Thursday, July 8, 2010

Day 17- Daily Gifts

There is always a moment when waking, remembering where I am. Today, waking to the sounds of the ocean made me smile....I was still in my dream. :)

Although I was told that there was wifi at this motel, it was such a weak signal that my laptop could not grab it. Normally, I would have been highly annoyed, but it was one of those blessings in disguises. It truly afforded the down time to just bee at the ocean...

I was surprised how bright the water was so early in the morning and how bright it was so late the night before. Actual darkness seems short out here on the coast. I brewed a pot of coffee in my room, it smelled heavenly! The door was open still and I was actually pretty cold when I woke up, but it did not bother me. I put on a fleecy and began to gather my things up for the day.

It was foggy this morning... I mean, pea soup fog. I was riding slowly, amazed at how limited the sight distance was! At one point, I had to stop because my glasses and windshield were all coated with mist, a double hindrance for that important sense. I only had about 25 miles of coastline left to ride, and had planned on some scenic photos, but when the backdrop is thick, there is no sense in it really. I had about 200 miles to ride, to Bend Oregon for a 1pm appt oil change at Cascade Harley Davidson. Jack said I would arrive right on time.

Again, it struck me as to just how beautiful the Oregon coast is! I would probably ride this road as daily exercise if I lived out here! When the road climbs the seaside mountains, it is just so damn fun! I think I giggled a few times before reaching Florence, the official point at which I turned my bike toward home. The ride home will still have adventures, but I will be on the return leg.

My immediate impression about the Oregon landscape as I moved inland, was that it reminded me of thick sculpted emerald green velvet. Everywhere I looked it was plush with deep color... the road, as often in my trip, ran along a river. My impulse was to step up the speed and get into a fast paced rhythm, having gotten quite used to the high speed limits of Montana, but I kept it in check as 55 was the top speed limit here. It was actually difficult not to think, "this is going to take me forever!" Life must move along a little slower in Oregon.

Looking down at my odometer, I could see the 5000 mile mark approaching! How exciting! This falls into the category of one of life's simple pleasures, to watch the tenths of miles tick off and suddenly all the zeros. Of course, I took a photo.

At the moment this happened, I passed by a rustic little store/post office. It had the town name and zip code on the facade... how perfect! I turned around, parked the Dirty Girl in a good photo op position and went inside to ask for assistance. There were snacks on the shelves and then a seating area toward the back, where everyone was socializing. A young woman jumped up, pleased to take my photo. We went back inside, I wrote down my blog address, because I told her that her store would be in it. As we were chatting, I spied a box of Fig Newtons. "oooh Fig Newtons!" We decided that Fig Newtons qualify as breakfast or lunch. And it was one of those handy single serving boxes... you know, the single sleeve of cakes :) It was a good thing I was riding because these go down very easily and the whole sleeve would have disappeared. After a little snack, I was on my way.

After riding through Eugene, Jack told me to bear right onto the Mackenzie Pass/Santiam Pass. I had passed a sign a while back stating that there was no fuel for 50 miles. I had plenty and motored up the scenic byway. The road was again, as many have been, a perfect biker's road. The turns sometimes were very tight, and hairpin as I felt the elevation climb. 2000 feet... 4000 feet... the pines were some of the tallest I have ever seen! I tried to capture them, but like many instances, photos don't do the actual experience justice. I felt itty bitty as I rode down these winding wooded corridors... they felt familiar, as if I had seen them before. Then it dawned on me, that these woods were right out of any fairy tale. I would not have been surprised in the least to have seen Goldilocks skipping off down a path, or Robin Hood and his Merry Men galloping by.

I noticed that the landscape was changing ever so slightly... skeletons of trees, mixed with new ones made me wonder how long ago there had been a forest fire. Suddenly, I rounded a corner, near the crest at 5000 feet, and what was in front of me was so astoundingly unexpected that I lost my rhythm and wobbled the bike... for miles in every direction were black lava fields, frozen in time. I have seen one ages ago, maybe in AZ, but I was immersed in it right now. The road still wound and twisted upward, the rough black rocks high on either side like snowbanks would be in New England. It was amazing.

Off to my right, were the majestic Three Sisters Mountains, snowcapped and brilliantly contrasted against the black landscape, dotted with the grey tree skeletons. I parked the bike, and balanced my camera on a pile of loose lava rocks to take a timed photo.

I had no idea I would be encountering this... I have been teased about over planning this trip, but the only part of this ride that I like to get set into stone is my route and my stop point. After that, I have been open to what is between start and finish. This truly has been one of my trips most surprising gifts.

At the crest of the mountain, was a visitor center, a viewing platform, made totally out of lava stones as bricks. The workers were busily carving sidewalks through the lava field.

It looked like it will eventually be a learning center. The road descended after this and I looked at Jack and my arrival time in Bend Oregon. Before my vacation, I called and booked a 1pm oil change at Cascade Harley Davidson. I was due to arrive at 1:30, not bad to be only a half hour late after riding 5000 miles! I was pretty damned pleased with myself, especially with the few setbacks I had along the way.

They were back logged and I was told it would be a couple of hours wait. So I passed the time by chatting with the sales team, the owner and one pretty cool guy who just finished the Hoka Hey Challenge. A rally/race from Florida to Alaska. This dealership has a big room to hang out in, probably for use of HOG chapter meetings and promotional events. A few tables, big sofas and a giant TV. I walked in there to put my stuff down. There were about a dozen older men occupying the sofas, watching monster trucks on the Speed channel. They looked up as I walked in and then without acknowledgment, went back to talking amongst themselves. I sat for a few minutes, then got up to investigate the bulletin boards, at one point, smiled at one of the men. Again, nothing. So I went in search of friendlier faces, out on the sales floor.

When I was paying my bill, I asked the owner if that was the local HOG group in the break room. He said no, they were travelers, like myself, from AZ. I said, "well, you can tell them if it comes up that they are THE most unfriendly group of bikers I have ever met...why this is, that they think they are too good for a little human contact is beyond me." (yes, I am a social butterfly and love to talk to people in case you have not noticed!)

Well, in about 5 minutes, one of the men suddenly approached me, all friendly and smiling, "where are you traveling from? We are far away from home ourselves, from AZ." I wonder if he saw the amusement in my face, as I quickly answered his question and told him to ride safely. I looked at the service manager and said, "me thinks that someone already got scolded!"

I was on my way, found my hotel not too far down the road and went in search of something I had been craving for a few days... a plate of good ol' fashioned spaghetti. I found it at the Black Bear Diner, a totally tacky overly decorated family place...everything bear. Ate heartily and went back to my room to rest for the night.

I think after the few days prior, this meal was a bit too heavy and I went to bed with a bit of a tummy ache, thinking that I need to pay more attention to getting less heavy meals on the road.

(ooooohhhh the foreshadowing!)


  1. glade u are feeling better. Love the blog.

  2. Kate,
    Great post. You painted a beautiful picture. I hope you continue to blog after you get back. BTW, I'd have said hello to you. One of the gifts of being on the road is the interactions you get to have with all kinds of people. I never miss that opportunity on my rides.
    Ride safe,

  3. What a fantastic journey you have had so far my friend. I hope the next week or so is just as exciting for you while you are homeward bound!

    Keep the Dirty Girl chrome-side up!