09/18/11 (The Final Day of the TAT proper)
Daily mileage: Who gives a...
Overall average: Who cares, at this point I don't...
Woke up and got a really late start on the day. Ooops, did it again. Was a bad boy and went past the 11:00am checkout time by like, half an hour. I blame it on this thread.
With the anticipation of Port Orford and completion of this fantastic voyage, this mornings ride was frustrating in that I spent the rest of it and the early afternoon riding up mountains only to not be able to cross over because every road or reroute that I took led me to a dead end. This happened back to back consecutively at the beginning which took out a lot of time. I didn’t stop for lunch either and was subsisting on beef jerky and powerbars.
The trail ends abruptly in overgrowth. This happens more than once and I'm definitely NOT going in there.
After deciding I had had enough of chasing my tail, I decided to reroute farther along to mile marker 459 – around the railroad tracks. This took me around the side of a mountain on a rocky trail that was chock full of fallen trees, it was obvious this was the right path from the minimal clearings made which allowed a motorcycle to pass. It was a tight squeeze at points which adds to the anxiety level as I continued on. If there as a new tree that was downed the path would be cut short and I would need to backtrack, wasting more time and fuel.
At one point there was a fork in the road, and I took a left but had to turn around to take the right, didn’t waste too much time, but was still vexing. Did I mention earlier, I wanted to make it to Port Orford at a decent hour to enjoy the beach, et cetera. If so, that was the theme of the day.
After getting past that trail, the rest of the ride was weaving around forest roads that were bigger. There would be more reroutes due to a road being shut down by a lumber company. The landscape wasn’t even really that nice since deforestation was taking place. I remember the vegetation next to the road taking on this greyish green color and upon closer inspection, determined that it was the dust coming off the gravel roads and sticking.
At one point I come around a corner hauling tail and see a metal fence which induced a long skidmark… on the road. My pants were fine. Chicks and Dudes who like hauling… be careful in Oregon. You have a good chance of winning a headbutt with a barb wire fence, but a metal post will win most everytime.
After rerouting several times and depleting fuel, I needed to go north of the trail to Powers, Oregon to gas up. At this point, it was my intention to get the gas, and let the GPS take over to put me on a major road to Port Orford. It was around 5:15 and I had no time to waste if I was to enjoy the setting sun on the ocean.
Arriving in Powers, I pull up to the gas station after a few minutes of wondering if it was open or not, was greeted by the young attendent who asked if I was with the “other guy” on the WRR that stopped in an hour earlier. Apparently, I have been shadowing another TAT rider who was not too far from me. The attendant was into dirt bikes and owned several bikes (xr’s) and spoke of aspirations for riding to South America. He was super friendly and helpful and told me of the quick way to get to the coast. This was the same route he pointed out to the aforementioned WRR shadow rider. I was to take Salmon Creek Rd which turns into Sixes River Road straight to the coast and head south. It cuts the trip in half and is mostly fast sweeping gravel. Really good ride actually, and the most fun I’ve can remember riding in Oregon.
My thoughts as I blasted down the gravel road through the forest was that if the guy ahead is slower and doesn’t have a GPS, maybe I can catch him. Would that not be super lovin awesome? I was pushing and pushing and eventually, I hit the coast highway around 6:15. Rolling into Port Orford, I see a WRR waiting to pull out of a gas station and I know its my shadow. I pull up to greet him, and tell him I was tailing him on the TAT. His name if Zach and it turns out he was actually 2 hours ahead at the gas stop and had arrived around 4:30 and was doing laundry. He mentioned also being lost this morning and having the same idea I did of just trying to complete this thing. We exchange some trip details. Before parting ways and well wishes, I snap a portrait.
The TAT really gets you ripped. See Zach flex those biceps.
I head to the beach, and per Zach’s info, I find the the dropoff onto the beach itself.
As soon as I hit the soft sand, my rear digs in and I am stuck. Having a look at my tire, there was no way, I was doing a victory lap on that bald mother. Oh well, unless one manages their tire changes, the victory lap will or will not happen.
I get off and walk down to the water and enjoy the sunset. It was foggy, but the light from the setting sun cast a nice color on the clouds. Thanks for the following. My TAT trip proper comes to an end.
My lodging for the evening... Castaway By The Sea. Very nice apartment.
The rest of the trip is less offroad ride oriented, so not really sure if its relevant to continue on the daily post model as implement previously.
Though time consuming, I think it’s really nice that I was able to semi-live report this. Without this thread it would’ve been a more lonesome ride. A man can go crazy with his own thoughts, don't cha know? Thanks for following along.