This year we are not doing any long, long rides. It is a year to stay home and make
some money until fall. We are both working, which is a shock to my system after
being retired for 10 years. I am building/repairing window screens at a local hardware
store. The 3 month temporary job I took last spring is still going on. The guy
I replaced while he was having knee surgery came back and wanted a different position,
the store was willing and I said OK I'll stay on awhile. I have been putting some
miles on the bike commuting which is a shock to its system. With my old job I had
a company vehicle and didn't ride the bike to work, then I was retired and didn't
have any job to go to, but now I do and I have to use my own vehicle, so the bike
is the cheapest way to go when the weather is favorable. I know most people use
their own vehicle all their working life so I probably will get very little sympathy
from you readers! Anyway on to this year's rides.
As usual our first run of the year is the Polar Bear Run on January 1st. As the
weather is good, for January first in the Pacific Northwet. It is dry and sunny
but cold. This means lots of bikes on this run.
After a breakfast of hot chili with onions and cheese people hit the road. This
is the traditional breakfast at this ride. There is also some coffee and doughnuts
for riders and passengers but the chili is very popular.
Another important part of this ride is reconnecting with other riders for the new
This is Mt. Hood, the volcano that overlooks Portland, Oregon. It is the closest
skiing area and where you can ski year round.
The ride ended at the usual place for pizza, Jimmie O’s in Oregon City. There are
no prizes or awards at this ride. It is just for fun.
The Oregon 250 starts about 25 miles away from our house in a suburb on the southwest
side of Portland, Oregon at the Beaverton Motorcycle dealership. As is usual we are
meeting some friends at the start. We head out and arrive at the dealership in the
early morning sun. The first thing I do as I'm trying to avoid the pedestrians and
find a parking place with the sun in my eyes is drop the bike on its right side. No
damage, I was all but stopped, but it was embarrassing in front of everybody. Our
friends are not here and didn't see it happen but Kathy, of course, told them all
about it later. One of our friends is the guy who put his bike into the muddy ditch
last year on the 500, so he didn't give me any grief.
We were pre-registered and swiftly got our package, turned in the door prize ticket
and hit the first checkpoint, right there in the parking lot.
Here we drew a poker chip out of each of two coffee cans. The chips in each can
are numbered 1-100. The numbers drawn are written on your entry card and you are
ready to hit the road. There are three road checkpoints where one writes the answer
to a question in the route instructions. Then it is back here for two more poker
And we have not seen our friends anywhere. We were to start at 7:30 and it is now
a quarter to 8. We wait until 8:00 and send them a text that we are leaving. Registration
is to close at 8 and we must have missed them earlier.
We go ahead and leave following the route instructions. They lead us through the
fields and forests of the Coast Range of mountains in a southwesterly direction. I
am not the fastest bike on the ride.
In the Coast Range in Oregon is not very big. The tops are rounded and about 2-3,000
feet high. The passes are around a thousand feet. They are closer in type to the
Appalachians than the Rockies.
The Big Leaf Maple trees have not leafed out yet and the sun dappled road is a delight
to follow as it dips and curves through the tunnel of trees.
The first question is "What is the number of the grange hall?". Many riders have
stopped to write it down and maybe discuss the ride. We decided that we could remember
the number 432 until we stopped for another reason, so we rode on.
Not far past the grange hall the road followed the old railroad through the pass,
switching sides of the track several times, sometimes under and sometimes over. The
road was old and the track was old and a newer, easier, wider road had been built
over the mountains. This meant this road received little maintenance leaving the
railroad crossings in bad shape. But it was worth it for the old road had little
traffic, besides us, and was curvy and fun.
After crossing the mountains we followed a slough to the costal town of Newport. The
second question was the name of the oyster farm alongside the slough. "Oregon Oyster
Farms". We stopped in Newport for lunch at one of our favorite coastal pubs, Bayfront
Public House, owned by Rogue Brewing.
After my burger and her tacos the directions led us up the Oregon Coast and then
farm country. This tractor and equipment was wider than the road lane. On coming
traffic slowed way down and squeezed over to get by him. We made no attempt to pass
him and followed about a mile until he turned off.
The third checkpoint was the name of a school and then it was back for two more poker
chips and the handing out of door prizes and awards. I won a helmet cleaning kit,
a very cheap one, and will probably donate it to our club chapter for them to use
as a door prize at one of our meetings.
As for points for the prizes, we each had about 150-180 total out of the 400 possible. the
winning totals were 325 and up to 361 for first place. That is an average of 90
points per chip in their draws. We had half that!
And we finally met up with our friends. They are in the middle and right of this
picture. They had left their home, 30 miles away, at 7:30, arriving just a minute
or so after we had left. They said they had seen our bike in Newport but that there
was no more parking along the waterfront so they went into the main part of town
to eat. We chatted for a while and then each headed homeward. The bike on the right
is the one that went into the ditch on last year's 500. He says he is still having
mud fall out from underneath its bodywork.