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Old 10-07-2010, 09:37 PM   #16
shaweetz OP
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The logistics go off without a hitch; I arrived at the airport just in time to grab a quick bite, my wife got off the plane, we suited up and rolled off, all in under an hour. I love it when a plan comes together. This rendezvous was the only target I had to hit for the first leg of the trip.

Mission 1: to find and photograph the first house she ever lived in, in Calgary.

Problem: the house number in my notes doesn’t match the house her dad pointed out on google street view.

Step 1: look up father-in-law’s cell number (often changing)
Step 2: say hello to mother-in-law over bad cell connection on noisy street and launch into big monologue about how we can’t find the house.
Step 3: confused pause.
Step 4: apologize for wrong number.
Step 5: track down mother-in-law 2.

A confab:

Cell photos taken of all houses, emails sent, more discussion; it was over 30 years ago that her family was here.

Jolly woman with baby emerges from house #1, asks if we’re ok, is beside herself to discover I came all the way from Ottawa on “that little thing??!!” (jokes about her natural butt padding etc), hilarity.

Now, in my family blog I didn't touch on a scary moment we had in Calgary. I'd gotten through the first leg of this trip without any pucker moments. Surely enough, my wife is on the back for one hour, and I just about got us into serious trouble. I hate driving in busy, strange cities and I know many of you feel the same way.

I was coming up a right-hand 270 degree onramp to an overpass. The turn started to tighten in, and of course I was a bit hot. So my focus went to dealing with that problem. Which distracted me from the second, much more serious problem. I am 95% sure there was no yield sign at the end of the ramp, but the big issue was there was no merge lane at the end of it either. And just like that, I realized we were about to shoot out into the lane into the path of traffic. I jammed it over to the shoulder and we avoided a collision, not narrowly, but still a major wake-up.

In hindsight all my mistakes are clear. It's also clear that there was something odd about this intersection, and there was the biggest mistake of all: assuming that an interchange you've never driven is going to be properly marked and predictable like all the others. Maybe once, your expectations are not accurate.

I've got a little time to consider these things on our way out to the Rockies. The day improves drastically.

She's been stuck in air-travel mode for most of the day, so we have a short ride and kick back at a nice place in Banff.

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Old 10-07-2010, 09:58 PM   #17
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Banff-Jasper Icefields Parkway #93

There isn’t much to say about such indescribable beauty. Our weather was clear and perfect.

There was an “oops” moment when I realized I’d missed the 93 turnoff (TC construction confusion) and taken us halfway through Yoho. Again, there are far, far worse places in this world to be lost.

Obligatory Lake Louise shot:


Holy smokes, it is beautiful out here.

It is howling, I say HOWLING windy (easily 80+kph) at the Athabasca Glacier. We took the trail up to the toe but didn’t have time to invest in a guided walk.

(click to enlarge)

(click to enlarge)

(click to enlarge)

Here, it is like a giant hand just took the crust of the earth and pushed it up, in an attempt to make the world's biggest skate ramp:

At a camp, south of Jasper:


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Old 10-08-2010, 10:05 AM   #18
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Great report

great trip and great bike. My Bonnie is very close set up. No hard panniers yet(winter project)

my bike:

thanks for sharing


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Old 10-08-2010, 03:40 PM   #19
Joined: Sep 2004
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Really enjoying your report and photos, keep it coming.
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Old 10-08-2010, 09:34 PM   #20
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Go, Bonnie, Go

I love seeing Bonnies go the distance.
This is my Bonneville. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My Bonneville is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life. My Bonneville, without me, is useless. Without my Bonneville, I am useless. I must ride my Bonneville true. I must ride faster than my enemy who is trying to beat me. I must beat him before he beats me. I will.

1st Epic Journey

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Old 10-11-2010, 08:41 PM   #21
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Relaxing days with our west coast people

Broke a wet camp in Jasper, despite getting up early to try and beat the thundery grumbles. Breaking a wet camp is a miserable affair.

Five minutes after leaving, driving down the road with a foggy visor, I heard a bad noise, like a clink or a ping, from the drivetrain and pulled off in the rain for inspection. I've been expecting a broken spoke, since these bikes are prone.

All we found were the shards of some fabric stuck in the chain… huh? After cleaning it all out and finding nothing else wrong, we proceeded to Jasper for gas, coffee, a parking lot disassembly and inspection of the front sprocket, and an audit of all our stuff. We’d hurried out in the rain, and I was thinking some strap was left hanging down.

