We were thinking of riding on Saturday but the weather forecast changed to clouds and rain showers. Sunday May 1st still looked promising so we held off.
We woke Sunday morning to beautiful blue sky and sunshine. A great day for riding. A check of the online weather stations suggested we'd see temperatures in the low 70's, definitely a riding day.
We debated about going for a ride just the two of us or to go on a group ride to the coast that was planned. I'd only put about 100 miles on Max prior to that so I was unsure of the group ride. We said why not and started to get ready. We headed out of the house about 9:30 am so we had ample time to fuel up and were aiming to meet Rick at the appointed place by 9:45 am. We made it a little early and were the first two there.
Jim surprised us and arrived on his silver Triumph Tiger and Rick arrived a short time later riding Zedward the ZZR.
Soon we were ready to head out to join the group riding up from Eugene - kickstands up at 10:00 am. The plan was to ride the backroads South to Bellfountain and Alpine to meet the Eugene crew. Off we went.
Before long we arrived in Alpine. From the posts on the forum I was expecting maybe 3 people from Eugene. Turns out more like 7. Our small group ride now totaled 11 bikes and I had the only double X chromosomes in the bunch. Yes, once again, I was the only female rider.
Little did I know when I parked behind the rest of the bikes the other two Suzukis decided to park across the street. Were the bikes banned? Are Suzukis antisocial? I don't know, never thought to ask.
Here are some random shots I took at the meet and greet.
After about a 10 minute break and a quick riders meeting we headed out. Troubadour kindly agreed to sweep but somehow we got a rider between the two of us. We had our radios hooked up and were able to communicate so that was good. I haven't ridden the route too many times and have a tendency to slow down around twisties when I don't know them and can't determine which way the road curves. I figured if Dan didn't like riding behind me he would have passed me though.
The route we took was through Alsea Falls to Alsea then West on Highway 34 to Waldport at the coast. If you subscribe to Rider Magazine - this month the Alsea Falls Loop is a featured ride in the paper magazine (I can't find the article online). We are lucky enough to have it out our back door. Thanks to Rider announcing it to the rest of the world traffic just got heavier.
Traffic wasn't too bad on the stretch through Alsea Falls. Jim turned off part way to Alsea to take a smaller less travelled route on his own ..... and then there were 10.
We took a quick regroup break in Alsea and headed west. This time I asked Dan to go ahead so Troubadour and I could go at our own pace without me worrying about holding him back.
The ride would have been great except for traffic. It was a warm sunny day after a long rainy winter so it seemed that everyone was heading for the coast. We finally made it to Waldport where we stopped for a rest.
I managed to take a few more pictures - last ones of the day.
We were starving and looking forward to lunch. We headed South on Highway 101 to Florence. Traffic again was quite heavy. We stopped for fuel in Florence and made our way to historic Old Town to the Firehouse for lunch. We finally sat down to lunch at 2:00 pm. I was so hungry by this point I was starting to shake and didn't even think to pull the camera out for any pictures. Our lunch consisted of fish sandwiches and garlic fries. Edible but bland. It was the first time we'd eaten there and I probably wouldn't go back. The Bridgewater Fish House a block down is much better.
Eventually our bellies were full and we headed inland. Turning east on Highway 126 we followed it approximately 15 miles to the junction of Highway 36 at Mapleton. A much nicer twistier route around Triangle Lake.
The faster bikes all zoomed ahead. Another rider from Eugene came out to meet us in Florence for lunch and to ride back with the group and wanted to ride sweep so Troubadour rode in front of me. We seemed to split into two groups - the fast bikes and then Troubadour, me and Jim riding sweep. Troubadour was nice and hanging back for me as a guide through the twisties. I do better if I have someone to follow. My speed is better and my lines are too.
We caught up to the faster riders at Deadwood for a quick group picture and off we went again. As we were heading around Triangle Lake we noticed the fast group stopped with their helmets off. We waved and kept going thinking we could stop down the road and have a break while they caught up.
We stopped and waited, basking in the sunshine, but the fast group never showed up. After about half an hour Troubadour and Jim started calling people. Jim finally got through to Tim, ringleader of the Eugene group, and we found out that group took a cutoff road and was already in Eugene. Alrightly then. We suited up and headed off. Troubadour and I headed North towards home and Jim headed Southeast towards Eugene.
As you know from Troubadour's blog we managed to find a spot to take his May 1st ABCD centerline challenge picture. I was so tired by that point I couldn't be bothered to find a place for a picture to participate.
We finally rolled into the garage at 6:00 pm. More than 8 hours since we'd left the house. I checked the odometer and we'd only gone 214 miles. Doesn't sound like many for an all day adventure but it tripled my miles on Max.
I am much more comfortable on the bike that when we first brought it home and love it. I sat on a Bonneville SE at the Triumph shop in Eugene on Saturday and I have to say I am glad I didn't opt for one. I like the ergonomics of Max better. Not to say I wouldn't like a Street Triple or a Tiger 800 somewhere in the distant future, but the Gladius just fits compared to the Bonneville.
It was nice that my knees were not hurting at the end of the day. I wondered if they might. And with the Gladius seat reviews on the forums I was worried about numb buttocks since I have a boney behind. Not the case. What I did notice was my right forearm and wrist were quite sore from the throttle (maybe a little carpal tunnel problem) and my lower back muscles were also sore. I was conscious of making sure to use my core to hold my weight off the bars and I think there are some muscles back there that haven't been used in a while. Feel the burn, it's good for you.
All in all it was a good day. It confirmed what I had suspected before and that is I am not a fan of group riding. Having said that, small groups under 6 or so bikes are okay, approaching a dozen, no thanks.
- Au Revoir
" Sometimes the best communication happens when you're on separate bikes." ~ Author Unknown.