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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Finally, a Dam Motorcycle Ride

Last Thursday on my lunch break I decided to check out the website for our local motorcycle forum. I hadn't been on the site for a month or two, but figured I'd check it out to see what was going on.

I noticed our friend Melissa (Mel) had posted a group ride to some dams.  Mel works for the Army Corps of Engineers out at Foster Dam just east of Sweet Home. A few of her work mates wanted her to put together a ride and she opened it to the rest of us.

Hmm, I pondered.  Troubadour and I both have Friday off and the weather is supposed to be back to normal.

I mentioned it to Troubadour Thursday night and he sent Mel a message confirming we'd be there about 9:30 in the morning.  We both needed petrol in the bikes and we needed to ride 38 miles (61 km) east across the valley to get to Sweet Home. Our plan was to be out of the house and kickstands up at 8:30 am Friday morning.

Here is a screenshot of Mel's original route from Ride with GPS. We were riding it clockwise to visit the following: Foster Dam, Cougar Dam, Hills Creek Dam, and Lookout Point Dam.  We did end up taking a different route home from Springfield. (just east of Eugene on the map)

(Original route - we were starting from Corvallis - 38 miles to the west)
(Image borrowed from Revzilla)
As Troubadour was pulling the bikes out of the garage it started to sprinkle.  The forecast was a little iffy as to whether or not it was going to rain.  We didn't care, it wasn't blistering hot. Because of the sprinkles I opted to put my rain liner in my Rev'it pants and also try out my new Rev'it Monroe jacket instead of my mesh.  Back in June, I purchased a new 3-season riding jacket when it was on sale at Premier Moto Gear in Albany.  I liked that it had built in waterproofing in the shell, but still came with a quilted liner.  I purchased it in olive/black to be different.  It only has 2 layers, not 3 like my current Rev'it Siren.  Three layers are a pain because of all the snaps in the cuffs when you install both the quilted and rain liner into the shell.  I left the quilted liner in on Friday since it was 65˚F (18˚C) and I wasn't sure how chilly it would be as we headed up in elevation over the Cascades.

We arrived at Foster Dam without incident. I didn't think to take a picture at Foster but I managed to pilfer the one below from Mel's facebook page.

(Photo by Melissa at Foster Dam - just before heading out)
There were 8 riders total:  PolarBear and Troubadour on their Triumph Tigers, me on the Gladius, Mel on her Triumph Daytona, as well as a Victory, a Kawasaki KLR 650, a Honda Shadow, and an older Yamaha we believe was a Seca.  Quite a menagerie of different bikes.

With Mel in the lead and PolarBear riding sweep, we headed east and up Tombstone Pass and then turned south on Highway 126.  We stopped in the little hamlet of Rainbow for lunch at a place called Takoda's Restaurant.  Luckily they had a salad bar and iced tea with free refills.

There is also a mercantile with a gas station at Takoda's.  We parked in front of the mercantile.

(Parked at Takoda's in Rainbow, OR - Mel, Troubadour, and PolarBear in the foreground)
Why did we park at the mercantile instead of the restaurant?  Well, the Porsche club just happened to be meeting at the restaurant as well and took up all the parking.  This was one row of them.

(Porsche club meeting at Takoda's restaurant)
We ate, chatted, ate some more, and then all headed out for more riding.  A little further down 126 and we made a left turn onto the Aufderheide Scenic Highway, also known as Forest Service Road 19. We've ridden this road a few times from South to North, but this was to be my first time riding it North to South.  LINK to last ride on Aufderheide in July 2012 and LINK to one two-up on Troubadour's America in August 2010.

(Aufderheide Scenic Byway - Forest Service Road 19)
We stopped at Cougar Dam/Reservoir just a short ride in.  This is a different parking area from where we usually park so you can't actually see the dam.

(Cougar Reservoir at Cougar Dam - water looking low)

(All the bikes in a row at Cougar)

(Max and PolarBear's rig parked at the end)

(But wait, Max was between the two Tigers - a Suzuki sandwich)
The temperature was warming up so I opened the vents in my jacket and my helmet.  I realized there aren't nearly as many vents on this new jacket compared to my older one.  One rider left us at this point and headed home.  We were down to 7.

Riding North to South was an experience.  The side of the road we were on was definitely the worst of the two.  There were a lot of patch jobs, dips, bumps, and breaks in the pavement.  I was getting really beat up and bounced around.  I think Mel and I had the worst suspensions for this stretch of road.  There were times when my butt bounced right off the seat.  I was happy to make if off the mountain in one piece.

Part way down the Aufderheide we realized the Porsche club was chasing is down the mountain. They'd catch up on the straight stretches and back way off in the lumpy bumpy rough areas.  As PolarBear was riding sweep, he found this quite amusing.

