Turn Around When You Hit the Snow

That’s what my wife always tells me, “Turn around when you hit the snow.” She should know. So should I, for that matter. A few years back, in the middle of June, her and I got stuck in a patch of snow that was only 20 yards across. It took us an hour of rocking the V-Strom back and forth and poking the snow with whatever sticks we could find. We dug with our hands, yanked, tugged, pulled, and pushed.

My V-Strom had Shinko 705 tires at that time. Although they are considered more of an 80/20 tire, and they do fantastic on rainy pavement, they aren’t very good in snow.

I have new tires now. Heidenau K60 “Scouts”, with a knobby 50/50 tread. They actually do very well in snow, but snow is snow and it’s still a slick proposition on a motorcycle regardless of tread.

This past weekend, I rode up the Clackamas River Highway east of Estacada, and turned right across the river up Memaloose Road. It was paved the whole way (except for a quarter-mile stretch of packed gravel), which was kind of a let-down. I wanted to get some more off-road practice. Once I was above 3,400 feet elevation, I started riding through patches of snow with bare lanes of pavement where truck tires go. I came to a junction with NF 4550 and it was covered with snow, and both roads leading away had snow as far as the eye could see.

So I turned around and headed back down toward civilization. On the way, I saw a gravel road going up a steep, rutted hill. I cut a hard right, stood up on the pegs, and climbed the hill. My Heidenau’s worked great and I navigated the ruts and slope with ease. It wasn’t a long climb, maybe 100 yards, so at the top I did a four-point turn and headed back down. Again, the Heidenau’s did a fantastic job of giving me good grip and control.

This off-road stuff is a lot of fun!

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