Tuesday, May 3, 2016

May Day Dual Sport Ride

Sunday's ride was all about making choices.  A funny topic for us since whenever Troubadour and PolarBear head out together it is almost guaranteed that either I, or SweetPea (PolarBear's wife) will tell them to "make good choices."

The day dawned bright and sunny with a forecast high of 83˚F (28.3˚C) A little warm for this time of year.

Choice #1: Do we ride bicycles?  Do we ride the big motorcycles?  Or do we ride the little dual sports?  With Oregon State University holding Mom's Weekend, and Eugene hosting their marathon and half marathon we thought it prudent to avoid metropolitan areas.

Decision made - A gravel road ride on the little dual sports it was.  Troubadour wanted to do some forestry road scouting for a future camping trip he is planning with some of the guys from work.

At around noon with Troubadour on his Yamaha XT250 and me on my Yamaha TW200 we set off for Bi-Mart looking for an area forestry map.  With no luck we had another choice to make.

Choice #2:  Do we ride the mile home and pick up the Oregon Gazetteer?  Or do we wing-it knowing Troubadour had his smart phone with him.  

Decision made - We decided to wing it.  How lost could we get?

(The bikes found some shade in the Bi-Mart parking lot)
We set off through some back roads and stopped briefly in Philomath so that Troubadour could top up his tank.

Choice #3: Should I top up the TW200 with only 14 miles on the odometer?

Decision made - Nope it should be good to go to at least 100 or so miles.

From there we meandered to Highway 34 and then made a quick turn onto Old Peak Road, which is mostly gravel.

(Old Peak Road - looking the way we came)

(The bikes on Old Peak Road)

(The wild irises were in full bloom)

(Helmet selfie)

(Getting ready to head back out - photo by Troubadour)
Unfortunately we were stopped by a logging truck in the middle of the road being loaded.  At some point we'd missed a gate that the driver had left open. Oops.  A quick turn around and back to Highway 34 we went.

On the way back to Highway 34 we stopped at the side of the road so that Troubadour could take a picture of a BMX track he could see through the trees.  I took the opportunity to snap a pic of him in my mirror.

(Troubadour in a TW mirror)

(BMX track - photo by Troubadour)

(Me attempting to get us both in the picture - Troubadour just over my shoulder on the left )
We rode a short distance north to Highway 20 and then turned west.  A few miles up the highway we turned left again on Woods Creek Road.  Now, Google maps will tell you that Old Peak Road connects to Woods Creek Road, but with timber property and a logging truck in the way we had to go around or risk a misdemeanor criminal trespass charge from the timber company.  And they do that a lot.

Up and around Woods Creek Road we went, flinging dust in our wake.  We stopped a few times to get our bearing, drink a little water, have a snack, and enjoy the views of the valleys below.

(Somewhere along Woods Creek Road)

(The view over the timber clear cut)

(Troubadour posing for the camera - caught him without his helmet on)

(Panoramic - photo by Troubadour)
Eventually we came to a crossroads......

(Crossroads somewhere off of Woods Creek Road)

(Which way do we go?)
This led us to.....

Choice #4:  Which way do we go?  Well, since we have no map we decided to check Troubadour's cell phone to see if we could get our bearings.  We pretty much knew the direction we were facing.  If we went north we'd have to cross highway 20 at some point and west we'd eventually get to the Burnt  Woods/Harlan road.  No cell service among the trees so we walked up the road to our right to a bit of a clearing.  

Look out for banded wooly bear caterpillars.

(A banded wooly bear caterpillar crossing the road)
Still no cell service once we walked out of the trees, but Troubadour had a compass on him and we confirmed which way was north.

Decision made - We decided to turn left/west. It was the general direction we thought we should be heading.  Time would tell.

(Bikes aimed down the road going west)
We tootled along for a few miles never seeing another vehicle.  We were enjoying the road and weren't too concerned about where we were.

We came upon another intersection indicating we'd found Shot Pouch Road.  Troubadour was happy.  It was the road he was looking for.  We turned left over a little bridge.  Wrong way - stopped by a gate.  We turned back around and headed the other way.

