Super Chill by SimWorks USA
Text & Photos by Rie Sawada
Introducing the SimWorks USA Company Camp Style, “Super Chill, Ride with Rie.”
I’m glad that we did this. SimWorks Crew both in Japan and USA are my coworker also friends too. Riding bikes together and camping together, those things are usually when people open up more and friendships are solidified. That’s my favorite things to do and share with others.
SimWorks USA is located in Portland, Oregon where at least 6 months out of the year- we can expect more than our fair share of rain- which certainly helps make this environment so beautiful, but it can take it’s toll on our spirits. This Spring season in particular was especially wet, so we look forward to our Summer months- which is my favorite time of the year here. Our wet springs account for our green, brilliant forests, beautiful flowers, rushing waterfalls, and swollen rivers…It’s a perfect time for riding bikes and camping in our favorite places here in the Pacific Northwest.
We are truly spoiled with so many outstanding mountain bike trails here in the PNW. In particular, I love riding my mountain bike in Oakridge, OR- I look forward to getting back here each year. It’s only about a 2.5 hour drive from Portland. Oakridge is my special place where I first rode my first own mountain bike, this Hunter MTB Woodrat 27.5 in the Summer of 2016. Since then, I am so in love with this place. There are some natural hot spring you can dip in too. I found a secret hot spring spot there besides McCredie Springs. (It’s called ‘Meditation Pool’)
The Oakridge trail system is well developed and maintained, with smooth, clean trails. They wind through pristine forests with ferns, and towering old growth trees and are strewn with beautiful flowers. It’s also a part of Oregon Timber Trail. I used to not use a shuttle service until recently, and it’s a pretty grueling 2 hour long steep climb; I can’t believe I used to do that.. but since I rode with Sweaty Betty MTB Annual Oakridge ride last year, I’ve been spoiled by a shuttle service. I’d rather pay a shuttle to save some time to ride more and enjoy myself more in Oakridge.
Our best bud Nick from Santa Rosa, who has helped us with creating some memorable SimWorks merchandise– had a plan to come up and stay around the Willamette National Forest area to help with some trail work for the Oregon Timber Trail in the middle of July, so I asked SimWorks Crew, and we planned at the last minute to meet up with Nick in Oakridge for camping and riding bikes after his trailwork. It turned out a perfect overnighter trip.
DAY1: Meet at Ray’s grocery parking between 2:15-2:30. Ride Dead Mountain, meet Nick, and camp somewhere.
I was excited about a Super Chill start. “Let’s have late lunch with beers & snacks at the bottom of the trail..♪ We’re gonna work out our own shuttle, so we don’t have to climb all the way up, yeah!”
We drove the SimWorks van up to the top of the Dead Mountain trail, and started off with a truly epic view of the valley below.
I asked the Crew, “Do you guys have health insurance? just in case, haha” and everyone has it.
But then, of course, I immediately went over my handlebars, got hung up on a rock even before the trail started – I could still see the Astro van)
“This is a great reminder. This means, I should take it easy.” haha..
Dead Mountain trail is one of my favorite trails in Oakridge. It’s a great warm-up run, close to town and camp, and only about 6 miles mostly downhill- super chill, buffed out dirt, not too dry, and some sections can be super fast on the narrow ridge… don’t fall!
Well, that was a quick ride! We finished early a few hours before sunset. Perfect! It was such a pleasant, mild temperature out. Oakridge can get super hot and humid with plenty of mosquitoes at points during the summer.
Our BEST TIME is the snack time after the ride!
There is next to no cell reception in Oakridge, which has its benefits but we were supposed to meet Nick after the ride, and Nick had no service in his zone either. I sent Nick a pin of my favorite dispersed camp spot by the river earlier in the day, but we drove by and the spot was already taken.. How are we going to meet Nick..? Meh, we’ll figure it out.
So, we went to check out another spot, my favorite campground that had been closed earlier in COVID, near a great swimming hole. It was closed last summer due to covid, so I was not sure if we were able to stay… but yeah, it was open and we lucked out and even got the best spot in front of the river!
We had to go back to town to gain enough cell service to let Nick know where we’d be camping tonight.., but we decided to dip in the Salmon Creek to wash ourselves before the sun disappeared. I’m especially allergic to poison oak, so I needed to wash off with Tecnu after the ride even though the river was so freezing cold.. (I still got it even I washed off after every ride. Yeah, because it’s Oakridge! haha)
I love this campground, it’s so beautiful, quiet, peaceful, waterfalls, swimming holes, very well kept campground by the host Bill who was friendly, welcoming and kept the grounds so clean. We lucked out and grabbed the last large group site.
We got out of the river, and wouldn’t you know, Nick is here! He just parked at our camp spot! How did he find us??? Brody said “Magnetic.” I said “Yeah, Nick is that kind of guy.”
So we found each other without cell service, went back to hangout at the river again, and enjoyed cooking some great comfort food, and good times with fire and catching up with each other.
DAY2: Alpine Trail Shuttle by Trans Cascadia Excursions and Fun River Time
I like a slow morning start, but we decided to wake up early for a 9am shuttle ride out of Westfir, so we’d have ample peak afternoon sun river chill time. Our crew was up in the chilly morning air with the relaxing sounds of the river, and a couple took a quick morning dip to clear the head and wake up. We made some coffee and packed up.
We arrived at Trans Cascadia Excursions around 8:30 am. I was excited about their breakfast burrito that I had enjoyed the last time I was here- a savory treat of eggs and potatoes and salsa, all cooked up in a quaint outdoor kitchen, but was disappointed to find out that they don’t serve it on Mondays! A down day for the local food service industry- Ahh well, I noted for next time, and settled for a donut and a couple handfuls of trail snacks.
Alpine Trail is a regional classic, must-do 14 miles of single track, with a 45 minute shuttle ride. The ride was nice and sooo long! There is so much flow on this trail, the forest is so magical- probably why it’s called the ‘Jedi Forest’, still lots of beautiful flowers we got to see this time of year. There is a deceptive amount of climbing and make sure you bring enough food, water, and tools as you would for any long ride. So much smiling, so I ate a couple of bugs as always. “Oh yeah, that’s a little snack.” We got back to the Trans Cascadia around 12:30 pm, about 2.5 hours ride. Everyone was satisfied..
River time after the ride in the summer is so special.. Even SimWorks resident river-lover Steven approved and said this was probably a top 5 river spot for him…High marks! We parked in some shade and walked along the river, and lucked out on finding a perfect swimming hole with nice rock to jump off and a shallow ledge to chill on. Bonus points on having the whole zone to ourselves!
Nick showed us his flying squirrel diving style, which was my first time to see that style, super neat and super funny I still can’t stop laughing ..
Oh well… Ride bikes, have some beers & snacks, and take a nap… Super Chill…
Months and months ago, we had asked Nick who is our favorite super chill friend to draw whatever the SUPER CHILL design for me & SimWorks. I always wanted to make the Super Chill kit for SimWorks.. I want more people/ friends to be Super Chill.. Finally we did it! Took us over a year and made it happen! We made these cute shirts and matchbooks first, and we should have more Super Chill collection coming soon.
Are you Super Chill?