Oregon Timber Trail Pioneer Journey | PART 3

August 10, 2016

Photos and words by Leslie Kehmeier


When Sam Clark and Kim McCormack dipped their wheels in Columbia River last Friday August 5, becoming the first two people to complete the Oregon Timber Trail route, they were ecstatic, relieved, and…..hungry! After riding for two and a half weeks with only one rest day, the duo was ready to dump their gear-loaded packs and celebrate with some serious calories.

This wasn’t actually any different from an other day on the trip. For 17 days days life revolved around eating, sleeping and pedaling their way to the next checkpoint.

Although it sounds simple, Kim and Sam’s gear and months of preparation got them across Oregon without any major unplanned detours. On day 15 I had a chance to review the contents of their packs and gain some insights into how they approached such a long trip. I found that they were ready for everything from peeing and eating to spending an unexpected night out in the woods. Here’s a look inside the key aspects that helped them along the way.


What did they eat everyday? Peanut butter packs, Swedish fish, plantain chips and burritos. And most any other food put in front of them. Calories equalled fuel for Kim and Sam, an important and necessary catalyst to get them from California all the way to Washington. As with any trip, they started out with the known foods they knew they could stomach during long days on the trail. Not surprisingly, they also had those moments and rest stops when they devoured anything and everything put in front of them. Ah….the beauty of riding your bike all day!


The route that Kim and Sam followed was remote at times with sections of trail that don’t always see a lot of wheel tracks. Knowing this, the duo equipped themselves with various means of way finding, including paper maps and satellite messengers.  In addition, they set up a series of checkpoints (aka snack breaks) to connect with the rest of the team as they moved along the route. 


Kim’s husband Ben was the secret weapon. He played many key roles during the 17-day trip. He was the shuttle driver, chef, logistics coordinator, barista, and chief happiness officer. At some point everyday he appeared on the trail to bring Kim and Sam some sort of delicious snack, always with a big smile and positive words. It goes without saying that Ben was a key part of getting the team to the Columbia River.

Photographer and writer Leslie Kehmeier followed Kim and Sam on their adventure across Oregon in July of 2016.

Read all of her accounts here: PART 1 | PART 2 | PART 3 | PART 4

This story was originally published on Club Ride.