Coming to America...

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by MikeO, May 5, 2004.

  1. MikeO

    MikeO Part-time wage slave...

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    5th May

    Don't kow what time I woke, but it felt early. Head was aching a bit - hmm - six pack - it's all coming back to me...:p. Overall, the cyber-dumping was a positive thing. I've known it was on the cards for a while and I'm convinced that this was a major factor in my recent depression. I feel fine.

    I pack the bike and set course for Crater Lake National Park, some 150 miles north west. I'd planned to spend the night at Jorge Carbo's, but, having spoken to Mark at the parts counter at Chicago BMW and found that they're only despatching my service bits today, I've contacted Jorge and suggested I delay my arrival by a day.

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    The 140 is an uninvolving, but pretty, ride. The countryside is becoming more mountainous, as I gradually travel further north west. The coniferous forests here differ from those in the UK in sheer size - not only the area they cover, but the age and size of the trees themselves - they're huge...

    I fill up at Klamath Falls, and spot this, ahem, unique form of transport at the next pump...

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    As I approach the turn off to the southern entrance to Crater Lake (I was assured at the service station that all entrances are open), I notice that, in several places in the woods, there were railway trucks (actually guards vans - called 'cabooses' here, I believe) set on short lengths of rail. I came across the entrance to the Train Mountain Railroad - a private club. Hmmm...

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    I press north and soon turn left off the 97 onto the 138 - to find...

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    ...that the North entrance is still the domain of the snowmobiler :( - bugger!

    Still, the scenery is pretty - I ride around some of the loops off the resort lake...

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    Before continuing towards Springfield, where I intend to stop for the night. The 58 takes me north west, through more coniferous and, at lower altitudes, deciduous forests...

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    ...and along the side of Lookout Point Lake...

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    ...before I arrive at the Best Western at Springfield.

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    #81
  2. MikeO

    MikeO Part-time wage slave...

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    Right - you're up to date - I'm going to bed!

    Mike:D
    #82
  3. MikeO

    MikeO Part-time wage slave...

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    6th May

    I rode up the Interstate to Jorge & Sheila’s house. It was 100 miles or so – no pictures – if you need to see what it looked like, go and take a picture of your local motorway then cut & paste into here ;).

    I arrive to find Jorge had just left :yelrotflm Never mind – the package on the doorstep is from BMW of Chicago – I go and buy the oils for the service and get to work on the driveway. Jorge arrives as I’m cleaning the brakes :p – we move the bike into the garage and continue. I’m introduced to Cricket, a Shar-Pei / Pit bull cross (with some Bassett in there as well…)

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    Jorge has my dream job. He works for a well known sports clothing manufacturer. His current project is designing a sports bra. Part of the research for this involves studying videotapes of naked women running on a treadmill – Yes!

    As has always been the case with ADVriders, the garage has some familiar residents…

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    Sheila’s soon home from work, and prepares dinner whilst her husband helps the weird guy from the other side of the pond :p – we manage to do most of the work before dinner, leaving the change of Poly V Belt and throttle body balance for later. A good day’s work :thumb

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    #83
  4. MikeO

    MikeO Part-time wage slave...

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    7th May

    Jorge & Sheila are out early to go to work (which most people I meet seem to have to do :confused: ), so I ride over to the Evergreen Aircraft Museum, home of one of the more bizarre aircraft I’ve seen…

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    …the ‘Spruce Goose’…

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    Devised as a solution to the massive losses being suffered by shipping in the North Atlantic at the hands of Dönitz’s U boats, the Hughes Flying Boat was, and is, the largest wooden aircraft ever built. It became a huge money pit, soaking up $18m of Federal funding, as well as $7m of Howard Hughes’ own money. It flew, in 1947, just once, with Hughes at the controls. It was then, on Hughes instructions, parked in a specially constructed, climate controlled hangar, for the next 23yrs. The costs of this ran to more than $1m per year. After Hughes death, the ‘Goose’ was sold to a local entrepreneur, who displayed it, alongside the Queen Mary, in Palm Beach, California. When Disney acquired the company, they lost interest in the flying boat and it was transferred to its present, purpose built, home.

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    The museum is home to an eclectic collection of aircraft, from a Messerschmidt Bf109G…

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    …to a SR71 Blackbird…

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    …to a B 17 Flying Fortress…

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    It’s an excellent museum.

    On the way back to Jorge & Sheila’s home, I stop off at what looks like an innocuous little suburban house…

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    …which turns out to have a garage full of BMWs.

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    The garage belongs to Steve Prokop, an independent servicing agent. He listens to my engine, attaches his balance gauge, tweaks the throttle bodies and, like magic, the engine smooths out and the high frequency vibration disappears…

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    …he then turns into the perfect mechanic by refusing any payment – what a nice bloke :thumb

    That evening, sitting on Jorge’s deck, with Mount Hood looking alternately like Mount Doom, or Mount Fuji, depending on whether it’s cloudy or not, I try a Cuban drink, comprising of rum, lime juice, sugar, mint and, as I find the next morning, a headache…

    We spend the evening with Jorge & Sheila’s neighbours, eating & drinking – it’s a very convivial evening, rounding off a good day…

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    #84
  5. MikeO

    MikeO Part-time wage slave...

