Cougar tracks: The Blind Date

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Cowgirl, Apr 19, 2011.

  1. Cowgirl

    Cowgirl Cougar on the prowl

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2010
    Oddometer:
    4,593
    Location:
    North Saanich, BC
    Since days 2 and 3 were primarily slab-fests I'll just throw them in together.

    I'm not a morning person. When I'm at home I generally stay up late and then crawl out of bed around 8 am. I make the ever essential coffee and breakfast and then wander around the house drinking said coffee, surfing the internet and reading until 10 or so. By then I'm sufficiently caffeinated to contemplate action :D Despite my very best intentions I'm not capable of co-ordinated thought until 9 at the earliest, I know this about myself and I don't fight it :deal I did have to revise this procedure to accommodate the adventure but my typical travel morning went much like this first one. Get up between 7 and 8, shower (or not, depending on how long I had to soak in the tub the night before to get warm), dress, apply eyeliner, mascara and lipstick (you know any self-respecting cougar never leaves the house without it), pack and load the bike and find a suitable place for coffee and breakfast. Generally on the road at the crack of 9 or 9:30 :D
    This first morning I arose and peeked out the window - it was sunny! :clap
    It had obviously just stopped raining since there were pools of water everywhere but the sun was shining. I opted to start the day in the rainsuit to protect myself from spray from passing vehicles and because I'd neglected to take a picture of it the day before - it just looks so darn glamorous :lol3

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    I blasted, well OK, cruised down I5 toward Eugene. It's funny how hard it is to make myself pull over once I get on the Interstate but I did manage to stop for a couple of pictures of the Willamette Valley.

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    South of Eugene I came to the town of Cottage Grove and I decided to try to find a coffee and WiFi. I hadn't had an internet connection at the motel and I was suffering from ADV withdrawal. I stopped at the local tourist info centre and I was directed to this place.

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    When you walk in it looks like your typical coffee house and bakery with a counter of baked goods and a couple of tables by the window. Then I noticed a big doorway at the back. This opens into the adjoining saloon and bookstore :D Lots of locals sitting around with books and laptops or just chatting. It was great!
    This guy guards the approach.

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    This mural was across the street.

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    I also looked for a place in town for an oil change, the Wee was due for her 6000km (4000 mile) service but the shop in Cottage Grove didn't have a filter so it was back to the slab.

    South of Eugene I started to enter the Cascades. I had been down this way in 2001 in a car and I had forgotten that there were mountains to cross down here.
    The foothills

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    I stopped for lunch in Grant's Pass and found a motorcycle shop in the Yellow Pages. Yes, they had a filter, yes, they could do a change right away - terrific :clap The waitress however, not only couldn't tell me how to get to 5th Street, she didn't know what street we were on (it was 6th) :huh I figured it out :D The guys at Rapley Motorsports were friendly and we chatted while they changed the oil. They were also good-looking :wink: You know I'd notice that!

    Grant's Pass

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    Oil change complete I resumed my southward journey. California here I come! The goal for the day was Sacramento.

    Past Yreka (I love that name!) I started to notice this mountain on the horizon. I'm sure you all recognize Mount Shasta.

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    Climbing toward it I started to get cold and by the time I reached the town at the foot of the mountain it was time for dinner.
    I was laughing as I took this picture because I honestly thought it was the last time I would see snow :lol3 Yes, more amusement for you at my expense :lol3

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    I didn't quite make it to Sacramento. I didn't want to ride much after dark and I'd spent that time in Grant's Pass so I pulled over in Corning, CA and settled in for the night.

    Wednesday morning was a repeat of Tuesday and I was again on the road by about 9 am. By this time I was in the grasslands of northern California.

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    I was a little worried about my gear, I didn't think my boots and jeans, yes jeans, I know, ATGATT, would hold up to the rigours of Toroweap and I didn't much relish looking like a squid when I showed up for the blind date so I stopped in Fresno and discovered CycleGear :D They outfitted me with a pair of riding pants and a sturdy pair of O'Neal boots. You'll see later I had ample reason to be grateful for this purchase.

