When life gives you lemons, go ride Lemonade!

The Next Ride of the 2012 Grand Tour Season

Well it's late May and we have been on several rides this month.  First was our ride to Oceanside, another checkpoint.  It was a beautiful spring day with sunshine and warm temperatures.  We left Vancouver and headed through downtown Portland and west through the coast range of hills.  We had planned the trip to arrive in time for lunch.  We like to patronize the businesses that help put on the Grand Tour by being a checkpoint.  






We arrived at Roseanna's Oceanside Cafe about 11:30 and went inside to eat.  It is a small place and we were seated at a table looking out at the water.  Kathy ordered a grilled sandwich and I ordered an open-faced seafood English Muffin.  I have had this item in other restaurants and it has been very good.  It comes with crab and shrimp stacked on the two halves of the muffin and covered with cheese and then broiled until the cheese melts.  Here it was the same, except that one half of the muffin was overlapped on the other (reducing the crab and shrimp by 25%) and it was spread thinly.  And this cost $15!  Although it tasted good we felt that the price was exorbitant.

After lunch we turned up the coast and crossed the Columbia River at Astoria, returning home up the river on the Washington side.  This was a one day ride of about 300 miles.

A week or so later we rode to Grass Valley with friends Sam and Trish.  This time we left Vancouver and rode a hundred miles up the Columbia River on the Washington side.  The Oregon side has Interstate 84 and is fast but boring.  State Highway 14 on the Washington side is a 2-lane road with curves along the rocky riverbank, through tunnels and over bridges crossing side creeks.  We then turned south on Highway 97 and crossed into Oregon.  We continued south through the wheat country to the town of Grass Valley.





Here we had lunch at Roadhouse 97.  This is nowhere near as upscale a place as Oceanside but lunch for all four of us was only $30, including tip.  The four cheese steak sandwiches and drinks were served on paper and not china, but we ate outside, had good food and again enjoyed great weather.








Because the weather was supposed to be good for several days, an unusual treat in the spring in the Pacific Northwet, Kathy and I had already decided to continue on south to the city of Bend and camp for a couple days.  We set up camp in Tumalo State Park.  We have been here before and it is a quiet park set in the pines and Junipers alongside a river.

The next morning we rode into Bend and to the top of Pilot Butte.  Pilot Butte is a volcanic cinder cone that looks east over Bend and off to the Cascade Mountain range.  Everything sticking up is an old volcano, either the volcano core or a cinder cone.









We spent the day tasting beer.  We parked the bike in the free motorcycle parking downtown and walked to five different breweries.  As a home brewer I like to sample the efforts of others.  And Bend is an excellent place to do that.  It has ten breweries in a town of about 80,000 people.  The breweries are all linked on the "Bend Ale Trail", an app for your cell phone that will lead you to them, tell you what they brew and what food and entertainment they have in their pub.  If you pick up the passbook and get it stamped at each brewery you can get a free glass at the city's tourist bureau.  We're halfway there.  We plan to get the rest of them in July after our late June camping trip for Florian's birthday, combined with a trip through SE Oregon to get those checkpoints.  In the afternoon we went to the park along the Deschutes River and read our books for an hour and a half to sober up.  Then it was time to return to camp and dinner.

Dinner was at the Tumalo Feed Company, a steak house near the campground.  We have eaten there before and liked it very much.  Business was slow on a Monday evening but the service was good and the food was great.  We each had the Rib Eye steak dinner for $24.  This consisted of a shared onion rings appetizer, a 12 oz. Rib Eye, baked beans, country potatoes and bread with a dessert or brandy to finish it off.  (Compare this to the chintzy seafood sandwich from Oceanside.  It did cost half again more but was four times the food.)





Now it is time to head home.  We do that by going over the mountains and through an old forest fire burn.  It is a fire that I was helping fight as one of the last in my career.









In the foothills on the west side of the mountains is the Marion Forks Cafe, another checkpoint.  We now have five checkpoints, we're halfway to qualifying for our first ticket in the drawing.  This ride was about 500 miles (800 km.) long.








In the ladies restroom at the cafe was a sign that Kathy thought was very clever.  So clever, that she took a picture of it and is showing it to all her (female) friends.  

This sounds like spouse abuse!!!

Oh well, she's pretty tolerant of my wishes and I'm going to keep her.  After all, how many wives would camp all over Europe in a tent for seven months.

Now it's on to home and getting ready for our next trip.  First we have the Oregon 500 and then we are going on "The 2.5 Mile Ride" in Coos Bay, Oregon.




The Oregon 500 is as the name implies a 500 mile (800 km) run in one day.  It is sponsored by the Rose City Motorcycle Club in Portland, Oregon.  This is an all motorcycle makes club that has a lot of GoldWings in it.  The run starts near the airport at the National Guard Armory and ends there.







The run is through the hills and backcountry of northwestern Oregon and southwestern Washington, varying each year.  This year it was south bound.  We had short stretches of Interstate but was mostly 2-lane roads.  Often it will go by a Grand Tour checkpoint, but not this year.







The ride is scored by, at the start, having your time and odometer read by an official.  Then when you return they do it again.  Then they take all the times and all the mileages and average them.  The person closest is the winner.  Then there are awards for time only and mileage only closeness out to fourth place.  There are also awards for oldest rider (86 years old) and youngest passenger (10 years old), oldest bike (1967 Triumph) and long-distance (Alberta, Canada), etc.  There were 276 motorcycles this year.  Official distance 467.1 miles, official time 12 hours 5 min. 4 sec.  We were seven miles short and 6 minutes long but Kathy won third place time.  I didn't get anything but there were more riders than passengers so I had more competition.

To get to the 2.5 we took a circuitous route.  We are doing a camping trip to pick up checkpoints on the way to the 2.5.  Sam and Trish have their Roll-A-Home trailer and we have our CycleMate trailer.  

We head up the exact same route that Kathy and I came back from Bend on.  After all Sam and Trish don't have the checkpoint at Marion Forks Cafe.  After breakfast/lunch at the cafe we follow the highway back through the burn and through Bend.  








Here we head west up into the mountains to take the Cascade Lakes Highway to our chosen campground, Crescent Lake Cottages, also our next checkpoint.  High on the side of Mt. Bachelor the road we want to take is closed by snow (you can see the backside of the stop sign in the left center of the picture), so we backtrack to a lower road and take it south to the campground.







After a comfy night next to a creek we went on south and crossed back over the Cascade Mountains and past the north entrance to Crater Lake National Park, which was also closed.


After a very good ride through the forests, fields and valleys we came to the next checkpoint in the tiny logging town of Butte Falls where we had lunch at the Sugar Pine Cafe.


Then on to another tiny town named Williams for a quick drink and another checkpoint at the Out of the Way Cafe.











Another night's camping and we followed a very narrow one-lane road down the Rogue River.










This narrow road was originally built in the early 1900's as a railroad for the logging of this area.  After logging trucks became more efficient and cheaper than railroad logging, the rails and ties were removed and it became a road.  Today the area alongside the river is heavily protected and is a beautiful drive.  Today the environmental laws would not allow a road to be built like this through this area.






We had lunch (again) at a checkpoint.  This time at Treat's Cafe.

We now have nine checkpoints.  One more and we qualify for the drawing.

Lastly it is on to Coos Bay and The 2.5 Mile Ride.