Saturday, June 15, 2013

Jun 14, 2013 – Day 04 Wherein I learn to deal with Sunshine

This morning was cloudy overcast and knowing full-well what that probably meant I donned my entire outfit of rain gear, including the Knox Cold Killer hood. That hood is very re-mindful of the ones you see in movies where there’s an ax-man lopping off heads. Kind of grisly looking but the thing really works at keeping the cold at bay, probably has something to do with all the high-tech materials it’s made of.

Anyway I smoked off down the highway cruising along at 70 mph and smiling whenever I spotted a state trooper. They’ll generally ignore you if you’re doing no more than 6 mph over the posted limit so I tend to observe that. The weather continued to be cloudy and no rain occurred which I was thankful for.

Boy oh boy do I love sunshine!

I took my usual route home via the Drain exit and by the time I reached Scottsburg the sun had been in full bloom for quite awhile. Pulling over I called Linda to see what it was like at home and she said it was sunny and beautiful. Yippee! I could take my cumbersome gear off and get comfortable for the rest of the ride. 

I arrived home around 11:30 am and had no sooner unloaded my gear when I got a call from Chuck Bruce asking if I was up for a short ride, maybe go get a hamburger? And the answer was…yah, sure, you betcha! Only this time I left Red Girl home and rode Red Dog.

Here's the odometer showing the ending mileage, a pitiful 1136 miles overall. That's not much of a showing for a 4-day ride, probably the least I've done so far. Bummer! I hope I can squeeze in a longer one when the weather gets better.

That'll have to do it for now though, sometimes you just have to fall back and regroup. 


Jun 13, 2013 – Day 03 Riding in Hail 101

In the morning I awoke refreshed and I was happy to see it wasn’t raining, a welcome change from the first two days. Peeking out my window I was treated to a typical Motel 6 view…

Motel 6’s idea of amenities is limited to coffee which you have to go get at the office. I opted for two trips and on the second one the manager popped out of the woodwork, probably as a way to let me know their security camera had noted my earlier score. Maybe one coffee is the limit? Anyway I was hungry and decided the leftovers from yesterday’s lunch would be appropriate fare… ice cold onion rings with calamari. Mmmm…road food at its best.

While enjoying my repast I turned on the TV and watched a rerun of Pawn Stars, then switched to the National Weather Channel to see what was going on. Wrong…. 

Boy the weather was totally in the crapper everywhere I looked. The entire eastern seaboard, the mid-west, the southern states; all were experiencing extreme storms of every nature. 

To make matters worse Colorado was fighting a record forest fire covering thousands of acres. 

I watched the whole mess for a half hour and decided this was too much, it was time to head home and see what happens in a couple of weeks. The last thing I needed was to spend 2 or 3 weeks riding around in the middle of record lightning storms, floods, fires, been there, done that already.

At least this morning there wasn't any rain so I packed up in reasonable comfort. Just to be on the safe side I elected to wear my rain gear, mainly because the view to the west showed miles of storm clouds. Call me a skeptic.

Anyway having decided to bunch it for now I turned south, pausing in a few miles to explore the little town of Stanfield [which I’d never heard of.] I’m amazed at how many places there are in Oregon that I’ve never heard of, towns a lot like the one we live in but way off the grid. Complete with wooden Indians… Notice the sunshine? That's because I'm wearing rain gear.

After leaving Stanfield the thought of riding I-84 all the way back to Portland, then I-5 south was too much, very depressing so I continued a bit further east thinking I might ride south to Jordon Valley which I’ve visited before. I dialed in the new route and headed east towards Pendleton where I stopped for a short break to call home and check in. Linda said the weather in Bandon was awful at the moment, same as I’d experienced on the north coast which was further depressing. I mean, what the heck’s with all this dismal weather everywhere?

Anyway Instead of pushing south I recalled the ride through Fossil I’d taken last summer on Red Dog and figured that would be just as interesting so I turned around and headed back. Sometimes I wander around like a rat in a maze…

This new route would take me south on Highway 74 through Cecil, Ione, Heppner, cool places like that. The road’s twisty and fun to ride and you seldom encounter other traffic. The sky remained overcast and it was fairly cold but still the riding was pleasant. 

Energy generating windmills are present wherever there’s a decent wind factor and this morning they were in full operation. I recently read a report on these guys and it seems they can overheat and catch fire. The photos I saw on the Internet looked really frightening and I wondered who pays for them when they go postal? Surely not us taxpayers. 

The constant wind that's required to drive the windmills made riding a bit touchy in places but I soon cleared the area and could relax a bit instead of fighting the buffeting effects. 

I arrived in Fossil a little after one o’clock and stopped for lunch at the same little cafe as last time. There's a new gal who runs the place and she has the best small-town type of personality you could ask for. Hamburgers are the old-fashioned kind so I had one for lunch just to get my fat-fix. Considering what I’d had for breakfast I figured my body was pretty well-oiled for the ride home.

