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Old 10-01-2014, 05:27 PM   #1
MikeO OP
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Location: Scarning, Norfolk, today...
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Eh? Who takes leave in October?

1st October 2014

After a day’s careful packing (my hold baggage and carry-on are both right on the limits), I think I’m ready for bed at just after midnight. Unfortunately I happened to read a line in the booking slip that I’d missed earlier – that you’re not allowed to carry computers in checked baggage

Bugger – my MacBook is buried deep inside the 23kg entrails of my checked in bag.

It takes me nearly 45 minutes to sort this simple matter out and I turn the light out at about 01:00. I hardly sleep – mainly a result of the alarm going off at 03:30. I get up, shower, shave and dress in time for the taxi arriving at 04:10. We’re soon trundling along a strangely empty A47 towards Norwich Airport.

I check my bags in (incidentally finding that there’s apparently NO problem with packing a laptop in your hold baggage ) and then move towards the departure gate. On the way, an airport employee points me at a machine and tells me I must pay a £10 Airport Development Fee.

No mention of this in all of the flight booking stuff (and the numerous other taxes this trip has already cost me) – it is as blatant a bit of highway robbery as I’ve seen in recent years…

Anyway, after the usual inspection of all the contents of my bags and jeans, I am left having a coffee (the cost of which made the Airport Development Fee seem a bargain) whilst I wait for the flight to be called.

We board the little Fokker at the normal time, but almost immediately are told by Captain Speaking that there is a delay. Apparently Schiphol (Amsterdam) has a light fog. Although it won’t affect the ability of aircraft to take off and land, Air Traffic rules mean that there has to be a greater separation between arriving and departing flights.

I’m not concerned as I have about an hour and a half at Schiphol before joining my onward connection.

We eventually get airborne at around 07:00 – about 40 minutes late – and there is just time for the charming KLM Flight Attendant to give us all a drink and a waffle(!) before we are descending into Schiphol.

We quickly deplane and I walk the ten minutes or so to Gate E9 to join my Delta Airbus. I go through another series of security checks (including standing in a scanner thing – real Man from U.N.C.L.E. stuff) before joining what is clearly going to be a full flight.

We’re boarded on time and I end up right at the back of the passenger compartment, in the last row of seats before the galley.

Won’t have any problems getting the Airbus to rotate this morning I feel

I am in the right hand of three seats, the left hand one being occupied by the lovely Sylvia from the Czech Republic who is visiting her sister in Seattle for three weeks. In a completely packed flight we are lucky enough to have the only empty seat between us.

We get a very amusing safety brief video...

Link (it's Version 5) really caught people’s attention and had been well thought out. We are airborne just about on time and we settle back for the nine and a half hour flight to Portland, Oregon.

The in flight food was acceptable, the entertainment first rate (improved considerably by noise cancelling headphones) and three of the female flight attendants ‘of a certain age’ decided I needed looking after (in a non-biblical sense) – so all-in-all it was a good trip.

We arrived at about 11:40 local at Portland where, after 35 minutes or so going through Immigration & Customs, I am met by my mate Jorgé (Rubber Cow from ADVrider), who whisks me away to Rubber Cow Haus in his Land Rover Discovery.

After showing me where the beer is and failing to provide me with the internet password, Jorgé goes back to work at Nike and tells me he’ll be home around 17:30.

I am left with the onerous task of typing up the first day of my journal and making sure that Brandy and Daisy have sufficient pats on the head and other attention.

I sit out on the deck and type my journal...

...looking at the horizon to see if Mount Hood is going to make an appearance through the haze.

I then take a stroll into the garage to meet an old friend...

It’s nice to be back…

All text & original photos © Mike Oughton 2004 - 2014
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Old 10-01-2014, 05:54 PM   #2
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You had me at Portland. Sub freaking Scribed.
Mixing metaphors is like killing two birds with a dog that won't hunt.
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Old 10-02-2014, 10:04 AM   #3
MikeO OP
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2nd October 2014

Sheila, Jorgé & I went to a nice little bistro thing near Beaverton (no sniggering at the back) last night and had a collection of dishes, some of which had such a high garlic content I fear my breath may have etched the shaving mirror this morning...

I eventually turn in at about about 20:45, having been awake for about 27hrs, and go out like a light. I wake a couple of times during the night, but find that thinking of all my workmates commuting into work puts me into an excellent frame of mind and drift straight back off...

I eventually rouse myself around 08:00 feeling remarkably well rested. It's a beautiful day...

...already warm, and promising to be in the low 80s F later. I decide to have a healthy breakfast (this discipline will probably last until I try to pass the first Denny's) on the deck...

...and invite Daisy out to join me...

Brandy is way too comfortable in an indoor suntrap to move...

OK - time to refresh my memory on oilhead valve adjustment - been a while since I did mine, so best to read through it once more...

