Edit - the date should be July 31 and August 1, 2011
We woke with the sun, we are going to have to learn to adjust to the new schedule of going to bed when the sun goes down and rising this freaking early. This was a rest day as our friends were throwing a BBQ later that afternoon. After a leisurely morning around the campsite, I broke out the tools and gave the bikes a once-over. The tire pressures on both of our bikes were inexplicably low (operator error, I’m sure) and I set them to my preferred 30/34. Chain tension was still correct (for what would probably be the only day of the first half of our trip), so they each got a shot of chain lube and were pronounced good. Oil levels were also good and fasteners were also tight except for Re’s swingarm nut that was an RCH loose. After a quick brunch of fried chicken and local peaches from the grocery store, we toured a few of the places we used to live and wandered to the BBQ in the early afternoon. We spent the rest of the day eating, talking and laughing before heading back to Clyde Holliday for another night.
The next morning we rose early (again) and exchanged pleasantries with a couple of Harley-mounted riders who spent the night there as well. We struck camp and were on the road by 8am, and we reluctantly stopped at the local McDeath to eat a breakfast of Sausage McMuffins standing next to the bikes. Little did we know that those greasy, pork-like handfuls would be our only food for the next 12 hours. The day started out warm and quickly turned hot; by noon the bank signs read 96 degrees. I know that this is cool compared to the summer many folks had, but we were living in Portland - which just experienced the third coolest spring ever. We were pleasantly surprised by the venting in our Darien Lights- hot temperatures and low humidity weren’t too bad. Riding out of Prairie City, Oregon, we faced our first 5000 foot pass over Dixie Mountain. We made it, but again found ourselves in third gear and cruising at 35mph. Throughout the morning, we wound our way through the sagebrush and scrubby junipers that dominate the landscape in eastern Oregon and western Idaho. Over the next several hours of riding, fuel stops, and water breaks, we hop-scotched back and forth with the Harley riders from the campground.
Because we can’t legally travel on interstate highways (anything with a blue sign is a no-go) we have to take the “scenic routes”. While they do provide some nice scenery in places, we also found them to be lacking in services. Bringing extra gas cans turned out to be great planning as in many places, gas stations were father apart than our 100 mile range. We also learned to shake out the fuel nozzle on our fuel cans, after we stopped to refuel and watched helplessly as a beetle that apparently crawled inside the tube spiraled around in the refueling funnel before disappearing into Re’s fuel tank. Doh! The “scenic” nature of the route also meant that there were few places to eat along the way. This combined with the heat led us to skip lunch and simply press on. We finally arrived in Bliss, Idaho (after missing one turn and subsequently backtracking) after 8pm with no campground and no dinner. We finally ate at a café inside a local gas station (it was pretty good) before hot-footing it south to Hagerman, Idaho and our campground for the evening. We set up the tent by the light of the headlamp and crawled inside to pass out.
359 miles in about 12 hours of riding. The bikes ran pretty well but don’t seem to like the altitude, I had to adjust the idle speed higher a couple of times.