Pretty soon we saw a barn, then a house..... When you start seeing signs of life such as houses and horses, you know you aren't too far from civilization. Shot Pouch Road took us to the Burnt Woods/Harlan Road, which is paved.

(Shot Pouch Road behind the bikes)

(My 2009 TW200 chilling in the shade)
We turned right on the Harlan-Burnt Woods road knowing we'd soon be back to Highway 20 and the Burnt Woods store.  We stopped at the store for a quick break.  Purchased another bottle of water and used the facilities.  The temperature was into the 80's and we didn't realize how warm we'd be.  All the vents were open on my Rev'it jacket and I was thinking I should have worn my mesh.  I was happy that I chose to wear the dirt bike helmet and goggles. The ventilation was much appreciated.

Choice #5:  The TW200 has 50 miles on the odometer.  Burnt Woods store has fuel.  Do we top up my tank it?  It only has 50 miles on it.  

Decision made - There should be plenty of fuel left in the tank.  You know where this is going don't you?

We headed East on Highway 20 for a few miles before turning left (north) onto Clem Road.  A few hundred yards up the road we encountered a large teepee and wood carving/statue that were apparently part of a campground.  Not quite a roadside oddity but we stopped for a picture.

(Teepee and wood statue on Clem Road)

(Close up of the teepee)

(Bigfoot?  Sasquatch?  You be the judge)
Clem Road ends on the Eddyville/Blodgett Road.  A nice twisty bit of paved fun.  Some of the road is a little rough and there are at least 5 odd-angled railroad crossings, but it is a favorite road within the motorcycle community.  We came to the T-intersection of Eddyville/Blodgett Rd.

Choice #6:  Which way do we turn?  Left to the west or right to the east? We were looking for Nashville and Logsden but were not sure really which way to go and there was no street sign that gave us any indication.

Decision made - Troubadour chose to go left.  I really had no idea so I left it for him to decide.

About three miles up the road the TW felt different. I was in fifth gear and thought maybe that was too high so I click down to 4th.  Nope that wasn't it.  Crap - out of gas with only 57.2 miles on the odometer.  I honked the horn a few times hoping to alert Troubadour who was up ahead.  I glided to the side of the road and switched it to reserve.  Thumbed the starter a few times and it came back to life.  Troubadour came back to see what was up and I had already gotten back under way.  We found a wide spot to pull over and weigh our options.

The last thing I expected was to be on reserve with only 57 miles (91 km) on the odometer.  We realized the first 14 miles was on sand at the OHV area last year.  14 miles in first and second gear on single track obviously burned more fuel that we realized.

(Out of gas and on reserve - the turning point - last pic of the day)
Well crap, crap, and double crap.   At this point it was after 4 pm.  What to do?  What to do?

Choice #7:  Troubadour had tubing with him so we had the option of syphoning a bit of gas from the XT.  We could press on and see how far we could go with me on reserve and hope to get to Siletz where we could find fuel.  We knew Logsdon and Eddyville didn't have fuel.  The other option was to ride the 7 miles back to the Burt Woods store and fuel up.

Decision made - We decided to return to Burnt Woods.  We were hot and it was later in the day than expected.

We returned to Burnt Woods without issue, unless you count the Toyota truck coming wide around a blind corner on a one and half lane road and almost taking us both out on Clem Road an issue.  I fueled up, we drank some more water and decided to book it for home - a short 20 miles east on Highway 20.

Troubadour suggested I ride out in front of him so that I wouldn't get left behind and then he could keep traffic back if necessary.  I let him know I was more comfortable riding sweep and that traffic didn't bother me.  My plan was to ride "WFO" all the way back into Philomath.  And for those that might not know WFO means "Wide F*cking Open".  If I fell behind, I knew where home was.

We found a break in traffic and headed out with Troubadour in the lead.  The little TW was giving it a good run.  Soon I was catching up and was beside Troubadour on his right.  I was in fifth gear and still had some power to go.

