Saturday, August 08, 2009

Work and play.

The plan was to take few days off. Things always come up at the most inconvenient times, however. I received a call from Rod, the Facilities Manager at Seven Feathers Casino in Canyonville. The second new hotel had just been completed and there were problems everywhere. Rod asked me to come down and take a look. The only day it could be done with all the players we needed in attendance was the first day I had planned to take off.

I've had a business relationship with Rod for years. A year and a half ago I sat in his office and convinced him to change his specification. This would put our products on the project instead of a competitor's. Rod agreed. I promised him he wouldn't regret it. That I would take care of him. Now here we are. A promise is a promise. Personal intregrity demanded I go. It turned out to be installation problems. The walk-through lasted two and a half hours. During that time I was able to show the owner, contractor, and installer, how to fix things up. Mission accomplished!

Seven Feathers is a little over a hundred and forty miles from home. I'd been on the road quite early to make the two and a half hour ride for the 8 AM meeting. Now I faced going home again. In a car I'd probably just have headed back up the freeway and called it a day. Five hours of travel combined with two and a half hours on the job makes for close to an eight hour day. There was still some paperwork to be done so it would round out the day.

What is it about being on a bike that changes our thinking? I'd already plotted a long route home. It would turn 280 miles into well over 400. I was going home via the Pacific Coast and back. Here's some highlights from the ride.

Part I would be to follow the Umpqua River to the ocean. Highway 38 is fairly heavily traveled but it has a lot of passing areas built in. I was somewhat worried about traffic. It's been hot in the valley and a lot of people were heading to the coast for cooler air. My timing must have been pretty good. Things weren't too bad. Of course, as it always happens, right when we got into the nice twisties I got behind a tanker truck. Elvira dispatched it cleanly and safely.

When you get close to the ocean there's this viewing area set up all nice and neat. Most of the tourists choose to come in here. I eventually pulled in, but only to use the facilities. Being on a bike, I like to avoid the crowds. There was a wide spot in the road that wouldn't work for a car, but was perfect for Elvira. I actually had a better vantage point as the main herd was nowhere near the viewing area!

This is zoomed in as close as I can get with a 200mm lense. I'd stashed the Gorilla Pod in the Givi trunk. The elk were to the South. To the North is the river.

There used to be an "Elk Crossing" sign somewhere in here. Recently a county commissioner had it removed. Seems that a couple of elk, in quick succession, got hit by vehicles. The commissioner, is his infinite wisdom, decided this was no longer a safe place for the elk to cross. So the sign was removed.

Beauty is where you find it. Being a person who has recently discovered enough about how the SLR Nikon works to be dangerous, I turned around and took this photo. The term "depth of field" has been newly opened up to me. Experimenting with it is a lot of fun, if not always successful!

It's only a few miles into Reedsport. Here's proof that I was there.

It certainly was much cooler here. Clouds covered the sun. Elvira's temperature gauge indicated 63 degrees (f). As is the case with most small towns, entertainment is hard to come by. Hence this sign.

Now it's North up Highway 101. Traffic is terrible. The rumors of everybody being at the coast are true. My original plan was to head up to Waldport and take Highway 34 into Corvallis. That would bring me within 10 miles of home. By the time I'd ridden 21 miles to Florence, I'd had enough. There was no way I was going to endure this for another 34 miles. At Florence I headed inland. I could snag another casino shot. The choice to head inland now would prove to be a most pleasant surprise.

Three Rivers is another casino and hotel with our product in it. One of our distributors has gotten himself in with the large contractors that build these things. After I left the casino I thought I was going to find myself in another traffic nightmare.

Mapleton is a small town where Highways 126 and 36 merge. Highway 126 is the one that heads out of Florence then turns and goes into Eugene. It's a main artery between the huge metropolitan area and the coast. At Mapleton you can turn right towards the big city. If you choose to go straight onto Highway 36 you have to wait at a stop sign. Which I did. The traffic flow turning in front of me was endless. It was like a mass exodus from Eugene to Florence. I waited for what seemed like forever for a break in traffic. It never came. I finally picked a likely gap and put the spurs to Elvira.

Highway 36 follows the North Fork of the Siuslaw River. This river is much smaller than the Umpqua. The road would also turn out to be quieter. More on that in a bit.

