Tuesday, August 24 Days: 44-46 Nuts & Bolts: After a huge breakfast, I leave Justin’s backyard at Fields Station and ride southwest to Cedarville, California before turning north again to Lakeview where I stop for dinner & a room. The following day I review my ride plan with some fire fighters, check in at the local National Forest headquarters for a fire update and then ride on to Lakeview and Crescent, Oregon where I break for lunch & an IPAs. I ride on until dusk and camp trailside. Sunday I dance in and out of the Umpqua National Forest and am re-directed by fire fighting personnel around the Rogue Patch Complex and make a b-line to Ashland, Oregon for rest and repairs. Miles: 208.2 / 236.4. (Excludes Sunday’s mileage) Total Miles: 8100. (Excludes Sunday’s mileage) MPG: 58.7 / 56.1 Weather: 55-78F, 48-75F, 37-86F. Sunny, chilly and dry. Blue skies above with smoke hazed horizons, which increase in intensity closer to Rogue Valley area. Chilly start to Sunday morning with icing on on the tent. Nice weather for riding. Layers. Trail Conditions: Hard-pack sand roads with some loose stones and soil in spots as I leave Fields and turning to sections of volcanic rock gardens and some climbing. Similar conditions elsewhere then turning to sand, sand, and more sand in the flat cattle pastures, some with deep tracks of bull dust. Lot’s of steering dampener and throttle work. Sand subsides with elevation and back onto groomed National Forest fire roads, some with a layer of pine needle carpet. Extremely dry and dusty conditions. About a pound of hash browns served up at Fields Station. Stops: Eagles Nest Food & Spirts for a sad, cold steak & mashed potato. Bigfoot Tavern for chicken wings & a couple Juicy IPA’s (and a surprise), Trailside Cafe in My Tentville for Spanish rice and kielbasa. Caldera’s Brew Pub in Ashland for Ahi & avocado sammy. Earth waves Lodging: Interstate 8 motel in Lakeville, me tent, Ashland Hotel & Suites. Observations: Fire & sand. Well, smoke and sand. Before that, I have to note that I had been expecting extreme heat and fire conditions for the majority of this ride. It has not happened. I hit 100 degrees only twice since leaving New Hampshire and have, very happily, ridden in 60-86 degree weather, nearly every day. If anything, it’s been chilly enough to keep my Mosko shell on. No disappointments. Surprising Nevada Man, it’s dry. Every single body of water except one marked on my GPS was bone dry. Some should be huge; they are nothing. Not a drop. In the antelope preserve, the animals were in the middle of the dry lake thirsting for water, licking at holes in the ground. Sad. Pine trees drop their needles at once it seems, carpeting the red pumice roads in pale green. Parched cowslips clatter in the breeze like paper wind chimes. Dust. The danger of fire is palpable. Rain please. Dry lake with thirsting antelope….. tiny dots in center. I’m close to finish the TAT portion of this ride as I expect to arrive in Port Orford and camp at Cape Blanco sometime Wednesday evening. Before then, I am hoping to have a new Motoz Desert HT installed in Medford. I called ahead and they have one and are holding it for me. A little taste of California along the way. Greetings with Dan the Pizza Man from Lakeview. He digs the TAT adventure and offered me tent space. My plan is to power wash the 10lbs of crap off my bike this morning, head to the KTM shop, drop the rear tire and tool on Katy M in the parking lot until my tire is ready. I have shaken one of the Rottweiler mirrors off and they other is loose. I have a new set of brake pads to install and I plan to drop the extra two links out of my chain. I am not expecting extensive mud going forward. Sand here is firm like cake. Fires are an issue and my original plans include riding the Oregon BDR to the Washington BDR and then Idaho, etc. I am going to try to return to where I left off, but my impression is that I will be prevented from entering. Hopefully I can find someone who can properly advise me, but if I am going to run into re-routing often, I am considering adjusting my plan to ride the Oregon coast to Washington and pick up the BDR then, saving Oregon for another, less smokey visit. I will know something later today. Toasted mountain. As many of you know, a lot of folks extend a helping hand to us motorcycle travelers. It happens often, most lately Dan the Pizza Man offered to let me pitch a tent behind his pizza parlor. And consider Rod, a USMC veteran I met at the Bigfoot Tavern in Crescent who lost his son, a Marine sniper, in the Middle East. Rod and I chatted over a couple beers and before I could ride another mile, Rod was out in the parking lot filling my chill box with smoked sausage, extra sharp cheddar and a sleeve of Ritz crackers. What a man. He made my next tent stop 100% improved. I love our country, the world really, and I can tell you that in the capacity of motorcycle travel, politics never comes up. We strive to find our commonalities, not our differences. Rod stocks me up with trail grub. I also enjoyed the company of an old friend Tammy for dinner in Ashland and she was kind enough to help me make a supple run. Great to see her again. My front tire was not holding air and rather than risk a plug, I went ahead and put on a Motoz Rallz to go with the Desert HT on the rear. New brake pads went on the rear and I’m changing oil myself. I have some fasteners to tighten and away we go tomorrow. We ride on, Ikeya-Seki, out.