Thursday, August 26, 2010

936 - Crater Lake... The Long Way Around

Day 1:  The Coast

936 was the number of miles for the last of the three weekend tour.  This time it was a group of 7 riders.  We met at the Philomath Hwy Safeway parking lot.  This is the start location of many group rides that I go on.  This shopping center has great options for escaping Corvallis.  After meeting everyone on the trip, Ryan and his dad Tom, Kevin and his dad John, Harry and BBall we were ready to go.

Ready to go!
We headed south on 53rd and over to Bellfountain for a quick paced warm up ride to Triangle Lake and out to the Oregon Coast.  We stopped along the way to stretch, chat for a few minutes and decide upon lunch.  We opted to Old Town Florence and a Mexican cafe - Diner on the bayfront.  After a nice lunch we headed south on 101.  The sun was shining and it was warm.  This is significant because as we headed south the winds picked up and it slowly got colder.  By the time we got to Coos Bay, it was time for a break and coffee to warm up.  We geared up with our cold weather gear and headed out again.  After heading out of Coos Bay, Ryan was in the lead with BBall in second, Harry in third and I was in forth. A brown object flew out of BBalls pocket and landed across the road.  Harry and I were quick to pull over and turn around as Kevin, John and Tom heading on by.  Harry pulled off and I turned around and headed down the road to slow down traffic as Harry picked up the contents of BBalls wallet.  The group stopped in Bandon to wait for us and it wasn't until I pulled up next to BBall that he realized that his wallet was missing.  With all person belongings in hand we headed on down the coast.

Kevin on the Klamath
Again the further south we headed, the colder it got.  Before we got to Gold Beach the fog started to roll in. We stopped in Gold Beach for a bathroom break and to fill up the tanks.   While taking the restroom break, two bikes pulled up with BC plates.  They were headed north on 101 and had come from Las Angeles.  They were on a two week vacation and needed to be back in Vancouver by Sunday.  They told us of construction coming up as well as the fog that we would be seeing all the way through the Redwoods.  I'm so glad that I packed the new Columbia Sportswear jacket with the neoprene collar and cuffs.  This was great for cutting the wind.  I wore it under my perforated leather jacket.  We headed south again with Ryan in the lead and I was in second.  We got separated from the group by some opportunity passing, we did pass a couple of LEOs with no problems.  Now it was reported that the others had the LEOs lights turned on for them.  What's up with that???

We made it over the California boarder and stopped at the Ship Ashore motel.  A fine low budget establishment across from the Indian Casino with a nice restaurant, bar and karaoke on Friday nights.
BBall and I headed over to the bar for beverages while the rest did a little pre-functioning in the room.  We were already relaxing in the bar at the table of honor right next to the stage.  Dinner was excellent and the entertainment was small town spectacular or at least a spectacle.  The music wasn't bad, you just needed to close your eyes and not look at the stage.   Ryan finally got up and sang a little Billy Joel song and knocked the socks of the crowd.  They will be talking about Ryan for years to come.  We then had a group sing along with the song Proud to Be An American and the waving of American Flags. This small community worked hard to remember their veterans serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.  After a long day it was time for sleep!
Breakfast at the Klamath River Cafe

Day 2 - Redwoods to Medford
Which way do we go??? After leaving the Ship Wreck Motel... we headed south down 101 through Crescent City and into the Redwoods... It was sunny, it was foggy, it was so thick I could not see the bike in front of me.  YIKES.  We met up with Tom and John's brother for breakfast.  I guess I should say that Ken met up and blew past us on his Husky 610.  We had a great breakfast and headed south again deep into the Redwoods.  Those are amazing big trees!

John on the Klamath Hwy
We headed south again on 101 to Arcata and the plan was to head East on Hwy 299.  Somehow the directions got confused and a one hour later and a couple turn around's and we were now in two groups headed east for some warmth... Warmth we found. The temp went from the low 50s up to 95 in about 35 miles.  We met a nice guy on a FJR1300 who gave us the suggestion of taking Hwy 96 from Willow Creek to Yreka.  That is one of the most amazing roads I have ever ridden.  One hundred fifty miles of great pavement, tight twisties following the Klamath river.  The further east we went the warmer it got.  At one point we stopped at a campground and drenched ourselves in the faucet.  By the time we made it to Yreka we were spent and our energy levels were low... not to mention the level of our fuel tanks.  We decided to head up I-5 to Medford and a hotel with a pool to relax.

Day 3 - Medford to Corvallis (Via Crater Lake)
Rest Stop in Prospect
Started with a continental breakfast complements of the Ramada Hotel in Medford.  We headed out looking to avoid Hwy 62 to crater lake so we stuck to county and forest service roads that ran back and forth across the Rogue river valley.  We found a great road through Gold Hill, Shady Cove, Pilot Butte, and Prospect before heading into Crater Lake National Park.  By the time we reached the park it was time for lunch.  We relaxed at the restaurant near the south entrance and then headed into the park.  Having been warned about the park rangers from other riders we took it nice and slow.  At least Ryan and I did.  We didn't have any problems with the rangers but the other group had the park rangers red and blue lights on to remind them to keep the speed down.  We enjoyed a nice ride around the park rim and then headed down the mountain towards Roseburg.
Crater Lake

Cooling off in the North Umpqua.
It was hot... really hot... and we had it.  We stopped along the river and jumped in.  Some people took their gear off.  I chose not to.  While the Vanson Jacket came off, I kept the hydro vest, leather pants and boots stayed on.  The river was cold but felt great.  The wet leather kept me cool the rest of the trip home.

Close call with two deer and an old junker car.
We took a side road from Glide to I-5.  A very fun road but we had two close calls, Kevin had two of my favorite road animals try to take him off of his motorcycle and I had a scare with a overshot corner and a junker car coming down a steep hill with no guard rails. This was when I realized it was time for a break and I was ready for some straight roads to get home.  We headed up I-5, got separated in Eugene and headed home.

Seven departed, seven returned, no scratches, no road trophies, and miles of fun.  A great end to 2145.