While eating I’d looked out the cafe's window at Red Girl and noticed the windshield was sporting what appeared to be big drops of water. There’d been a few brief showers coming down 74 but this looked different. Outside I started to put my jacket and helmet on when the skies opened up again, this time with a vengeance. I hopped back up on the cafe's porch to get out of the downpour, probably to the amusement of the cafe people.

Much as I’d liked to wait it out the dark sky told me it wasn’t likely to stop any time soon so I rode off taking the ultra twisty Highway 218 through Antelope and Shaniko. It was on this leg of the trip where I encountered hail, really heavy stuff, so much to the point I had to stop and put on my Knox Cold Killer hood. While I was doing this the rain and hail were so intense I started laughing, it was like being in some weird sit-com. I must have hurried too much because my helmet’s face shield got pulverized with hail and water and I had to take it all off again to dry the inside off, otherwise the fog would never clear.

What a hellish ride this was turning into, the heavy rain would continue to plague me all the way through Bend and into Springfield. Once there I hopped onto I-5 heading south but soon realized I was too tired to make it home so I stopped at Creswell for the night. At least the rain quit for awhile and I found a nice older motel to stay in. There was a decent restaurant next door where I blew my dieting efforts and scarfed up a huge breakfast for dinner.

Finished with that I figured updating the blog could wait until I got home so I went directly to bed. I'm not even sure if there was Internet access in my room. Now that's tired!


Jun 12, 2013 – Day 02 Soggy Day in Paradise

Yesterday’s somewhat soggy late arrival at the Garibaldi House was offset by the hospitality of the place.  All those cookies & other goodies made for a warm welcome and I have no complaints…however…

One thing that was awry though was their Internet access seemed spotty and I couldn’t log on. I asked the manager for help and after he tried the same things I’d already tried he suggested calling the ISP provider saying “We pay those guys a hundred bucks a month to keep this setup going and I’m sure they’ll fix whatever’s wrong.”

In my world calling a “support company” usually equates to spending the next hour waiting on hold listening to really bad elevator music or acid rock at volume guaranteed to drive you away after two minutes. In actuality I lucked out and got a real human within five minutes. He had me try the same things I’d already tried and the manager had tried…you get the picture. Once we’d worked through that he did the intelligent thing and simply logged me in without having to satisfy the secret password. Yippee.  His parting shot was it would continue to function that way as long as the hotel didn’t turn their system off which I thought was interesting.

Anyway after posting the Day 01 blog report I called it a day and hit the sack. During the night I was awakened twice by really loud rain…ugh, not a nice thing. When I got up in the morning and looked outside I could see it had rained like the dickens but at least there was a temporary pause.

The hotel put on a really great breakfast after which I took advantage of the break in the weather and loaded my gear. Just as I finished it started to rain, lightly at first and then with a vengeance. I checked out of the hotel reminding the manager about the Internet issue and telling him what the support people had done. That seemed to make his eyebrows pop up and down for some reason. Very strange thing, that.

Highway 101 heading north
On the road again I followed a slow moving truck north on 101, slogging along at 30 – 45 mph. I really didn't mind the slowness as the rain was coming down fairly hard. We soon reached Rockaway Beach where I paused to look at the ocean. Man talk about dismal, no one in sight and still raining.

The little town of Wheeler was next, still dark and dreary, no smiling tourists here. I rode on until I arrived at Canon Beach where I pulled off and called my buddy Tom to see if he was up and ready for coffee. No answer, apparently his cell has crashed or he’s in jail. Note to self: Get in touch with TR about this.

At that point I decided my plan to ride north to Vancouver Island and then across Canada was in the trash, the incoming storm front was affecting all of the areas that I wanted to ride through so I turned east to Portland. The damn rain continued without letup. At least my rain gear was doing its job and except for the slight trickle down the back of my neck I stayed reasonably dry.

The ride to Portland wasn’t too bad, the rain let up around 15 miles west of there and although the sun didn't make an appearance the wind dried most of my gear out. I had a couple of stops to make; one to see my tax guy and two, to have lunch with my youngest son Brian. The accounting office was an easy stop and by the time I’d finished with them Brian showed up and we went to lunch. He bought so it was especially tasty!

Afterwards I headed east on I-84 to put as much distance between the bad weather as possible and ended up at the Motel 6 in Hermiston. There was only one other biker, a nice guy riding a Yamaha FJR and we hit it off right away. He was on his way to the National BMW rally to meet up with some buds and invited me to go along. I really wanted to continue with my ride so we had a couple of beers and dinner and called it a night. 

As it turned out his offer was probably a better option than what followed.   


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Jun 11, 2013 – Day 01 Garibaldi, OR

Day one on any ride is always weird, things get messed up, I forget stuff, turn the wrong direction, wave at cops [never, ever do that!] but eventually I get where I’m going. That’s really not so difficult as I usually don’t have a firm destination.
Are you ready Roy?

