Mapleton for a Bowl of Soup

It has been cold around here, but it has been unusually dry as well. Ken suggested we rode to the coast.  Emails started circulating, the number of guys interested in going for a ride

Cold, but dry. Temperature depicted in Celsius, BTW.

rose to about six. Some ten phone calls later and the group was divided into two.  Ken changed his mind about going to the coast.  He and the others would do the most sensible thing and ride in the valley to avoid possible frost on the passes on the coastal range. I was interested in getting to the coast. Doug was interested in riding towards the coast as well. So Doug and I ventured out of the Willamette valley towards the coast.

There are still some leaves to be raked in the near future...

I met Doug at his house and from there we found our way to Territorial Hwy towards 36 and from there we went west towards the coast.  There was no ice on the high areas, but the roads were wet at several points. We made it to Lake Creek, just west of Triangle Lake to check the Salmon ladder.

Parked at Lake Creek, OR. December 4th, 2011

Chinook salmon were hanging out, some were trying to jump. But showing the pictures to a friend of mine who knows about fish, he believes they had already spawned and are just hanging out.

Chinook Salmon, Lake Creek, OR. December 4th, 2011

If not spawned yet, they climb the man made ladder or climb the natural cascades.

The man made ladder to the left. Lake Creek, OR. December 4th, 2011

Once they climb up to their spawning point, where they were born, they spawn and soon after they die. We saw a few of them trying to jump. And we saw a few of them farther up the river.  Here is a short video so you can have a feel about the water intensity. It highlights this incredible feat of nature that the salmon accomplish.

The days are short this time of the year. It gets dark at 4:30 pm, therefore instead of going all the way to the coast, we stopped in Mapleton for a bowl of soup.

The Alpha Bit in Mapleton, OR. December 4th, 2011

Riding at such low temperatures and without a grip warmer, my fingers were getting really cold. A warm soup was a welcome treat.

Tomato Soup. Alpha Bit in Mapleton, OR. December 4th, 2011

We got live music as well.

The Alpha Bit in Mapleton, OR. December 4th, 2011

And dessert!

Strawberries, Blueberries, Raspberries, Peaches...

Back on the bikes we decided to turn around and head back towards Eugene via 126 and then Whitaker Creek Rd. We got on Hwy 126 and were riding at about 60 mph or slightly above it, speed limit is 55.  One has to be careful in such a main road for the Highway Troopers are all around and in need of income.  We crossed two of them coming from the other direction. I’m following Doug and all of a sudden in one of my regular mirror checks I noticed a Dodge truck approaching really fast. Less than a minute since the truck was behind us and one of those Highway Troopers was behind him and stopped him.  Close call for us. We got out of the 126, took Whitaker Creek Rd. towards Wolf Creek Rd. Here is a video of what it looks like to be riding one-lane roads such as Whitaker Creek rd. I had to keep my visor up as this helmet was fogging up. I’m thinking about going back to my red helmet. Don’t remember it fogging up this much.

And from there we got on Wolf Creek Rd. This is a gravel and dirt road.  It was very wet in some areas.

Wolf Creek Rd. December 4th, 2011

And it is not like either of us had the most appropriate tires for the job.

No knobbies. Wolf Creek Rd, OR. December 4th, 2011

But the bikes handled it well.  Check this video of the action of the ride on Wolf Creek rd.

After some 20 miles of that kind of action we made it to other side where the road hits pavement.

Wolf Creek Rd. December 4th, 2011

And soon after I was home. It was dark already and I was glad to get inside my warm house.

Back home. December 4th, 2011

Total for the day, 158 miles, about 252 Km.  Again, not bad for this time of the year.

158 miles, 252 Km. December 4th, 2011

This has been a great winter season so far. I’ve been able to ride on the last four weekends or so. Yesterday I took the BMW for a short spin, to keep its juices flowing and its battery charged.  Over here you don’t quite need to put your bikes away for the winter.  If you are not too picky about cold or rain, you can ride year around.  In Ohio, colder winter makes you shut down such operations.  Plus they add salt to the roads to melt the ice.  Anyway, I’m glad I’ve been riding as much as I have so far.

Thank you for reading.

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