By Kelley Atherton
Triplicate staff writer
Gasquet will see more bikers and fishermen this summer when DeForest Hog-Heaven Resort opens.
Owner Keith DeForest plans to open the market half of his project Saturday. He's fixing up what used to be the Wagon Wheel Motel at 8280 U.S Hwy. 199 in Gasquet.
The resort with access to the Smith River, which he plans to have finished by May, will be available for fishermen and tourists. DeForest also wants to have motorcycle and car shows and charity bike runs.
"A lot of motorcycles come down the canyon and (bikers) bring their money," DeForest said standing in front of an evergreen-lined expanse of the scenic bi-way, motioning down the road.
Motorcycle enthusiasts organize charity bike runs to do what they love the most and raise a little bit of money at the same time. Charities include everything from breast cancer to toys for needy children. DeForest himself is a long-time Harley Owners Group (HOG) member.
The existing semi-circle of seafoam green cabins has an air of '40s resortskind of like Kellerman's resort in the 1987 flick "Dirty Dancing," but a lot smaller. However, the campsite has long been "flooded with trash," DeForest said, which he has been working for the last year to clean up.
Built in 1942 as a motel, the original owners sold the property and it slowly slipped into dilapidation. It got to the point where the county had to shut down the motel.
"Everyone's always wondered what to do with it," DeForest said, staring at an open space that will soon be filled with campfires and horseshoe pits.
The small grocery store and office sits adjacent to the resort cabins. DeForest, a concrete contractor from Brookings, has literally stamped his expertise into the building.
The concrete flooring looks like wood panels with swirls of textured marble.
The technique is called stamped concrete. While the material is wet, he stamps a design and then stains the impression.
Ironically, DeForest wanted to get way from contracting.
"I wanted to get out of concrete and do something easier," he said. "This is something I've always wanted to do."
DeForest plans on using the existing materials on the property to fix up the cabins. He made the cabinets in the store from old barn wood. The idea is to retain that backwoods resort, rustic feelinga little getaway that's affordable for everyone.
He hopes the community will get behind the project and not focus on the bad reputation bikers tend to have.
"Once everyone figures out what it's notit's not just bikers cruising through here" DeForest said about the community supporting his plans.
Bikers are nomads. Once word spreads, they will come, DeForest said.
As a way of giving back to the hospitable towns that take them in for short periods of time, bikers tend to be generous with their money, DeForest said. That's why they have charity bike runsto raise money and have a little fun.
"It'll bring a lot of business to town, to everybody," DeForest said.