Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Sunday = Fun Day

Sunday we decided we wanted to get out for a ride. It was supposed to be cooler than the high temperatures we experienced on Saturday. We thought a chowder run to the coast might be in order even though it was 58˚ and foggy/misty in Newport.

It was about 1:oo pm by the time we finally headed out. We travelled south to Alpine then turned west to ride through the Alsea Falls twisties. It has been a long time since I have ridden through there with just the two of us. Usually we are with a group and I have to worry about how far ahead the group is and then as soon as we catch up they are done their break and off we go, never getting a break ourselves. It was only the second time I'd taken Max on that road.

Soon we were in Alsea and made another turn onto Highway 34 and pointed our bikes west towards the coast. The weather was still warm but was cooling down as we went over the foothills and approached the ocean. I let Troubadour know over the radio that I needed to stop in Waldport for petrol.

We were pleasantly surprised that it was still sunny in Waldport and I thought just maybe we'd luck out and the fog had lifted in Newport. I zipped up all my vents just in case. We made a right turn and headed north on Highway 101 to ride the 16 miles to Newport.

Troubadour remembered a back road that cuts off a lot of the Highway 101 section so we meandered through some unfamiliar twisties and back roads. We did stop for a few pictures at one point. We are in the 44th parallel and have a riding game on the local forum to take a picture of your bike with anything that says 44. This sign caught Troubadour's eye and we made an abrupt stop for a photo opportunity.

Back on the bikes and within a few miles we rejoined Highway 101 and ran into the fog bank. Heavy fog and mist were wetting our visors. Not enough would build up that a head turn would wipe it clean in the wind so a little index finger action was needed to keep it clear every few minutes.

We arrived at our favorite chowder house: the Chowder Bowl. It has been our favorite since we went there in 1994 while on vacation just after we met. It is a little nostalgic for us. Troubadour had excellent parking karma and found a spot just up the street.

(You'll notice the top case strapped to Max. A leftover from when Troubadour was using it for commuting last week)

We anticipated that since we didn't arrive until 3:00 in the afternoon we had successfully avoided both the lunch and dinner rush. No such luck. There was a line up to be seated.

I noticed that the tables on the patio were not set up due to the weather. We graciously volunteered to sit out in the mist in exchange for being seated right away. No problem. We'd barely sat down before we were given menus and someone had put cutlery and condiments on the table. They even put up the umbrella to keep the mist off of us. It was sheltered enough we decided to take our riding jackets off.

It was perfect for us. Nice and quiet with no screaming children running amok like in the restaurant. Just the way we like it.

We each ordered a bowl of chowder and a cup of coffee. It was on the table and ready to eat within minutes. Now that's service. I even had the camera in my pocket and took a few food porn pictures.

The garlic bread is Troubadour's, I opted for the oyster crackers instead. Usually there is a nice pat of butter on top of the chowder but I was trying to be healthy and asked them to serve it sans butter.

We ate our chowder and listened to the music playing on the radio. It was nice that they had speakers outside. We even took a few candid shots with the camera.

The wind started to come up so we put our jackets on while finishing our second cup of coffee. We discussed which route to take home. It was decided to ride down to the bay front area and then along the river to Toledo where we would join up with Highway 20 heading east.

Before leaving Newport Troubadour stopped for one more 44 sign.

The weather was still misty, but before we'd even reached Toledo the sun was once again shining upon us. Traffic was heavy which is typical for a Sunday afternoon. Everyone that wanted to escape the heat in the valley that morning was heading home. Soon we'd had enough of the traffic and Troubadour made a left turn (north) at Eddyville to take the back road and a more twisty route which leads us to Blodgett and back onto Highway 20, but closer to Corvallis.

I'd been on this road before as a pillion rider. It has some rough sections and no less than 5 rural railroad crossings. Yes indeed, some very bumpy sections that attempted to toss my butt right out of the saddle. It was nice to ride at our own pace through that area though. Not too fast, but not so slow that any cars were catching up. Just a nice ride.

Once in Blodgett we rejoined the masses heading east. It was an uneventful ride into town, but that is a good thing. We arrived home about 6:00 pm and relaxed for the rest of the evening. Well, unless you count going out for groceries after 8 pm. That wasn't exactly relaxing.

All in all I had a great day on two wheels.

