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Old 10-01-2011, 06:39 PM
Alan Alan is offline
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Join Date: May 2009
Location: Vancouver
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Oh, I missed this thread back in July, but I did that trip in August with CycleWild, so here are a few tips I can pass along to anyone looking for info...

Originally Posted by djkenny View Post
I am interested in traveling to Stub. We are tent camping and intend to take the Max to the end of the line (unless there is a mellow trip at an earlier drop off point). What is the calmest route to tent camping, mostly no traffic means of getting to the camp site?
Take MAX all the way to the end of the line. There are about three blocks of city streets but it's not too bad at all...many kids could do it. From there you can go on very quiet residential streets and farm roads nearly the whole way to the B-V trail. There is about 1/3 mile of busy road at Cornelius-Schefflin Hwy, but it has wide, well-paved shoulders. Going through Banks, the little bit of the Newhalem Hwy (SR47) is at city speed-limit, wide road, light traffic, no problem.

Bring a cue sheet with street names on it, and a map. Even the country roads were well signed, and the cue sheet really helps make the correct turns.

It's worth mentioning that you can pick up groceries or snacks at the Thriftway in Banks, right along the route just as you enter the SW corner of town. It even has a liquor store! Saves hauling a few pounds out from Hillsboro, and it's about the half-way point for a break. There are toilets and water at the Banks-Vernonia trailhead at the north end of Banks.

Is there showers available for tent campers if you are in the basic tent camping area? Water accessible? Is there a more full facility with showers and other comforts if you want that?
There are several drinking water spigots in the hiker/biker camping area. It has pit toilets, and each campsite has a picnic table. You have to walk (or ride) up to the car camping area for the showers, maybe 1/2 mile, but they are free. There are shared fire rings in the hiker/biker area; buy firewood at the ranger station you pass on the way in. They have carts you can use to haul it.

Fair to say we can just show up being middle of the week and get a spot/no reservation?
Yes, mid-week should be no problem. Thirteen of us arrived after dark on Friday night of the Perseid shower, the last of several groups including some boy scouts, and we had to squeeze a bit...not bad. The ranger was very accommodating, would have let us overflow onto a grassy area if we'd needed it. Next morning, by daylight, it turned out there was still one open site. There are 23 sites, each one can hold at least two 2-person tents, some are larger.

I hear there is a massive hill climb, but if you are not camping in the cabins does that mean less incline?
Eh...I ended up walking a couple hundred yards, it's moderately steep but it's hardly massive, maybe 250 feet in a quarter mile. Most everyone else rode it, and I could have if I just HTFU. Yes, the cabins are all the way at the top, but hiker/biker has its own second hill, smaller but gravel surface. Everyone I saw walked that stretch. The only reason the hill gets mentioned at all is because it's at the very end of the ride and is the biggest hill on the whole route. Don't worry about it in the least.

The Stub Stewart road is not well-signed where the B-V trail crosses, but it is a nice asphalt road like you'd expect of a new state park, so it's easy enough to recognize. Go up it to the ranger station where there's a map and info, and the hiker/biker camping trail takes off from that parking lot.

Originally Posted by dmc View Post
How do you plan on hauling your gear on the MAX? I would have gone by now but I don't want to haul my fully loaded bike trailer over the west hills. Are you loading up panniers on your bike? If so, do you just stand with you bike without putting it on hooks on the max?
I boarded westbound at Gateway, about 4pm, and had no problem getting a seat next to the bike space on the type of train where bikes ride horizontal near the wheelchair area. Coming back, boarding at Hillsboro end-of-the-line meant I got one, too, but it was the hanging-hook type car. That business of which type of car (and which door to load...) is about the hardest part, and it's pretty easy, just keep your eyes open and be ready to move to the other door.

I had a light load--4 panniers with the load of about 1.5, sleeping bag and thermarest--so it was easy enough to hang with bags in place. A full load might be a bit of a wrestling match to get on the hook, but it will stay there once it is hung. Or hand-carry the bags.

The train got quite full both ways--standing room--as it went through downtown, and I was glad I was sitting right in front of my bike where I could keep an eye on it over my shoulder, but no one bothered it or appeared much interested in it at all; I was sort of expecting more curiosity about all that gear.

As Simple Nature says, a trailer is problematic on MAX these days, although you might get lucky during low-ridership train times.

Anyone thinking of this trip...DO IT! Very fun, peaceful roads, definitely not too hard.

Last edited by Alan; 10-01-2011 at 09:11 PM. Reason: fix typos
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