, and not the good kind. Luckily, Linda was on hand and able to tighten everything down.  My shifting sucked the whole weekend, but I later learned that was due to a bent derailleur hanger.  This is why we have shakedown rides - to reveal problems with gear.

The gang all met in the 'Poose, as per planned, and we were off to the liquor store by 10:15am, only a smidge later than scheduled.  Once we stocked up on necessary supplies, we headed up to the Crown Zellerbach Trail, or the CZT. 
At first the CZT is a nice little paved path, not dissimilar from the Springwater Corridor.  After a little while, the pavement starts to degrade and little pebbles take its place.  Soon it's only pebbles.  The eight of us arrived at Cater Road without incident and began the climb up to Boozer.

Ah, Boozer Road.  It's gravel, it's past a blue gate, and it all started years ago during the Randonnerd BS (Brevet Series) when we were scouring the map for fun road names.  Turns out Boozer is more than just a cool name, it's a cool place with tantalizing views and permission to tip one before noon.
Photo credit: Paula Funatake
Because logging roads often change shape, we found ourselves exploring spurs that led nowhere.  We u-turned several times, and finally found ourselves on the way to the Yankton Store.  I have many good memories from randonneuring days, eating pie and hiding out on the porch from all sorts of weather.

We climbed some rolling hills on the paved portion of Pittsburg Road, then said goodbye to the tarmac and hello to a surface I like to call "beginner gravel".  It's actually paved, but hasn't been maintained except to be covered in friendly pea-sized gravel.  My hand drawn map indicated we just had four miles on Pittsburg, but it was fourteen, so I must've left the "1" off.
Two angry snarling dogs, like those who guard the gates to hell, gave chase and tried to take a chunk of my calf as a souvenir.  So, I dug deep down and got my Alpha Bitch voice out.  I was still hoarse days later, but those dogs whimpered home.

Arriving at Apiary, we happily climbed up the couple miles to Camp Wilkerson, where the camp host told me the "Adirondacks" (their term for leantos) were closed and they didn't have my reservation.  I looked back at seven solemn faces and asked if finding my reservation on the phone would change anything.  Suddenly she found it and directed us to our spot.  She warned us of a wedding and that some guests may trudge through our campsite on the way to the parking lot.

True to her word, we did see a few people make their way through our sweet little site.  One of them was the bride and we stopped her to compliment her badass bride style of combining a traditional white dress with hiking boots and a denim jacket.  I joked that we should crash the wedding later for free booze.
Photo credit: Paula Funatake
I stuck some candles in some cookies and blew up a balloon to wish one of our group a happy birthday.  Everyone ate dinner, comparing cookstoves and sharing tips.  I learned that the MSR fuel canisters have a chart on the side showing how to figure out how much fuel is left, by floating the tank in water.  Who knew?

We cheer-led, directed and critiqued first one fire starter, then another.  We enjoyed Fire and Ice cocktails, along with beer dragged all the way out there in a fork-mounted growler.  We sat a little out of the rain and a little too far from the campfire to feel its heat, so decided to move the whole business.  Soon our swill was gone and my old joke about wedding crashing came around again.
Photo credit: Paula Funatake
Four of us ventured into the dark and across to the wedding hall, which was dark and quiet.  We crept into a side door and along a hallway.  As expected, there were big jugs of beer and no one around to drink them.  We heard voices and I panicked.  "ABORT! Abort mission!".  We ran out, and two dark silhouettes pursued.  "Hey!  Are you the bikers?  We have extra beer for you!".  Yes, Virginia, there really is a unicorn.

The next morning we took off to find Camp 10 Road.  I've seen and admired this line on the map and have been dying to try it for some time.  When we found it, it looked pretty steep and very unmaintained.  As it had been raining for the last hundred or so days, we decided against Camp 10 Road and continued on Apiary to Highway 47 and the CZ trailhead.

Parts of the CZT were muddy and there were several downed logs.  One rider, on a single speed mountain bike with a backpack, handily bunny hopped two logs while ducking under another.  My knees weakened at the sight of this.
A great adventure was had by all.  We shook down not just our gear and bikes and campstoves, but our team.  It's a grand team comprised of many types of riders and we'll all be conquering the Oregon Out 'n Back later this month together, so stay tuned.  Or, unplug, and join us!

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