During Saturday morning coffee last week, SpartanBabe and her husband Josh invited us to go for a ride with them Sunday. I was reluctant to be setting an alarm for our last day to sleep in, but agreed. How could we resist?
The alarm went off at 6 am Sunday morning and we were up and out of the house by 7:30. We were to meet them in Brownsville at 8 am. To get to Brownsville we headed east to I-5 and rode 11 miles South on I-5.
We made it to the rendezvous point and a route was discussed. A 200 mile (321 km) loop over the Aufderheide Scenic Byway was the plan for the day.
Off we went heading southwest with Josh on his V-Strom in the lead, SpartanBabe on her Triumph America, Troubadour on his Tiger and then I rode sweep on Max.
Our first scheduled stop was in Oakridge for fuel and a snack. We'd not eaten breakfast before leaving the house.
I took a picture or two while snacking. Not great pictures, but, I was reminded - it was a gas station.
|(First official stop of the ride)|
|(Josh, SpartanBabe, Troubadour)|
From Oakridge we backtracked west a few miles and then turned north on Forest Service Road 19 at Westfir to ride the Aufderheide. The scenic byway is one of the major motorcycle destinations in the central cascades and is only open May through October weather permitting. 58 miles of twists and turns and ups and downs through the cascade range and around Cougar Reservoir/Cougar Dam between Highway 58 and Highway 126. We were running it from south to north.
We started off at a slower pace getting used to the corners until Troubadour took the lead. We picked up the pace from there and all were having fun. We stopped at Box Canyon for a lunch break.
|(Box Canyon - where you can reserve and camp in the old guard station)|
The following pics were taken at lunch.
|(V-Strom, Max, Bella, Lucy)|
|(Max flirting with Bella)|
|(The bikes at lunch)|
|(Josh & Troubadour)|
|(Surrounded by forest)|
|(Driveway to the Guard Station)|
|(Cool fence at the entrance)|
|(looking north - where we're going)|
|(looking south - where we've been)|
|(a close up of that corner to the south)|
A woodpecker decided lunch could be found in the roof of the guard station. His serenade rang throughout the forest.
|(Woodpecker - camera on full zoom)|
Back on the bikes and we headed north. Next stop - Cougar Reservoir/Cougar Dam. And damn, when we stopped at the damn dam to take a picture of the damn dam, it was damn hot. And when I say it felt damn hot, I mean over 90˚F (32˚C) and we didn't have on mesh gear.
|(Cougar Reservoir - looking east)|
|(Cougar Reservoir - looking a little north east)|
|(Access road over the dam - notice the reservoir on the east and 500 ft drop on the west)|
|(Looking down Cougar Dam)|
|(West over the valley)|
|(looking over the retaining wall we noticed wildflowers)|
|(Pretty wildflower - hard to get a picture while blowing in the wind)|
|(SpartanBabe was happy to find shade)|
|(Troubadour and Josh)|
We hopped back on the bikes and rode to the junction with Highway 126. We needed to find a restroom and happened to find a little general store that suited our needs. We stopped for a break and drank a lot of water and ate a few Popsicles to try and cool off. We soaked our neck buffs in water and that helped cool us off a bit.
Josh thought that instead of heading west into Springfield and into the heat we should head northeast to Highway 20 and over Santiam Pass into Sweet Home adding about 80 miles to the loop. All agreed and off we went. Unfortunately that was a major route for motorhomes and it was slow going until we got to the junction. After turning west on Highway 20 traffic was a lot lighter. We enjoyed the dappled shade going over the pass as well.
We stopped in Sweet Home for fuel or Max would have been on fumes by the time we rode the last 37 miles home. Josh and SpartanBabe kept going as they only lived 10-15 miles down the road. We took a break to stave off dehydration. Had something cold to drink and a snack and rode home. We made it home by 4:30 pm, tired and with 276.8 (445.46 km) more miles on the odometers.
Max seemed to handle well except for being able to feel all the little bumps in the road. It felt better in the corners though, so I think it is a trade off. At least the larger bumps don't toss my butt off the seat anymore. I think my biggest complaint at this point is my fingers/right hand going numb. We think that is due to the low bars and wrist angle when rolling on the throttle.
Max has over 5500 miles on him now and new tires have been ordered. The front came in today and the rear should be here on Friday. He'll be sporting new shoes for the IMBC.
- Au Revoir
"Summer has set in with its usual severity." - Samuel Taylor Coleridge.