Edit - the date should be July 30, 2011
After a surprisingly decent night’s sleep, we awoke before the alarm even went off. It was kind of like Christmas morning, we were wide awake and ready to go. I had estimated that we should be able to make 300 or more miles per day, but this was based on nothing more than a guess. Around town we had seen speeds of 50mph or so, but we had never ridden our bikes fully loaded and had no idea what kind of speeds we’d be able to maintain as we headed up over the mountains with 50-60 pounds of gear. As our first stop was about 275 miles into the center of Oregon, I figured we should be on the road at 8am. We quickly showered, drank our coffee, and got busy loading the bikes and taking out the trash. We soon found that we didn’t have nearly as much luggage space as we thought, so the 1 gallon Ziploc bag of Corn Chex and almost full bottle of whiskey were unceremoniously chucked into the dumpster. After shedding a quick tear (for the whiskey), we heaved our little piggies off of their side stands and headed out for the first stop of the day. Which was about 5 miles down the road for a bagel and coffee. Now we were ready to roll. It took us a few miles to get used to the effect the added weight had the bikes and stop looking like a couple of drunken sailors weaving down the road. We made our way through urban Portland into the suburbs and eventually found ourselves facing the first real climb of the trip - Mount Hood. Highway 26 (our route for the next couple of days) winds its way around the side of Mount Hood and we soon found that while we could comfortably cruise at about 43-46mph in fourth gear on level ground, third gear and 35mph was our best pace on anything steeper than a moderate hill.
It was also on this stretch of road that we discovered that images of cars and trucks in our side mirrors as they jockeyed to pass us were to be our constant companion for most of the trip. As we neared the pass at the top of 26, the sun broke through the gloom that has been winter, spring, and summer in Portland and we both started smiling inside out helmets. Re let out a whoop that I could hear from 50 feet away - we were finally on our way. The rest of the trip that day was fairly uneventful, we had to stop and refuel from our fuel jugs, we met some nice people who were interested in our trip, and we rode into the high desert that is central and eastern Oregon. I also discovered that I had a lot more time to look around and enjoy the scenery at 45mph than I ever had on my Concours or Strom. We also both found our flinch at being passed way too closely began to subside by the end of the day.
At the end of a beautifully warm and sunny day, we rolled into the Clyde Holliday state park in Mt. Vernon, Oregon. The sign said that the campground was full, but the camp host quickly pointed us to their “Bike and Hike” section where motorcyclists, bicyclists, and hikers can pitch their tents for $5 per person. We set up camp and then rode into John Day for dinner at Subway. We used to live and work in John Day a few years ago and also ran into a few old friends and acquaintances. We then headed back to the campground for a good night’s sleep.
293 miles today in about 9.5 hours, the bikes ran great except that Re’s bike made a “funny sound” once.