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)|
|(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