Was visiting my son at college in Newberg, Oregon and decided to come back to Bellingham on section 1,2.
Left Sunday night for Stevenson and camped at Panther creek campground. Nice place.
This is my first trip with the Tepui rooftop tent...so needless to say I slept in a bit. Very comfortable.
Started on section 1 around 8am. Went a few miles, aired down for the washboard then came across this
Was kind of bummed but oh well. I am sure it was fun getting it there. Continued along and honestly was not that impressed. Seemed to be lots of big holes that 4x4 drunk kids made in the first part of section 1. Mostly in trees.
I finally got to the ice cave and had to check it out. Pretty neat little side trip.
Nice little detour. Continued on until Packwood and fueled up and hit section 2.
Much prettier and out of the trees. This meadow was really pretty but the bugs were insane.
Stopped by lots of these places walked around. Fun to just take my time and explore.
Then I started up to Bethel Ridge. It started ok but the roads while not torn up had very big rocks (grape fruit size) exposed or loose. Pretty slow going.
It was on and off rain and sun. Nice weather for window down driving but it was pretty slow going. My ranger is stock other than bigger tires. It can go fine in the rough but you have to go slow.
This is where it got pretty rough. Not dangerous rough but the trail on top of Bethel ridge is rutted, roots, rocks and fairly tight. This was low range, 1st, 2nd gear for hours. Being by myself tends to make me go pretty slow and not air down as much as I might in a group. I took a couple wrong turns and ended up on some very steep roads with large exposed loose rocks. Makes you take things slow and contemplate your moves.
Going down Bethel ridge is slow and rough. Stock suspension on the ranger makes this type of stuff tougher than you would think. Dragging the bumper and big articulation (for a ranger) is the norm. It handled it pretty darn well...I was somewhat impressed. But I have upgraded suspension and brakes coming. My truck is a manual as well. Rangers shift like a truck so it is not terribly smooth going.
Climbed back up to Oak Creek and the view was great. It had been several hours of low range 1st gear pace...I was getting a bit tired and the flat roads were rough. Again did not air down much since I was by myself not wanting a flat.
I edited the above photo to show the roads...maybe I am a whimp but it was brutal to carry any speed on these roads. Probably the new suspension will help but leaf springs are pretty old tech and the shocks I am sure are original. Had to go slow.
Kind of panicked until I saw the gate was not locked. This brought me out to the road.
For the day I had done section 1 and 2 something like 240 miles total. High percentage in the dirt. I had 30 some miles to go but it was getting late. Needed to be at work in the morning at 8am...hit the tarmack and 3.5 hrs home.
Will be back.