- Au Revoir

"I hooked up my accelerator pedal in my car to my brake lights. I hit the gas, people behind me stop, and I'm gone." ~ Steven Wright

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Best of Both Worlds

There has been talk on the blogs lately of trying to combine hobbies. How do you find enough time to get some good riding in on your motorcycle, but still do other activities such as bicycling, canoeing, kayaking, or even gardening?

Well, I think we've discovered a way Bobskoot and Bluekat can combine their enthusiasm for motorcycling and bicycling.

While at a plant nursery in North Albany a while ago we noticed this motorcycle on the highway stopped at a traffic light and quickly grabbed the camera.

Wonder what it would do to the balance of the bike, if anything.

Years ago we saw a bicycle pulling a canoe on a little trailer. Always wondered if you could do that with a motorcycle but I'm thinking you might not want to, as your lines around a corner would really have to change. Maybe with a trike or Can Am Spyder it would be better.

* * * * * * * *

We rode to coffee yesterday morning and by the time Troubadour and I left around noon the sun was already heating things up to be our warmest day this summer. I was starving since my lemon poppyseed scone I'd eaten at 9 :00 was not keeping me full. It felt like my stomach was gnawing a hole in my backbone. Rather than ride for lunch somewhere we decided to come home. I find when I am hungry I get shaky and my riding abilities suffer. I don't find it safe to be riding like that so I thought the 3 mile ride home was the best option.

Of course when we got home and were comfortable with full bellies, it made it hard to go back out. Within a few hours it was 93˚F in the shade out back so we opted to stay inside and stay cool. Yes, that's right, we had a lazy day of doing nothing.

We had the ceiling fan on in the living room and even Basil decided being belly-up under it was the best place to be.

- Au Revoir

"Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability." ~ Sam Keen.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Wanderlust - Day Two

Day 2:

We didn't sleep that great on Saturday night. More like a series of catnaps as opposed to deep sleep. Turns out the tent was on a slight slope. We slid down towards the entrance of the tent and a little to the side. Only one venture to the facilities was needed during the night and Troubadour graciously donned his headlamp and escorted me. It was 3:30 am and the darkness had me a little freaked out so I didn't want to go alone.

We finally got up at 6:30. It was a balmy 48˚F.

Troubadour started another fire and put some water in the Jetboil for tea/coffee. That was followed by hot water for oatmeal for breakfast. I made small Ziploc bags of oats, cranberries, slivered almonds and cinnamon all mixed up before we left so we just needed to pour a bag in a bowl and add a cup of water. Ta da, a hot breakfast. We brought a few honey packages with us too to put in coffee so we were able to drizzle some honey on the oatmeal. Sorry no pics, too hungry.

After breakfast we tidied up, brushed our teeth, and decided to go for a quick walk to the Rogue Gorge. It was 0.3 miles from our campsite. The trail paralleled the highway.

The Rogue Gorge forms a chasm 500 feet long. 410,000 gallons of water per minute flow through the gorge. Enough to fill an Olympic size swimming pool - every minute.

According to the interpretive signs: On the flat surfaces of the lava flow the trees live as a group and their root systems grow together for survival and the sharing of nutrients. That is how stumps can be living and bark will grow over the wound from the cut.

We took a few more pictures before heading back to camp.

Troubadour took this picture of me as I was climbing over rocks and logs to get the above picture of the bridge.

We returned to the campsite, packed up our tent and bedrolls, put on our riding gear and headed out. We had to ride 10 miles South to Prospect for fuel. We found out while there that Mazama Village at Crater Lake had fuel. Doh! Oh well, it was only an extra 20 miles there and back out of our way. Good excuse for some extra miles on a cool, sunny morning in the mountains.

A bit of background on Crater Lake taken from their newspaper handout: " It is the deepest lake in the United States. It is fed by rain and snow, but no rivers and streams. The lake is considered to be the cleanest large body of water in the world. The lake rests inside a caldera formed 7,700 years ago when a 12,000 foot tall volcano collapsed following a major eruption. It may have been the largest eruption in North America in the last 640,000 years. The park was established in 1902 and it encompasses 183,000 acres. The lake is 1,943 feet deep and 4.5 to 6 miles wide. Annual snowfall is 44 feet. This last year was above average and Crater Lake saw over 50 feet of snow. The last time the lake froze over was 1949."

We arrived at Crater Lake at the South entrance and paid our entrance fee of $5 each.

We proceeded clockwise at the suggestion of RickRick since he had been there before.

Our first stop was just after the turn onto Rim Drive West.

