Not much. Except that it is often where my friends find rental houses for the weekends when we get together on the coast.
I had this trip marked on my calendar long time ago. When was it going to happen again? Those dates arrived in a hurry – I was coming back from Massachusetts Friday afternoon, and the original plan was to get home, unpack one bag and then pack another, and head to Lincoln City and there still Friday evening.
But I had caught a cold in Massachusetts and I was still on the mend so I thought about giving up on the idea of going to the coast and stay at home and rest. But the weekend was clearly a Spring weekend, very sunny to the point I had not seen yet this year around here. And the Ducati was calling my name.
I managed to go, and I’m glad I did. But instead of sticking to the Friday afternoon plan for the trip, I decided to take my time to rest and recover and go Saturday afternoon. Saturday morning I woke up feeling better and even gathered enough energy to do some house work. Or at least I got started on it.
Eventually I organized the bike for the trip. Put the panniers on it, which were still with dirt from my trip to the California Sierras last June, the last and only time I had these guys on the bike, I believe, besides when I got it home from the dealer the first time. The bike just doesn’t look the same with them. I like it when it is light and streamlined, like so many other things in life.
It was well past 2pm when I go on the road. I started by going north through the Willamette valley and I would then cross over the Coastal range at some point. I was surprised by how cold it felt while riding. Maybe it was my cold lingering, negating its demise. But in fact, it was chilly out there, despite being sunny, and probably my lingering cold had something to do with it as well.
I topped the tank off in Philomath and got on 20 towards the coast, the shortest route from there to my destination. The plan was to get to Lincoln City at around beer time.
Before getting to 101 where I would encounter the traffic of Newport, Depot Bay and Lincoln City itself before I would get to the house, the clever GPS suggested I took 229, going north just after passing by Toledo a few miles from Newport. I expanded the view on the GPS and noticed how the road connected to 101 right on top of Lincoln City, and how it had many curves. Why not?
It turned out to be quite a nice road, going by Siletz, no traffic and plenty of nice curves here and there. How long has it been since I last said what a nice motorcycle this Ducati is?
I got to the beach house at a good time, and it seemed any time was a good time as all who were there were having a great time. Coincidentally the house was just 200 yards or so from another house we had rented a couple of years ago. I parked the bike on the gravel driveway and could see the bike straight from above, from a balcony on the third floor where the kitchen and the living room were. Nice view of the bike, weird house. But such set ups are not uncommon on the coast, where they often design houses taking into account where you spend the most time to be where you have the best views of the ocean. Hence the bedrooms on the first and second floors, and the kitchen and living room on the third floor.
Soon I was enjoying barbecued oysters and beer, a nice appetizer.
At some point a couple was driving by the road in front of the house on a Jaguar sedan and waved and shouted something at us with smiling, friendly faces. We talked to them and learned they had rented this house for this coming June. They were going to get married in this house, could they take a look at the house? But of course, come in! They came up, got a tour of the house, gave us business cards and a promise of half rental price on a condo they own in Cabo San Lucas. Well, what about a week in Cabo San Lucas in the winter? Great place to go riding. And to top it off they took our picture!
As you can see, it was quite a group of people. Some were there just for the day. The core of them I’ve met 20+ years ago in Columbus, OH. I think all of them in this picture had a connection with Columbus, either they were born there, or went to the Ohio State University, like was my case. Others are their children! None on this crowd lives in Columbus anymore, but Columbus is our connecting point. And eight of us (seven on this picture) moved from Ohio to Oregon in 2005. An exodus of biblical proportions, almost to Oklahoma standards. There you go, the three O states in a couple of sentences that almost made sense.
This trip had a special meaning to me. Just this last couple of weeks my office received notification that we will be consolidating our efforts. Instead of the current setup that we have six offices spread around the country, we will have only one office, starting at some point this fall. Who knows where I will end up after all is said and done. I already have some options in draft mode to stay in the region. Change can be good, but I hope I don’t need to move. Bottom line, these are stressful times for me and my colleagues, and also for my clients across the region. So it was good to see some old friends from my Ohio connection at this time. It could be that in the future I will be part of the annual visitors group, coming to the Oregon coast once a year for these reunions with the core people who lived Ohio in 2005.
Soon dinner happened. I’m not sure how it came together, it was a real mess int he kitchen. I found a plate, silverware, found some food and found a corner of the room, as far from the chaos as I could be, and enjoyed my dinner in as much peace and quiet as I could get.
Then there was the sunset. I could not zoom the electric post out of the picture to only have the sun on the frame without getting the roof of a house to the left. So I decided to work with the post.
Eventually I went downstairs and placed a tarp on top of the bike.