After hearing skidplate865's balaclava story (sucked behind the front sprocket) I went over it pretty carefully, but there was absolutely nothing. We went through all our stuff to try and figure out what got munched; nothing missing. Satisfied, we head for the Cariboo. We never found a thing.

A day like this makes us appreciate how lucky we were to have clear weather on the Icefields Parkway, but still we are granted a few moments where we can actually see stuff.

An accidental find in Clearwater, we stumble on a nice little bakery at the entrance to Wells Gray park, where we stop for lunch. The wife is convinced there is no way we can successfully transport a pie to our hosts for the next few days; still over an hour's ride away.

No problem, says I:

Bungee nets are positively the best thing ever.

I think she is pretending to eat it.

We had a wonderful, relaxing time at our aunt & uncle's beautiful log home in the Cariboo region. Walking though the woods with the dog (spotting a nice black bear), eating our aunt's delicious food, and, using our uncle's spotless garage to give the bike some TLC:

A few times across the prairies, I noticed the front was down several pounds. Worried that I may have micro-pinched the tube, I picked up a fresh one at the Calgary dealer, so in it goes.

Since I'm in there, I pull the rear and clean things up, whence I notice this:

This sprocket is starting to wave well before its time. I had a shop put my last chain on, and I was never happy with it; the master link is always tight even though the overall chain tension is ok. Will have to monitor closely.

And, finally, the bike gets a wash, my uncle is helping to dry it off (daydreaming about his old Bonneville?), I step on the center stand to put it up, like 100′s of times before, my wet boot slips off the stand, and…


So surprising was this that I didn’t think to take a picture, which is a big violation of standard ADV procedure. I will have to be sharper next time.

Really, we both caught it and it was more like a gentle setting down on its side. I knew this day would come, but of course I figured it never would.

Well, we got the thing up, and I’m one lucky guy, because all I got for the trouble was a barely visible scratch on the mirror and a barely noticeable bent rear brake lever, which had to be disassembled and lubricated. If this is how I’m going to drop my baby, I’ll take it, thanks.

And I thought I was doing good by not dumping the bike on the steep switchback loose gravel driveway on the way down to the house. Just goes to show there is always an opportunity to get egg on your face. Usually when you’re smug about having just avoided getting egg on your face.

My aunt has the presence to get a pic of us together as we’re leaving, in the rain.

Hot dish gloves, yes? They work, even if they're a PITA to put on.

Lunch at Herbie's in Cache Creek:

The beautiful (and windy!) fraser Canyon:

Another rest stop at mullet central, with my buddy Daryl :

And thence for two fun days with our cousins in Surrey, near Vancouver. This was a really good way to get warmed up to 2-up after burning some serious miles across the prairies. For the next two weeks, we'll be moving pretty much daily.

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Old 10-11-2010, 09:36 PM   #22
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Rain, fog, clouds. Repeat.

Into the States we roll after saying goodbye to our people in Surrey. Our plans for Washington are pretty limited to seeing Mt. St. Helens, and I've established that I want to go up the east rim, rather than the more touristy visitor center west side. As a kid, I can clearly remember the day it blew, and that we had a cheesy plastic "before and after" placemat in our kitchen for a few years afterwards. So I've always wanted to see it.

But it's damp, and the coast is pretty much fogged in. We skip Seattle, taking Chukanut drive to the Port Townsend ferry. Still, it's always neat to see the richness of vegetation that goes along with the damp.

At the ferry, a half dozen bikes, a bunch of chit-chat, and one fellow on a BMW from the UK via New York, going with a KLR guy and headed down to central america. Tried to find these guys on the HUBB but was unsuccessful. A better photo later...

Rather than head into the tail of a nasty rain dump, we call it quits at a still-dripping Lewis & Clark state park amid a grove of old-growth trees draped in mosses:

More cycle-touring people pull in after us. These people are positively hardcore. Respect.

I guess this is not “bear country”; rubbermaid garbage bins overflowing everywhere, instead of the ubiquitous bear cans???

I don't sleep easily with crap like this near my tent. We keep a tight camp, always, as far as food and garbage are concerned.

All we heard were the haunting calls of elk (we think) in the camp. Otherwise a very nice spot.

An early start to the morning, a discouraging looking sky, a fun sign:

And thence into the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. A bunch of hunter dudes in full camo are taking a little too much interest in us at the gas bar. Probably nothing.

The plan: to drive up Windy Ridge on the east side for a viewing of Mt. St. Helens. The problem: low cloud ceiling and mists. We proceed in the hopes that it might clear.

Forest Road 25 is a wild twisty ride, though the surface is wet today, and my visor is giving me trouble. More enormous moss-draped trees.

