Turkeyburner

It sure seems like a long time since my last entry, but it’s only been a week.  I guess four days away from work help remind me that life isn’t just about 9-5 (or 6-3 in my case).

Speaking of my 9-5, Monday I took off on the C3 straight from work and hit a couple spots that are beginning to become a routine for me.  
I headed for the south end of Ashland before climbing up Timberlake Dr.  Knowing what to expect this time around, I improved on my last time by 20 seconds. 
From there, I headed back north via Pompadour and finished up just before dark with a solid 26 miles.
Wednesday, I met Jacob for a quick run up Reservoir Road in Jacksonville and an equally quick roll down ‘Ol Miner’s before meeting the Wednesday night group for their annual Rum Ride on the Britt trails.  It was a slow, easy ride, and that was fine with me!
Thanksgiving morning, I was up and headed out to Applegate Lake for the RVMBA’s Pre-Turkey Day ride.
Eleven or twelve of us braved the cold for a mellow ride around the Lake.  The perfect start to a fun and relaxing day.
Friday was the day for adventure this week as Jacob and Andrew met me at Cantrell-Buckley Park for our Turkeyburner 2015 ride.  The route was mapped out by Jacob and would pass just below seven different named peaks while climbing about 10,000 feet.

We had gone back and forth all week on whether we should even attempt the route we had planned since we had a fair amount of snow in the area just a couple days earlier.  After a little recon the morning before on my way out to the lake, I deemed it worth a shot as long as we had alternate plans to fall back on if we weren’t able to get very far up the first mountain.

We all thought it best to ride Mtb’s this time and leaving our cars at 8:30, we thankfully started climbing immediately.  Temps were in the upper 20’s and we needed an excuse to get warm.

After five miles of pavement and 2,200 feet of gain we finally reached the gravel, We also passed our first peak, Negro Ben (I didn’t name it, I just rode it).
 It was also here where we encountered our first real bit of snow.  The snow was a few inches deep and continued non-stop all the way up as we passed the second peak, Baldy, and summited just below the the third, Tallowbox.
We were entering new territory after that point.  None of us had been down Tallowbox Lookout Road.  While mapping the route, some maps showed the road as going through to Star Gulch, others showed it as two separate roads with a good bit of space between the two non-connecting ends.  We were about to find out.

As we dropped down the south facing road, we started to leave the deeper snow behind, and although the road wasn’t in great shape, it was still clearly a road.
About a mile down a road steep enough to make one not want to ride back up it, we came to a spot where several large ditches had been dug across our way in order to dissuade any motorized travel.  We weren’t motorized, so after double checking our map, we went around them.

Another half mile or so and we came to what was truly meant to be the end of any semblance of a road.  Where Tallowbox Lookout Road use to be, there was now a bunch of fallen trees and tall grass.  But, there was also room to get a bike through, over, or around any of the obstacles in sight, so we pushed on.
Sometimes a road was a road, isn’t a road, but needs to be a road.  Eventually, this used-to-be-a-road emptied out right where we thought it would, Star Gulch!
 It was another nice 2000′ climb up Star Gulch Road with lots of ice which made the going slow as we passed near Jim Mee, Palmer, and Ninemile Peaks.

After passing near Humpy Peak (my favorite), we finally dropped out on Carberry Road and did our final climb to the top of Thompson Creek Road.

With all the snow and half-pushing, half-carrying our bikes on the half-road, we had taken a lot more time than we had planned.  We originally were going to do one more big climb that would take us up above Negro Ben and have us retrace our first 5 miles back to the cars.  We decided to scrap that in favor of getting home sooner to our Thanksgiving left-overs and hit Highway 238 for the last 7 miles.  We still got 6500′ of climbing and some good stories!

I wrapped up the long weekend with a 38 mile road ride that included some climbing on Griffin Creek and Anderson Creek.
Adventures like Friday’s always recharge my battery and make me want to explore even more of the seemingly endless gravel roads we have here in Southern Oregon.  Once again, I urge those of you that ride to get out there and do the same.  You will NOT be disappointed!
Aaron

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