Revelate Designs

Portland to Cape State Lookout

 Since moving to Portland I’ve always wanted to bike to the coast but for whatever reason I never made it happen. So when the forecast predicted weather in upper 70s I knew I had to go for it. With over a dozen ways to bike there I settled on a route created by the Portland Bureau of Transportation. 

I choose the 90 mile route out of Hillsboro following the Nestucca River and through the Oregon Coast Range. The first 26 miles navigates through lonesome country roads lined with vineyards and green fields stretching out as far as the eye could see. The Northern Willamette Valley is often referred to as the Gateway to Wine Country, being home to dozens of beautiful vineyards.

Yamhill and Carlton were the last supply points for 40 miles so I filled my water bottles and stocked up on some snacks. The following couple hours were spent climbing up Meadow Lake Road peaking at a little over 2000ft. The climb was long but I was constantly surrounded by lush forest and incredible views of the Valley. At the summit Meadow Lake Road turns into the Nestucca River National Back Country Byway which traverses the Oregon Coast Range. The road twists and turns through the Nestucca Canyon cutting through a  40-million-year old formation of rock. The miles were tough and when my body ached the lush green of forest and the gentle sounds of the river carried me forward. It wasn’t until  I left the shelter of the canyon did I wish for my journey to end. Still, I pushed forth into the fierce coastal headwinds. Surrounded in a blanket of blue skies, I couldn’t help but smile and embrace the warmth of Spring.

After a relentless battle with the wind I reached the small town of Beaver. I filled my bags with food and beer and made the final push to Cape State Lookout. Little did I know I had another 13 miles and 1000+ feet of climbing left. The headwinds were strong and I fought hard. The last pitch to the summit was relentless and I had to dig deep. I reached the top shattered but my spirit was instantly renewed as my eyes caught a glimpse of the ocean for the first time. Hands on the hoods. I tucked down low and ripped the two mile descent into camp.

Oregon Outback : Prineville to Shaniko

OregonOutback_DayThree-4.jpg

The sun rises in the high desert illuminating the canyon surrounding the Prineville Reservoir. One by one we crawl out of our tents. Our weathered hands reach for the sky as we stretch sore limbs and rub sleepy eyes. Brad offers to make everyone coffee and one by one we fill our empty cups. We take our time cleaning up camp and enjoy the beautiful glow of morning. [portfolio_slideshow id=4537 width=1200]

Today is another big push of a 100+ miles. My knees feel broken and it definitely hurts to sit down on the saddle. I take some Advil and try to put the pain behind me.

[portfolio_slideshow id=4548 width=1200]

We hug the canyon walls as we descend down the Crooked River. Fully tucked, teary eyed, the descent is fucking amazing. We pour out onto rolling roads with the Crooked River to our left and towering Canyon walls to the right. The river runs a 125 miles long and is a tributary to the Deschutes River. Its a short push to Prineville.

[portfolio_slideshow id=4549 width=1200]

Call it a coincidence, call it fate; I rather believe it was our destiny to eat at yet another place called Brothers. Yesterday it was Brothers Stagecoach Stop and Cafe and today would be breakfast at Brothers Restaurant in Central Oregon. Coffee and the best Chicken Fried Steak I’ve ever fucking had. Enough said.

[portfolio_slideshow id=4555 width=1200]

It’s a long paved climb into the Ochoco National Forest. My knees crack and I tell everyone to push on. I climb in silence. It’s beautiful here. Alone with thought. Alone with the dizzying pain each pedal stroke makes. I push on and thankful for the friends that await for me at the top. It’s always worth it. Always. The descent through the Ochoco National Forest was good; really fucking good.

[portfolio_slideshow id=4565 width=1200]

It’s our first time that we’ve had to filter water on this trip. It’s exciting and I don’t know why.

[portfolio_slideshow id=4570 width=1200]

I’ve been looking forward to this section of the Outback. River Crossings and incredible remote roads that traverse through ranch lands on the edge of the Ochoco National Forest. This feels like Bikepacking.

My knee hurts so I pedal off the front to give myself ahead start. I approach the first creek crossing. There is a group of cyclists on the other side cheering me on. “Stay to the left. Stay to the left.” I stay to the left. My cadence is high as I cross the rocky creek bed. My feet are soaked and I am properly doused in water. I am smiling. I must be smiling. Fuck. This is so good!

Theres a few more creek crossings. The last one is deep. Dave almost makes it but pinch flats. I dip my cap in the ice cold water while we wait in the hot Oregon sun.

