Dry weather on the forecast for the weekend and I get a call from Doug on Thursday asking whether I wanted to go riding. Riley suggests we go back to the High Pass area. He reports the snow is gone and he has found another route that gets us west of the closed gate on High Pass road. All I have to say is: Great! The ride was planned for Saturday. However, I wake up in the morning and first thing I see is my truck’s windshield with a layer of frost on it.
You must be kidding. I check my old analog thermometer and it confirms the unbelievable: it is freezing out there. While in the Midwest and other parts of the country they are experiencing a warmer than normal spring, we here in Eugene continue on this new trend of colder and wetter than expected seasons. Without getting on the global warming debate, I had read that on some analysis scenarios of global warming, the Pacific Northwest would actually get colder and wetter before getting warmer due to changes in Pacific currents.
As I get my gear ready and prep the bike, I keep my telephone close to me. What if Doug wakes up and calls canceling the ride? But the call never came. The original plan was that he would be by my house between 9:15 am 9:30 am (that means 9:15 on Doug’s style). From here we would ride to Junction City to meet at 10:00 am with Riley at the same Chevron gas station we met him last time.
Doug arrives at 9:15 am as expected and comments on my dirty bike. Well, if I had the time that he has… I mentioned. But in reality, if I had the time probably my bike would still be the same, carrying mud from the previous ride, and the one before that. But I check fluids, and clean the chain. The important stuff is maintained well. So we met with Riley in Junction City and topped off the tanks.
This time, no small talk. We got down to business right away. Soon we were on Grimes Rd. and a few roads after, one left, one right and we were climbing and got on this short cut to the left that would put us on the west side of the High Pass rd gate. And again, once we hit dirt Riley is flying and I have to concentrate to keep up with them. This short cut was very slippery, for the first time I thought about getting a new front tire for this bike. With more than 5,500 miles on it, this tire is still the one that came with the bike. And on this little road I could feel the front skipping every now and then. Also, you will notice, lots of branches fallen on the road. That is the result of all that snow of three weeks ago, and heavy rains, and strong winds. Welcome to our new weather pattern.
From there we connected to the road we traveled last time, the one with all the snow. At some point I stopped to take a picture of this creek. This is the same creek as last time, I’m starting to recognize the road.
Those two guys did not stop, they just powered up the road. What a difference this time, a month ago this road had a layer of snow. Eventually I reached them when they stopped to wait for me.
This is the same place where we turned around last time. This time, no problems.
One month ago.
We continue riding and reach Upper Greenleaf Creek rd.
Here Riley’s bike decides to quit all electrics. The bike draws a blank. As he works on it, Doug finally has a chance to get his map fix.
And I get to take some pictures.
We go down to Hwy 36 and take a break in Deadwood.
Soon stories were getting pretty tall. I even heard about catching a 750 lbs. fish. And it was not a whale or dolphin, nor a shark.
We decided to carry on with the ride. Riley suggested we took some back roads all the way to the Ocean. Let’s go. We took several back roads, mostly dirt roads. At one point we were chased by horses. Never seen such a thing, horses interested in motorcycles, just like dogs minus the barking.
More nice roads and eventually we get on a freshly graded and somewhat muddy road. It always takes me a few moments to get the hang of a new surface. You got to respect it. Soon I was comfortable and having fun with it.
Eventually we made it to Hwy 101.
When we set off for this ride I was not anticipating we would get all the way to the Pacific. But here it is, just across from Hwy. 101. Looking north.
From here Riley took us on a new set of nice back roads, completely by-passing Florence all the way to Mapleton where we stopped for refueling. My bike arrived in fuel fumes after 120 miles of hard riding. Not bad, more than 60 mpg, as it took 1.95 gallons of fuel (tank holds 2.1 gallons).
Did you notice that yellow sign? Yes, we are talking here about ethanol free gasoline. And I’m glad my tank was virtually empty, as the bike now gets a full tank of ethanol free gasoline. If I had known this gas station had real gasoline I would had filled my Tiger last December when I rode by here because when I got home I parked the bike for the winter. It would had been better for the bike to have it sit with non-ethanol gasoline.
From here we go home via hwy 126, Penn Rd, Territorial Rd. and eventually we reached Eugene from the south side on Willamete rd. And from there I was home.
It was a great ride, 194 miles makes for a proper day ride. After so many gear shifts, my left hand was in pain, making me realize I need to put more rides on my belt before summer starts.
I was glad to be home after another cold day for riding. It was warm around noon time and when we were close to the pacific. But overall, this was a cold ride. It is really good to get in the house and start to feel warmer.
Can’t wait for Spring to be here!