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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Oregon Trail, Day 4

Pardon the delay- as soon as I returned home, too much to do! This of course is why i took the trip in the 1st place.
Day 4 was all about getting home, and I anticipated a boring flat long drive. Fortunately, I discovered Oregon's I-5 is anything but boring. Soon out of Roseberg I reached Grant's Pass, and from there down to about Redding CA the scenery was spectacular. The 5 winds through the mountains there with many scenic high speed sweeping turns, and the power to weight ratio of the bike made all of them more entertaining. Here's a pic of Mt. Shasta just beyond the CA border.
The photo doesn't really do it justice, but I was entertained. I reached Vallejo (and Bay Area commute traffic) around 4:30, and was home before 5:30 thanks to the agility of the bike through rush hour. 
I finished the day at a beach birthday party for one of Benjamin's friends, home in time to enjoy the sunset.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Oregon Trail, Day 3

Correction to the map- I started Day 3 in Lincoln City (red dot), finished in Roseburg.
It was cold and foggy when I woke up and hit the road for breakfast from my KOA cabin. It was nice to not have to setup and take down the tent considering the previous day and overnight intermittent rains.
I didn't feel like setting up the stove for oatmeal and coffee at the campsite, so opted for a local diner (Otis Cafe) instead.
Typical diner food- good, but gotta return to lighter fare at home & get more exercise!
Although I'd charged all my electronics in the cabin overnight, I left the GoPro in my luggage and just rode through the fog up to Portland, stopping for coffee to thaw out around Forest Grove.
I continued to Portland and fueled up (43 mpg on 10% ethanol, must be the lower speeds?) before meeting Paul Smith for lunch. Note the chicken above the saddle in the pic, anyplace that has a chicken wandering around in the front yard is a safe place to park the motorcycle.
Paul's work neighborhood reminds me of the Garfiled Ave. neighborhood in NE Mimneapolis. Kind of hip & funky, some gentrification but with a modern utilitarian spirit. I like it! Lunch at the Oregon Public House (a non-profit pub funding community causes) was delicious with good atmosphere. I like the floorboards in the Stickeen office too, pine boards recycled from an old barn.
After lunch and a discussion of features on the new Kinn bicycles. 
I did a little souvenir shopping then got on the road toward Eugene. I dries through downtown to check it out, but chose to continue as I had more daylight and wanted to make my final riding day a little shorter. Eugene downtown is cute and obviously the university is a big factor here, I just didn't see anything I wanted to stop for.
Back on 5 south I made good time, choosing to stop at Roseberg for the night as the sun was getting very low and the air was cooling. Motel 6 there had great Yelp reviews and really was pretty nice for a Motel 6. While checking in I struck up a conversation with a couple traveling in an RV. Chuck and Kim had been living in their RV for 4 months over the summer, something I'd like to do someday as well. We ended up having dinner together at the diner next store and swapping stories of military life (Chuck is a fellow Army veteran) and talking about Kim's growing up in Alaska. They were charming dinner company! One of the things I enjoy about travel is the people I meet. Of course, meeting people involves talking to strangers; fortunately that's never been a problem for me!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Oregon Trail, Day 2

Day 2- up at 6:45, and felt pretty efficient getting packed and out of campsite, at least until I started playing around with my GoPro setup and Scala. On the road a little after 9. Here's the views in the campsite and nearby.

During the night I was up a couple times, and could see the stars brightly shining through the pine canopy above. Very nice! There was also a large collection of raccoon footprints on the motorcycle seat and tank, so apparently I wasn't alone enjoying the view. I had covered the bike, so my visitors (or was I theirs?) we're enjoying their own tent under the bike cover, much as our cats do at home.
I finally reached the Oregon border around 10, and had a 2nd breakfast/brunch in Brookings. I noticed very soon after arriving, the people in Oregon seem friendlier than Californians, and less in a hurry as well. It's nice!
This view is from Seal Cave, apparently the worlds largest sea cave. I didn't go in, but the view there was nice and I needed to stretch my legs. Here's another shot of the bike along the Oregon coast. 
Once again, the trip today took far longer than I anticipated because of 101 running through many small towns and my stops to make sure all was well with the bike or take breaks. Hey, I'm on vacation. About the bike- everything is working fine, but it's definitely showing it's age. If I were to make changes, at least I would put bar risers on it to avoid being so sore between my shoulder blades. Next bike should have more upright ergos for sure.
At one of my stops (Devil's Kitchen... Why is every body of water here named devil something? Kitchen, Devil's Lake, Devil's Chasm... What's up with these people?) a couple other bikers from Minneapolis stopped by and we exchanged route advice. One was on a new BMW F800 and the other on an old R65. I guess my bike isn't that old after all. I mentioned to them that what I heard about the beauty of the Oregon coast and 101 isn't what I thought. 101 has nothing on PCH1. Then again, 101 is a tool to get places, even in CA, where 1 is a showcase of the coast. It's still a nice ride up here, but you can't fairly compare CA coast riding with OR's. Up here the coast is a little more soft and lush.
I finally got to Lincoln City where I'm stopping for the night. I had a GREAT meal at the Bay House in the south edge of the city, for half what I would have paid in the Bay Area. If you're local try it. I also enjoyed this view over dinner.
It's been raining on and off all day, and I have the gear for it, but I'm staying at a KOA cabin because the price is very close to a tent site price and I don't feel like tenting in the rain and packing wet gear in the morning. Also, they have outlets to charge all my farkle again. I took some GoPro video and will post it later.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Oregon Trail, Day 1

I've always heard how beautiful Oregon is, but haven't been yet