More later
All text & original photos © Mike Oughton 2004 - 2014
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Old 10-02-2014, 10:28 AM   #4
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You're in my neck of the woods. I'm near the coast in SW Oregon. Give a PM if you want to stop by for a beer, bed-n-beef.
"...when I handed the 40 ouncer to him, he got that far off stare that a cat gets when it just gets done licking its ass for the last 15". Yeah, THAT stare." -WTF-Over
"Don't come in here with your thoughtfulness, empathy, and reason... this is shit, up with which, I shall not put." -Boondoggle
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Old 10-02-2014, 12:40 PM   #5
MikeO OP
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2nd October 2014 (later)

OK - this seems straightforward - and for once it is. Just remove the rocker covers (every time I pull these bolts out I hear 'Mother' saying "The time to override detonation has passed, you have three minutes to reach minimum safe distance") (I'm wearing a Nostromo Tee shirt today, you see)...

...and have at it with a set of feeler gauges...

My eyesight is getting crap - finding the timing marks in the portal of lost grommets is getting more difficult every year...

I had to tighten the upper right inlet, the lower right exhaust and slacken the upper left exhaust - but they were all pretty close.

I button everything back up...

...and take the Adv out for a few hundred yards test ride, to make sure it's oil tight and sounding OK. It sounds great

Although I notice the ABS lights are flashing after they should be - I'll have to ask Jorgé if he's aware of this.

Time for tea. English Breakfast tea. In a huge mug.

Tastes nothing like English Breakfast tea.


More later...
All text & original photos © Mike Oughton 2004 - 2014
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Old 10-02-2014, 12:50 PM   #6
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just don't drift through the core system for 57 years.
Got places to do and things to be.
'14 1200 GSA
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Old 10-02-2014, 01:26 PM   #7
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Lookin' good.
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Old 10-02-2014, 01:57 PM   #8
expat in the jungle
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Location: Bilbao, close to the fu****ng Guggenheim
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good intro, dude

and don´t worry about eyesight

just change your bike

easy, right
Youth is wasted on the young

Need some help<<<<<<>>>>>>> wet wanderings
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Old 10-03-2014, 08:48 AM   #9
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Location: Scarning, Norfolk, today...
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3rd October 2014

I wake to the sounds of Jorgé and Sheila moving stealthily about the house. Well, sort of - they have a car arriving at 04:50 to take them to Portland International and are spending a weekend down in Arizona, leaving me dog (and cat) sitting for a couple of days.

I drift back to sleep and wake again at about 07:00 and take a wander upstairs where I am enthusiastically greeted by Daisy and Brandy and ignored completely by Timmy the cat.

I make a large strong cup of coffee using the Nespresso and then step out onto the deck to greet the day.

Beautiful - Mount Hood is silhouetted against the dawn sky, the horizon lit with a mix of oranges and reds from the sun just below the horizon...

The sun rises and the Friday begins - who knows what the day will hold?

In the garden below, Daisy expresses her opinion...

More later...
All text & original photos © Mike Oughton 2004 - 2014
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Old 10-06-2014, 05:53 PM   #10
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6th October 2014

A beautiful dawn – I let the dogs out and feed and water them. I have had a couple of lazy days getting over my jet-lag (which has really been bad on this trip), but the dogs are clearly aware that something is happening – Daisy follows me around constantly as I carry luggage up to the bike.

I spent some of yesterday trying to fit all my kit into the two panniers and the tank bag. Nearly did it, too – but then had a common-sense moment and decided to strap a roll bag on the back, allowing me to pack more quickly (and more lazily ) further down the road.

I say goodbye to the Carbó animals and get kitted up on the driveway. It’s already warm and I leave all the vents in my jacket open – I start the engine at 08:30 and join the Monday commuters heading south. The fuel warning light is on. It was on when I rode the bike on Friday. I have no clue how much range I have before I run out.

This is true adventure!

I ask Doris (Bettie’s step-sister) to find me a route to Bend in Oregon. It’s not a long haul, but today is going to be about getting used to being on the bike for several hours a day – I expect to completely repack in a more logical manner this evening.

Jorgé’s bike is a single-spark 1150 Adventure and is in a good state of fettle (the valve clearances are particular fine ). It has many of the features of my own bike, including Öhlins suspension and Ricky bars. However, he has kept the stock BMW seat – now banned in 34 countries as a form of cruel and unusual punishment. In order to try to deal with this instrument of torture I have bought an Airhawk seat cover thing – basically an inflatable cushion. It feels odd to begin with, but it at least makes the ride bearable.

After thirteen miles I bottle out and fill the bike up at a Chevron station. Oregon is unusual in that all petrol (gas, whatever) has to be pumped by an attendant. As usual, the guys today are happy to let me do it, thus avoiding a tank bag full of Super-unleaded. Weirdly, my credit card wouldn’t work, but my debit card would – the exact opposite of yesterday at a department store.