This is the one time that the new Canon camera had us frustrated. We wanted to use the panoramic feature/stitch assist. We were able to switch it over to program and find the feature, but it just kept taking pictures. Rather than doing 3 in a row and stitching them we gave up after 8 pictures. We couldn't figure out what magic button to press to actually stop taking pictures and stitch them. I think I need to plug the disk into the computer and see if it tells me. The darn things don't come with a paper manual anymore.

Back on the bikes and around the rim we went. There were a lot of bicycles on the roadway as well as a lot of vehicles. The road itself was pretty good. A couple of tight turns at the beginning, but no worse than going up the Alsea twisties here. Troubadour set a nice a 35 mph pace after that. Some bumps and frost heaves and the occasional crack or pothole in the road but pretty good..

Here are some more pictures from Rim Drive:

Troubadour was cheeky and took a picture of me in his mirror while I was taking a picture of the lake in my mirror.

We were surprised to find a hillside of snow. It seemed out of place by the meadows of wildflowers.

And Troubadour decided to play a little.

The highest point around Rim Drive is just over 7600 feet in elevation. And at one viewpoint the mosquitoes were so bad we were glad we had on full gear. They were thick and persistent. Who knew they'd be pests way up there.

Back on the bikes we made it to the point of beginning. We needed to ride part of the loop again so that we could head out the North entrance/exit and up to Highway 138 towards Diamond Lake.

The lake was pretty, but we were happy to be leaving the tourists behind. It was mid afternoon and we still had to ride home. It was a swift ride to Diamond Lake for petrol and then East on Highway 138 to Roseburg. There were a few sections of road construction. The longest being 14 miles. There was some grooved pavement, a small stretch of gravel, sunken grades and more. The lower we descended in elevation the hotter it was getting. At one point Troubadour pulled over at a campground so that we could rehydrate and have a snack.

Finally we arrived in Roseburg. Luckily Troubadour has searched the GPS for the closest Starbucks and soon we were there. He found some shade and I went inside to use the facilities and purchase some nice cold yummy coffees. Troubadour pulled out the laptop and we were able to rest for a few minutes, cool off and catch up on some things happening at home.

We decided Max could make it to Veneta for fuel, same route as the way we took home from Wolf Creek. We needed to do a quick stretch of I-5 to get to our exit that would take us over to the west side and Territorial Highway. We ended up exiting one exit too early, but it was just a minor 8-10 mile detour and we were happy to be off I-5.

We arrived at the Shell station in Veneta with no troubles. Troubadour pulled up in some shade sideways in a parking spot and I followed. Then he moved his bike to park it properly over one spot. I didn't have enough energy at this point to move my bike. I shut it off and said 'screw it'. I was only taking up one stall and not over any lines.

I went inside for some cold drinks and we relaxed a bit. Refreshed, I had no problem moving my bike after our rest. We got back on the bikes, I filled up Max with petrol and we booked it for home. We were racing the dark at this point. We finally pulled in the driveway at 8:38 pm. I was worn out and tired, but exhilarated as I had done my first 300 mile day. Where to next? I think he's created a monster.

Things I learned on Day 2:

1) When placing your helmet on your right mirror and it is hooked up to your radio, make sure when you go to put your helmet on that you have not inadvertently turned your heated grips on to high. This is especially daunting when you have hand guards so the grips do not cool off very quick and it is a hot summer day. Oh yeah and you aren't wearing summer gloves, but winter Aquasports.

2) You may not like starting your bike on hills, but after stopping around a lake several times coming and going, you get used to it awful quick. You even get better at it.

3) If there is one feature you are really looking forward to using on your new camera, make sure you know how to use it properly before you leave on your trip.

4) When people tell you that your cornering will get better with practice, it is true. My cornering speeds have really improved after our last two trips. (1,000 miles)

5) Spouses make the best travel companions.

And on that note I say "Happy 15th Anniversary" to my wonderful husband Troubadour. How does that song go? "I love you more today than yesterday......"

Our Anniversary was actually yesterday, but I didn't have this post drafted in time. Here is a picture from our wedding day: August 10, 1996. We eloped at the Colonial Wedding House in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.

- Au Revoir

"A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person." ~ Mignon McLaughlin, The Second Neurotic's Notebook, 1966

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Wanderlust - Day One

Well, wanderlust bit us again last week. About Wednesday we were trying to figure out what we wanted to do for the weekend. Thoughts came of a ride somewhere then camping was thrown into the mix. By Thursday night we had our minds made up to ride to Crater Lake on Saturday and stay overnight somewhere and ride home Sunday.