We descend. My front wheel hits a pot hole. I am going fast. I am loosing air and my front wheel is feeling really soft. I corner and my wheel sends me out of control. I panic knowing that I could be going down hard on this fast gravel descent. I have one foot out and carefully apply the brakes in hopes to not skid out. I loose control and point my bike towards a ditch. I feel lucky to walk away.

[portfolio_slideshow id=4579 width=1200]

After I fix my flat we regroup at what looks like an abandoned church. There is still a lot of riding to do. My legs are tired. We fill our bottles in someones yard and push forward. We’re climbing. The road is steep and the gravel is loose. I crack. The sun is really intense, sweat stings my eyes. My legs will not turn the pedals. I walk up the rest. Frustrated; I look down to realize I had been in the big ring the entire time. Fuck. Back in the smaller ring John and I decide to go at a more sustainable pace.

[portfolio_slideshow id=4590 width=1200]

It’s the final stretch to Shaniko. We’re on pavement now and it feels really good. The climb into town seems to go on forever. We’re buried deep in our own thoughts. The sun is setting and the light is incredible. Such an amazing and tough day on the bicycle. It’s rare to live in the moment these days. Setting up camp I come to realize what that truly means. We’re in the moment now and thats something I will now forever search for.

Oregon Outback : Klamath Falls to Silverlake

Oregon_Outback_Day01_009.jpg
I wake up to the sound of Dave’s alarm; my sleepy limbs are draped over the hotel floor and the distant sound of rain slowly fills the room. Dave’s already packing and I know it’s time to get up.

We warm up our legs in route to the Mavericks Hotel, the start of the Oregon Outback in Klamath Falls Oregon. We are greeted by a parking lot full of riders ready to take on the infamous 369 mile route created by Velo Dirt. It’s 7am and the group rolls out. Bikes are everywhere. It’s fucking chaos. The first 8 miles of the OC&E Woodsline State Trail is paved and here riders scramble to find their friends and get into position.

The pavement quickly gives way to the rugged rail bed that once carried timber and cattle through the Pacific NorthWest. It feels real now. We’re on the Outback. This is the fucking Oregon Outback. Our group of three forms into a group of seven; Dave, Don, John, Calvin, Bryan, Brad and myself. We’re a goofy bunch from Portland, Berkeley, Los Angeles and New York. I know Don; Don knows Dave, John, Calvin and Bryan. Calvin knows Brad and so on and so on. We’re an eclectic bunch and I couldn’t have asked for a better group of dudes to ride with.

[portfolio_slideshow id=4279 width="1200px"]

The gravel dances beneath our tires as we make our way through the vibrant green. We eventually catch up with the clouds as we make our way through Switchback Hill. With our rain jackets on we navigate our way through the muddy switchbacks in route to Sprague River.

We spit out onto the road and grab lunch at the Running Bear Deli. The place is packed with BikePackers. The line is out the door and my mouth is watering. Pulled Pork Sandwich or Burrito? I went with the locally smoked ham sandwich. Winning. After filling our bellies and our bottles we head back on the road. The trail follows the Sprague River and I recall this particular stretch being pretty muddy from the rain . At some point Dave hit the deck and I narrowly missed running over him. We had a good laugh and took a detour in Beaty to load up on Water and most likely some form of Junk Food.

[portfolio_slideshow id=4281 width="1200px"]

Back on the trail we pedal along Five Mile Creek in the Fremont National Forest; which is just fucking beautiful. I recall moments where the woods opened up and the creek twisted through a lush landscape of green. It was so cinematic. The long day on the saddle was taking a toll on me. My body was longing for food and I set my eyes on our 7pm reservation at the Cowboy Dinner Tree. Dave had legs and set off to make sure we could eat our 30oz Top Sirloin Steaks.

[portfolio_slideshow id=4284 width="1200px"]

The sun is setting fast and we realize we’ve missed the turn to the Cowboy Dinner Tree. Was Dave there waiting for us or did he miss it too? We take a moment to figure out our options. Do we ride back and look for the turn off? Do we push forward and hope Dave meets us at camp? My energy levels are at an all time low and we decide to push forward.

Dave is shivering in the Silverlake general store. The sun is nearly down and the temperature is quickly dropping. We all missed the turn for the Cowboy Dinner Tree. Bummed but it’ s a huge relief that we’re all back together again. Cold hot dogs and frozen burritos kinda taste good after a 120 mile day anyways.