Choice #8:  Do I pass Troubadour and take the lead?

Decision made - Sure why not.  I twisted the throttle just a little more and passed Troubadour.  

We then entered a passing lane and caught up to a pickup truck with flatbed trailer.

Choice #9:  We are heading uphill in a passing lane.  Do I pass the truck and trailer?  Still in fifth gear headed up hill, still not out of power.  Long passing lane.....

Decision made - Sure why not.  I turned my signal on, pulled to the left, tucked down and gave it all the little bike had.

(Stock interweb photo)
I found out later from Troubadour that the guys in the truck were laughing like crazy as I passed them.  He figures they must have identified that it was a TW200 and were laughing at the unhinged woman tucked low over the handlebars and passing them. Troubadour gave them a "don't ask me" gesture followed by a thumbs up, twisted the throttle on his XT and followed suit. 

The TW handled the highway well.  An indicated 75 mph on the speedometer.  It was vibrating a little but nothing too bad.  And with riding the Gladius for years I am used to the clean wind with no windscreen.  

I wasn't sure how long the TW would sustain and indicated 75 mph, but it didn't smell like anything was burning.  By the time we came to the next passing lane I had come upon a van who appeared to slow down compared to what he had been doing.

Choice #10:  Should I pass the van?  Uphill on a passing lane?  check.  Still have power in reserve?   Check.  Enough room for Troubadour to pass too?  check.

Decision made - Sure why not.  I turned my signal on, pulled to the left, tucked down and once again gave it all the little bike had.  

Come on little bike!!  Sure enough we made it around the van and had a clear path all the way in to Philomath.  As we approached Philomath and a 40 mph zone I waved Troubadour ahead.  I knew he would want to take a back way to our house in Corvallis but I wasn't sure exactly where to turn.

We made a left turn off the main street and got stopped at a train crossing.  While stopped Troubadour rolled back to me and said "little dogs don't know they're little."  I looked around expecting a chihuahua. "What dog?" I asked.  "You", he replied.  He was still laughing at me passing people.  Or was he laughing at the people laughing at me?

Troubadour checked the Rever app on his phone when we got home and my indicated 75 mph on the TW was in actuality 68 mph.  There is a little difference, which was expected.  He also looked at a map and realized that it was serendipity that my bike ran out of fuel.  When we reached the Eddyville/Blodgett road we'd actually turned the wrong direction.  We were further west than we anticipated and should have turned right.

We ended the day on a high note - sitting in the shade on the back patio, Troubadour with a cold yummy Laurelwood Organic Espresso Stout in hand and me with an iced tea.  Good spirits all around. We were pleased we'd taken the little bikes out.

Troubadour is on call for Team Oregon this coming up weekend, then he teaches the following weekend, then is on call the weekend after that.  Our next free weekend isn't until the end of May and the Memorial Day holiday weekend.  I wonder what kind of shenanigans we can get up to that day.

- Au Revoir

"Life is the sum of all your choices." - Albert Camus


  1. Maniac!

    Sounds like you're getting used to this adventuring. Fantastic fun and getting lost and having small issues is kinda part of it.

    Looking forwards to some photos of the TW sideways though...

    1. Maniac? I was just having fun...... cue maniacal laugh.

  2. See, your TW200 knew it wasn't going in the right direction.....

    I liked Troubadour's comment: "Little dogs don't know they're little". :)

    1. We did laugh over what a good thing it was that the TW ran out of gas and that we turned back otherwise we might both have been out of gas if he had to share any.

  3. Sounds like you made all the right choices. I know the feeling of an empty tank all too well ;-)

    Alas, myself I haven't been on the bike since our friend visited over the Easter holidays (commute to work on Vespa doesn't count), and I envy you for the opportunity to get a ride in.

    1. Yeah, I really should carry extra fuel on that wee beastie. Lesson learned.

      At least you have been out on your bicycle. It is still two wheels!!

  4. What a day! Thanks for the multiple laughs and the gorgeous photos! Absolutely loved the wooly bear caterpillar. Nothing like a trail ride for keeping your handling skills sharp.