Friday, since I was off work at noon, I went and bought a few supplies and a new Canon HS 300 pocket camera. Thanks to everyone for your suggestions and input, but I had to go with the model Bobskoot recommended. We love our other Canon he recommended and this way the USB cables for both cameras are the same as well.

The rest of the pictures in this post were taken with the new Canon.

Friday night we packed up the bikes and looked over maps. Max was elected to carry the sleeping bags while Lucy carried everything else.

(Two sleeping bags in the blue stuff sack)

(2 bedrolls, 1 tent and everything else in the bags)

Saturday we got up at our normal time, made sure all was secure and headed to Saturday morning coffee. It was a big crowd for a coffee meet up so we were glad we made it prior to riding out.

Jim was there with his Ural and sidecar unit and took another rider, Dani, for a quick jaunt since she'd never been in one. Jim also rides a Triumph Tiger.

(Dani and Jim)

On a side note, this is the same Dani that was our inspiration for our 3-day trip to Wolf Creek a few weeks ago.

While at coffee Andy (another Tiger rider) decided he'd ride part way with us. He also graciously lent me his 'Go Cruise Throttle Control' that he picked up while at Laguna Seca a few weeks ago. It clamps on to your right grip and once the desired speed is reached you use your index finger to press the straight section down to contact the brake lever and hold a steady speed. It was a life saver. I didn't think I was going to use it and urged him to take it back, but he knew I'd appreciate it. Thank you Andy. I'll be returning it to Andy at coffee next week, and I'll definitely be picking one up for myself.

DAY 1: (200 miles, elevation gain from 237 to 3100 ft)

We didn't get away from coffee as early as I expected but before we knew it we were in Oakridge and taking a break for a snack and to fill the bikes with fuel. We said goodbye to Andy at this point. He went off to hunt gravel roads on his Tiger while we headed East over Highway 58 and Willamette Pass to Highway 97 then South. We stopped in Chemult for a break and to get something cold to drink. Troubadour went inside and picked up a few bottles of Powerade Zero. Subconsciously he picked up an orange and a blue one. Hmmm color matching your bikes is not just for toothbrushes. FYI - the orange one tasted better.

(We'd already poured the orange one into the travel bottle)

We saddled back up and headed further South then East on Highway 138 before turning off South one more time in search of a campsite closer to Crater Lake. Apparently Troubadour has good camping karma. The first place we stopped was Farewell Bend campground and for $16 he scored a private campsite with river frontage, no close neighbors and it had potable water and flush toilets with electricity in the bathrooms. Hooray.

It was about 5:30 pm by the time we started unloading the bikes and setting up camp. First thing to do was set up the tent.

(Bikes pulled into the campsite)

(View of campsite from the bikes - tent gets set up on the plateau beyond the picnic table)

(view of tent from picnic table)

(View of river standing by tent)

After setting up, it was time for dinner. Luckily Troubadour has a handy dandy Jetboil system and we had some local Mountain House freeze dried goodies. I say local as they are made by Oregon Freeze Dry in Albany, only 10 miles from home. I present camping food porn:

The first course was vegetable lasagna. The bag serves two and we just shared a bowl and used a nice chewy bagel for soaking up the sauce.

Second course was boil in the bag Cumin and Chili Chickpeas from Trader Joe's (good source of protein)

(that's right, ate it out of the lasagna bowl)

Third course was dessert - Freeze Dried Neapolitan Ice Cream. Yummy.

Someone looks awfully happy to be motorcycle camping.....

After washing up the dishes and tidying camp we had time before dark for a quick self portrait, please excuse the helmet hair.

And then we sat and enjoyed the fire.

By 9:30 we were yawning and decided to turn in for the night. We knew Sunday was going to be a long day. Troubadour tucked the bikes tight together for the night....

.....then we tucked ourselves in too.

Things I learned on Day 1:

1) When your friends tell you to bring bug spray to the mountains heed them well. You will be glad you did;
2) Drink plenty of fluids when riding especially in warm weather;
3) Jetboil systems are a must for motorcycle camping; and
4) A two person tent isn't quite big enough for two large sleeping bags and two person's worth of motorcycle gear.

Up next, Day 2: Another 300 miles and 4,600 feet higher in elevation.

- Au Revoir

I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move." ~ Robert Louis Stevenson