Tag Archives: Motorcycles

COLUMBIA RIVER GORGE AND MADONNA’S MANAGER


Columbia River Gorge

MAY 27 & 28 – “It’s just like riding a motorcycle” the Truck Driver said, referring to his Jeep Wrangler. I looked at him with raised eyebrows (maybe rolled my eyes a little), “Um…no. No, it’s nothing like riding a bike…” I said, as a matter of factly. I had stopped for fuel at a Truck Stop just before Spokane, WA. This man starts talking to me as I’m looking at one of the maps on the map stand. He was from Nashville and drove tour buses all over North America for musicians like Reba McEntire and Slipknot. He said he was asked to do a stint with Madonna this year, but he turned it down. I said, “Why? Is she a bit of a Diva? Is she difficult to work with?”. “No….” he said. “But, her manager is. He thinks he’s more famous than she is!”, rolling his eyes. “Sounds like you have some interesting stories to tell.” I said. “You have no idea!” he says. “My friends keep telling me, I should write a book but I’m too scared I’ll get sued.” Then he went on a tangent about how he was going to turn 40 soon and was thinking of slowing down, maybe semi retiring and finding work in Nashville where he was home every night. I asked him where his bus was and he pointed outside at this beautiful red bus at the fuel Island. He said it was worth 1 million. I asked if it was an automatic and he said “Of course! It also has heated seats, built-in massager, all the bells and whistles!” “And you said you’re looking to retire? Looks like a retirement job to me…” I replied and he smiles and blushes. We swapped a couple of Truck driving stories. For those of you who don’t know, I have had my class 1 licence for 11 years now. I tried long haul for a season but that was cut short when the man I was teamed up with, tried to crawl in the bunk with me one night. After that I switched over to city driving for a bit delivering all sorts of freight from produce to refrigerators and then on to off roading, working in the Petroleum Industry, driving through mud, snow, mountains, blizzards, logging roads, you name it.

Kite Boarders, Hood River, Oregon

Anyways, back to him. His youngest kid would be graduating in 4 years and once he does, he was going to start to live his own life. He wanted to travel the world. He’s never left North America. “I want to see Europe, Australia and Japan. I worked hard all my life, starting at an early age, and never made time to do those things. Once the boy graduates, then it’s ‘me time’.” And he pats his chest with both hands. Well, that’s fine I think to myself. But how many times have you heard the story about how this person, has worked hard all their lives and saved up all their money for retirement. And once that day comes, something happens and they die. All those years of hard work. Waiting for the right time and the time gets taken away from them…. This was me 4 years ago… And I came to the realization that there has to be a balance in

Kite Boarders, Hood River, Oregon

life. There is nothing wrong with planning for your future but you need to enjoy today and live in the moment now as well. Because you could be gone tomorrow. One of my favorite insights, as morbid as it sounds is to try to picture yourself on your death bed. Think about all the things that might be going through your head when you know your time is almost up. Will you be wishing that you had spent more time working and saving money in your life? Or wishing you had spent less time working and more time enjoying it? I’ll stop with the cheesy lecture as I can feel all of you rolling your eyes at me. We said our goodbyes, and continued on our own ways. Me from Phoenix to Calgary via Pacific Coast Hwy and him from Seattle dropping the last band off at the airport and driving back home to Nashville, Tennessee. As I watched him walk towards his bus, it dawned on me that I should’ve asked him for a tour of the thing to take a couple of pics to show you folks but didn’t want to waste his time as he had a long drive ahead of him. Guess you’ll just have to trust that I didn’t make this up. :)Click on link below and use your mouse to navigate 360 degree view of picture:

360 degree view of Columbia River Gorge, taken from Hwy 14, Washington side

Lets reverse back to the Columbia River Gorge. It was a great ride. From Astoria I was contemplating on wether or not to stay along the edge of the gorge on Hwy

Kite Boarders, Hood River, Oregon

30 or take Hwy 202 to Portland that was suppose to be one of the local favorites for motorcycle routes in the state. I was worried I would miss something along the Gorge so I stayed on 30 but there wasn’t anything to write home about and I wished I would have stuck with my gut and done the 202. I crossed the gorge to the Washington side, just before Portland and continued East along the gorge on Hwy 14. It nice, scenic with some really nice views of the gorge and a few sweeping corners. Crossed the bridge at White Salmon back over to the Oregon side and parked the bike for a bit to watch the kite boarders and windsurfers, carving the water. It was a sunny day and the beach was packed with kites and spectators. Kite boarding is on the bucket list too so it was particularly great to watch for me.Now the biggest highlight on this stretch, was hwy 30 that breaks away from

Lots of twisties on this stretch, Hwy 30 from Mosier, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon

Hwy 84 at Mosier on the Oregon side. A short ride, but packed a punch with twisties after twisties, through orchards, and valleys to birds eye views of the Columbia River Gorge. I enjoyed it so much, I contemplated backtracking and doing it all over again but I was running out of time and at this rate I wouldn’t get to Kennewick till 7pm anyways, so I kept heading East. If I do the gorge again I would probably stay on the Oregon side from Astoria and include the 202. I did the gorge a couple of years back and remember that there were some scenic parts with twisties early on, on the Oregon side as well, that I had missed this time around.

Click on links below and use your mouse to navigate 360 degree view of picture:

Lots of twisties on this stretch! Hwy 30, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon side.

Cannon Beach, Oregon

Advertisements

PACIFIC COAST HWY: COOS BAY TO ASTORIA, OREGON


Digging for Clams at low tide. Waldport, Oregon.