    On to Bakersfield.

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    And palm trees :D

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    Along about dark I pulled into Tehachapi for a bowl of soup. I quizzed the locals about possible camping sites and motels but there didn't seem to be anything suitable in the area. I was feeling pretty fresh so I decided to continue to Mojave. It was full dark by now and really cold so I donned another layer and headed out. All seemed good until I reached the turnoff for Mojave. I exited the freeway and turned south and was blown across 2 lanes of traffic!! :eek1 Scared the crap out of me! Of course, Mojave isn't your typical "beside the freeway" town, it's 16km (10 miles) down the road to town and the wind was howling. I'd honestly never experienced anything like it.
    I pull up in front of the motel and check in. A couple of women in another room hear the Wee and come out to chat. One of them has just bought a sport bike (a really pretty one) and they're riding it home. I ask about comfort 2 up and they tell me one is riding, the other is driving the car. Nice! Their own support vehicle :D They also tell me the winds for the next day are forecast for 80 mph (130 kmh)!
    #41
  2. Husky Varmit

    Husky Varmit Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2009
    Oddometer:
    702
    Location:
    Llano Estacado - Cottle County
    Of course, all the rest of it is VERY nice to read, but I almost croaked when I read this line:

    " It's funny how hard it is to make myself pull over once I get on the Interstate "

    There have way too many times when a planned 200 mile or so day trip turns into 700+ cause it is just too much trouble to stop. Well, that and the fact that down here you can pull out on the highway and wear out the center of a set of tires before you hit ANY kind of a curve. The term 'chicken strips' doesn't apply to the RT since the only time the sides of the tire get used are pulling out of the driveway or leaning into the 40MPH crosswinds.

    NOW, FINISH THE DARNED REPORT!!!! [grin]
    #42
  3. bwalsh

    bwalsh Long timer

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2009
    Oddometer:
    16,912
    Location:
    Helltown
    I need to plan a trip out to Ouray in July!

    Waiting for the next installment Cowgirl!:freaky
    #43
  4. Papermaker

    Papermaker Infrequent Poster

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2006
    Oddometer:
    37
    Location:
    Seattle
    Ya didn't notice all the Windmills in the pass? They were put there for a reason.

    Seriously, Mojave has to be the windiest place on earth. Last time my wife and I were there it was blowing a steady 40 MPH with gusts to 60 MPH.

    Great RR, can't wait for the rest.
    #44
  5. Cowgirl

    Cowgirl Cougar on the prowl

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2010
    Oddometer:
    4,593
    Location:
    North Saanich, BC
    It was already pitch black by the time I got there. I didn't see the windmills until the next day :deal
    #45
  6. trizzo

    trizzo Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2010
    Oddometer:
    207
    Location:
    Quebec
    we will keep our eyes open for you cougs in ouray. im heading out with 2 friends Jun30 thru Jul10ish in Ouray. we are all married, so definitely not on the hunt. but we will still keep our eyes open for you gals, wave, and send a beer(or 3) your way! :freaky
    #46
  7. Cowgirl

    Cowgirl Cougar on the prowl

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2010
    Oddometer:
    4,593
    Location:
    North Saanich, BC
    At check-in the night before the clerk had warned me about parking my bike carefully, they'd often had bikes blow over in the parking lot so I wedged the Wee in downwind of a big tractor and took my weary bones to bed.
    At about 3:30 am I woke up and listened. Not a breath of wind. "I should just get up and go," I thought to myself but I couldn't drag myself out of bed after just 4 hours sleep. "Ah, it wouldn't be safe," I told myself and went back to sleep. At 5:30 I awoke to the sound of the wind screaming through the trees out in front of my room. A truly eerie sound. Not much point in getting up now. I actually posted as my FB status that I was stuck in Mojave for the day. I finally got up at 7 and peered out. The sun was shining, birds were singing and the wind didn't look that bad. I was also getting support from a couple of my ADV friends who told me to go for it, I could handle the wind. OK, let's get while the getting was good!

