For your average Joe or Josey, a Saturday morning is an opportunity to take control of one’s diurnal impulses and sleep to the heart’s content, or at least a few extra minutes before the dog/cat/kids/spuse/insane neighbor “accidentally” bring consciousness to town. But for some folk such modest anticipations are simply out of reach,and with only a simple mission as a stimulant they awaken suddenly at some pathetic hour, hoping to fall back asleep for at least another few minutes, but well aware of the hopelessness of their now activated mind and body. The wiser of these will decide to give in, getting the fuck out of bed before they ruin the wondrous slumber of their still resting partner….a veteran move.
For TDM, last Saturday was of this ilk, and while the Barry Manalo song that mysteriously arrived as his personal inner-soundtrack that morning was a bit worrying, the early rise was taken as a sign that today was the day to go after one of his “list rides.” Fearless against Barry’s intrusion into an otherwise familiar scenario, TDM made his egg scramblies, filled various water containers, made systems checks on bikes, shoes, packs and poptarts, and with a highly annotated photocopied map in his pocket, the whole mess was chucked into the back of the desert cruiser, and he headed off for Bohemia.
And where the fuck is Bohemia, and what lost tribe can be found there? Well, that is a boring story which I will now force upon you. Sometime around 1992 TDM purchased a rather beautiful Bridgestone MB-3 in purple, and then began to really get after the trail rides around his then home of Eugene Oregon. One of his favorite local rides was Brice Cr, more from the fact that it could be done as part of the shuttle for one of his favorite local boating sections then from any perceived greatness in the trail itself, but these roots got him looking at other trails in the area, one of which was the Crawfish trail. That spring he and a supernaturally strong friend named Kori ventured up the logging roads to the top of this rig, and then descended it to the bottom, but this being the days of rigid bikes and 42 lbs. pressure in the tires, the itchy hands we nursed at the base of this beast suggested that it was a bit too vibrational for our tastes. Some years later TDM had all but forgotten about this trail, but began hearing tails of a DH shuttle line in the Cottage Grove area…further inspection revealed the location to be Crawfish, and thinking back, TDM could vaguely recall that this may make some sense. Inspection of maps confirmed the likelihood of awesomeness, but also something with even more appeal; other trails shown on maps, but mentioned nowhere in the literature or banter. The hook now set, TDM traced lines along a ridge, all the way back to The Ghost town of Bohemia City; one of his favorite little areas of the state, having views (Fairview Peak), alpine forests and meadows, and even a number of old gold mines fit for an episode with Scooby Doo. Once his finger had traced the map to Bohemia it was clear what had to be done to convert this line into a loop; ride up the Brice Creek Trail to the Champion Cr Rd, then ascend this gorgeous but daunting path to Bohemia, hitting mines and peaks along the way as opportunities and legs permit, then descend Cat ridge on an old road linking to the Knott trail (which at that location may or may Knott exist…ha ha ha), finishing on Crawfish to a waiting PB treat and a lemon soda. On paper, it looked to be a classic tour, with great scenery, historical references, and many miles of rustic single and double track,
So for a few years this tour had been steeping in TDM’s mind, waiting among his annual lists for the right day, and now we see TDM, reluctantly humming to the tune of Copa, and driving along on I-5 bound for Cottage Grove, Dorena reservoir, and then Brice creek. Along the way an awesome Mark Maron interview with Dan Savage rid his mind of Barry’s influence, and changing in the sun into his riding skivvies, the good vibes were rising.
Up to now the (non existent) reader has proven durable in the face of drivel, so from this point I’ll cease the talk, and post some images. It was a good day, and while many of these list-rides turn from adventure to drama, and then finally to comedy, this one ended up being a gem… this is one cool ride.
Exhibit 1: Start the day on the Brice Cr Trail…minimal climbing, maximum pleasantness.
Exhibit 2: After the casual singletrack start, the next step is an 8 mile climb up and old mining road. The scenery is like this…
Exhibit 3: Champion road is rough and rocky, but the angles are never brutal. It seems there are always reasons to stop for a sec and do some poking around.
Exhibit 4: After 8 or 9 miles of climbing the ridgeline arrives at last. Here we find Bohemia City, somewhat lacking in Bohemians, save the friendly group of moto-folk, who were shocked to see TDM ride up on the bike. They would have been more shocked to learn that the next stop is the lookout atop Fairview Pk, seen in the background here. Climb on little climber.
Exhibit 5: With over 5500 feet of climbing to get to the top of Fairview Peak, there is some pressure to enjoy the view. Thanks to a gent named Craig, I was allowed to the top of the lookout, with views of the Knott ridge and Crawfish butte in the background.
Exhibit 6:After a short gravel road descent from the awesome views of Bohemia Saddle, TDM picked up a mysterious mining double track, which some maps show, and other claim not to exist. Here we see the good side of taking a risk based on poor aerial photography.
Exhibit 7: After a couple of miles of fun double track descent, the Knott trail appears, and it looks like this. Another mile descent to a saddle, and then the last climb commences. The trail is narrow, rocky, brushy and pristine. There were a couple of short hikes up steep pitches, but TDM was surprised how well it rode.
Exhibit 8: This ride has opened TDM’s eyes to the fun that a logging road can provide. There is a lifetime of loops out there, and enough trails to connect the dots.