Saturday, March 21, 2015

Down the Mighty Quilomene

The biking trip last Saturday and Sunday out to the Quilomene Unit can be summed up in two pics. (Spoiler alert if you've read Pat's first post)

The weather forecast for the area did not look promising, but we convinced ourselves that NOAA didn't know what they were talking about and it would clear up and we'd have a dry weekend.

Pat picked me up at the downtown Grocery Outlet - (it's Spokane's meeting-pick-up drop off spot - sort of like in olde Spokane people would say meet under the Clock at the Crescent - people now say meet at the Grocery Outlet). We were driving to Vantage, then to the old Vantage Hwy, up Parke Creek Rd to the mighty Quil.  The weather forecast did not look promising and when we stopped in Moses Lake, the wind was howling, the rain was falling and it was cold.  We weren't sure about this bike trip happening, and we figured we could always turn around if we got there and things were still bad.

Glory be, it was excellent when we pulled into our parking spot off Parke Creek Rd.  It should be noted Parke Creek Rd is a dirt, deeply rutted road.  Keep that in mind.

Pat's Blackborrow on the left, Ward's older style fat bike on the right. Ward was loaded down with beer to drop off for the big trip in April.  I was able to fit 3 cans in my pack.  Only drank one, so I was able to contribute a little to the cause. (Stomach was still queasy from some gastrointestinal distress a week before. Probably all you need to know).

I had thought about taking my Fargo with the BoB trailer hooked up to it.  It's easy to throw everything and more in the trailer, and I've been wanting to take the Fargo on an overnighter.  Pat's posts from last year showed a guy on a mountain bike with a two-wheeled trailer so I figured it was doable.  His pictures also showed a rough, rocky terrain.  And we were going to climb back up from river level to 3,000 feet.  I took my Pugs N/R and it turned out to be the best decision I made on this trip.

My Racktime TopIt front rack was on the Fargo and the center bracket was bent for it, so I put my Velo Orange Porteur rack on the Pugs.  It's wider and easier to strap the tent and dry bag/sleeping bag to.  I was a little concerned about how well the nice stainless steel VO city style rack would hold up in the wild.  The rack attachment at the bottom of the fork wasn't straight and I crossed my fingers and hoped that the welds would hold.

We had to climb a bit to the top of the ridge before heading down.  I'll let the pics do the talking mostly. I just brought my phone for pics, because I hadn't worked out a decent spot to carry a big camera, or bought a decent small camera.
Pat at the top
Randy and Ward - Wind Farm
embiggen  the pic and you can see the herd of  elk that crossed our path

The road is very rocky in spots, (see pic from Pat of yours truly here) and I bombed down it faster than a guy with concern about the sturdiness of his front rack had any right to.  I couldn't resist though, and the fat bike tires rolled over the rough sections with aplomb.  Hit 24mph at one point.  Not real smart. But super fun.  I wised up after a bit and slowed down.

We hopped off the main Army Road and took a less-travelled road/path to the bottom of the canyon.
At the bottom of the canyon is Quilomene Creek that we crossed a few times.

Our creek crossings were through some brushy, thorny growth and I managed to get a flat in my back tire that the few ounces of sealant in it wasn't able to stop.  Luckily Pat assisted me changing the tube out, otherwise the process would've taken awhile.  I had a brain fart and trouble with the horizontal rear dropouts and pulley combo.

Here's the Garmin of our trip down the Q: Quilomene Down

We made it down to the bottom and set up camp.

What do rugged bikepackers have for an appetizer after a long day on the trail?
Pat surprised us by carrying these in ice
I'll stop here and put up a short post next about camping overnight, turkey hunters, sheriff's boat, tempting dunes And you guessed it - MUD!

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