Westfir and Oakridge, Oregon

2 marathons down, 133 to go

To put it bluntly, I slept like crap last night. The good news is that, between my burrito wrapping of my sleeping bag and the tree overhead, I stayed dry. The bad news is that I kept waking up and could not get comfortable.

Lawler Trail Trailhead
The Lawler Trail trailhead is my starting point

I get up, pack up, put my headlamp on, and head east on Hwy 58. The weather is much better today. I’m getting Oregon mist this morning, but that’s it.

Roadside waterfall
Roadside waterfall

This roadside waterfall is the kind of thing I get to see travelling across the USA at 5 miles an hour. In a car, this is a blur.

1000 foot elevation sign
I’ve made it to 1,000 feet
Middle Fork Willamette Ranger District
The running trailer at the Middle Fork Willamette Ranger District

I decided to stop by and see Smokey. For those of you who have been wondering what the heck a running trailer is, here it is.

Oakridge, Klamath Falls mileage sign
Oakridge: 1 hour, Klamath Falls: just over 5 days
Westfir - Oakridge Rd
Westfir – Oakridge Rd

Time to get off of Hwy 58 for a bit and take a back road into Oakridge. When planning the trip, this seemed like a great idea. However, this is going to turn out to be a very bad idea. It’s a relatively easy shot into Oakridge on Hwy 58, and the tire shop — remember that puncture I have? — is on the far west end of town.

The Westfir – Oakridge Road has some steep uphill climbs and some steep downhill runs. You have to realize that I’m basically pushing a 50-pound sled. Pushing it up a steep hill means I’m just about laid out horizontally. There is no running at this point. Going downhill is even worse. I can’t allow the trailer to build up any momentum or I’ll careen down the hill so I’m walking down the hill leaning back with a kind of gorilla walk. It has to look ridiculous, and it does not feel good.

This road also enters Oakridge toward the east end of town. Where is the tire store? Yeah, not good, and it gets worse.

Free Emigrant Road
Free Emigrant Road

2,000 pioneers a long time ago, and one damned idiot today.

Welcome to Westfir, Oregon

I’ve made it to Westfir. I’ve never been in Westfir before. It’s a cute little bedroom community with mainly nice houses and then some serious poverty.

Office Covered Bridge
Office Covered Bridge
Office Covered Bridge
Office Covered Bridge
Office Covered Bridge
Office Covered Bridge

The Office covered bridge is in Westfir, and there’s a delightful-looking B&B right next to it. I don’t know anything about it, but it looked very nice.

Oakridge, Oregon
Oakridge, Oregon

I’ve made it to Oakridge. I have to be honest; I’ve always hated Oakridge, and now the two restaurants in which I used to eat have both closed and sit empty. However, I went through a part of Oakridge I haven’t seen before. There is an uptown Oakridge which seems to be where the brew pubs and distilleries have decided to set up. It looks like Oakridge has given up on Hwy 58, the main drag through town that sees a lot of traffic, and is instead trying up the hill.

Oakridge is where my frustration set in. Remember that I’ve entered the wrong end of town. The tire shop, which is no longer a Les Schwab shop, is 1.2 miles in the wrong direction. So off I go. I get there, and instead of getting the type of people I always experience at Les Schwab, I get surly. They won’t even make an effort. I’ll have to take it to a bike shop. Is there a bike shop in Oakridge? Yes. Obviously, I need a little more than Yes. Where is it? It’s the other side of the signal, across from Ray’s. That signal being the place I entered Oakridge. So now I head back that 1.2 miles, wondering how I managed to miss a bike shop. What about “Willamette Mercantile” screams bike shop to you? Anything? Whenever you’ve seen the word Mercantile, have you ever thought Bicycle? Me, neither. So I spent seven bucks on a new tube. With that price, it didn’t make any sense to even consider patching the old tube. The nice man asked if I could leave it with him for a couple of hours. Um, no.

Checking messages in Oakridge, I see I have a personal message from someone. Without divulging names or locations, here is what it said, “Thank you, Dan. Enjoy your run. I appreciate what you are doing more than you will ever know. I’ll be running beside you all the way!” followed by, “I have stress and depression, and this is really nice of you running for mental health awareness. You can do it… Dealing with depression today but you saying hello to me is just what I needed. Maybe I’ll get up for a second out of bed and look outside again.” This is why I’m doing this.

On my way out of Oakridge, I pass the state police office. As I’m passing by, the patrolman I met yesterday, who I now know is named either Brian or Ryan, pulls in and stops to check to see how I’m doing, discusses upcoming road conditions, discusses tomorrow’s weather forecast, and tells me how to legally hitchhike in Oregon. See, I have a plan B for tomorrow. As I head up Hwy 58 to the pass, it may become unsafe due to nonexistent shoulders. If there is no shoulder on either side of the highway and two trucks take up the lanes, I’m in big trouble. So if I get to a place where it becomes completely unsafe, I’ll have to hitchhike to the pass. I don’t want to because it will feel like cheating, but I happen to want to end up in one piece more than I’m going to worry about getting a ride for a few unsafe miles. Brian or Ryan reminds me that to stop and hitchhike prior to getting to an unsafe area since it would be unsafe for anyone to stop. My guardian angel patrolman shakes my hand one last time, and I’m off again.

As frustrating as today has been, the person who sent me the personal message and Brian/Ryan have made my day much better. This is what I concentrate on as I head out of town, not the wasted miles and wasted time.

Crescent Lake, Chemult, Klamath Falls mileage sign
Crescent Lake: over a day; Chemult: over 2 days; Klamath Falls: 5 days
Sunny River
The sun came out for a moment

The sun may have been hiding most of the day, but see that dry pavement? After this morning’s mist, I haven’t gotten rained on!

Mile 42 marker
Hwy 58, Willamette Hwy, Mile 42

And this is today’s stopping point.

River
Camping spot, looking upriver from my tent
River
Camping spot, looking downriver from my tent

I don’t know who put this camping spot here, but God love them for doing it. How am I feeling? My knees are sore, my ankle is screaming at me, I was frustrated with wasted miles and time, people made up for that frustration, I have this heavenly campsite, and my ankle is screaming at me. Tonight I’ll pitch my tent and prepare for Hell Day tomorrow.

Good night all.

Marathon-a-Day Guy