Sunday, June 22, 2014

Solstice Ride ~ 404 Miles Through Oregon's Back Roads

We logged 404 miles yesterday on what was probably the most scenic route we've ever taken on Oregon's Scenic Biways. Even with the slight disappointment of not  making it all the way to Anthony Lakes due to snow on the road, we came damn close and that was good enough for us.
It's all about the journey,
not the destination.
Leaving by 9:00am, we traveled back roads the entire day, never cruising much above 50 mph. All roads were new to each of us. Even though the events of the day will soon be overshadowed by new adventures, I hope my documentation will be good enough to remember the highlights.
First of all, our road captain seemed to be plagued by birds. I was riding directly behind him when a pheasant swooped across the road in front of him. I don't know how he didn't hit it but it wouldn't be the only near-miss. My mind wandered a bit thinking about what it would have been like had that bird come flying over the top of his windshield directly into my path.  PLOMP. It could have been ugly.
On the next leg of the trip, a red-tailed hawk came out of nowhere and descended upon Dougie with his talons stretched out as if it was was going to attack our captain's orange motorcycle. Just as it almost lighted on him, the bird retreated. Weirdest thing I have ever seen in my miles of riding.
Ukiah: We stopped for a good lunch and great banter with a seasoned waitress. What a great little place to rest. It is a tiny little blip on the map but there is a lot of traffic and it was good old-fashioned fun watching the locals. We sat there freezing due to the climb in elevation but I saw locals in shorts and even a shirtless guy. It's all relative.
 We discovered they have gas there! This is a big deal for a girl who has a tank that is smaller than the rest. I'm honored these guys let me ride with them as I am a horrible worrier about where my next gas fill-up is going to be. I know in my heart-of-hearts that our Marine friend (Semper Fi!), would never leave me behind but what a pain in the ass it would be to have to go find gas in the middle of nowhere. That's all I'm saying, dear Doug. 
After lunch, we headed towards Anthony Lakes. We never made it to the lakes as you can see there was still snow on the road. If there is such a thing as fate, I believed in it this day as we had to back track and travel on forest road #51 to get to La Grande. If not for the snow, we would have missed it and that would have been a shame. 
We saw buffalo and a couple getting married out in the middle of nowhere. The road is a bit rough in places but nothing that would prevent me from wanting to travel it again. The entire stretch (I'm guessing 40 miles?) we saw only one car. Loved that.
We were gone 11 hours. What an awesome way to spend June 21st ... the longest day of the year.
What did you do on solstice?
love, susan
For any riders in the area, this is my best rough guesstimate of our route:
I82 --> I84
I84 --> 207 south Lexington
207 --> 74 Heppner
207 --> few miles south, left on 53
53 --> Ukiah and SE on 52
52 --> 73 East to Anthony Lakes (almost)
73 --> 54 --> 51
51 --> North of Starkey to Hwy 244
244 --> I84 15 miles north of La Grande
The last great back-road we traveled was the old Oregon trail, which parallels Cabbage Hill and is open range. We've always wanted to travel that road and it was well worth the wait.

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