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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Alexa, Jul 18, 2020.
Skinny Beans got a tad cross with me yesterday because he said I wouldn’t let him bring the guitar on our trip. But that’s simply not true. I told him he could bring it. And then I asked him where exactly this long-necked voluptuously curved plywood passenger was going to sit? I might also have said that he didn’t need to worry about getting rusty from not practicing since he’s only been playing for two months. Maybe I shouldn’t have said that last thing because he actually is quite good, probably on account of his exceptional coordination and eight years of piano lessons, not to mention his good balance. He can play “Home, Home on the Range,” and all the dogs in the neighborhood sing along. Anyway, it would be nice to have a guitar in the evenings so as to have some music because a day without music is like a day without sunshine... or is that wine?
Finding an empty camping spot has been a bit entertaining out here on the western edge of America, somewhat akin to buying toilet paper down at the Piggily Wiggily—not enough to go around and tempers tested. Yesterday, Skinny Beans led us to a campground right on the bank of the Rogue River that did not have a “Campground Full” sign out front. I figured our good luck was on account of the shooting star I had wished upon the previous evening, but turns out it had nothing to do with stars or even luck and more to do with Josephine County’s misunderstanding of the laws of supply and demand, and also on its misjudgment of mixing rivers, hot weather, beer and human nature. The “campground” was actually just a long gravel parking lot without any designated spots, just a few little areas cleared through the thickets to the shore. Yes, it was a bonnafide free-for-all, like the dessert table at the annual crawdad feast. All the spots along the river were occupied by mobile mansions, and we didn’t want to park on the hot gravel and possibly get trampled by one of them beasts in the night, plus the campground’s one plastic latrine, simmering away under the hot sun like mutton stew, gave off an odor that stung my eyes. So on the farthest end of the campground, we rode our motorcycles through a tunnel in the bushes to a nice little spot just a short rabbit’s crawl from the water’s edge. We lashed back the willows with string—I always carry string with me—smoothed the dry fluffy sand flat and set up our camp.
Like the Feather River that had started our trip, the temperature of the mighty Rogue River was perfectly delightful. I made a personal flotation device out of an empty plastic water jug and gave myself a good soaking.
As the evening progressed, we heard more and more vehicles venturing down toward our end of the campground, probably hoping for an open spot along the river, I imagine. Well, somebody should have put up a sign warning about the deep sand because over and over, we heard drivers redlining their motors trying to get themselves unstuck. And this always seemed to be accompanied by passengers straining their vocal cords in order to help the drivers realize just how dumb they were for getting stuck. And in the middle of the night, we awoke to quite a commotion of angry yelling, which, after a few minutes of following along, we determined to be a cat fight over some girl sleeping in the wrong boy’s sleeping bag. I believe, if it weren’t for Josephine County’s fiendish campground experiment, these could have been fine folks to get to know and share an apple pie with. Anyway, we made ourselves a snack and listened to the entertainment, and Skinny Beans agreed that we didn’t actually need the guitar.
In the morning, when our moto-mules were all packed up, and we had on all of our space-walking gear and were ready to leave, we became aware of the slight incline out of our sandy rabbit hole. Well, I am proud to say that I did not bury my smooth rear tire up to its axle in the sand, nor did I yell obscenities at Skinny Beans, nor did I act like a bonobo monkey as a way to relieve my stress. Skinny Beans and I simply stripped off all of our riding gear, put on our bathing suits and went swimming. Then, using two stuff sacks, we carried about fifty gallons of water up from the river and made a runway of firm wet sand on which to successfully drive our bikes to freedom.
Big hugs, your Penelope
Your writing style is so much fun!!!!
Are you there mrs Ma? You reading this at all mrs Ma?
My Dearest Penelope,
It has been nigh a half day since you passed through these godforsaken parts, and my soul craves the tincture of your tales.
Do not tarry on your journey back to us, for we poor lost souls are buoyed up by your compositions like a lobster boat loosely lashed to it's mooring in the rising tide.
Yours in Steadfast Faith,
It’s the little things in life. We found a nice quiet campground right on a lovely river called the Little Butte Creek, and the best part of all was the hand operated water pump right there next to our camping site. Seeing the water pump sure brought back nostalgic memories of life back home with you and Pa, and all of my brothers, and the cousins, and of course, all my dear pets—Happy, Hoppi, Inky, Ticky, Trixie, Misty, Dutchess, Diesel, and Garp. Skinny Beans and I each hurriedly dug out our water skins and sprinted to the water pump with elbows flying, eager to get a chance at the pump. I got there first on account of my motorcycle having less gear to deal with. I threw back my pigtails, and with the glee of a young girl licking a cake-batter spoon, grabbed the pump handle. Well, that campground pump proved to be a bit too stiff for me to operate, even putting all of my self into it with my feet lifting up off the ground. Skinny Beans rolled his shoulders back like a bear about to swipe at a honeybee nest and took the helm at the water pump. I held my water skin open and filled it until it overflowed, and then filled his. And we drank thirstily of the sweet water we had pumped; although, it didn’t really taste that good. Later in the day, we filled a clear plastic water jug, and it was then that we realized we had been drinking a mossy soup. I have enclosed a photograph, so you can see for yourself just how richly ripe the water was. I now wait in fear for the return of beaver fever to my alimentary canal. We switched to drinking filtered water from the river, and it was the refreshing treat we’d hoped for.