MAY 26 – The weather forecast must have changed overnight because it was overcast all day today. Hardly rained though. Just the occasional drizzle and very little wind which was nice. There wasn’t much to see in central Oregon, most times the road took you just far enough inland you couldn’t even see the coast. From what I’ve seen, the scenic portions of the coast in Oregon are in the far North and far South of the stretch of highway. The south just before hitting the State of California was probably the nicest for photo ops.Stopped in a town called Waldport to stretch my legs and take a walk on the beach. The tide was out and I saw a bunch of people in the distance of what looked to be clam digging. Clam digging! It was on my bucket list so I went over to take a closer look. I talked to one guy who explained to me the fine art of clam digging.

The best time for clam digging is at low tide. You will see tiny holes in the sand referred to as a ‘show’. A show is actually a breathing hole made by the clam. It will stick out its neck toward the surface to breathe. I saw them stamping their feet and pounding the sand with shovels. If there’s still a clam underneath, they will squirt water up through the show to surface. Apparently they can squirt up to 2 feet! Once they’ve identified that there is a clam there, they take a bamboo shoot and stick it in the hole at the clams neck, to coax it back in its shell to avoid cutting its neck off when you dig with a shovel or clam gun. In this case they were using a clam gun which looks like a hollow cylinder, about 3 ft long and 4 inches in diameter. They insert this cylinder over top of the show, and with an up and down, rocking and twisting motion, till the entire thing is buried. There is a hole on top of the gun, so once you have buried it in the sand, you place your thumb over it and keep it plugged as you pull the gun out of the sand. Like pulling liquid out of a glass with your thumb over a straw, the sand inside the hollow tube comes out as well. Once you take your finger off the hole and give the tube a little shake, all the sand comes out, along with the clam! Cool stuff! Didn’t have much time to stick around otherwise I would have asked to try. Another time for sure, it looks like fun.

As I was gearing up to leave, the same man comes over and asks me a few questions about my trip. He says, “that’s so awesome, wished I could do that.” I said its easy, just do it. He said, “no it’s not, I can’t, those bikes are too expensive.” I didn’t have time to get into a lengthy conversation about it, so I left it at that and we said our goodbyes and I thought about what he said on my ride…

Cannon Beach, Oregon

Stopped at The Blue Herron French Cheese Company in Tillamook to have a late lunch. You can sample local cheese and wine from the wineries in the area. I had a cheese sampler platter and finished it off with a sample of Tillamook hard ice cream and I think it was the best hard ice cream I ever had.

‘The Goonies’, filmed on Cannon Beach, Oregon

Enroute to Astoria, I had to make a stop in Cannon Beach. It has appeared in several films including, The Goonies, Twilight, Point Break and 1941. Spent an hour strolling the beach taking pictures before I continued on my way. The beach was full of people. Some where having fires and picnics, some flying kites (there were quite of few kites in the air), others playing / taking their dogs for walks.

Stayed in Astoria for the night. I think another thing I should mention is that if you are planning on doing the coast. I recommend knowing where you’re going to stay for the night and booking in advance. I phoned around, looking for a room in the afternoon and I was lucky to find one. If it was peak season, all rooms would have been booked I’m sure. And this happened throughout my trip. I made it a point of booking ahead that day and probably saved me some headaches but I suspect that during peak season you would have to book a few days ahead.

From Astoria, I will be traveling East along the Columbia river Gorge that borders Oregon and Washington. Should be a nice, warm ride. Then head north towards Spokane. This route was planned because I thought it the warmer route to take to get across the Rockies. If I would’ve continued North along the coast into Vancouver, I would have had to cross Coquihalla Pass, which is notorious for unpredictable weather, which translates to snow! And May is not the best time to be riding through the mountains on a motorcycle.

20120527-093511.jpg

 

NORTHERN CALI PCH, SAN FRAN TO MENDOCCINO


MAY 24 – Took the bike to the shop in the morning near downtown San Francisco. Decided to go for a walk while I waited. Made it to Alamo Square where I saw the painted ladies (row of Victorian homes with downtown skyscrapers in background). For those who use to watch the television sitcom, ‘Full House’, in the opening credits, you see a shot of this area with the family having a picnic in the foreground.

After Alamo Square, walked over Haight-Ashbury District, known as one of the major centers for the Hippie movement back in the 60’s. Not what I had expected at all… Although it still maintains a Bohemian atmosphere, with interesting boutiques and coffee shops, the Hippies have now been replaced with a younger generation of Hippie wannabes, drug addicts  and panhandlers.  Where have the Hippies all gone you ask? Most have migrated outside San Francisco to smaller towns, especially Mendocino and surrounding areas. This is where I stayed the night in fact. Mendocino is recognized as the town in ‘Murder She Wrote’. It is very small but very scenic and peaceful. Took a walk over to the cliffs overlooking the Ocean as the sun set. I’d have to say this place is definitely one of my favorite towns so far. I will be back again.

Take note: started with 13,600 km on this trip from San Fran. Left at 12:30pm. The ride up to Mendocino from San Francisco was fantastic! I’m not sure why Big Sur gets all the hype. I really enjoyed that too but after this ride, I think it is a little overrated. This section of the Pacific Coast Highway has its share of breathtaking Coastline but it doesn’t stop there. It takes you through old growth Red Wood forests, meadows, rural farmlands, many curves and what seems to be less traffic! If I had to choose between the two, I would choose this stretch over Big Sur.

Now off to cruise through the Red Wood forests of Northern California into Oregon’s captivating coastline. Stay tuned.