We took several short rides, the longest just 4 days, during the 2013 year up to
mid-November as I write this. I have been very negligent and not written a word
for our pages until now. So read on and hear about our year all at one time. I
doubt that we will be going out again before the Polar Bear Ride on January first
so you can consider this the end of 2013. Come back for next year's 8-month trip
to the East Coast of the US. I promise to keep up to date on it.
Ride 1- When we woke up on New Year's Day of 2013 it was snowing and no place to
be riding a GoldWing. The weather forecast was for sun and warmer weather so we
waited and waited and waited.
Finally the sun broke through and we got on the road a half hour before noon. Noon
is the cutoff for registrations at the Polar Bear Run. We made it just in time.
The weather in Portland, Oregon where the run is actually held was much better than
it was at our house. They had sun and dry ground where we had wet roads and snow
still on the lawns and walkways. To the north of our house there was even more snow
The planned routes for the Polar Bear run always consists of three choices: Baby
Bear- about 30 miles, Mama Bear- about 70 miles and Papa Bear- about 110 miles. They
all end at the same pizza parlor for the ending point. Every year they vary the
exact path taken get there. We always do the Papa Bear. This year that route went
north, past our house and into the heavier snow area. Having just come from that
direction we had no desire to go back. We believed (correctly as it turned out)
that the shady places along the country roads would be snow and ice covered. So
we went south into the snow-free countryside and had lunch at a pub before returning
home. We did not do the 110 miles but I'll bet we had more fun. We heard that several
riders had minor spills on the slick roads.
Ride 2- The second ride of the year was in the middle of February. It was a ride
to Brookings, Oregon, a town on the coast near the border with California. We started
off with a foggy run down the freeway for a couple hundred miles. This was not the
fun part of the trip but we had decided that the trip would be a loop. One quick
day down the Freeway, one day in camp and one leisurely day back up the coast.
From the freeway we took a two-lane road down the river to the coast at the California
Border. We then turned north to the town of Brookings and our campsite.
We had rented a yurt in the State Park near Brookings to stay in. The weather was
forecast to be excellent but cool. We have stayed in colder places in our tent but
decided to upscale it to a place with lights and heat for this trip.
We had dinner at a pizza/brewpub place and had excellent beer and pizza.
The next day we spent climbing the hills (me) and beachcombing for pretty rocks (Kathy). For
her birthday I had bought her a rock polisher because she is always picking up these
rocks. We brought several pounds of them home from Europe. Now she can make them
all nice and shiny!
The route back on the following day was up the coast for a couple of hundred miles
and then inland to home.
Ride 3- In March we had a beautiful blue-sky day and Kathy had it off, so we decided
to go to the Wet Dog for lunch. The Wet Dog is a cafe/brewery in Astoria at the
mouth of the Columbia River. They have an amazing array of different burgers. You
can get a burger with just about any kind of toppings and additions. One of the
selections is call The Puppies. It is two small burgers made in any of the possible
combinations. We usually get that and then each take one of the burgers.
After lunch we headed out to the old WW II fort near the actual mouth of the river
and looked around. Kathy looked for rocks and I talked with another visitor to the
beach. He has a bike but smaller. His kids wanted to try out the GoldWing so I let
them get on while he and I talked bikes, roads and rides.
The way back was to cross the bridge, above the river fog, and follow the north shore
back to the freeway.
As we rode the north side of the river we could see in the far distance our favorite
news-making mountain, Mt. St. Helens which had erupted in 1980.
Mt. St. Helens is a small white hump almost centered in the picture.
Ride 4- This ride was a three day trip to a beach where we had been told there were
lots of Agates to be found. The day starts with another ride down the south side
of the Columbia River to the town of Astoria near the mouth of the river. This time
we had lunch at the Fort George Brewery. (I'm a home brewer and like to try out
the competition.) I don't feel that one beer on a full stomach of food hinders my
riding ability. When the waitress asks if I want another, I tell her that I have
to keep the number of beers fewer than the number of wheels.
After lunch we headed to the state park and to claim a campsite. We set up camp under
a low, but dry, cloud cover and lit a fire for warmth. We checked the tide table
for low tide tomorrow and made out plans to go hunt agates.
The next day we followed the directions I had been given to the trailhead that led
down to the tiny beach with all the agates. We both looked for a while, finding
quite a few agates but I got bored with it and found a comfy rock and read my book. Kathy
continued to search. After all she has that rock polisher to fill.
After sitting on that rock for a while it lost its comfort and I wandered again. This
time I found that the outgoing tide had left some very interesting patterns in the
sand. This is just one of them. When Kathy had collected several pounds of agates
we left and returned to camp. I waypointed the beach trail in my GPS so it will
be easy to find again. The following morning we returned home.
Ride 5- The Rose City Motorcycle Club in Portland, Oregon has several rides that
are open to all motorcycles. One of them is the Oregon 500, a one-day 500-mile ride. It
starts early and ends late. The day was forecast to be good with blue sky and fluffy
The route this year was east through the Columbia River Gorge and then into the canyons
and wheat fields of eastern Oregon.
We rode with our friend Mark this year. We tend to ride alone or with only one or
two other bikes. This simplifies rest, fuel, food, and potty stops. A group seems
to always travel at the rate of the smallest bladder and fuel tank. Unless there
is a smoker and then one must add in smoke breaks too. Mark has the same fuel and
bladder size that we do.
The OR-500 is not a race and not really a poker run. You are given written directions
like a poker run and there are checkpoints that must be hit but there is no need
to pick up points or cards at the checkpoints. The scoring is done on the basis
of time and mileage. Everyone runs the same course, supposedly. But side trips
for food, fuel, missing a turn and going back, etc. add to the mileage. Also everyone's
odometer measures differently. The scoring at the end is done by taking the odometer
reading at the start and finish, and the time of each rider's start and finish and
then the average of everyone is calculated. The winner is the rider who is closest
to both. the same is done for passengers. The closest we have ever come is Kathy
winning 3rd place passenger.
We took the scenic route, of course, over the Oregon Cascade Mountains to the High
Desert region of Central Oregon.
After giving a lot of thought to next year (2014) and our long term trip we decided
to buy a tent trailer instead of trying to camp all the time in a tent. We again
rode with Mark who also has a Leesure-Lite trailer.