Monday, September 7, 2015

On the road again

We had to get another motorcycle trip in before we ran out of summer, so this time we pointed the bike south.

Again, I'm still surprised how much I like this whole biker-thing.  After a week of no riding, we both comment on how good it feels to get back in the saddle.  We shoot for back roads as much as possible, and so this time we rolled through some of Oregon's prettiest farmland.  It reminds me of jigsaw puzzle pictures.

Somewhere near Perrydale, OR.
Farmland is my favorite riding environment ..... until we're cruising along the coast, or past forested lakes ..... and then those are my favorites.  But you really can't beat sparsely-traveled country roads that divide pastures and fenced fields, dotted with picturesque farm houses and barns. And the occasional little towns that no one has ever heard of.

We made our way to Waldport ..... (Hello again, stunning Oregon coast!) ....

and then stopped in Yachats for lunch at the Luna Sea Fish House, our favorite hole-in-the-wall source for clam chowder.  (If you think you know of a better one, you haven't been here.)  Then we arrived in Bandon, which sits on a beach designed by Dr. Seuss.

In honor of friend Dave B., who probably would have made it to the top to do this:

There exist in this world some bad motel rooms and we found a gem in the "old" and probably original wing of the Sunset Oceanfront Hotel.

I knew it was going to be .... rustic.  I read the reviews.  We wanted cheap (under $100, please!) which is hard to find at the beach in the high season.  We estimated it was built in the 50s or early 60s, after which the builders and decorators quickly left the premises, never to return again.  But it had a view of the ocean, a great pool, and a hot tub.  And remember, t'is better than a tent.  The newer, main portion of the hotel was quite nice, by the way.

Then we headed east, away from the cool coastal air, into the hotter temps and the wildfires.  Oregon and Washington, after a much too dry year, have been besieged.  We passed through the town of Canyonville, OR, which sat precariously close to one of the fires.  Handmade signs were posted in yards and on fences, thanking the firefighters.  We passed by a large field filled with tents, where the firemen could catch some sleep before heading back out into the smoke.  It made me think of an army camp and that we were going straight into a war zone.

We saw a lot of smoke, but never enough to impede visibility or breathing.  One supervisor-fireman cautioned us to be careful because his men were exhausted, and might not see us on the road.  But I'm making it sound scary, when it wasn't.  There was quite a bit of smoke here and there, a lot of haze, but hardly any cars..... probably because most people who were not us, were wisely avoiding the area.   Actually, it was really just very interesting.
Orange sun.

The second night we stayed in the newer portion of the Prospect Hotel, a historic inn where Teddy Roosevelt slept back around the 1900s during his visit to Crater Lake.  Although it's a 45 minute drive away, they proudly claim it's the closest hotel to the very famous lake.

This was our second visit to Crater Lake, and we were disappointed that the haze in the air affected the color of the water.  Instead of the famous almost-turquoise-like-hair-gel color .....

 it was gray.

How it SHOULD look.

But the next morning it had regained much of its color and although it still wasn't quite hair-gel, it treated us to a deep shade of royal blue.  We rode the 30+ miles around the rim and climbed up Watchman's Hill where we bemoaned our lack of binoculars while watching the smoke pillars off in the distance.

See the smoke?  Try clicking on the picture.
I was taking pictures of the guy taking pictures.

Our route home took us up through more never-heard-of towns.  Now and then we skip the familiar fast food chains and instead choose a colorful, character-filled local cafe, with names like, "Burt's Burgers".   In one of the towns we stopped at an odd configuration of a gas station, small store and burger/sandwich (called "grub") joint.  The hamburger tasted like it was fresh off our backyard grill and the caramel milkshake was to.die.for.  It had my vote for the best food of the trip.

Chemult, OR.  Heard of it?  Me neither.

We spent the last night in a great little motel in Oakridge.  The Bluewolf Motel.  I recommend it.  Clean and basic and just over $50 for the two of us.  Can't beat that.

This is probably our last long motorcycle trip of the year.  But I'm determined that all we need is some relatively dry days before spring, that aren't too cold.  They're known to happen now and then in these parts.  And hopefully a few local day-rides during the winter will keep the withdrawals at bay, before we head off on our next adventure in the spring.

As to where it'll be .... we're open to suggestions.