Skeggs + Butano State Park

Skeggs_Butano_BikePacking-211.jpg

After having a successful Bikepacking trip with Sam and Josh I was pretty eager to start planning the next one. My days in California are numbered and taking advantage of every beautiful weekend is a priority. Josh had work but Sam immediately jumped on board and started planning a rad route taking us through the Santa Cruz Mountains. Saratoga_Gap_Crash

Within the first 30 minutes I was navigating a small rock garden through Saratoga Gap and went over the bars. Most of the impact was absorbed by stomach which landed directly onto a rock. I feel pretty lucky since a couple inches higher I could have landed on my chest which could have been catastrophic. I am stoked that Sam caught it on his GoPro!

Skeggs_Butano_BikePacking-3Skeggs_Butano_BikePacking-7Left : Sam navigates one of the many gates along the Long Ridge Open Space Preserve and Skyline Ridge Open Space Preserve.

Right : Sam made sure we stayed on track. We got turned around a few times on this trip but that wouldn't happen until later in the day.

Skeggs_Butano_BikePacking-18Skeggs_Butano_BikePacking-20Skeggs_Butano_BikePacking-21"Borel Hill is a minor peak in the Santa Cruz Mountains. It is located in Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve, near Portola Valley and Palo Alto, California. Borel Hill is a popular destination in the spring when it is covered in wildflowers, primarily poppies and lupine. In the winter, Borel Hill frequently sees snow, a fact that sometimes takes those who live closer to the San Francisco Bay by surprise."

Skeggs_Butano_BikePacking-45

After a quick stint down Skyline and through a short Fire Road on the Windy Hill Open Space Preserve we arrived at Alices. Alices is a popular destination for motorcyclists and tourists since it sits at the junction of Skyline and La Honda.

After leaving Alices we had a few miles on Skyline before we got to Skeggs AKA El Corte de Madera Creek Open Space Preserve. As we hugged the side of the road fearing every car that flew past us we spotted a dirt path that looked like it was running parallel with Skyline. After navigating through a patch of Poison Oak we were safely tucked away from the reckless drivers on Skyline and making our way towards Skeggs!

Skeggs_Butano_BikePacking-60

The mystery trail eventually took us to Wunderlich County Park which ended up taking us all the way to Skeggs! After exiting the park we did see a No Bicycles sign but there wasn't one where we entered.

Skeggs_Butano_BikePacking-107

Skeggs (El Corte de Madera Creek Open Space Preserve) was a treat. Sam has been talking about it for awhile and I am glad he pushed me to ride it.

"Thirty-six miles of multi-use trail are available for exploration at this 2,817-acre Preserve. While this Preserve is extremely popular with bicyclists, it also has lots of hearty hiking and horseback riding opportunities. Visitors to the Preserve will find mixed evergreen and redwood forests, creekside trails, coastal and forest views, and special features, such as rare sandstone formations."

Skeggs_Butano_BikePacking-128

At this point in the ride the sun was setting and we really needed to get to camp. We made the decision to abandon our original route to Butano and backtrack to Skyline. Once on Skyline we booked it to La Honda where we started the 24 mile journey to camp. We were beat and daylight was slipping away.

Skeggs_Butano_BikePacking-152

We lost the light towards the bottom of La Honda and had to navigate the back roads of Pescadero in the dark. Those last 15 miles were so peaceful. We mostly suffered in silence taking in the darkness one pedal stroke after another. Looking back; I believe that I can speak for the both of us and say that those last 15 miles were pretty special.

When we finally rolled into town we pedaled straight to Mercado & Taqueria De Amigos where we ordered burritos and downed some tall boys. With our bellies full we bought some more supplies and then rode the additional five miles to Butano State Park. The campgrounds were full but luckily the camp hosts were awake and were kind enough to let us set camp by their RV.

The rest of the night is a blur.Skeggs_Butano_BikePacking-167Skeggs_Butano_BikePacking-178We got an early start and after thanking our camp hosts we made our way to the Olmo Fire Road. Olmo was extremely challenging. Roughly three miles straight up with gradients as steep as 30%!!! This was also the first trail in which we regularly saw Banana Slugs.

Skeggs_Butano_BikePacking-224

Olmo eventually connects with the Butano Fire Road which took us China Grade. China Grade linked us up with Johansen which is another fire road that took us into Big Basin.

Skeggs_Butano_BikePacking-229

Johansen splits giving you the option to keep right on Johansen or veer left onto Middle Ridge Road. We took Middle Ridge because Sam had a plan to roast some secret trails.