    1. Glad I could make you chuckle. The caterpillar surprised us, we weren't expecting them this time of year and only saw the one. Sometimes you can be riding along and need to dodge them on the road.

  5. Replies
    1. I am not sure where we ever heard the term, but have used it for years.

  6. Oh, my goodness, what a day!! Something about being lost and not caring that just makes the soul sing. I sat on and seriously considered the TW200 many times; it's still in the back of my mind as a possible way to get a motorcycle back in the garage. It's got a low seat position, lightweight...hmmmm.

    1. We didn't think we could really get too lost, but there are a lot of logging roads up there that are dead end so you could probably get lost enough that it's take a day or so to get out.

      The TW is a fun bike. They seem to be popular here too.

  7. I got me a case of the persistent chuckles out of this one, Trobairitz: a great, GREAT story well-told.

    And, hey, all's well that ends well--especially when that includes an espresso stout!

    1. BTW: Helmet selfies with reflective goggles is the stuff of nightmares...

    2. Glad I could make you chuckle. At one point passing the van I was bobbing up and down on my seat like a jockey in a horse race. Brad says the van driver didn't seem to be amused. No sense of humor.

      Yeah - the helmet selfies with the goggles seem a little like we are slapping a tire iron against our hands while advancing on you. My white one reminds me a little of a Stormtropper, well, except for the purple goggles.

  8. Awesome adventure! Great write up and pics. "How lost could we get?" When I read that I thought, oh, this isn't going to end well, lol. I was reminded of that time going over the pass and you were trying to pass a prius with the little Suzuki(?). Just get around it, and the group pulls off the road for a break. :) Good times. I'm glad you got a little dirt riding in. Cheers!

    1. Thank you Kari. We were thinking of that day riding to Bend. That was so long ago, 2010 I think and you are right it was a little Suzuki TU250. I think the grade of the hill wasn't as steep on Sunday, Santiam Pass is much steeper. Good times.

  9. Brandy
    What a fantastic post, loved every word and your pics are gorgous. Love those pine forested hills. Your bike makes my R1 fuel economy look like a prius. Lol.

    Great post.

    1. Thanks Steve. Yeah, the fuel economy wasn't quite what I expected that day. Live and learn.

  10. A nice story, good pictures and beautiful riding country - I really would like to get myself a little dirt bike again, they're great fun.

    1. Thank you Andrew. The little bikes are great fun. Do you have great places to ride them in your area or would you have to trailer it a bit?

  11. Too many choices for a weekend...

    A very entertaining post!

  12. Brandy I live in a small fishing village on the cape west coast pretty much surrounded by wheat, ostrich and sheep farms but there are lovely coastal sand roads and dune areas as well as gravel roads all over the area where my buddies go riding so we wouldn't have to trailer the bikes unless we wanted to ride somewhere specific.

    1. The sand roads and sand dunes sound like fun, well, so do the gravel roads. There are specific off-highway vehicle areas of sand dunes at the coast here in Oregon, hundreds of people ride and camp there on the weekends.

  13. Ha ha. What a great ride. I totally enjoyed that write-up. So envious of the riding opportunities in your area.

    1. Glad you enjoyed. And I think we are envious of how many sunny riding days you get each year!!

  14. A fun read, thanks for sharing. My little dog also doesn't know that it's little!

    1. It is just fun riding the little bikes. I'll get back on my 650 and it will seem huge.

  15. Crazy fun! The best kind! Cool looking rides too. You guy are wild things!

    1. Not quite wild, but we were playing in the wild. Does that count?

  16. I am impressed the TW will hit 68, I thought it was good for 60 and no more. I call my Vespa The Emasculator as people around here are shocked to be passed by a hobbitt on a moped on the Overseas Highway.

    1. I think Brad was surprised too. I don't think he expected me to be able to catch him or pass him. I am sure you've made a few people chuckle when riding your Vespa. As long as we are out having fun it doesn't matter what we are riding.