We arrived at Highway 58 and turned east, rode through Oakridge and turned down a short road to Hills Creek Dam/Lake.  We'd never been here before so it was interesting.

The first thing I did upon arriving was rip my jacket off and take the liner out.  I was so overheated it was becoming unsafe.  I then proceeded to take the rain liner out of the pants. (Thank you Mel for not taking any pictures of me when I had my pants off).  Much better with the liner out.  I had a long drink of water then proceeded to take a few pictures.

(Hills Creek Lake, behind the dam.  Oakridge, OR)

(Hills Creek Dam - lake to the right of the picture)

(One more shot of the lake - water level a little low here too)

(The bikes at Hills Creek Dam)

(A different view, the Victory and Daytona up front)
This was our turn around point.  From here we rode back into Oakridge and stopped at the Chevron Station for petrol and a potty break.  I proceeded to wet my Buff in the sink before putting it back on to try and get some relief from the heat/humidity.  It was only 80˚ (26.6˚C), but it sure felt warmer. The clouds were keeping the heat in.  Oakridge was a little smokey as well, you could smell it in the air and see it a bit in the hills in the pictures above.

Before long we were back on the bikes and heading west on Highway 58 towards Lowell and the Lookout Point Dam/Reservoir.

We didn't stop at the dam, but we did ride by it, does that count?  Two more riders turned off at this point and we were then down to 5.  We turned off Highway 58 at this point.  PolarBear had to be home for dinner so we kept up a good pace as he guided us through back roads through Jasper, Highway 222, Highway 126 through Springfield to Marcola Road, and then McKenzie View Road into Coburg.  I rode sweep.

At Coburg, Troubadour and I turned off to head west towards Harrisburg and Corvallis. The remaining three headed east toward Lebanon and Waterloo.

At Harrisburg we turned north onto Peoria Rd which would lead us to Corvallis.  We stopped at a park in Peoria for a quick break as we'd been on the bikes for over 70 miles since Oakridge and our knees were getting a little sore.  It was nice to take a break and just chill for a minute sitting at a picnic table.  Here is a view of the bikes as we sat.

(Lucy and Max and Peoria Park)
It was only another 15 or so miles to home.

All in all it was a good day.  We left the house at 8:30 am and arrived home at 6:20 pm. According to my odometer we put 282 miles (453 km) on the bikes.  Not bad considering I haven't been on the street bike in a few months.

We woke Saturday morning to a few stiff muscles, but we were happy we took the opportunity to ride.  One of our biggest issues is trying to figure out where to go when we plan a ride.  With Mel planning the trip it was a no-brainer that we should hop on the bikes and go.

Finally, we got out for a damn dam ride.

- Au Revoir

" Seize every opportunity along the way, for how sad it would be if the road you chose became the road not taken." - Robert Brault
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36 comments:

  1. It sounds like it finally cooled off enough for a really nice, long ride. I thought about looking for the Aufderheide Scenic Highway when coming from Bend but didn't have decent Internet when trying to find it. Oh well, next time...

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    1. Finally, it is about time we had some relief. We actually had rain Saturday morning and Sunday morning too. Our temperatures have been in the high 70's low 80's for the last few days. Darn pleasant.

      You would have liked the Aufderheide. Bobskoot rode it after the IMBC, but it kind of freaked him out. He was chasing daylight and was alone up there in the hills.

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  2. What a great ride Glad the temperatures have finally made it possible for you ... isn't it great when somebody else comes up with the idea (or maybe that's just the lazy me talking.

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    1. It is so nice to have normal temperatures for this year. They are starting to ease fire restrictions now. I think you can have a campfire at campgrounds in some of the State forests again.

      And yes, it was very nice to let someone else plan the ride, not lazy at all.

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  3. You stole all the dam(n) puns, Trobairitz... Now what are we to say? šŸ˜

    Be aware: A certain Uralist recently posted about windblown snow toward them there northern territories. It'd be a crying shame to wake up in the depths of winter regretting that you didn't ride more. Though if y'all are anything like other riders I know, myself included, maybe autumn is your favorite season.

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    1. Can't think of any more dam(n) puns. Does this mean you've hit the dam(n) wall as far as puns go?

      Luckily here just south of the 45th parallel we won't see snow until at least December and we don't see it every year. It is the typical Oregon rains coming back with a vengeance we have to worry about. I think September and October are some of our greatest riding months weather-wise.

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  4. Nice little pootle! Great you got the proper bikes out.

    It's cool when you can kinda get a theme for a group ride - one of my favorites was our Adventure ride which took in about 8-9 tunnels in the Taranaki region. It just adds a little more something to the ride...