    Driving out of town this was the sight that greeted me.

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    Yes, those wind farms are there for a really good reason.
    I was enthralled. This is completely different to the country I'm used to.

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    The vegetation is just weird but so very cool.

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    Strange things tickle my fancy. Like this, a river with no water. It actually made me giggle. I know, but I never let on I was normal.

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    And of course, I'm not used to the wide open spaces. There's huge trees where I live.

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    The wind, what there was of it, was at my back all the way to Barstow but when I made the turn on I15 I realized it had caught up to me.

    At first it wasn't too bad. I just leaned into it and rode out the gusts. There's something called gyroscopic precession (I think I remember from the dark ages of high school physics) that keeps bikes in motion upright. Of course when I stopped it was my not so brute strength that held the bike up so picture taking became an ordeal. However here's a few I had to stop for.

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    When I stopped to take this last one I had my first real mishap. Generally I just pulled onto the paved "emergency stopping only" shoulder to take my pictures but here there was a wide gravel pullout :clap where I could get well off the highway. I stopped, snapped a few frames and then started off again - right into a huge patch of loose gravel :eek1 Of course, I skidded and dropped the bike :cry OK, no problem, I've picked this bike up before so I get in position back to the seat, grab a handle bar in one hand and the baggage rack in the other and push with my legs. The only thing that happens is my feet slide in the gravel and I fall on my butt. Hmmm, must be the extra hundred pounds of gear I'm carrying. So there I am, standing over my bike thinking I'm going to have to unload everything when I hear a shout. An 18 wheeler has stopped on the shoulder and the driver is running toward me. "Wait, wait" he yells and makes his way over. In short order the two of us have the Wee back on it's wheels where it belongs. He wishes me well and off I go. Nice guy!

    A couple of more pictures from the desert south of Las Vegas.

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    I'm not sure what was over the lip of this pit, I'm guessing some kind of mine, but the effect of the dust in the wind was cool.

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    Now the wind was well and truly storm force. I later learned the gusts reached 95 kmh (almost 60 mph). The sky was obscured by blowing dust and visibility was down to about 8 km (5 miles). My meeting with the Ratman was just a few hours away and I wanted to keep going so I just ground on. My next goal was Las Vegas for a rest and a meal but when I got there the buildings were just silhouettes in the dust. I kept going. Finally the Wee needed gas and I desperately needed a rest so I pulled into a truck stop at the Moapa Paiute reservation. I maneuvered the Wee into a parking spot next to a Harley being careful to keep the kickstand on the downwind side so it wouldn't blow over. There was a guy with the Harley. He looked absolutely worn out, I mean, frazzled. He was travelling the opposite direction from me and the wind had taken all he had. He'd taken a break at the truck stop and was about to set out again. He looked like he was dreading it. He told me to watch out in the gorge, it was extremely treacherous in the wind. Huh? What gorge? Um, OK, thanks.
    #47
  8. grizzlyone

    grizzlyone n00b

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2009
    Oddometer:
    2
    Location:
    Vancouver Island
    Hey CG!
    Welcome home.
    Your writing is great. Bringin' smiles...keep it coming.

    :lurk
    #48
  9. JMH1950

    JMH1950 n00b

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2011
    Oddometer:
    2
    Location:
    Ladysmith, Vancouver Island
    Great stuff Cindy, keep it coming.
    #49
  10. CaptainAttila

    CaptainAttila Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2010
    Oddometer:
    110
    Location:
    Richland, WA
    Is there a new forum rule that Wee-riding Canadian women write great ride reports? Between Cowgirl and Cariboostrom there's been some wonderful stuff!
    #50
  11. Cowgirl