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    8th May

    Today I’m going to meet up with a load of the guys from ADVrider at a barbeque at a place called Joemma Beach, near Tacoma in Washington State. Jorge has been away from home a lot recently, so is going to take me over to the local Starbucks, where some of the guys are setting off – he’ll then come home to the lovely Sheila – I don’t blame him a bit ;)

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    We meet up with Knary & Deacon & set off, picking up Raindog in the geographically accurate, but uninspiringly named Seaside…

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    We then set off on what turns out to be a very wet ride through north Oregon and Washington…

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    …just when it seems it can’t get any wetter, we get stopped at a railway crossing :D

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    We arrive as the sun starts to come out at the Joemma Beach State Park – I go off and find a motel on Purdey, about 18 miles away, dry out a bit and then return, bearing beer. The BBQ is well under way, with a fantastic seafood dish…

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    …or should I say – bucket :yelrotflm

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    It’s full of shrimp, crab, red snapper, corn, mussels, clams etc – and it’s EXCELLENT!

    I meet loads of people from the ADVrider site – can’t remember most names, so I apologise to those whose photos appear here for not naming all of them…

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    MaxMoto, looking like Bruce Springsteen…

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    KNary, on his specially made seat for short people…

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    Various ADVriders chilling (& bullshitting, of course :p).

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    As the sun (& beer) went down…

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    …the discussion moved up the hill to a firepit in the campsite. I rode back to the motel – another good day…:)

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    #85
  6. MikeO

    MikeO Part-time wage slave...

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    9th May

    After waiting over an hour for a breakfast of unparalleled mediocrity in the diner next to my motel (it’s Mother’s Day today – in America), I pack up and pay another visit to the Joemma campsite, to see how the survivors are doing – there are still a couple of characters there. I say my farewells and head off south towards California and the warmth and dryness it promises…

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    This part of Washington is beautiful – there are massive clusters of vividly coloured rhododendrons lining the road and the vegetation is lush and green – as it has every right to be after yesterday’s rain :D

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    I ride south, following Betty’s directions towards Sequoia National Park, over 1000 miles distant. I see a sign for Mount St Helens and decide to divert there. The weather (as ever :p) starts to close in and the cloud is low on the horizon. The scenery is spectacular and stark…

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    On 8th May 1980, the day got off to a bad start for any living thing within 17 miles of Mt St Helens. The eruption, the largest landslide in recorded history and the pyroclastic flows laid waste to 150 sq miles around Mt St Helens. The after effects of the event are clear to see as you ride up to the visitor centre. There is an excellent presentation on the event, including some chilling film of the eruption and transcripts of radio transmissions from scientists whose bad luck it was to be on the mountain that morning. The scale of the eruption has to be seen to be appreciated…

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    The ride would be worth it anyway, for the scenery…

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    …plus they have a great bridge…

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    I’m tired and cold, so I get back on course south, towards the surf bunnies, and, pausing only to read a really odd sign outside a church...

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    ...check into the Best Western at Vancouver (Oregon, not Canada ;))…

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    #86
  7. Marc

    Marc Just sayin...

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    Mike,

    I told you in person, and I'll echo those same sentiments here - your ride reports are fantastic! :clap Absolutely entertaining and well written. It was a pleasure meeting you and being a part of your ongoing odyssey.

    Safe travels,

    Marc
    #87
  8. MikeO

    MikeO Part-time wage slave...

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    10th May

    I had a very late night (in fact, 0330 this morning), so I was careful to leave the ‘Do Not Disturb’ flag on my door handle, check that the alarm clock was off etc. None of this stopped them ringing me at 0730 with a wake-up call I hadn’t booked - Ah well…:p

    Never mind - spent the time ringing BMW GB and asking them what they were going to do about my front discs warping (I'm on my 4th or 5th set - I honestly can't remember). The answer was - they'll replace them (I'm 2 months out of warranty, but they're treating it as a 'problem with history'). Due to the vagaries of the various corporate warranties, I have to pay for the replacement here, then I'll be re-imbursed on my return to the UK. Result :thumb - time to find a dealer in Califiornia somewhere...

    I’m on the road for 1000 and it’s raining. Hard. I hit the I5 south towards Salem, but soon get bored and strike off across country towards the Pacific…

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    The landscape is basically similar to Europe and the roads are not challenging…

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    …the rain showers continue, varying from "Hmm, that’s miserable" to "I’m not getting my camera out". I arrive in the town of Newport and check into the Econo-lodge, getting a room with a sea view*.

    Just before getting to Newport, I passed a farm on the right, which housed this weird looking pipework above one of its barns – anybody got any idea what it is? :confused:

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    Closer view...