Some of my friends have long forgotten about old cars and their need to use keys to unlock doors. What an ancient concept when you unlock keys with remote controls, right? Well, my Ducati does not even have an ignition lock, just a button and a proximity “key”. So what happened is that one of the guys borrowed Chris’ keys to go to the Suburban and pick something that was in the Suburban and well… to make this story really short, he broke the ignition key on the passenger’s door lock. Now they were talking about going to a hardware store and wiring a “start” button on the dash with the ignition wires and all sorts of contraptions to solve the missing/broken ignition key. I suggested we remove the broken key from the lock and make a copy of the ignition key. What a brilliant idea! Successive groups of guys (I was in one of these groups, of course) with flash lights went to the Suburban to “fix” it, and at some point I mentioned we should do that when we were all sobered up and caffeinated in the morning. No, one last group had to go there to fix it now. In the end they managed to push what was left of the key further inside the core.
But in the morning, 90 dollars and 10 minutes later, the broken part of the key was out of the lock and a locksmith had a new key made, actually not one, but two keys, since before that Chris had only one ignition key. The guy said he would show up at 10:30am, he was there at 10:24!
Of course, we gathered around the van and asked stupid questions about his job, his prices, and his business ethics. After all, he had the tools and know how to open any lock he wanted. He simply sad he was out of the AAA circuit, where 24/7 was the way to go. He now picks clients how he picks locks.
This Suburban, you should note, was on my first trip to the Steens, when the Suburban still belonged to Sierk, and Sierk & his wife, and Chris and a few others brought the beer, my tent, and food on my first adventure into the high desert of Oregon. All I did was ride my motorcycle there. Now the Suburban is burning one distributor after another, and short of spending big dollars to diagnose the problem to find the solution, it will be sold. A “new,” as in about 10 years old or so, Suburban will be the replacement.
Once the Suburban’s broken key was resolved, kitchen cleaned, the cars loaded, it was still morning and the party was over. They were going to hang out at the beach for a little while with the kids, I wanted to be on my own. I had a lot on my mind and decided to just ride back home via 101, following the procession of cars and RVs. Not a time to be on the moment, just a time to be with my thoughts, and following cars gives you just that opportunity. But I did made some of my typical stops and some different ones this time. A different one was Depoe Bay, world’s smallest harbor.
It really is a small harbor. This is it.
And the real challenge is the connection between the harbor and the ocean. Boats have to go through a channel between walls of rocks, not on a straight line, with waves at the ocean side to make things interesting. Must be quite the experience.
Lots of whale watching and fishing boats come and go full with tourists and paying fishermen on weekends, maybe on week days as well.
I was about to leave when I saw two boats approaching. I had to wait and see the action.
The boats stay at the entrance of the channel, I guess the captain examines the wave action, makes calculations of some sort, wait for the right time to enter the channel. Once they commit, they have no choice but got for it. And they go at speed on the first section, where waves pose a challenge, waves could easily throw a boat on the rocks.
By this time a crowd had gathered to see the action. Boat passengers celebrate the passage and wave at the crowds. Protagonists and witnesses interact. Entertainment for all.
The next boat took a while to commit for the passage. They sure need a radio to know if no one is coming from the other end. The boat was bobbing up and down, waiting. I can only assume if someone has a tendency to be sea-sick, stay away from these trips. This waiting time, with the boat being tossed by waves, this bobbing must be the ultimatum for a food reversal process. Eventually they made it.
Once they clear the first few yards, then it is all good. Tacklebuster makes it into the harbor.
And that was it. And that was Depoe Bay.
Time to get back on the road.
I continued south, made a stop in Yachats.
This time I did not go to Ona. I did not go to any restaurant, actually. I just wanted to go home, finish my arbor project, and fire the grill. It would be a first barbecue this year. But I first had to make a stop in Mapleton. This time I did a longer loop, and despite topping it off in Philomath I did not have enough gas to go home. Also, I had the bags on the bike they add to the wind drag. But it did 46 mpg and after it was all done, I realized I still had one gallon left in the tank. Yes, I could possibly had made it to the gas station close to my house, but at the expense of not having fun on 36. I’m glad I filled it up.
Now it was time for me to forget the uncertainties of work and concentrate on my riding. Time to be in the moment, the true motorcycle therapy. And fun I had, I was home in no time. Because I had that extra fun on the twisties she made only about 44 mpg on the last leg. The bike crossed the 5,000 miles mark right at the fun spot of my way back home. That made me happy.
Total for the weekend 280 miles, 450 Kms.
And I still arrived in time to complete my homework.
And another chapter on the Ducati adventure has been written.
Maybe I should move to some place sunnier and warmer… and with different roads. Maybe I can manage to stay here. Time will tell. Until then, I will enjoy my stay here as much as is possible.