It’d been a few days since we purchased any fresh green foods, but I wasn’t concerned because Oregon brims with edible green plants. I especially like miner’s lettuce and watercress. But just as I began thinking about collecting some greens for supper, my mind reminded me that I was going to be fighting the Hershey squirts from the mossy green well water I’d drank (wrong kind of green), so I decided to eat a sterile dinner of overcooked foods, some of which even were green. So anyway, for supper we had ketchup—that’s catch up, catch up on eating all of our leftovers. Everything floating around in the bottom of the cooler went into the pot—rice and noodles, some green thing (though I’m not positive it started life off as green), cheese (I left the green spots on to help fight the other green things I’d ingested), and some sprinkly cheese that smelled like Skinny Beans’ green socks. It tasted just like it sounds: dee-licious. And of course, what has become a staple on this trip, an apple crisp—more green.
Hugs and kisses, Penelope
I am curious how you attach your cooler to your bike. I have an REI cooler like that and someday plan to frolic in the woods and need to figure out how to travel without having items fall off.
So funny, just great stuff. Does Skinny still have the X Challenge? I still have mine since 2007, it's a keeper.
I hope you realize how special your daughter and her Skinny Beans are. As the proud father of my own 29 year old "Tootie", and her 25 year old brother, I think I share similar feelings of pride that you do. The world is their playground, and they have it firmly in their grip. They have not yet been weathered by the weather and the world. They worry not yet about "what if?". They have no time or interest for such foolishness. There is too much to do. To much to see. To much to experience. We look at them with our greatest pride, and with all our might, we resist any urge to share worry and concern. For to do so might discourage them, and we cannot have that, at any cost, including our own restful nights. No, now is their time, rightfully so. We hope and pray for their happiness, and when they are willing to share their joy with us, we listen with an attentive fervor that rivals anything we have ever heard (or read, as it were). For it is gold, and we are blessed to hear (read) it.
So Ma, please know that we here on ADV rider get your pride, and we share it with you. Penelope and Skinny Beans are not only your children, they are OUR poster children.
^ ^ ^ Bravo!
Thank you so much for passing on the wonderful comments from the folks who read our letters to you. TownPump’s words inflate my spirit like a sip of chilled champagne after plowing the back forty. I sure hope to hear more from him, and from others, for the throttle on my pen is fueled by the comments I receive in my mailbox.
And Pant’s wise words remind me of Pa before his passing. His message of freedom now rings across the land in posterity for to inspire other folks to take to the road in search of their own personal freedoms. And freedom, as we all know, is what this wonderful country was built on, and that—still to this day—guides the internal compass of our nation toward taking big bites of life, savoring each messy mouthful as if it were a melting chocolatey campfire s’more, and not concerning oneself with the sticky drippings, for they are the mark of joy and the satisfaction of living free. And do not forget to go back for seconds for indeed the earth provides.
As to the lady’s inquiry about the method I used to attach my green eyesore of a cooler to my motorcycle, well, let me share the exact story. It is, indeed, an REI branded cooler. And I use the word “cooler” here with much hesitation for it keeps the heat away from my collard greens, salted pork and leftover baked beans about as well as a moistened burlap sack, which is what I used to use. At the time of its purchase, the cooler boasted a full array of straps presumably for attaching items to it—such as a sun bonnet, parasol and a baguette, which never seems to fit anywhere—and not necessarily for attaching it to an item, especially not to a high-speed moving item such as a dual-sport motorcycle. Well, some years ago in Death Valley—Saline Valley to be exact, and I did promise the exact story—a local gang of burros pillaged through our campsite during the dark cover of night as Skinny Beans and I slept. The rascals chewed off several of the straps, leaving tears, frayed ends and much slimy saliva. Most obviously, that was the night the burros were to hold their final championship round in the combined disciplines of soccer, tug-o-war and cooler tossing. They also consumed a good portion of our food, presumably for their celebration feast following the games. Well, we were happy enough to provide the necessary athletic equipment in the name of sporting competition; however, the food thievery did not sit well with Skinny Beans and me for we were not invited to the festivities. Besides, stealing food in the Death Valley is a serious offense, for many flips of the hourglass and many miles of washboard and two flat tires—in our experience, at least—separated us from the grocery market. But then again, Death Valley is a lawless place, and we were guests in their home, so I guess it’s all right, and I hold no lasting resentment against the donkeys. Anyway, to a passerbyer, the cooler appears to adhere to the side of the bike without any straps, but what is not visible is the complicated supplement of bungees, quick-connect buckles, Rok Straps, woven nylon webbing, string, carabiners, hook-and-loop magic fabric, and satin ribbons from my summer dress—that I tore while training Trixie to dance—in order to hold the handle and top two straps of the cooler to my tail rack. I have attached a diagram to assist her in attaching her cooler to her motorcycle. Does she have any satin ribbon? I hope this is helpful to her and her motorcycle camping endeavor.
As for the other gentleman’s question on whether Skinny Beans still has his BMW X Challenge, well... since being reminded that he let that keeper of a bike slip away, he’s been sitting on a stump down by the river, throwing pebbles into the fast moving water, and, I do believe, kicking himself for selling the bike instead of just pulling that troublesome tooth out himself.
Hugs and kisses, your little Peanut
From your story, I can visualize the donkeys playing football with your cooler a'la the old bud light commercials. Simply inspiring!
Well I know the X bike has a few issues, and from the sounds of where you adventure, you need a ride that you can trust. Thanks again for all the laughs.