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    Further south down the Pacific Coast Highway tomorrow…

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    * if you climb on top of the bookcase, lean over and squint through the very top of the left window…
    #88
  9. Arch

    Arch Incurable Gearhead

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    Hi Mike! :wave
    #89
  10. Peachmaan

    Peachmaan Boneless chicken

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    Could it be ..... the ADVrider salute??

    Attached Files:

    #90
  11. Peachmaan

    Peachmaan Boneless chicken

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    If this is where I think it is......

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    #91
  12. Peachmaan

    Peachmaan Boneless chicken

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    AND I KNOW...................
    Thanx for your report... and keep save.. :thumb

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    #92
  13. caver

    caver Missouri The Cave State

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    It's probably used for seed or grain processing.
    In the middle is an elevator leg with angled tubes dropping the product down into bins or whatever.
    #93
  14. MikeO

    MikeO Part-time wage slave...

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    Got to be some X Files thing... Grain Elevator - Huh! :D

    Hi Arch :wave

    Mike

    ps Blimey - does it ever stop raining in Oregon :huh
    #94
  15. Road Rash

    Road Rash Infamous

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    It was a pleasure to meet you at Joemama beach ( I was the one trying to auction off your helmet) :D A great thread you have here, you have gone places that most of us will just dream of, and your not even done yet :thumb I will be following your travels and pretend I'm riding with ya. :nod
    #95
  16. Dick

    Dick Its a big old goofy world

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    Ahem - I think that may be the wrong finger -
    #96
  17. Ruskie

    Ruskie Banned

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    Great to meet you and cheers to your great writing and pics.:thumb
    #97
  18. MikeO

    MikeO Part-time wage slave...

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    11th May

    It was raining hard when I woke, so I went back to sleep :D

    As I packed the bike (having delayed the inevitable, by making a few phone calls to the UK), the skies began to clear and the rain abated. I rode south down the Highway 101, the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH). As I leave Newport, I ride over a very elegant bridge…

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    I continue down the 101 all day. It follows the coast quite closely to begin with, but occasionally strays inland, when the coast gets too rocky. Just after I stop for lunch in Waldport – which has another bridge – this one with a visitor centre (the car park for which, it is fair to say, was not full…)

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    …the road started to climb. The highway is cut into the side of the cliff, which affords an excellent view down the Pacific Coast…

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    …which is looking far from pacific – surf’s up!

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    As I travel further south, the weather improves, and the sea state calms a little, until, by about 1600, it looks fantastic…

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    I find a Mom & Pop Motel in Brookings and, after a Mexican meal in the restaurant opposite, settle in for the evening…

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    Sorry – don’t know what it is – just seems like there’s some great looking bridges today :confused:

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    #98
  19. kirkmoon

    kirkmoon Making up for lost youth

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    Truly outstanding! Thanks for sharing your adventures with us all. It is wonderful seeing our country through the eyes of a clever, "detached" observer. :thumb Your insights are great.

    I think you'll find California to be a very special place. Hope you enjoy it. We have had fabulous weather for the past couple of weeks. I think your rainy days are behind you for good.
    #99
  20. MikeO

    MikeO Part-time wage slave...

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    12th May

    A beautiful day. I feel confident enough to put the heated jacket in the left hand “won’t be needing that for a while” pannier. I’m on the road, heading south, by 1000, and I’m in California by 1010…

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    I continue south, through the Redwood forests – at times the GPS loses satellite reception and I get quite cold in the shadow of these huge trees…

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    I ride past the “Trees of Mystery” museum :confused: The “statues” are of Paul Bunyan, an American folk hero, and his blue ox. Mr Bunyan seems to have been indiscreet in his trousers…

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    I stop for brunch at Rolf’s Café in Orick – a traditional German café – which serves German food…

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    …in German sized portions :D – Being California, there is a flower as part of the garnish…

    As I eat at my outside table, a bird with neon blue plumage steals sugar from the next table...

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    After finishing the meal (I don’t need to eat again for the whole day – maybe not tomorrow :D), I carry on down the PCH.

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    The road wanders inland for quite long distances, often following the Eel River…

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    I soon leave the highway and ride down the “Avenue of Giants” – truly enormous trees – some are 300’ in height and over two thousand years old…

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    A few miles further down the road, I find that, even in ‘Green’ California, profit has been put in front of principle and someone has callously exploited one of these 2400yr old trees for a bit of paltry gain – unbelievably, they’ve cut a hole in one and made a road through it…

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    Well, you can’t pass up a photo-opportunity like that – can you? :yelrotflm

    Further down the 101, in the town of Willits, I find that the local schoolbus has met an untimely end…

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    I’m feeling very tired, for some reason (probably not unconnected with eating a half million calorie brunch :p), so I search out a Best Western in Ukiah, paying an exorbitant $89 for the night – made worse by $8!! Of ‘Arnold Tax’ – part of Mr Schwarzenegger’s attempt to adjust California’s balance of payments…

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