Mostly because of being so busy with work, I haven’t been able to take a multi-day moto touring trip since my Northern California adventure all the way back in February.
Finally, this past long weekend (Thursday-Sunday), I spotted a window in my calendar where I thought I could make it work. Mostly I blame the calendar on my wall in my office, which in July features a photo I took last year at this time, when I took a fantastic trip to the Oregon Coast and beyond. Looking at the photo every day for the past couple of weeks has been making me want to go on another ride like that!
So, after reviewing some potential regional route options, looking at weather forecasts, I ultimately decided to do almost the same route as last time, because it was just so unbelievably great. It would also be nice to go cool off a bit at the coast, as temperatures in the Boise area have been around 100 for weeks. My plan was to drive over in my truck to Bend, OR (about 5 hours or so) early Thursday morning, then unload the bike and start my journey there. I checked with a few friends, but no one was able to come along, mostly due to my usual short notice in spontaneously planning these trips!
I didn’t take as many photos this year, mostly because I’d taken hundreds of them last year, and I had almost nothing but bright blue skies and harsh sunlight the whole trip. Beautiful and pleasant, but a few clouds are definitely better for photos!
Thursday afternoon’s route was fairly direct from Bend to the coast.
The weather got cooler and cooler as I got closer to the ocean, which was wonderful! Some fun twisty roads along the way, too – a nice warmup to the amazing roads I’d be shredding the next few days. As I drove south along highway 101, I had to stop for a quick selfie to show that I’d achieved the goal of being back in my calendar!
I spent the night in Florence, OR, which was really a nice place to stay. My little hotel was right on the Siuslaw River, where it meets the ocean. I had some good seafood for dinner, and slept well thinking about the 400 mile route I’d cover on Friday.
Friday morning before I left Florence, I went out on the back patio of my hotel room, and saw this amazing view of the fog lifting over the Art Deco bridge in Florence:
I rode south, and took a slight detour inland to Coquille, so I could ride the really fun road between Coquille and Bandon I’d discovered last year. It was early and the weather was cool, and the fast and flowing corners were a great way to wake up and start the route!
At Port Orford, I remembered a beautiful view from up on a hill over the ocean, so decided to grab a pic of the new bike there.
It was an absolutely beautiful morning, and I felt so blessed to be able to take in such spectacular views along the route, while enjoying motorcycling on amazing roads. I remembered taking some nice photos last year at a really majestic spot just a bit south of Gold Beach. However, when I got there, it was shrouded in fog!
Hard to believe it was the same location where I got this shot last year:
I headed south into California, up through some massive redwoods to the northeast and back into Oregon, and then dropped back down on a super-twisty mountain road into California near Yreka. The tires were getting quite a workout today!
As I went further east, the weather changed from the cold (!) 50 degrees with fog I was experiencing at the coast, to almost 100 degrees. It was hot! I stopped for a few photos at a picturesque desert canyon near Yreka. But stopping and posing the bike was getting really hot, so I headed toward my evening destination of Ashland, OR.
Saturday I’d head north toward Eugene, with hundreds of miles of moto-greatness along the way.
Just outside of Ashland I found a really awesome road I’d not yet tried. The Green Springs Highway (Oregon 66). WOW! Dramatic, steep, tight, twisty fun! Another great wake-up ride! I was glad to have the opportunity to ride it up-and-back, as it was super fun (and empty!).
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. It absolutely blows my mind how many unbelievable motorcycle roads there are in Oregon. It’s astounding. We’ve all been on touring trips where there were incredible sections, but a good bit of boring, straight, uninteresting terrain in between. But I just did nearly 1200 miles over a few days, and almost all of it was utterly fantastic. I feel so fortunate to live so close to such a moto-mecca!
Hwy 138 east of Roseburg (N. Umpqua Highway) is super fun. Along the river, fast and flowing, empty and gorgeous. Reminds me a good bit of Lolo Pass, but not as long and with less traffic.
I had lunch in Roseburg, then continued on to some all-time favorites. Tyee Road is a hoot, and although it wasn’t on my planned route, I had some extra time so I decided to take a detour up the hill on Upper Smith River Road. Holy crap that is a great one! Lots of first and second gear hairpins, steep and fun. And the view toward the top is WOW!
I’m glad I don’t have to pick an all-time favorite moto-road, but if I did, a possible winner would be the Siuslaw River Road near Lorane, OR. I don’t have the words to describe how utterly brilliant this road is. Just the perfect mix of fast, slow, flowing, tight, dark tunnels of forest, brilliant sunshine, it has EVERYTHING. And soooooooooo much fun to ride! It’s so rare that I love a road so much that I double back and do it again and again, but this one I must! And I saw maybe two or three other vehicles in the hour or so I spent there. Completely awesome. Motorcycling heaven.
Spent the final night in Springfield, near Eugene, before heading back to Bend on Sunday morning.
It was a bit chilly for the first couple of hours as I made my way through the deep, dark, remote forest between Westfir and Cougar Reservoir. Around 48 degrees! Thank goodness for heated grips, because even with them my fingers were frozen. Still, I knew it’d be in the 90’s at home, so the cold didn’t bother me too much.
Another new route I’d have the opportunity to try this time, which I hadn’t before, was the Old McKenzie Highway, which runs over a high pass toward Sisters, OR. I can’t wait to do this one again! The first part of it was just NUTS! I’ve been on some tight and narrow corners before, but these were unreal. I was literally laughing inside my helmet as I climbed the mountain, testing the edge of the tires again and again. Hairpin city! Look at this:
The map doesn’t do it justice, because it doesn’t show the elevation changes, the scenery, and the fun. WOW! Four stars for this one, for sure.
Up at the top, there are beautiful views of the Sisters mountains through some surreal looking lava fields.
I made it back to Bend around 11 AM, and loaded up the bike in the truck and headed toward home. Thankfully, the (used) rear tire I’d mounted just before I left had just enough to get me through the trip!
Just an absolutely perfect four-day getaway. I couldn’t be more grateful. I sure wish friends could have come along to share in the fun – but hopefully next time!