Zen On Dirt

Hot Sisters Bikepack – Day 12

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Back when I was a youngin’, I could totally get away with poor life decisions, like getting hot and dehydrated, and waking up the next morning having forgotten completely about the incident. Based on the general slowness that I was moving with this morning, I’m no longer a youngin’.

Luckily, we had a can of Starbucks…I swear, after this trip, I’m killing the caffeine addiction, and that perked me right up.

The road climbed gently and fairly unremarkably until we came around a corner. ‘Airstream!’ I exclaimed. It’s been, and currently is, a life-long dream to own an Airstream. In front of it was a sign that said ‘Fishwatch Volunteer.’

‘I think this is the guy from DamNation that watches the fish,’ I whispered. It was still early in the AM. I peaked down to see his little viewing platform and recognized it immediately from the movie. Seconds later, I heard the Airstream door slam and Lee walked down to talk fish with us.


I’ve never met anyone with such a gentle life energy. He spends his days watching a deep pool of steelhead trout that grow huge in the pool making sure that the no angling rules are obeyed. With the reflections on the water being high in the mornin sun, he invited us to stay and watch the fish for a few hours. I would have loved to…but I knew that we’d planned our food to last to mid afternoon, and that we’d be rolling into Oakridge empty if we spent too much time there. That, and we were hoping to get the majority of the climbing done before the heat of the day.

I’d love to go back someday and spend some more time with the fish.

We encountered a closed road that we hoped we’d be able to cross on foot. One of the guys on the crew mountain biked and was happy to let us through. Lucky us, they could have turned us around.


We pedaled the rest of the climb without much distress. 2,000 foot climbs are eaten for breakfast on this tour.

A fast descent brought us to the Middle Fork of the Willamette River trail again, 10 miles west of where we’d followed it east and upstream a week earlier. This time, we headed downstream to its terminus at a huge reservoir.


12 miles to Oakridge! Unfortunately, it was 12 miles with a stiff headwind. It makes you appreciate being in a pair where both people can take long turns in the front and keep the pace somewhat reasonable. It wasn’t exactly the easy cruise to town we’d been hoping for, but it made the pizza once we got there that much more delicious. Somehow we walked in on a Tuesday’s Special day and got a large pizza and two liter bottle of Orange Crush for $15. It was a massive amount of food.

We checked into a quaint little motel, picked up our bounce box with lap tops, showered and put on clean clothes for the first time in two weeks, and headed to the local brewery for dinner. Thus far, Oakridge is impressing.


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