I came out of the Dreamer’s Lodge Motel in John Day Oregon at first light. 12 motorcycles were in the parking lot and I was the first one out. This may not have been a great idea for two reasons.
First, It was cold! After two days of nearly melting from the heat (Why didn’t someone tell me about that Idaho Desert?), I nearly got frostbite. I had all three layers of my jacket on, and that worked, but my gloves couldn’t keep up. I had to stop and warm them by the engine before continuing up the road. Oh, but the road was grand. US route 395 North was all twisty’s, sweepers, up and down hills, sun at the top, and cold, cold shade at the bottom.
The second tricky part? Deer. Lots of deer are apparently attracted to the sound of a motorcycle. I will remember this the next time I go hunting. Fortunately, Bambi and I did not get too closely acquainted.
I stopped for breakfast at the edge of Pendleton at a place called Roosters. Michael Haun, you were there in spirit. I guess I was having so much fun on the highway I didn’t realize how cold my body was. It took a couple of cups of coffee for my hands to stop shaking.
The interstate was closed for eastbound traffic due to the Pioneer fire. I went north into Washington state. More high desert didn’t not turn me on, so after stopping for church, I turned around to get back to Oregon.
Now, the first time I went into Oregon, I was thrilled. Something about crossing that state line of the place I was going to finally hit the coast and the end of my ride, well, that put this whole idea within reach. I was even greeted enthusiastically by these two professional “Welcome to Oregon” ladies. They even gave me a motorcycle map marking the scenic roads. Go Oregon! If you enter Oregon on I-84 in Ontario, tell them I said “Hi.”
The second time into Oregon…nothing. Ah well. At least I still had my map. So I started to hit the roads marked as Scenic Byways and motorcycle routes. I had the roads nearly to myself! At first the scenery wasn’t spectacular, but the riding was incredible. Then the reverse happened. The scenery got better, and the road surface was horrible for 18 miles. Random loose gravel makes for a slow and scary ride. I started fondly remembering the deer and the cold.
Then Mt. Saint Helens and Mt. Hood started peaking their glacier capped heads over the hills at me. As I went into every canyon they hid, then inched closer as I wound back up and out. This beautiful game of hide and seek went on for miles. It seems that there is so much desert in the northwest they actually put up a sign asking for help. Fortunately, as a West Virginia native I could easily assist them.
Last night I camped in The Dalles at the Oregon Motor Motel. It’s been here since 1948. It doesn’t look like this now. Three years ago my wonderful wife surprised me with a trip to Portland. We borrowed a car from our friends Ken and Dana, and drove up the Columbia river gorge. The whole time I was thinking this is the perfect road for a motorcycle. Right now I’m headed out the door to make that ride.