I set off once again, the frisson of excitement of running on vapour now absent from my day. It’s shaping up to be a warm one and I’m glad of the vents in my jacket.

Traffic gradually dies off as I enter rural Oregon – there is a huge agricultural industry here – mostly fruit, but everything else from ornamental shrubs to Christmas Trees are signed at the roadside.

I stop to adjust the pressure of the Airhawk – it’s still not quite right. Hey-ho…

The Winding Roads feature on Doris really is rather good – taking me down loads of leafy by-ways, which I wouldn’t have found without her guidance. I cross the Interstate...

... which is the way I would have been routed if I’d not used this feature.


The irrigators are misting the entire field of view to my left...

In Sublimity...

...I decide to stop for a spot of brunch at...

I should have been warned by the lack of cars in the car park. It's a cheerless place staffed by two elderly oriental women, who serve me breakfast entirely to their own satisfaction. The food was hot...

...and had the appearance of having hit the plate at high speed. Nice coffee though...

I get suited and booted and ride out of town. Soon I enter the something or other National Forest (should have read the sign – didn’t)...

...and ride in shade-dappled coolness on superbly maintained (and traffic free) roads for a while. The road follows a river with incredibly clear water...

The Forestry Service takes fire control very seriously and there are signs everywhere urging caution. Also in evidence – signs like this…

…which warn you of volunteer fire-fighting stations like this one, set back from the road...

It’s near 80°F in the sunshine now as Doris sends me up Gates Hill Road – the signs on entry are promising…

…and the road doesn’t disappoint – I give the bike’s tyres and suspension a workout for a few miles. Actually, come to think of it – I probably do that just by sitting on it…

I stop at a rest area to ease springs...

...there seems to be an awful lot of things you're not supposed to do...


Poorly endowed gentleman coming the other way...

I pass a couple of dams and a power station near Detroit (no, not that Detroit) and suppress a shudder as I pass the Country Store at Idanha...

Back in 2004 I spent many long hours here, waiting for Jorgé to turn up with a trailer, when the Final Drive bearing failed on my bike.

Lots of signs warning of snow - snow-chain fitting areas and so on. It won't be long before they're all active...

For now, though, the autumn colours are in full spate and it's a great time to be riding through this area...

There are reminders, however, of fires over the last couple of years...

Fires have always been a part of the eco-system here - they are very often started by thunderstorms (in hot weather, the rain a thunderstorm drops will evaporate before it hits the ground - this is called Virga. The lightning strikes start fires and there's no rain to quench them). Indeed some trees (Giant Sequoia amongst them - although I may have got that wrong) actually need fire to propagate.

It's really quite warm now, even though I have climbed a couple of thousand feet. I keep drinking from my CamelBak, but I have decided to stop at Bend for the day.

Doris keeps steering me away from the main road, down great little country byways, though...

I was going to ask if anyone could guess the make and year of this old girl - the only vintage car I saw at the roadside today...

...but I feel the vendor may have given the game away a tad...

I enter Bend just after 14:00 - it feels a good time to stop. I check into the Holiday Inn Express at an eye-watering $109 per night and enter my room of air-conditioned delight...

I unpack and then go across the road to the garage to fuel up. Weirdly the gas station can't get either of my cards to work, despite the hotel having just successfully authorised my debit card. No immediate drama as I can pay cash, but I hope this doesn't become a regular occurrence.

I connect to the laughably inaccurately named "High Speed" Wi-Fi (upload speed of less than 1mbps ) and start uploading the day's pictures. I'm disturbed to find I seem to have left the charger for my camera's batteries at Jorgé's house. Bugger. Luckily I have a couple of spare charged batteries, but I may have to drop into town in the morning and see if I can find a suitable replacement charger...

I write my journal with the AC dialled to Neptune - all's well with the world...

All text & original photos © Mike Oughton 2004 - 2014
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Old 10-07-2014, 07:13 AM   #11
reading is hard
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Old 10-07-2014, 07:56 AM   #12
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A new MikeO report! I knew I woke up this morning for a reason (yeah didn't see it until now). Subscribed.
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Old 10-07-2014, 08:30 AM   #13
MikeO OP
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Location: Scarning, Norfolk, today...
Oddometer: 6,782
7th October 2014

Crap night's sleep - don't know why

Beautiful day - time to pack up the luggage cluster bomb that's gone off in my room.

First - breakfast...

More later...
All text & original photos © Mike Oughton 2004 - 2014
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Old 10-07-2014, 08:44 AM   #14
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They are like little angels....trying to F*ck the wings off each other..
Wheres the 4x4 shifter?
Offroadohio,RRORC,Pirate4x4.Expedition Portal
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Old 10-07-2014, 08:52 AM   #15
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Was born and raised in Oregon. Great read so far. Subscribed!
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