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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

One Covered Bridge and Two Gravel Roads

On Sunday afternoon, Troubadour and I decided to go for a wee pootle to get a picture of the bikes with the Wildcat Covered Bridge in Lane County.

(Corvallis to the Wildcat - Austa - Covered Bridge)
We headed south out Bellfountain Road to Coon Road.  Coon Road east to Territorial Rd and then further south to the town of Cheshire on Highway 36.  From Highway 36 we headed west to Poodle Creek Rd and then took it south to where it intersects with Highway 126 at Noti.  We took Highway 126 west past the hamlet of Walton.  A few miles before the bridge we turned right onto Wildcat Creek Rd. It was a nice little gravel road and the Gladius handled it well.

Upon arriving at the bridge we realized it was closed for repairs.  Doh!  Good thing we didn't try and get there from Highway 126.

(Wildcat Covered Bridge - built in 1925, signage down and closed for repairs)

(Proof it was the Wildcat Covered Bridge)
From the bridge we had two choices.  Do a few more miles of gravel on Old Stagecoach Road and end up at Swisshome and take Highway 36 back home, or return to highway 126 and reverse course.  Highway 126 is a very busy road and so we chose the gravel.  Narrow winding road.....how could we resist.

(Narrow winding road leading to Swisshome)
It was an awesome road.  No traffic, nicely graded gravel.  I kept it to about 2nd gear and 20-22 mph for most of it.  We encountered multiple railroad crossings and some cool railroad bridges. With low speeds and no traffic, it was easy to stop to enjoy the view and take some pictures.

(Lucy and Max having a little break)

(A beautiful gravel road through the coastal mountains)

(Troubadour taking pictures of some cool blue moths/butterflies)

(The Foxglove, aka Digitalis, grows wild in the mountains)

(As do some daisies)

(And whatever these magenta flowers were - photo by Troubadour)

(Troubadour turning around to view a railroad bridge)

(Railroad bridge over the Siuslaw River)

(All turned around.......)

(The Gladius and a railroad bridge)

(Troubadour and the road behind us)

(Max and the road up ahead)
A little further and we stopped yet again for a railroad bridge.

(Max and the road ahead)

(Cool railroad bridge)

(Lucy hanging out with the trees - railway in the background)

(Another cool railroad bridge)

(Troubadour waiting patiently as I parked and ran back real quick for the bridge pic above)

(Selfie before getting back on the bike)
We made it to Swisshome and the Highway 36 junction without incident.  We turned right and headed towards Triangle Lake and home.

At the Horton turnoff Troubadour decided to head North along a different route.  The picture below was taken at the last stop of the day by Horton.

(Lake Creek Rural Fire Department)
We stopped here and had a snack since it was around 5 pm.  We consulted the map and instead of heading back to Highway 36 we (he) chose to go over High Pass Road as a short cut to Territorial Road.  This would cut off a few miles.  The map indicated there was another gravel section on High Pass Road.

It was gravel alright.  An unmaintained one-lane road up into the mountains, switchback after switchback, sheer drop on one side.  The Gladius handled it like a champ, I am proud that I managed to do it, although I was clearly on the wrong bike for it.  With all the climbing I knew it was going to be fun going down the other side.  They didn't name it High Pass for nothing.

Twists and gravel going down, down, down; switchback after switchback.  Knees gripping the tank, wrists trying to prop me up.  At one point Troubadour suggested I stand to make it easier.  I was so wadded up on the bike heading downhill there was no way to stand at that point. He chuckled and asked me if I was ready for a different bike yet. Yes, I think I might be.

(Our route home from the bridge)
I was so happy to reach asphalt on the other side of the hill.  I did have to stop twice so that my hand could un-numb. When I ride the Gladius at low speeds and try to control the notchy throttle, especially downhill, my right hand will go completely numb.  It is mighty hard to control the throttle when I can't feel it.  I think it is a combination of wrist position (bars too low) and vibrations since I can ride the TW200 all day without my hand going numb.

Sigh, just might time for a new bike. I love the Gladius but I do believe after 5 years, it just might be the wrong tool for the job.

In total we did 150 miles (241 km) and roughly 20 miles (32 km) of that was gravel.

- Au Revoir

" Bravery is being the only one who knows you are afraid." - Franklin P. Jones
.

28 comments:

  1. Looks like a lotta fun to me! Gravel is good!

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    1. It was fun. I enjoy gravel, just would have been easier on the TW200.

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  2. Love the photos Brandy, looks like a good day out and your ride the Gladius isn't the right tool for those roads.

