After hitting Susanville and Ashland, we journeyed to fabled Oakridge, Oregon. Nestled in the Cascade Range, this old logging town of 3,300 peeps is now a mythical mountain biking mecca. This trippy small town boasts tons of character and was a nice departure from the bustling college town of Ashland. We checked into the Arbor Inn and were greeted warmly by the new owner who was very proud of the “comfortable beds”. He handed us some frozen breakfast burritos that the local food truck makes for him. “Put ’em in the microwave for about 3 minutes in the morning.” BOOM!
The bathroom was hilarious – first time I’d seen a toilet sandwiched by two sinks 🙂 Note: the beds were super comfy. Anyhoo… we quickly got on our bikes and rode down to Local 180 Brewers Union for din din. Peeps on Yelp mentioned the reuben, so I went that route. They specialized in UK beer, so I went with the super smooth ESB – wound up being a great combo. While we waited for the food, we played Jenga with dominos.
Our waitress mentioned a pump track over by the train tracks, so after dinner we decided to find it. As luck would have it, we got caught in a massive rainstorm while out riding. Once the “fun” wore off, I had Angela and the kids wait under an overhang at the elementary school while I raced to the car and picked them up. We were all soaked to the bone, but laughing and grinning and quickly warmed up in our cozy room.
By the next morning, there was a break in the rain, so I decided to get out for a ride. I decided to hit the Larison Rock Loop. It’s an old school Oakridge ride that gives you a great feel for the local riding. It’s also rideable straight from town and doesn’t require a shuttle. But it does require some serious legs and lungs – UP UP UP gaining 2,500′ over 6 miles and then goes DOWN DOWN DOWN.
After crossing the Williamette River and meandering through the gorgeous Greenwaters Park, the big climb begins up Larison Rock Rd. The smell of the damp ground and trees was intoxicating. The quiet peace of birds waking up was the perfect soundtrack to accompany my paced and labored breathing. I couldn’t help but to soak in the blessings of nature and all my surroundings as I reached the turnoff to the singletrack. Bliss.
My kids noticed all the lichen and moss growing on the “furry trees” and I kept thinking of that Asian dude’s crazy long beard from the Kill Bill movies as I sliced my way through the spooky forest. The rest of the time I was hoping Yoda would pop out from behind a tree as I slithered through Ewok territory as fast as my skills would allow.
LOAM IS LOVELY! More effortless Oregon flow with just enough tech sprinkled in to keep you from hitting warp speed. As is becoming the norm, the 6 mile descent was over way too quickly.
After the ride, we hit the local “bakery” which was whack. Couldn’t believe we waited 45 minutes for Angela’s latte and Lucy’s oatmeal! Wasn’t even crowded! Oh well… they did have a funky paper with Shatner on the cover… so that was something…
Before leaving town, we hit the pump track to let the girls get some wiggles out.
I look forward to spending more time in Oakridge and hitting Waldo Lake, Middle Fork, and more epic shiznit… until then, the next leg of our PNW roadie trip… took us through Crater Lake National Park before reaching Bend. Stay tuned…