We're home once more. I ended up with 1,064 miles for the week. Not huge, granted, but when you consider it was for work and I can put in for mileage for all but about 150 miles it ain't shabby. Katie was with me for 693 of those miles. We made a little side trip to Crater Lake Friday afternoon. That was pleasure, not business.
For the next couple of posts I want to share some things I've been thinking about during all the riding time. This post will have pictures from Astoria and the next one will have photos of Crater Lake and Klamath Falls. Bryce has commented on more than one post that there should be a picture of me once in a while. Most of you are smart enough not to request to see my ugly mug. Katie took a picture of me on a small snow pile at Crater Lake. Maybe I'll include it next time. Be warned!
Why is it that someone doing 15 mph under the speed limit will jam the pedal to the metal in passing lanes? They make themselves as hard to pass as possible, but then slow back to their original snail's pace when you can no longer get around them? You'd think they would be glad to let everyone go around and take the pressure off. Maybe it's something about the open space that stirs their need for speed. On the other hand, it could just be a power trip thing. I'm always amazed how far a slow driver can control the speed of everyone else. Speaking of traffic,
Those who pull out in front of others
Highway 101 is pretty crowded between Seaside and Astoria. Huge volumes of traffic are forced to share the same road. It dawned on me that perhaps the people who pull out pretty close to other traffic aren't really being rude or stupid as I prefer to believe. It could be a simple matter of having to take the bull by the horns and go for it. Nobody seems inclined to give anyone much of a break. If you don't just go, you'll never get anywhere. What a way to have to live!
Here's a ship at the Maritime Museum. It's a vehicle for a whole different type of adventurer. Some willing and some not so much, I think. Can you spell "shang-haied"? The little balcony at the back and the window you can see is the Captain's quarters. He had a lot of room compared to everyone else. It's good to be King!
The FJR is a sexy bike. Women who wouldn't even send a glance my way if they passed me on the sidewalk seem to have a thing for the bike. One woman in a rest area came clear over to where I had just parked. She asked what kind of bike it was. According to her it was gorgeous! This lady wasn't the only one to make such comments! I hereby solemnly swear not to let it go to my head. My motorcycle may be too sexy for me, but I am not too sexy for my bike. In fact, I don't want to be sexy at all. I'd much rather be feared!
This is Elvira at the Astoria Column. Fortunately for me, the renovation work had the thing closed to the public. There's a spiral Stairway to Heaven inside. Ouch! Does that date me?
Ebony and Ivory
Wednesday morning at 6 AM saw me getting coffee from the hotel lobby. A woman who was probably 50 but looked 70 came up beside me. Too many hours in a tanning booth combined with a spatula applied make-up job made her look older than her years. She asked me how the pump pot worked. How does a coffee drinker live that long and not know how to work a pump pot?
Anyway, she was all decked out in Harley gear. Her husband was outside packing the bikes. There were two Harleys with Arizona plates. Maybe it was the Arizona sunshine that had turned her skin to leather. They were each on their own bike and were heading home after 10 days on the road. I told her that the black FJR over in the corner was mine. The lady said that they'd seen the bike the night before. It looked to her like I'd left my lights on. She told her husband that it would be a shame for the rider to come out to a dead battery and that they should go check the bike. Her husband said it was probably just the sun but they went and looked anyway.
I thanked her for the concern and caring. In return, I showed her how to use the pump pot to get coffee. Sort of an Ebony and Ivory thing with the Yamaha and Harley riders. Why can't we all just get along and happily enjoy motorcycling together?
I developed a new mantra for riding. Repeat after me. "Break-in miles". It's amazing how much more patient I was when I reminded myself of this fact.
New bikes get a better break-in when the first miles are under varied loads. Which is exactly what back roads provide. What a perfect blend of fun and effectiveness! Elvira and I wound through the countryside towards Valley Junction. Highway 22 takes off from there and follows the Nestucca River for a while and then heads up towards Hebo on the coastal Highway 101. It's somewhere around 30 miles of pure motorcycle fun. The only down side was a big load of hay on a double flatbed truck. He chose to pull out ahead of me and acted as a rolling road block for about 9 miles. Repeat after me. "Break-in miles". Take it easy and wait. Back waaay off. Sifting straw does not make for good riding conditions.
Between Hebo and Seaside are 70 miles of coastal highway clogged with slow moving tourists and locals in no particular hurry. Repeat after me. "Break-in miles". Relax, enjoy the ride, and let the motor break in gently. By the way, the ocean looks pretty cool out there.
I'm going to try this mindset a lot more often. Despite our best intentions, even on a motorcycle, the spirit of commuting drivers everywhere can be contagious. Repeat after me. "Break-in miles". Relax, take deep breaths, and just enjoy the ride.
On Wednesday morning I set out for Tongue Point. My mission was to check out some perceived issues the folks at the Job Corps were having with some hardware. There were about 16 miles of morning traffic to contend with. In my mirrors I observed an Accura MDX SUV. It was such a dark green it looked almost black. The driver was pressing hard; aggressively passing in tight spots. Highway 101 is pretty much only one lane each direction for a long ways. I wouldn't have tried the passes this driver was doing on a motorcycle, much less an SUV. All too soon the Accura was on my tail.
There's a drawbridge over Young's Bay. The road is narrower here. Old bridges were only built as wide as they absolutely had to be. The lack of space combined with the volume of traffic made it a bad place to pass. Unless you are driving an Accura SUV, of course.
With marginal space in front of us, the SUV driver pulled out. I slowed down to help avoid a tragedy. As the Accura moved even with me, I took a close look at the driver. She looked to be nearly 60. The front seat was probably back as far as it would go. This lady took up all the available space. She glared at me and cut back over close in front of me. I was dismayed at her driving to say the least. You know good and well what I was tempted to do. Repeat after me. "Break-in miles". Let her go.
However, there was a complication. The right rear tire of the SUV was pretty close to flat. Yes, she was driving like a demon from Hell and just as angry with a nearly flat rear tire. She probably had no clue. I decided to point it out to her as a courtesy. Bad driver or not, this was not good for her.
So I beeped the horn to get her attention. When she looked back I emphatically pointed down to the tire. Then I made the gesture with my thumb and forefinger close together. With the weather being warmer I was wearing thinner gloves so the gesture seemed quite clear. Once more I pointed to the tire.
The lady shook her fist at me and flipped me off. Several times and quite forcefully. It was clear she thought I was telling her what a wonderful driver she was. While it was true I only had one finger extended, it was the first finger and it was clearly pointing down. Being in her own negative state, she saw what she wanted to see. Her perspective prevented her from seeing reality.
I thought how that so often affects motorcycle riders. We, out of all the roadway users, need to be aggressively gathering critical information about our surroundings. Quite often, though, we don't see the reality. We see what we expect to see depending on where our head is at the time. It's something we need to be aware of. We can't afford to be getting it wrong. Just like overly aggressive driving with a nearly flat tire the consequences can be disastrous. My turn-off wasn't much farther down the road. I don't know how the Accura driver fared. I can only wish her the best.
Well, that's it for now. Look for the next post with the second part. It probably won't be so long as this one but there's some beautiful pictures from Crater Lake. Not to mention some more Musings of an Intrepid Commuter!
Miles and smiles,