Finally got a chance to get out on an overnight camping trip with the cyclewild.org folks at Stub Stewart State Park. We met Saturday morning in downtown Hillsboro and followed the backroads to Banks and the start of the Banks-Vernonia trail. Between adults and children there was about 26 of us that made the trip up. Weather was a bit overcast and cool. Luckily the chance for showers was next to zero.
I have not had the chance to do a bike overnight since moving to Oregon last year. I had acquired a few more items in that time to help lighten the load and/or improve packability for trips. I think this last iteration is close to my ideal setup. New air mattress and a compression sack helped lessen bulk considerably.
I didn’t know anyone going on this trip so it was potentially a crap shoot as to personalities and such. Obviously when you get 26 people together there is enough variety, plus everyone here likes bikes, so right off the bat we all had something in common.
Now I’m the first to admit that I have a hard time remembering names and it usually takes several repetitions for me to remember, one of my bad habits that I need to work on. But I did meet a Scott, Michelle, Mark, Erinne, Ryan, Nolan, and that is about all I can remember right now off the top of my head.
The pace out to Banks was pretty sedate. We stopped at the Thriftway so that people could stock up on food for that evening and grab a quick lunch if they so desired. My find of the day was some pretty good strawberries for $1.99 a pint, some angel food cake and redi-whip so that we could make strawberry shortcakes that night around the campfire. There was a mandatory purchase of s’mores material by the family with their two kids, and of course some beer and spirits for those who wished for something a little more.
After food & beverage pickup it was time to hit the B-V trail for the 10 remaining miles to Stub. The trail itself was quite busy with users, which was pretty much to be expected. Good communication about approaching riders, obstacles, etc was key.
We also stopped on the old train trestle to observe what looked like a soon-to-be wedding.
We started to see guests coming across the trestle and looking for the way down to the field below. I honestly have not seen as much camo apparel on a single group of people ever. Maybe it was a “theme” wedding. It kind of got me thinking…..was the bride’s dress going to be camo too?
From the train trestle it’s maybe another 3 miles to the entrance to Stub. Everyone seemed to have made it this far with little incident and no mechanical issues that I was aware of. It was interesting to see what types of bikes and rack/bag/trailer setups everyone was sporting. I had my Salsa Fargo, along with another woman who had the next generation of my same bike. She too was camping sans spouse as neither of us could convince our significant others to come with us.
The collection ranged for Michelle’s custom Co-Motion, to the 2 Fargos, a couple mtn bikes, Soma, Surly, and other unidentifiable steel bikes, and even one cargo bike. We had drop bars, flat bars, swept back bars, clipless pedal users, sneaker users, croc wearers, etc. Again, pretty neat seeing the different approach that people take to all arrive at the same destination.
The walk-in campsites that were reserved were pretty sweet too. With the Fargo it was easy to bike the gravel road down to the area and pick out a spot. Ended up with three of us sharing one site. Luckily I had the Nemo tent which takes up very little space.
4 of use ended up walking around some of the trails a bit in an unsuccessful attempt to find the disc golf area. No luck, but I did get a chance to scope out a bit of the mountain bike trails and I am for sure heading up to Stub with the mountain bike soon.
Dinner was made, fire was started, stories told and good times were had. It was a good eclectic mix of personalities around the campfire and got to hear a few “interesting” stories from a few of my fellow travelers. None which shall be repeated here.
Finally managed to pull myself away from the fire and crawl into the tent around 10:30-11ish. Unfortunately one of my fellow campsite users was a snorer…….damn it! Plus he talked in his sleep and had some sort of night terror or something at one point. The racket scared the heck out of me for a moment.
I slept okay…intermittently. Toes got a bit cold and once I remembered to zip up the side of my sleeping bag, I was much better. Then around 4am or so I had my left calf cramp up. Holy crap did that hurt. I was pretty much awake at that point and just laid in the tent until about 5:30AM. Got up, made some oatmeal and coffee and just relaxed.
I’d say most of us were up by 7AM. There was some drizzle moving in and the morning forecast called showers. So we all packed up and were on our way around 10AM. While waiting for everyone to come out from the walk-in sites and meet up in the paved parking lot we got to see a deer too.
Quickly we were all moving and back on the B-V trail headed for Hillsboro. It warmed up a bit and the drizzle stopped by the time we hit the Banks trailhead. From there the weather was pretty cooperative back to downtown Hillsboro.
So, all in all it was a pretty good 24 hours. The people were nice, conversation was good. I met some new peeps and will hopefully be going on some more cyclewild trips in the future.
Now it is time to air out the tent, sleeping bag, and cleanup the cooking stuff……….
Thanks for reading