Any one up for mountain climbing? How about Volcano climbing?!!!
With the strong smell of bacon in the air it was easy to get out of bed in the morning. Well, it was either that, the horribly loud creaks of the old fir stairs or… that one of the many bikes outside was yours to play with in the mountains all day.
Route planning and route planning, which do we choose. With many of us breaking into smaller groups we all had our favourite journeys in mind. Some for a fast rip, a solo adventure or a couples day of exploring together. Ours was easy… head “that way” towards the Volcano. We were hoping to align with a small fun group that shared our agenda, and may have actually looked at a map already.
With a bit of knowledge from Mr. Chartrand and it was set. A close twisty route through the forrest and over to the bridge which becomes the gateway to HELL…! Its ok, we like it there.
Suit up and lets get rolling, just don’t get bogged down in the phone mapping! I swear the old paper map did the best job for route planning in these areas. However the little blue line was comforting to have showing you the way.
Skate Creek Rd, or what felt more like our local Munn Rd, times a thousand. Zipping and zagging through the forrest. Two wheels are always better than four, and definitely on these kinda roads. Carve the corners and thread between the holes. With them hiding in the shadows this wasn’t always done skillfully. KaThwack! God dam! Missed that one! Sorry Aaron.
Fuel stop in Packwood, then Lisa, Aaron and I took off ahead of the group on the long straight section to Randle and the gateway to the volcano.
Waiting in the shade we watch the rest of the group roll up to the intersection, break hard and take a right. In a slow motion disbelief we watched Frieda “SLAM!” the DR 650 on its side. Traffic comes to a halt as she laid there still for a moment.
With another group from the club somehow at the same station, she had plenty of support to help her up and off the road. Slow speed, with a hard landing, she will be ok. Michael to the rescue with multiple first aid packs at his disposal, Frieda was patched up and shook it off.
And… shook it off she did! Aaron and I led the group over the bridge and into the unknown roads of Mt Saint Helens. With our regular pace being quicker than many, we rocked out in our helmets and burned off into the forest roads. Surprisingly… with Frieda not to far off our tail! We were pretty impressed to see her right back on it. Right on!
Taking the back route up the mountain we found NFD 26 and sat in the shade waiting on the rest of the group. And… there they go…! WTF? Totally blinded in the corner they missed us in the shade and kept on riding. Frieda chased them down and caught up to Michael, however Lisa was on cloud 9, listening to music and navigating the holes. The train horn of Michaels bike couldn’t even catch her attention. Having to stop in their tracks and prey in hopes she will eventually notice no one is behind her and turn around, they waited. 20 minutes later they all came back to the corner where Ken, Aaron and I nervously waited. No one went in a ditch, so no harm done and there is a fun road ahead.
NFD 26. Single lane road which reminded us more of Ross Durrance Rd back home… but after an apocalypse. With the photos not doing it justice, this road was bad, but perfect for adventure bikes. It was fun. It was like riding a FSR (fire service road) that was mostly paved. Constant attention was needed for the constantly destroyed asphalt but you still had the ability to lean and carve the corners and around the broken sections. Winding around the mountain, this road was one of my favourites, although wasn’t everybody’s. Cruiser and sport bikes beware.
NF-99. The road to Windy Ridge. This road was created by the devil himself. Teasing you with the scenery and hot winding roads, your taunted to rip it up these exciting roads… and, we did… however, death and destruction is always at your door step. Broken roads? No way, they were crafted just right! Pot holes and large sections of frost destroyed asphalt on a road with the fewest of guard rails carves up the mountain … IT… WAS… AWESOME!!
I think we were all left with the smiles of intense exhilaration after these roads. They were fun and long, and after you were done you felt like you really accomplished something… but wanted more.
Heading back to the cabin was as fun as heading out (except for the long straight section, we never really like those). A quiet evening of sharing each others adventures of the day, and scanning the map for whats out there for tomorrow.