Thursday, June 12, 2014

Riding for that Big Train Coffee

Ray and I set out to ride the North Plains Banks Vernonia perm pop on a sunny Friday.  I have all the days off, and he had that Friday off, so we weren't under any time constraints, other than the route time limit.

Vernonia Lake; old lumber building

Met up at the North Plains McDonalds.  Ray immediately made my bag heavier by returning a stack of validated perm cards.  We both ordered the sausage burrito and coffee.  Great birthday breakfast for Ray.

Birthday Boy Ray at the start

The 10 miles to Banks is over wonderfully quiet roads, even on a weekday.  There was a detour from Roy, because something is being done with the railroad tracks.  Not sure if they are laying a new spur or moving the track.  If they are moving the track, that would open up some new rail trail possibilities, possibly taking us away from Crazy Guy's home.  (he yells, but not recently.  Must have changed his meds.)

Banks is no longer a control, because there isn't a shorter way, but we stopped anyway, because there was no electrolyte drink at my house, other than nasty grape-flavored G2, which, besides being grape flavor, also lacks calories.  Must restock.  But with what?  More EFS?  Skratch? Gatorade powder?

Then on to the trail, for 20 miles of riding bliss.  A few miles after leaving Banks, we saw a couple of canines trotting along side by side, with no adult supervision.  Not coyotes.  As we got closer, Ray was of the thought that they were guard dogs or herding dogs.  So we slowed down.  Way down.  They looked at us Very Intently (I am a chicken about loose dogs).  Ray eventually convinced them to leave the trail, and we scooted by as stealthily as possible.  A bit further on, we came upon a couple with their dog, out for a stroll, so we stopped and asked if they had met those dogs.  Yes they had.  Romulus and Remus, belong to a neighbor, always getting out, and not the sharpest knives in the drawer.  Their dog, Callie, was, of course, gifted.  She was also quite friendly. :-)

After a long conversation, we headed off again.  We had a definitely noticeable headwind, and were gradually climbing.  But, knowing that the descent on the other side would make up time, we weren't too concerned.

Conversations about our respective unsuccessful 400k attempts.  We both gave it up for similar reasons - riding with others at a pace outside our comfort zones, so spending the whole time chasing, just really stressful, and it wasn't going to get any better.  Maybe we should ride these things together.

Such a nice day.  We had arm warmers, wind vests and knee warmers along, and never put them on.

Summitted.  Down and UP at Tophill, and then the easy cruise (well, maybe a bit of work with the headwind) into Vernonia.  First we had to find the info control at Vernonia Lake.  The trail was still open, but will close on June 9 for sewer work.  As it was, we had to portage over a couple of temporary pipes in the trail.

And the trail will be closed for the rest of June

Ray portaging over sewer works pipes

Vernonia Lake was spectacular in the sun.

Vernonia Lake

Info control rituals complete, we headed for the REAL stop - Black Bear Coffee Company.  Scored a table on the patio, and ordered a 20 oz Big Train Mocha (Big Train anything just means iced blended.  Perfect on a warm day!), and a Reuben with potato salad.  The server made a 24oz one by mistake ("I am new.  It is my fourth day here").  No worries.  Whatever I didn't finish there, I would just dump in my bottle.  It could only improve the taste of the remains of the Caffe Latte Perpetuem.

Big Train Mocha

Electrolyte bottle enhanced with some Hammer Fizz tablets.

We devoured our lunches, visited with other cyclists, and then set out.  With a LOVELY tailwind, and the easier climb - not as long - and the glorious descent on the other side.

Sun and shade

Took some serious shaking to get my mocha to a melted enough state that I could drink it from my bottle.

No encounters with Romulus and Remus on the return.

Ray on Wilkesboro Rd

Mt Hood and silo

Time was pretty much the same time it takes to complete this ride.  It isn't hard, but I can't think of a single time where we didn't stop for a sit-down lunch at Black Bear :-) We aren't in a hurry.

Post-ride sodas.  Ray had forgotten his phone, but at least he hadn't lost it, so he wouldn't get in trouble for that.  And Mrs. Ray likes it when he rides with me, because she can always check our location on my SPOT page.

All the pictures here

1 comment:

Phillip Jackson said...

I just read about the rail line that well eliminate the need to go into the banks rail yard. I'm guessing they wouldn't have a need for the old rail so that would allow us to bypass highway 47 if they extended the banks trail