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    1. Thanks Andrew. About time wasn't it?

      I think I remember your tunnel post. It is nice to have a theme. Ours are usually covered bridges so this was a nice change and we didn't even know about the dam by Oakridge so that was cool.

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  5. Nice Ride! Looks like it was a lot of fun! I love the diversity of bikes.

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    1. There were all types of bikes, although I think Triumph dominated with 3 of 8. It was good to get out again and even better to have someone else plan it. I am sure if we went out on our own we wouldn't have ridden that far.

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  6. Nice dam ride!

    That's a big group. You covered a lot of ground. Lovely pics, as usual.

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    1. Thanks Kathy. It is a bigger group than what we are used to and actually bigger than I expected that day, but seemed to flow well.

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  7. Nice ride out, i love roads to and from dams because they are generally twisty and hilly both great fun on the bike. Love the photos it sure is beautiful country in your neck of the woods. Are you sure you can't post up the pic of you with you pants off?

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    1. I agree, the roads to the dams are usually twisty bits of fun.

      Ha ha, Mel waited until I was tucking my shirt into my riding pants before snapping a picture. No one needs to see me in knee high snowboard socks and yoga pants, lol.

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  8. Glad you got a good ride in. This weather has been wonky and from what everyone says, this Winter will be a long one.

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    1. The weather is wonky. I've heard mixed forecasts for this winter. Farmer's Almanac is saying cool and a lot of snow for the PNW, but most other areas are saying warm and rainy. Go figure. I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

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  9. Sounds like it was a great ride! That Victory is a sweet looking ride. Love the color.

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    1. We did have a great ride, if a little long.
      The Victory was a pretty big bike, but looked very nice. The owner said he really enjoyed it.

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  10. Pretty area, I'd be in every weekend with rides like that.

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    1. It is perfect for your Bonneville, come on out.

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  11. Looks like a great day of riding! Nice sights and fellow riders, with acceptable weather....can't really ask for much more.

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    1. You are correct Dom, great group of people, pretty sights and roads, and it wasn't blistering hot or freezing. A good day to ride.

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  12. definitely a mixture of bikes on the ride
    looks like a enjoyable loop to get out on to spend a day
    and the weather looks like it was overcast and not as hot as you apparently had on the trip
    keep hydrated while out for your health

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    1. We were quite the menagerie going down the road. It was nice that the weather was overcast or it would have really been too warm and it was nice the sun was never in our eyes.

      I wasn't as hydrated as I should have been. When riding with others who don't stop as often as we do I wasn't sure when the next bathroom break would be.

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  13. Very nice excursion indeed.

    That Shadow must have been like a bucking bronco on that rough patch.

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    1. Thanks David. Not sure how the Shadow was doing since he was fairly close to the leader, but the Victory was two bikes in front of me. I could tell some bumps were coming when I could see his saddlebags and tail light dip and bounce.

      It helped that for the large bumps Troubadour was guiding me over the Senas. Letting me know to stay to the left or right or if there was a huge bump coming.

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  14. Sometimes it takes a bit of a break to really appreciate how great it is to ride a motorbike. As you're moving into autumn you'll probably want to take every opportunity before the big freeze. We're moving into spring technically speaking but a the weather is not reflecting that at the moment.

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    1. I agree with you Theo. I bet it was nice to be back on the bike after your vacation too.

      We are looking forward to perfect riding weather before the rains comes back - as I am sure they will.

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  15. I think dams are DAMN fascinating! I have 2 near me. One on a lake, which I blogged about, and one on the Ohio River, which is quite a ride out but now you have inspired me to consider that day trip on the scooter. We drive there often in the car and watch the barges go through the locks.

    Awesome post!

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    1. Glad I could provide some inspiration, goodness knows so many blogs inspire me.

      I don't think many of our interior lake dams let boats go through but it is fun up on the Columbia River to see the barges and locks.

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  16. Nice write up and great pictures as usual, 453km is a decent day's ride and you sure feel that in your saddle muscles afterwards! Good one.

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    1. Thank you. With the stock seat on the Gladius my saddle muscles were definitely sore, but with no windscreen my shoulders were feeling it too.

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  17. I did most of that ride last summer.......is there still a sink hole in the middle of the road, just south of the the 126 intersection as you head toward Cougar? It's been there for a couple of summers, big enough to swallow a front tire, and nothing but an orange cone on the center line. I love that road all the way to Hwy 58.

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    1. I don't remember there being a big sink hole in the road or a traffic cone. I historically ride it from South to North and the road surface is much better on northbound side. We stop in Box Canyon for a snack then at the Dam too.

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