Skeggs_Butano_BikePacking-231

Middle Ridge brought us to the Big Basin store where we picked up lunch and some beers to drink at a waterfall Sam knew about.

Skeggs_Butano_BikePacking-249

After filling up our water bottles we rode down Hihn Hammond Road and linked up with the historical Last Chance Road. Our Krebs map said that a section of Last Chance was open to bikes but we did notice a No Bicycles sign at the trail head. We were pretty set on our route and went for it. Last Chance was incredible and definitely my favorite Single Track of the entire trip.

Notable features :

- Lush single track rarely ridden. - A waterfall with deep holes to soak in on hot days. - Technical rock gardens that were CX bike friendly. - A tricky creek crossing.

Skeggs_Butano_BikePacking-262

This is where things got interesting. Last Chance Road leaves Big Basin and turns into an actual road which is unfortunately private. Residents are extremely protective of their land yet most people would agree that the road should be made public. We kept our heads down and just tried to get down the hill as fast as possible. We were confronted twice by residents that were visibly upset but Sam was able to diffuse the situation both times.

Skeggs_Butano_BikePacking-268

Sam and I were stoked when we made it to Swanson Road! We successfully navigated through Last Chance Road and were just over an hour away from Santa Cruz.

Skeggs_Butano_BikePacking-271

We concluded our trip by washing our legs and arms with Tecnu in the Pacific Ocean. Sam spotted some whales while I continued to eat everything left in my jersey pockets.

Trip notes :

- Be more careful navigating rock gardens on a cx bike. - Watch out for speeding motorists on Skyline and La Honda. - Motorcycles frequently slide out and crash on La Honda. - Skip Alices and bring a lunch. Too much time wasted. - Mercado & Taqueria De Amigos in Pescadero rules. Open until 9pm. - The camp hosts at Butano State Park are awesome.

Trip Stats :

- 1 night and 2 days. - 110 + miles. - 10,000 + feet of climbing. - 0 flats or mechanicals

Check out the full routes below :

All City Macho Man BikePacking Rig

AllCity_BikePacking_Rig-2.jpg

I personally don't have a Mountain or Bikepacking specific bike but I do have a Cyclocross bike. Cyclocross bikes are incredibly versatile and after out fitting my All City Macho Man with WTB's 40c Nanos I had one hell of a Monster Cross rig! [portfolio_slideshow id=2752 width=1200px]

Below is a breakdown of my rig and what I bring with me on weekend Bikepacking trips.

Bike Setup :

  • All City Macho Man (key features are the 11-32t cassette and WTB 40c Nano tires!)
  • Camelbak Podium Bottles 25oz
  • Garmin 810
  • Revelate Designs Pocket (fits over drybag)
  • REI 10 liter drysack attached to bars with two 1" Redpoint Webbing Straps
  • Revelate Viscaha saddle bag

Gear Setup :

  • Big Agnes Fly Creek Ul2 tent (The tent is packed in my Revelate Pocket. The Poles and ground sheet are packed in a seperate bag that sits in between my Revelate Pocket and REI Drysack.
  • Marmot NanoWave sleeping bag (packs small and fits in the front dry bag)
  • Therm-a-rest NeoAir XLite sleeping pad
  • Snow Peak Titanium Mini Solo Cookset
  • Snow Peak LiteMax Stove + 100gram gas canister
  • GSI Ultralight Java Drip
  • Sawyer Mini Water Filter
  • Platypus Platy Bottle 70 oz
  • Black Diamond Cosmo headlamp
  • Bic mini lighter
  • Leatherman Wave
  • First Aid kit
  • Lightload Towels

Bike Tools + Supplies :

  • Topeak Mini Plus 18-Function Bicycle Tool (took off unnecessary tools)
  • Topeak Mini Morph Pump (this little tire works really good!)
  • Niterider 500 front light
  • Planet Bike rear light
  • Spare tubes x2
  • Glueless patches x2
  • Sram chain pin
  • Kerb's Mountain Bike Map

Packed Clothes :

  • Pantagonia Nano Puff Jacket (great for layering and has proved to keep me warm down to 6 degrees when paired with a merino sweater. Jacket also doubles as my pillow)
  • Icebreaker merino leggings
  • Icebreaker merino shirt
  • Icebreaker Flexi Chute (most versatile piece of clothing you will ever own)
  • Xero Amuri Cloud Barefoot Sandal (light weight + pack small)