Thursday, August 28, 2008

(Day 23) The last dash…

Saturday, July 26, 2008
Day 23
Crater Lake National Park to Port Orford, OR

My sleeping bag is rated for 35 degrees Fahrenheit, so it must have been 33 or 34 degrees, as I was a bit cold when I woke up at 6am. I have the whole getting packed and back on the road thing down to a science.

1. Release air from mattress
2. Put wrist watch on
3. Get out of bivy
4. Put sandals on
5. Disassemble tarp
6. Roll up mattress
7. Roll up sleeping bag
8. Disassemble/roll up bivy
9. Compress tarp, sleeping bag and bivy in stuff sack
10. Secure all non-wearable items in bags and tighten the load down
11. Socks, knee pads, pants, boots, armor suit, jacket, helmet, gloves, backpack.
12. Put sandals under netting
13. Gas on, key on, choke out, kill switch to run, 2 twists of throttle, start button
14. Idle for a bit, choke off, reset GPS trip computer
15. Load route for the day on the GPS
16. Go to nearest gas station for gas, water and granola.
17. Have fun.

Coming off the 7000’ rim of Crater Lake:



…I would gradually lose 5000’ of elevation all the way down to Lost Creek Lake. During this descent, the temperature rose to about 65 degrees in hardly any time at all. Not warm enough to take the jacket off, just perfect as a matter of fact.

On the way down, my GPS signal would have a hard time finding satellites underneath the tall and thick forests:



Even though I was on asphalt, the ride was still very spectacular and totally what I was expecting Oregon to be like. I motored down highway 62 to Shady Cove to get gas and provisions. The gas attendant was standing at the pump like she was waiting for me. Ugh, I don’t want full service, but it was my only option. She stands in between me and the pump so I have to hand her my card, she swipes it, asks me what grade of fuel I wanted and hands me the pump. I feel like I was being babysat. I get my 2 or 3 gallons and hand the pump back to her and she walks off after handing me the receipt… huh? No tip? Cool! I’m gone! (Still building this gas station story up aren’t I?)

Anyway, the TAT wasn’t far way:



The plan now was to rat-a-TAT-TAT all the way to the coast. On my GPS, I had these 4 parameters currently on display: Time and speed (since my odometer and watch were both concealed somewhat) and ETA (estimated time of arrival) and elevation. The ETA was always way too pessimistic and I’m not sure why I left that metric on display. Had I put the DTD (distance to destination) on instead, I would have known what I was in store for. But, from what I saw on the map compared to the map scale, it wouldn’t be too long before I was on the coast and sipping margaritas, or so I thought.

Anyway, this TAT trail is getting good:



Coming around another corner, I run up on this:



YO!!! Where is the ambulance?! Police?! Fire Truck?! I hop off the bike and check to see if anyone was in there. Nothing. Hmmm, what the heck is going on? Then, I saw some purple tape that read “evacuation route” running in and out of the car. There were also signs of the Jaws of Life being used and there were no fresh skid marks on the road. I deemed it safe, but still couldn’t figure out why they hadn’t towed this car out of the woods by now.

Anyhoo, back on the trail:



Be careful trying to break the speed of sound around these corners, you never know what lies ahead:



Hmm, can I see the ocean from here?



Naw, of course not, I’m just crossing I-5, my last interstate crossing:



Dang it, I had just gotten around 3 or 4 trees before getting to this point:



Guess we’ll have to get around them again! The logging in the area really takes away from some of the sight seeing and opens it up all at the same time…is that the ocean out there? Nope:



Wesk Fork, cool:



After I-5, the trails went every which way, up, down, north, south, east and west. My mental compass was all out of whack:



Coast?... nope:



Sure is pretty up here though:



Ehh, must took a wrong turn somewhere; the brush is passable, but just too thick to make good progress:



Shortly before the following picture, there was a “Road Closed” sign, looks good to me:



Oh, I see, a few rocks in the road, this must be why they closed it. That’s nothing the Orangutan and I can’t handle:



Well now, maybe this is:



Notice in the picture above (if you can) how my route (in purple) is just a straight line between each of my turn points (not following the road)…this is what I had to deal with all the way across the country.

The reroute was easy, but a little lengthy. Oh well, by this point I was starting to wonder if I was going to make the coast by dark. Each time I’d start to drop in elevation, I thought, “This is it, here it comes!”. And then the elevation would go back up to 4000’ feet. Typical thinking for an east coaster I guess.

Anyway, I guess I was too busy zooming in and out of my GPS unit figuring out which roads I would need to take to remain on the trail. Therefore I didn’t get many pictures until I knew I was really close to the coast.

One last road block:



I should have just rode over the bump and past the road closed sign, but I was already over 250 miles on the day and was really itching to get on the beach, so I rerouted. This reroute put me on pavement, but still offered some great views. I bet you could see the ocean from here if not for the cloud cover. But still a cool view:



Getting closer on Elk River Road. I thought I had seen just about every cloud there was until I saw these:



The only word that came to mind was, “mystical”. A left onto the famous highway 101 and I’m in Port Orford… finally. This view wasn’t as grand as Crater Lake, but still higher than my expectations:



From the driveway of my home in North Carolina to the Pacific Coast, all on a dirt bike. I made it on July 26th, 2008 at 4:46 pm:



The lady who snapped this picture had a much longer left leg than the right one (just kidding, of course):









Total mileage: 4733
Daily mileage: 288
Wildlife observed: [Sorry, slacked off on the wildlife reports]
Favorite Sight: The “mystical” clouds laying motionless over the Port Orford bay area
Favorite Scent: The pine trees again
Favorite Sound: Waves crashing on the beach
Favorite Taste: Fish and chip dip
Favorite Feel: Riding in the sand… the first time I’ve done this and something you’d get arrested for on the east coast.
Ailments: Nothing! Just a little tired, but it was a relaxing feeling as well.

1 comment:

Preston said...

The Oregon gas story is funny. When I was in Portland I did the same thing and the gas attendant told me that it was the law, so every gas station in the great state of orgeon has attendants to feel up your tank. I guess they think that we are too stupid to pump our own gas.