What the hell Izzat? Always something…

Beginning odometer mileage
Off we go….man that looks like a fat butt
Today I rode north to Coos Bay where I met up with some friends for an impromptu parking lot barbeque lunch after which we were to attend a WWII War Birds show at the local airport. That all went well enough as the following pics will show.
On the way in I shot a few pics of the marshy tidal areas south of Coos Bay. What I was really trying to do was get a picture of a white egret but he saw me watching him and hid out in some bushes. So much for my wildlife photography skills.

A little further on I caught sight of a couple of buds riding in on another road. I’d never tried shooting pics while riding and was surprised they came out.

This was our luncheon location. Parking lot food furnished by one of our local pub owners; I had the beef brisket with coleslaw, very tasty faire.

This ain’t the road kill cafe, izzit?

My lunch was super!

Wuzzat Ron, you step onna duck or sumpin?

Hail Mary full of…uh…ummm

How’d that go again..?                               I dunno man....
After lunch we headed to the airport for a look-see at the WWII bomber-fighter-flying machines. Turned out there were only three of them and admission was $12.00. Some of the guys opted for it but Jerry and I being of sound mind and also cheap bastards decided to pass. Hey, we’d rather put the money in our gas tanks and ride more.

Twelve Bucks!! I don’t think so. Not today anyway.

Free peeks thru the fence. Frugality wins big!

Cool hot rod out front of the hangers. Extreme low-rider

Full custom interior lacks nothing

Racy wire wheels make for fast get-a-ways

North of Coos Bay I stopped for a photo op, old railroad bridge

I’d nearly forgotten how much fun riding in loose gravel is. Especially hills.

What’s with this?

I double-dog dare ya!

Florence is supposed to be one of the best cities in the USA to live in.
Moving right along...just north of Lincoln City it started to rain lightly. This had two immediate effects on me: One, I needed to change into my rain gear and two, I suddenly had to pee. No other way to say that so I took the first likely looking abandoned road. Well..sort of abandoned if you don't mind the occasional house.

Here’s a likely looking spot

Privacy was fair unless you don’t like being eyeballed by a rogue Lama lurking in the bushes. If you look closely you can see him in the center of the picture. At least he didn’t bark or whatever it is they do. Hiss I think.

Once ensconced in my rain gear and suitably refreshed I again rode north. I arrived in Garibaldi around 5:00pm and figured I might as well call it a day. There were a couple of decent looking motels so I grabbed a room at the Garibaldi House and promptly blew my travel budget out of the water.
It’s a really nice place and they served snacks like popcorn, cheese and crackers, and animal cookies. Chocolate animal cookies…. And right across the road there’s a nice little store where they sell really cold beer in very large bottles….
Manly food fit for manly men…
Tomorrow I may wear my rain gear from the get-go if it’s still cloudy out. Red Girl ran smooth as a sewing machine all day long, never a bad moment. I think she’s getting close to 60 mpg which is pretty good considering how I ride. Anyway that’s day one for you.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Jun 09, 2013 - Delays & Detours....

This posting may seem a bit unrelated to my upcoming tour on Red Girl but please bear with me and I'll try to connect it. A few days ago I towed Red Dog (my MP3-500 scooter) to Eugene's Wheel Works Vespa dealership for servicing. 

A bit of background might seem in order so to explain, this 3-wheeled wonder is also known as Red Dog. 

Anyone curious about him can find lots of posts on another blog dedicated to just him. 

Here's a link to that blog:

In the mean time on with this tale. Red Dog's mileage had reached a point where it was time to change the drive belt. Anticipating this and as a hedge against a roadside breakdown I'd taken to carrying one with me. 

Then when his mileage reached the recommended level I figured I'd go ahead and do the change myself. Seemed simple enough...

I'd downloaded and printed out the instructions from the Modern Vespa web site and read lots of posts on how simple it was to do. Right. Of course.

Well anyway it seemed easy enough so I dove right in, yanked the old belt out and stuffed the new one in. Easy, yah shure ya betcha.... No problemo. 

Hit the starter button Larry. Wot? No workee? Hit it again....Paddles! Stand Clear! Again!... Crap, I've killed the damn thing!

I told you not to fool around with it...

Anyway I messed around and messed around and asked lots of dumb questions and changed the battery and redid everything I'd already done three more times and finally, finally I gave it up. Time to call in the experts only they don't make house calls. 

That's when I figured I needed to trailer him to Wheel Works which I did last week. I guess I'd overlooked or hadn't thought about what they would do with him once finished but one thing was for sure, they didn't have enough space to store him in their shop till I returned from my tour. Duh... 

So yesterday I received an email from them informing me Red Dog was ready to be picked up and would I please come gather him up? Yep, another delay in starting my summer ride. Buggers. But it's not so bad, I'll just head to Eugene tomorrow, collect him and be all ready to roll out Tuesday. 

In the mean time I'm told there's a small aviation show taking place in Coos Bay also on that day, old bombers, fighter planes, etc. That sounds like it would be fun to see so I'll dial that in as a kick-off starting point to my ride.