|2 trikes, gear and 3 cases of wine!|
The Banks/Vernonia trail is a fantastic 20 mile paved path through forest and farmland. Being an old train line the inclines are very gradual with no more than 2% grade but there is 1,000 feet of climbing to the highest point. We stopped along the way to pick blackberries for our morning oatmeal. The bushes were over flowing with berries. This summer in Portland has been brutally hot and we were very lucky to get temperatures in the low 80's with a light breeze.
|At the Banks/Vernonia trail head|
|We pulled over to let the horses pass|
I often meet trikers somewhere along this trail during my yearly pilgrimage and expect they are also on their way to the retreat. It always surprises me when the trikers have never heard of the recumbent retreat. Today we met a couple with Terra trikes in their truck bed driving to Stub Stewart State Park. Maybe they'll go to the retreat next year.
Barbara and I made it to downtown Vernonia in the mid afternoon stopping for a delicious lunch at the Mediterranean inspired Blue House cafe. We bought a few baklava to-go for later. Then we went to the market to pick up supplies for dinner and lunch for day 2 of our tour. We found a loaf of Dave's Killer Bread and added avocado, cucumber and onion to make sandwiches for dinner. Banana, almond butter and honey sandwiches with fruit would keep us fueled for our ride over the coastal range. Yum!!
|Big Eddy hiker/biker site|
This area is big logging country but every year there is less and less truck traffic to deal with. The sound of logging trucks loudly rumbling passed the campground used to be a constant companion. The heavily loaded trucks would start rolling by at 3 am and make sleeping difficult even with ear plugs. This year the roaring trucks were more occasional than constant.
I also got to try out my new camping gear. I was excited to have a new 2 person tent, sleeping bag and pad this year. The bigger tent felt so luxurious and the wider pad made a huge difference to my comfort. The new bag has more room in the feet than my old bag and was so thick with down I felt very cozy. All my new gear provided a noticeable improvement and I actually slept well. Until now, I didn't think that was possible. After this night's sleep I feel much better about tent camping.
The only hiccup was I bought the wrong fuel for my alcohol stove. I mistakenly picked up 90% Isopropyl alcohol instead of denatured alcohol cooking fuel. I didn't understand the difference and there is a big difference! Isopropyl alcohol burns very dirty and sooty and it took a long time to boil water for after dinner tea. The flame was wide and orange instead of blue. My pot was coated in grimy black soot and the handles even melted a bit. I really didn't want to use that fuel again so I knocked on some RV camper doors to see if I could find better alcohol. All anyone had was more isopropyl. Oh my, what would we do without coffee in the morning?! Luckily, the campground hosts came through offering to boil water in the morning for our coffee. Phew - crisis averted! Riding 63 miles over the coastal range without coffee is almost unthinkable.
We gratefully stopped at the host's RV in the morning for glorious boiled water for coffee. Then we got our trikes loaded and pushed off down the road around 9 am. There used to be a bar in Birkenfeld to stop at 15 miles into this ride. They had fabulous berry shakes and I would usually get food to go for later. Now the bar is only open on weekends and the area seems to have fallen on hard times. We did stop to use the facilities at a modern Mist fire station. The firemen didn't hesitate to let us in.
Video of my ride with Barbara to the Retreat
Kathi surprised us by pulling over on her way to the retreat just as we arrived at the Jewell Elk Preserve. We were almost to the start of the climb over the coastal range when she took all our gear substantially lightening our load. Wow! Sagged at the most difficult part of the trip. Great timing!
|Using the facilities at the fire house in Mist|
The Recumbent Retreat was fantastic, the best yet. Even though the retreat officially starts on Friday, almost everyone had arrived on Thursday by the time we got there. The retreat is run by OHPV (Oregon Human Vehicle Association) and they did an outstanding job. Every year, they reserve 2 loops at Ft. Stevens State Park the same weekend in August. Over 100 riders attend. This year's retreat was so much more relaxed than any in the past. There were lots of new faces and everyone had a great time.
|Raffle prizes call out has a captive audience|
|Ft Stevens is a terrific campground.|
|Peter Iredale shipwreck in the sand at sunset|
|Local Oregon wine made using a recumbent trike to crush the grapes.|
|Getting lit up for the parade|
Video of the Recumbent Retreat event
|Everyone really went all out with the lights this year.|
The retreat is the highlight of summer but at the end of the weekend I also feel like summer is coming to a close. Since my next tour is going to start in another 2 weeks I didn't feel like I wanted to take the time to pedal home and Lonnie gave me a ride back to Portland. Thanks Lonnie!!
Thanks to everyone for making this another fantastic Recumbent Retreat. I'm already looking forward to next year!