    Cowgirl Cougar on the prowl

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2010
    Oddometer:
    4,593
    Location:
    North Saanich, BC
    I went into the truck stop to find a restroom and a sandwich but I found a lot more than I had bargained for! It was a huge building with a gift shop, convenience store, gas station, restaurant and casino. I think there was some more stuff but I never did get to the back of the place. Over a grilled cheese and a coffee I got into a conversation with the cook. He also told me to watch out in the gorge. "Is there a way around it?" I asked. "Nope" was the answer. Hmmmm.
    Out at the pumps another Harley guy was filling up. He too was heading in the opposite direction and we had a chat about the wind and the relative merits of headwinds or tailwinds. We both agreed the crosswinds were the worst :webers
    Fed, coffeed, dewatered and gassed I took a deep breath and went out to battle the wind for the final leg to Saint George, UT where I was to meet Rat734. Now I had the additional worry of the mysterious gorge to look forward to.
    Eighty km (fifty miles) down the road I came to the town of Mesquite, NV and as I passed it the wind just miraculously stopped! I mean, completely.
    It felt like I'd had a huge weight lifted from me, it was amazing. If only it would last until I passed this darn gorge thing!
    For a lot of miles now I'd been heading toward what appeared to be a huge rock wall. There was a range of mountains directly across my path with no apparent openings. I kept looking for the highway to go left or right but I could see no sign of either, the highway just seemed to disappear.

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    Believe it or not I hadn't put two and two together between the rock wall and the gorge but now I realized the highway went INTO this hundreds of metres high pile of rock. It all began to make sense. The highway winds along the gorge created by the Virgin River, a narrow, twisty defile barely wide enough for the freeway. I have to tell you I was very, very glad I didn't have to contend with crosswinds in there :bow
    As I pulled into Saint George and stopped to call Rat734 my phone rang - it was the Ratman. How's that for synchronicity? He gave me directions to his home high in the hills above Saint George and I set off on the last few km of my 1500km quest.

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    #51
  12. Bob

    Bob Formerly H20Pumper

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2002
    Oddometer:
    3,299
    Location:
    Corral de Tierra CA, Ketchum ID
    Nice ADV.
    #52
  13. jpdude999

    jpdude999 Rider on the Strom

    Joined:
    May 28, 2009
    Oddometer:
    430
    Location:
    Sandy Eggo
    I'm in. Gotta love a woman who rides a Wee! :freaky
    #53
  14. PukaWai

    PukaWai Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2007
    Oddometer:
    880
    Location:
    Big Bear City, Ca.
    Congrats, you've made it half way through your first "big" trip! Although I used ride on Interstates, I now avoid them like the plague - they suck all the life out of a good ride, but that section of I15 thru Virgin River gorge is one of two pieces of Interstate the I still think of as worthwhile (the other is I70 between Glenwood Springs and Denver). I like how the river appears to be flowing uphill thru Virgin River Gorge; not sure if it appears that way to anybody else...
    #54
  15. Cowgirl

    Cowgirl Cougar on the prowl

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2010
    Oddometer:
    4,593
    Location:
    North Saanich, BC
    Who said anything about half-way? :augie It's only day 4 out of a possible 13. Who knows what could still happen :brow
    #55
  16. Jettn Jim

    Jettn Jim This is Liv'n!!!

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,938
    Location:
    NE PA Some... PNW Some... On HIGH ADVENTURE Most!
    I like it...Good stuff! :1drink
    This is gooood...
    #56
  17. MikeinEugene

    MikeinEugene Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2010
    Oddometer:
    2,749
    Location:
    Eugene OR
    :lol3

    Great report CG! Loving it so far :clap
    #57
  18. xcgates

    xcgates Whaaa?

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,782
    Location:
    San Antonio, Texas
    Well, we have picture proof you met up with the objective, and you (at least presumably you!) are typing this, so you are at least alive and mobile!

    That's good, right?:lol3
    #58
  19. feline

    feline Purrrrrrrrrrs!

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2007
    Oddometer:
    506
    Location:
    northeast PA
    Loving this RR!!
    #59
  20. OklaRider

    OklaRider Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2010
    Oddometer:
    29
    :clap
    #60