Posted by: Mark Wollemann: On the move | June 16, 2016

Days 3/4: Friends visit, I climb, get wet

Mark and Curt

Curt brought along a nut brown ale “because I’m a Brown and you’re a nut.” Former newspaper guys love pun humor. It’s a fact.

I’m going to combine posts for the past two days, mostly because my “blogging time” yesterday was lost to the great cause of sharing beers and chatter with friends Curt and Adele Brown, who showed up on their way to visit their daughter in Portland.

We had planned to camp, but they had suffered some tent mishaps in the days before arriving (and it was looking dark, cold and rainy), so we hung out at the Bluewolf Motel in Oakridge. It was a great spot and we had lots of laughs and then everyone had a good night’s sleep.

Day 3
About 6 miles past Westfir, Ore.
Today’s mileage: 55. Total: 150

The ride from Cottage Grove, Ore., to about 10 miles past Westfir/Oakridge was, well, it was a little hairy. … There’s only one logical path to get there. A 19-mile trek along Hwy 58 along the Dexter Reservoir. It’s a nice road, but there is no shoulder — and lots of truck traffic. Logging trucks. Fuel tankers. Motorhomes. Even cars and pickups whizzed by me as I teetered along the tightrope of the white traffic line that marked the edge of the road (there was absolutely no road shoulder in spots). This made Melody super nervous and there were a few times that I got a stirring “blow by,” but after those thrilling 19 miles, I was able to peel off toward Westfir and the West Cascades “Oregon Scenic Byway.” After about 10 miles of riding, Melody picked me up so we could drive back to Oakridge and meet Curt and Adele.

Cascades sign

A most beautiful ride.

Day 4
Rainbow, Ore.
Today’s mileage: 54. Total: 204
We woke to a beautiful day, but before departing, we had a little breakfast with Curt and Adele. That set the foundation for a testing ride up to 3,800 feet and then a flying downhill trek — in parts during a steady downpour — that led me to Rainbow and a great cup of coffee and a piece of pie as we bid Curt and Adele farewell. They had taken Melody hiking in the Willamette National Forest. That’s where I met Leigh Knox and her dog Gaia at the Kiahanie. It was early in the day, but I hadn’t really seen anyone (except for the occasional visit by Melody with her cameras), so it was nice to stop and visit. Leigh is a volunteer at the campground, where she spends the summer, cleaning outhouses and making sure campers get a great, friendly experience in the big woods. The location is spectacular, but Leigh said it’s been kind of cold and rainy and devoid of people. She was as happy to see me as I was her, it turns out. After a nice visit, we parted ways and I got busy climbing to 3,800 feet over the next 20 miles or so. It was a beautiful day — until it wasn’t. As I hit the peak, I stopped to admire the views and wipe the sweat off my brow. I looked up and the skies turned ominous, so I slammed down the mountain at about 35 miles per hour. But I couldn’t outrun the rain, so I slow-rolled my way past some beautiful sites while trying not to kill myself. By the time I got to Rainbow, the Browns and Melody pulled up alongside and we had a little pie, ice cream and coffee before they headed off to Portland and we landed a little cabin along the Mackenzie River. Unbelievably beautiful day, in spite of the fluky weather. This is, without question, the most beautiful part of the country I’ve ever seen. More climbing and beauty tomorrow. I peak out at nearly 5000 feet tomorrow. Wish me luck!

Leigh and Gaia

Leigh and Gaia, two gems who make the park system run smoothly.



  1. Okay, the thought of riding side by side with a logging takes my breath away! Glad you’re past that part!

  2. I wish you luck brother… Safe travels. And I dislike trucks too! But I’m usually trying to get around THEM!

  3. I think former newspaper guys love ale almost as much as pun humor, though I don’t know which one is the cause and which one the effect. I do, however, know which one you’ll be thinking about during the climb …

  4. I love your description the occasional “stirring ‘blow by'” and “those thrilling 19 miles” on Hwy. 58, Mark. You’re made of tougher stuff than I am, for sure. Glad you got though it safely, though, and that you also got in some relaxation. Hope today is as glorious for you in Oregon as it is here. Sending you good pedaling vibes …

  5. Help Mark and Melody have a few more of “motel nights.” Donate a little, or a lot:
    #55andAlive #OregonToDelaware

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