A tour of Oregon

Most bike riders know what I am talking about when I say that after a bit of a respite from my bike, my body tells me that I need to get on a bike and ride.  I would call it feeling anxious and having a need to burn some energy.  A withdrawal of sorts.
I was having that feeling on Friday as Jenny and I headed north.  My first stop for the weekend was my nephew’s house in Sutherlin, OR for the night.  I loaded up my Bronson and Jenny’s Intense 275 just in case I could fit in a ride on our weekend trip. Near Sutherlin is the Umpqua River Trail that meanders along the Mighty Umpqua River.  I have wanted to ride the River Trail for quite a while but haven’t yet made it there.  I understand it takes some commitment and I hope to have a full day or two to check it all out, someday.  Because of the lack of time, I chose to sleep at my nephews, so close to the coveted trail, but knowing I had no time to ride it.  I did, however get fed well and had some great wine and company for the night. My withdrawals are getting worse now.
We rose early on Saturday.  No, not to ride but to attend a gymnastics meet in Eugene.  Again, several trail options were in the back of my mind. Oakridge, Blackrock or McDonaldExperimental Forestin Corvalliswere all good options but I had to focus on Anna for the time being.  Anna (my step daughter) was participating with a group from Americas Best Kids from Medford.  Anna did great and her team placed 1st among all the teams that attended.  The fun ended before noon and my mind went back to, WHERE DO I RIDE!
With much thought of time and space, we headed to Corvallisto ride the McDonald Forest Trails.  I have seen pictures and it looked pretty sweet, but it was lunch time.  We stopped at a great place in Corvallis, The Broken Yoke Cafe.  As we ate, we had a text from some friends that were going to be at the Corvallis High School and wanted us to stop to say hello.  We said, “hell no” and headed for the forest.  Unfortunately, the McDonald Forest is closed to Mountain biking from Oct-April due to rain.  WHAT RAIN?   Off to the High School we went.  Friends are always nice to see and we hadn’t seen these friends for a while.  So…… they weren’t there yet.  AHHHHHHHHHH   My need to pedal was intensifying…
At this point, we decided that riding on Saturday might not work out.  We had dinner plans in Vancouver, WAat 6 pm and needed to head up the road.  Jenny’s Grandma and Grandpa hadn’t been out to eat in over 2 years and they had some Outback Steakhouse gift cards burning a hole in their pockets.  Jenny sister in Vancouver had a week old baby girl that needed some love from Jenny apparently and needed it Now!  So, off to see a baby and drive G & G to dinner.  At this point, I am practicing patience and my breathing techniques to get through the sadness that riding would have to wait until Sunday.  
So, Jenny’s 90 year old Grandpa and 87-ish year old grandma are amazing people from good old North Dakota and still work hard and live in a great home that they keep up.  They had me drive them to dinner in a sweet Audi Sedan that they own.  What a fun car and so solid.  However fun, it didn’t kill my need to pedal. Dinner was great, and we headed home to watch the Blazer’s beat Minnesota.  It was a great, close game.  Go Blazers!
Saturday was over, no ride happened and I went to bed feeling full, out of shape and bloated.  I had a moment where I cried in the dark knowing that this fat little man couldn’t be loved by anyone.  If I didn’t get a ride in on Sunday, I may just be put on antidepressants.  
Sunday came and all that nonsense was past me.  My hormones were back in check and I declared that we must ride today!  We ate some North Dakota sausage and scrambled eggs.  Jenny’s grandparents are from Wishek, ND and apparently the butcher there puts some special ingredients in the meat that make it have healing properties as well as taste damn good.  After breakfast it was off!  G&G to church and Russand Jenny to….. Well, one more look at the baby.  

So, off we went to Jenny’s sister’s house for another squeeze of the 6 lb cherub.  We left around noon and I declared; now we ride!  We finally decided to hit the trails near Shellburg Fallson the way home.  I am so glad we did.  Shellburg is an old free riding and cross country area that has been neglected but thanks to a few good men, work is being done to resurrect a gem in the rough.  We parked near a gate that led to a few trails that descend past big trees and ferns.  Along with natural features that send you over downed trees and jumping stumps, there are many fun man-made features to include drops, ladder bridges and big jumps.  


The trails that Jenny and I ripped down were short but fun.  They ended at a road that took you right back to the top and gave us a moderate workout.  We only had enough time to hit 2 trails, once we climbed back to the start and the second; we went the other directions and climbed up a steep gravel road to our car.  

Although a full Down Hill bike would be fun here, my Santa Cruz Bronson and Jenny’s Intense were great.  The 650B tires ripped through the sweet earth and rolled over the roots and downed trees with ease.  The Bronson handled the jumps and drops like the all mountain bike it’s intended to be.  So much fun and easy to flick around.  The climbs back up were a breeze.  If the Bronson was softer and smelled better, it might just replace…. Oh, never mind that thought.

I could see camping, digging and riding this area for a weekend.  The roads are good, the scenery is beautiful and the trails are unkept but getting better.  I will be back thanks to Chris, Sean, Luke and Jared.  They have been working on a regular basis to make Shellburg a destination again.  If you feel like heading that way, take some tools with you and spend some time helping them out.  I am sure they will appreciate any assistance you can provide.

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