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    1. Thank you. Most of the gravel roads were pretty easy it was just High Pass Rd that was a pain. Good thing I had the dirt biking experience, that made it easier I think.

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  3. Was there a hidden agenda going with selection of the route? Time for a new bike? I very much like the ring of it, and of course I am curious.
    My Sporty doesn't do well on gravel, even with a new set of tires. But I could never part with it... it's my Canadian bike. But I still do love a scrambler... is it where you'll be headed?

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    1. I don't think there was a hidden agenda but only Brad can answer that one.

      I would love a Scrambler but the Ducati ones are spend and the Triumph ones are big and heavy. Of course there is the Ducati 400 cc Scrambler. Now that might be fun. Right now I am leaning towards a Honda NC700x as you can put knobbies on them and the dealers have 2-year old holdovers at a good price. Brand new with warranties. About half the price of a Ducati Scrambler.

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  4. great set of ride report pics!

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  5. Thanks for redefining beautiful and gravel!

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    1. You are welcome. We are lucky to live by the coastal mountains with such lush foliage.

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  6. Hey, Trobairitz, this morning I saw an ad for a Yamaha Scrambler. It seems to be new for 2017--maybe worth a closer look:

    Yamaha SCR950

    Ad for Yamaha SCR950

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    1. I've seen the Yamahas advertised online. They do look pretty nice.

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  7. Beautiful photos of the area, I like the ones of the railroad bridge. No suggestions on bikes as I know very little as to what is on the market. After a while, they all look and sound alike....

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    1. Thanks Richard. Sometimes I think there are too many choices with bikes on the market, not that that is a bad thing.

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  8. Hi Brandy,
    You and Brad have some wonderful areas to ride in, both gravel and seal. Those freedoms aren't available in a lot of the developed world any more. Some of the Triumphs are indeed around 200 kg or more but they also have low seat heights which is a real boon. I'm thinking of some of the Bonneville range in particular. I know it's from left field but have you thought of something from the KTM range? I love the 390 and 690's. Good turn of speed on sealed highways, good on gravel and with excellent ergonomics. Whatever you ultimately choose, have fun doing it and choose with both your head and heart!

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    1. Thanks Geoff. I had the 2009 Bonneville SE, but the egos weren't correct for my long legs. I had a hard time with the kickstand and then the pegs were too high as well. Not sure if a Scrambler would be the same.

      The KTMs are not too far out there as I really do like the styling of the 690 Duke. The tires are pretty much the same as what are on the Gladius but it is definitely more upright. Hmmm wonder how the suspension is.

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  9. Wow what a lovely day! What about a Honda Africa Twin, you are tall enough for one! i wish they made a CRF650 love riding the schools CRF250. Go for the NC its got a great. Low centre of gravity and it handles slow speed stuff like butter. I totally love my beast now.

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    1. The African Twin is larger than what I am looking for. I don't need anything over 1000 cc the tis for sure and don't want to spend that kind of money.

      The NC700x has over 5 inches of suspension travel front and rear. That is appealing for our bumpy roads and gravel.

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  10. I like the covered bridge - too bad it was closed. I used to maintain bridges so I'm not surprised that a 90 year old timber structure needs a lot of looking after. There aren't any in Britain - I think they wouldn't last long in our damp climate. Also they're likely to be damaged by folk crashing into them.

    Coincidently I've been trail riding on my Suzuki V twin - maybe something on that soon.

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    1. Oregon has the highest number of covered bridges west of the Mississippi. Quite a few of them have been disassembled and restored. I think some are even on the historical registries. Every once in a while someone crashes into one but for the most part they are on older roads and off the beaten path, not on the major highways.

      I am looking forward to a post on you trail riding your v-twin!!

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  11. Great post you two and roads that I can easily relate to. I'll leave it up to others to encourage your new ride :)

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    1. Thank you Doug. I am still debating on the new ride. I can talk myself into and out of anything. I think that is part of the problem. I am not indecisive, am I?

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  12. Nice! Beautiful country, old bridges and quiet rural roads. Lovely pictures.

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  13. great pics and write ups of the places you go to to brandy

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    1. Thank you!! If only we had more riding days in the near future. Troubadour had a Team Oregon function last weekend, he teaches this weekend, he teaches next weekend, he has a weekend away moto-camping with the guys from work, then he is on call the weekend after that. I think I can make reservations with him for a ride sometime in August.....

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  14. Looks like a fabulous day. The downhill switchbacks not included. Although that's all part of the adventure, right? Your pics are all lovely, but I just might like the "waiting patiently" pic the best. It just says "there's more adventure ahead."

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    1. Thank you Kathy. I bet you have some of the same "waiting patiently" pics of Mike too.

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