September 4th, 2018
The plan was that we were to be on the road at 0800. You know the saying about best laid plans? Yah, me neither. Needless to say, we weren’t. No worries, we were not travelling with anyone else and had no hard deadlines to make.
My other original plan was to blog each night after we stopped. You might notice that didn’t actually happen. I did start the blog process on the road, but I was also trying to get my homework for a writing class done too. Just for the record, I got neither done. :-/
We had slept in later than originally planned, but still wanted to get coffee from French Press, so we dressed, leashed up the dogs and headed out on foot. We wanted to take the doggies because they really like to go, but also to assuage or guilt at leaving them for four days. They might not understand a lengthy explanation of how we’d be gone but we’d come back and we weren’t really abandoning them, it would only feel as if we were. But they did understand the word “go” followed by handling of the doggie restraint devices. Chaos quickly ensued! Pixie got her prancy-pants on, and off we went.
A short time later, coffee in hand, we headed back home for final preparations for departure.
After pushing the bikes out of the garage, both dogs knew that something was up and they were probably not going to be big fans of these shenanigans.
Sorry puppies, not this trip.
Finished final packing, turned the dogs over to Brother SK, and were on the road by 0933. Our first stop was 20 minutes later. We pulled over to the side of the road to put on our liners under our jackets, because brrrrrrrr. Then due East… After dropping over the top of the pass it started to noticeably warm up and I began to thaw out.
We were headed to a place just this side of Sisters Oregon. I mentioned that I might really like to stop at the quilt store in Sisters. With very minor eye rolling it was agreed that we could do that, after stopping for coffee. Deal! But before sisters we needed to make our first stop of the trip. We needed to turn onto the Mackenzie pass scenic byway or Hwy.242 to go into the lava area. There had been some fire damage in the area at some recent point and through the burnt up trees I could see a bed of sharp lava. I was busy scenic-ing at it and not paying attention to the road. This is always a bad idea, but especially so on a motorcycle.
rule#1 – you go where you look, so keep your eyes on the road.
this can be followed pretty close by
rule #2 – if the more experienced rider in front of you used his brakes to slow before a corner, it is a good idea that you might want to do so as well.
no worries, nothing bad happened. I did yell at my self, “PAY ATTENTION DUMB*SS!” But, that is OK because we were unable to get the headset intercoms working this morning, so no one else was the wiser regarding my mistakes.
I hadn’t been riding much lately. One of the things that I really missed about riding was giving other riders the ‘salute’. I got lots of this today. One of the things that I really didn’t particularly miss is the bugs. And just in case you weren’t aware, BUGS ARE JUICY!
Our first official stop (after the stop to put on the liners) was at an observatory in “river of lava”. It was pretty neat! The views all the way around were spectacular and there were walking trails going out into the lava field.
Riding into the “river of lava” area we passed by burnt areas. I’m not sure when the fire had gone through there. The blackened remains of the trees were shocking at first. But it did open up views in to the lava area that had been previously blocked. I also noticed how much green had come back or was still there. Even with all that devastation there was still rebirth and renewal.
Around luchtime we stopped at Sisters Coffee Company. Wasn’t super hungry yet, so we each grabbed a latte and something from the pastry counter.
Travelling by motorcycle is really neat, in that you are part of everything around you. But, sometimes that can be a drawback as well. You know the bugs that affix themselves to the bumper, grill and windshield of your car? On a motorcycle they are affixing themselves to the headlight and windshield as well, but also right in front of your eyes on your visor and pinging off of your riding gear as you go. If there is smoke, or other smells, in the air there isn’t really any way to block them from coming into your helmet. Sometimes it feels like the outside joins you on the ride in a way too personal way.
As we pointed our bikes in the direction of Crater Lake, the air was hazy with distant smoke. As I looked to the road stretching up in the distance, it even reminded me of the cartoons from my childhood. Where the smoke would make a line straight up from the fire. That is what the road reminded me of as it climbed the steep hill far off in the distance.
We stopped at the ranger station as we entered the Crater Lake park. There was no ranger present, but a sign that stated that we were to pay at the “iron ranger”. Upon moving forward to the iron ranger, we discovered that it was FULL of envelopes with cash in them. In addition, the box that was meant to hold empty envelopes was also mostly filled with envelopes filled with cash. There wasn’t any empty envelopes for us to fill with cash. As we were looking about, trying to figure out what was to be done, two other vehicles also approached. No one even got out of them, they just pulled into a different lane and went around us. One of them didn’t even really slow down. huh. So, we mounted back up and headed into the park.
When riding, I see many things that I would LOVE-LOVE to get pictures of. The problem being I need both hands to ride. Theoretically I COULD just use one hand while riding and use one hand to take a picture. But I am clumsy and would, most likely, drop my phone/camera and then drive over it while veering off the road because I wasn’t paying attention to where my bike was headed.
One of the things that I wished I could have gotten a picture of was a large, bright yellow sign that we passed on our way up to Crater Lake. It stated, “Falling can cause injury and death. Stay back from edge”. It struck me as funny that anyone would need to post such an obvious fact. If it hadn’t been posted, would some Darwin Award winner try and sue someone/everyone for their injuries? Because the park posted the warning, would they be allowed to charge the fools double for any efforts made to rescue/repair them after they disregarded the notice? Someday when I am King…
When we got up to the lake itself, we did tell someone about the unsupervised money problems that the iron ranger was having. Then we looked at the lake. It was spectacularly beautiful.
We had been here before, years ago, but this time there was no snow and it was a little warmer (thank goodness). One of the things that I like about going to touristy places is that there are tourists there! From all over the world too. Actually, the young lady working in the snack bar was there working on a school/summer program. She was from somewhere near Russia, but I don’t remember exactly where she said her family was from. I love listening to all the different languages and accents.
All along the road, on the way out of the park, there were these poles that mark the depth of the snow, during the snow season. They were actual sticks! Usually they are made of some type of plastic material, but these were straight, then wooden sticks. Not like dowels. They were more like long, straight branches that had all the smaller branches trimmed off. I’d never seen this before, but I liked it. Much more environmentally friendly and all. The first time that I actually smelled smoke was as we passed Woodruff. It wasn’t like we were travelling through clouds of smoke, but there was a light haze in the air. There were also signs that said, “Open Range”. Looking around at all the trees surrounding us for miles and miles, I was confused. I always thought the term Open Range meant wide open fields were animals like buffalo roam and the antelope play all day. Shows you what I know. We kept a look out for the ranging animals that the signs promised. We finally saw some…crows. Literally walking across the road. Not just one instance of them either. Several times this happened. Weird.
We arrived in Medford by 7:20pm. Dinner first, at my request.
That way we could eat, then find a place to stay for the night, take off gear and relax without having to put our gear back on and go back out.
When I travel, in general, I tend to take pictures of carpeting that I think is neat looking or beautiful. Sometimes it makes me think of interesting quilting patterns that I might want to use in the future. Usually it just catches my eye, or I find it striking. This day, it caught my eye all right. Not because I found it beautiful either. It was striking in it’s ugliness.
Then to pair it with the multicolored semi-gloss walls of the room…
It was unique, to say the least. The bed was soft and horizontal, the shower water was hot, the lady at the desk was nice. This was also the only chance we got to sit in a hot tub on the whole trip. It was nice. Another neat thing about this hotel was the old time photographs of local life. I took pictures of the pictures of some of the people…
Bikes ready for the night
and because we live in the future… helmets charging for the next day