Nice weather with local temps in the low 60’s F last Friday sparked an impromptu scooter club ride and forced an early quit at the office. Six of us- four Burgman 400s, one Honda Reflex and the one Mp3 – gathered in Portland and took off east into the foothills and western slope of Mt Hood, tracking along the Clackamas River.
Many miles of twisties and hills were enjoyed, gradually gaining elevation and seeing the traffic reduce to nothing, and eventually winding up on one lane paved forest roads past the Timothy Lake gravel road cutoff. Our group of six has split into two groups of three, with me and two Burgies about four or five minutes ahead of the rest. We alternate from bright sunlight to deep, dark shade in heavy forest as the road weaves its way around the foothills, the river now left far behind at Ripplebrook Ranger Guard Station.
Now the fun starts as we start to encounter a lot of fallen rock and debris on the road, in addition to considerable slick green moss now very obvious on the road, especially in shady areas. The temperature has fallen to the low 50’s as well and twists and turns in the road are sharp with severe drop-offs. There is a significant pucker factor in progress... but with careful maneuvering we soldier on, our goal to connect with Hwy 26 about another 6 miles or so further on. At one point coming around a sharp, blind curve to the right I am third in line and the Burgie in front of me swerves left around a melon sized rock in the middle of the road – I also attempt a swerve but graze the thing with my right wheel because of the wide tracking up front, and catch some of the smaller gravel sprinkled across the road. A nice little scooter ass-wiggle ensues but Loretta stabilizes quickly; for which I am ever so grateful given the steep plunge off the left side of the road...
And then we come around another curve a bit further on and into the *snow*. The road has two deep and wide ruts in the snow and ice with plenty of asphalt showing in the bottom of the ruts so the Burgies move along. While apprehensive I make the attempt and quickly learn that the two wheels up front are a horrible disadvantage in this instance. I go about 100 feet and call it quits while I am watching the first Burgie traversing a 6” diameter log across the road, frozen into the snow – methinks there’s a fine line between madness and perseverance here - but he gets over the log. However, the second Burgie high centers and I dismount to help him get back off the log. Finally we turn around. Since we were going to likely need to climb another 500 feet elevation to get thru, the snow would certainly be impassable.
It was interesting at one point to have one of my front wheels tracking on top of 6” of hard ice and snow while the other was on wet asphalt. I stopped with the tilt lock on and looked at it but wish I had gotten a picture of it! I did take a few pics after turning around and one of the group of three way behind caught us riding back down.
Lessons learned/enforced: yep the Mp3 simply is not going to avoid road obstacles like a typical two-wheeler; and if not given enough free clearance for the wide track front wheels, all manner of problems occur.
Note in this photo the log across the road is visible about 50 feet behind the Burgies. This was taken after we turned around and freed the one high centered Burgman.
Returning from the **snow zone**
Inspecting the Burgie, tying the lap blanket back down.
Can't seem to embed the google map link but just search out Timothy Lake and Estacada in Oregon and you'll get the idea!!