This dang photography thing is getting into my head. Man, I like to get on the bike and just rack up the miles. Now there's this little voice in my head telling me things like, "This would make a good photo". It doesn't help that Steve Williams is such an accomplished photo maker and keeps feeding me bits of exposure setting information. That and a tiny bit of praise for a few of my photos. Aaaarrrrgh! Anway, this small town sign was too good to pass up.

Literally a wide spot in the road, Deadwood is peaceful and quaint.

I wandered down the path a bit. The rider of the other Yamaha was asleep on a blanket in the shade. I could see his chest move so I knew he was alive. Speaking of Yamahas, here's a sweet pair.

Of course, Rebels that we are, look what was on the pole right beside us.

It was a beautiful and dreamy place. I just figured that a guy shouldn't spend too much time at a place called Dead Wood, if you know what I mean. So I mounted up and left.

During the entire time I had been at Deadwood, there was only one car that went by. Actually, it was a pale blue old Ford Econoline van. And that, folks, brings us to the best part. Take a look at this sign.

It's 26 miles from Mapleton to Triangle Lake. 26 miles of this kind of road in this kind of country.

I know. I should have been riding and what was I doing? Stopping to take pictures. I tell you, it's becoming a sickness. This was the last photo stop, though. A wonderful road in the most scenic area you could pick. There were patches of sunshine balanced by areas where the trees made shaded tunnels. Miles and miles of glorious twisties. What could be better?

It was all mine! Not once in all those miles did I even come close to catching up to another vehicle. Only three passed by in the opposite direction. Let's just say that we could take full advantage of Elvira's sport bike bloodlines. How often does that happen? Sweeeeet! The next 16 miles between Triangle Lake and Cheshire weren't as twisty but just as quiet. What a gem of a day!

When we got closer to home we had to sit for close to 10 minutes in 90 degree heat for road construction. There's no way that was going to spoil the day.

Who says you can't sneak in a little fun in while riding to work?

Miles and smiles, ( really big smiles! )



Allen Madding said...

Now that, my friend, is my kind of business trip :)


Conchscooter said...

Good post. On the other thing thank you. As usual it's real life and all it's stress that comes up some times. I appreciate your note.

bobskoot said...


I see that under Steve's direction, you are becoming quite the photojournalist . Your photos have gone up a notch or two.

bobskoot: wet coast scootin

Bryce said...

The D40 suits you well. Small enough to do the job yet not so fancy you forget how to operate the camera.

subrosa said...

Looks and sounds very much like parts of Scotland but without the intense heat.

Maybe my part of Scotland is greener as we get more rain.

Lovely photos though.

Steve Williams said...

Oh no, you've stumbled on the next photographic level without perhaps knowing it's power. It's related to depth of field but also incorporates selective focus and shooting through things. I see the seed of this in your picture of the trees where you talk about experimenting with depth of field.

Imagine peering through a mass of trees, cars, motorcycles, whatever, all out of focus in front and behind Elvira. She'll just leap out of the environment. Add a beam of light via Photoshop, and saturate the color on her alone and you have what you probably see --- Elvira and nothing else.

I know how you motorcycle romantics operate.

Sounds like another great ride mixing work and play.

You know you are a fortunate man right?

Steve Williams
Scooter in the Sticks

Jack Riepe said...

Dear IronDad:

I read this post with great interst. In my current stas\te of decomposition, 280 miles would have been a really long ride for me. I would love to be in a position (condition) to spend 8 hours in the saddle.

Now the one thing you never mention is deer. Yet you ride through some beautiful country. You have to be dodging deer in these places... Or is it more likely to be Elk.

I cvame across a comment from you on Allen Madding's blog. It related to fatalities in training classes using the Buell Blast. Were you serious? I took that class on a Buell Blast. I thought it was a pretty primitive bike, but I liked it a lot better than the 250's in the state offered class.

Fondest regards,
Jack • Reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

Lance said...

Nice job of working in some pleasure with your business. Your elk shot is amazing!

abraxas said...

I like the sound of Deadwood, the kind of place you disappear in, like a good couch :)


Krysta in MKE said...

That first picture looks like the giant eagle is swooping down to pick up the bike.

"There used to be an "Elk Crossing" sign ... commissioner decided this was no longer a safe place for the elk to cross. So the sign was removed."

::palm to forehead::
I hope he's unelected, and soon. What a moron.

Looks like a lovely bit of riding.