Road 99 starts to get real interesting, climbing up to the first viewpoint of Clearwater Canyon:

Here is where the force of the blast channelled down the canyon and snapped huge trees like twigs. Most of the canyon was logged and replanted; some was left as part of the monument.

The miner's car:

After some talk, I finally persuade Mrs. Shaweetz to hike down to Spirit Lake, which is of course much further than it looks. We're still pretty damp and cold, so we're making a funny sight hiking down the trail in our full gear still

The end of Spirit Lake, still clogged with floating deadwood after 30 years.

The wisdom of hiking down in all our gear starts to fall apart somewhat on the more arduous trip back up to the parking lot. We're a soggy mess, even after losing most of our layers.

Hope not having left us, we push on a short distance to the windy ridge viewpoint, hoping for a break in the clouds. Instead, the clouds get thicker. That’s the road, disappearing into the mists. I can barely see anything, we're crawling along, and the shoulderless road drops off into nothingness mere feet from the front wheel. Exciting, you could say.

And finally, a stunning view of the volcano

Can't win em all.

I'll have to be satisfied by gazing at the google earth version for some time to come.

It was disappointing to not see it, but in a way it was more interesting that we felt it all around us while the mountain itself remained cloaked and mysterious. We got to taste the magnitude of the thing, and that's what we came for. We will return some day.

Rd. 25 to Cougar was a great twisty ride with mostly dry pavement.

A small detour to a south side mudslide area, and we get a half-glimpse of the amazing mountain. It’s all we’ll get.

Pulling into a Cougar bar & restaurant (), a GS comes in from the opposite direction bearing German plates and two seasoned-looking riders. We dine together and exchange infos in halting english. These guys have been to Buenos Aires twice and have just come down from Alaska. Sadly no pic of them, but here's their bike:

And we slide into an expensive hipster boutique hotel in the heart of Portland, miffed at the nonexistent reasonable-ish price indicated in our guidebook... but we are too exhausted to go anywhere else. The bike is parked on the street overnight, which I don’t like, and I’ve got it locked and covered as best I can. But Portland looks nice so far, if you like hipster types. Sadly I left my super-tight jeans and indie rock scarf at home.

We'd kind of decided on this place and the Banff place in advance, but from here on out it's Motel 6 all the way.

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Old 10-11-2010, 10:19 PM   #23
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Awesome. Great to see another T100 out touring, and 2-up at that. Subscribed
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Old 10-12-2010, 12:34 PM   #24
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Oregon 101

Thanks for the thumbs up . I know our thing pales in comparison to some of the capital E Epic stuff that people post up here, but it was epic to us . I promise I have at least one dirt ride picture, perhaps even a few.

We split hipsterville. Looks like a nice town, but my glasses aren’t funky enough, and I forgot my scarf at home.

A few people along the way had mentioned Cannon Beach, which is a bit of a northern backtrack, but we head up anyway. It’s a nice beach, and we have a nice chat with some folks from BC. But I've never really figured out what you're supposed to do with a beach, other than dust it out of your stuff.

The coast is nice, and the road is nice, though it’s an RV-fest and the little towns are like beach towns anywhere. There is some nice cliffside riding, and some great vistas.

The best views never seem to have safe places to pull over.

At Tilamook, we brave the zoo to visit the cheese factory and have an excellent lunch of, yes, grilled cheese.

If you put on disguises you can go through the cheese sampler line several times. Discount travelers take note.

Those bricks of cheese are pretty awesome. Who doesn't love cheese?

At Lincoln City, we are starving and need supplies for dinner, so we stop at the first thing I see, a Grocery Outlet. After skinny Portland, this place is something else; a shocking dunk into a trailer-trashy world of people who like to wear their a$$es in the front. Now, I take some responsibility here for refusing to hunt for another store (across the street) since I was about to fall over from hunger and dehydration. It can really creep up on you while you’re riding. But we left this store feeling a bit ill from the sights, sounds, and uh, smells. I really do like big jolly people, but something different was going on here. I reserve further comment on it for Jo Momma.

But man, the groceries were cheap baby!

The first blue sky we have seen riding in a week, then beautiful sun, finally! Ahh…

Along the way, we stumble on a surf slam and pull off to check it out! It’s a jet ski ‘blowsion’ event that has just finished, but lots of machines out there still tearing it up. fun!

B&W conversion doesn't rescue this photo (when does it ever?) but, cool machines! Looks like awesome fun.

There's no way I'm getting action shots. All I've got is my prime f1.7 20mm pancake.

At Beverly Beach SP, we’re packed in like sardines, and busy, and no privacy, but it’s a nice camp.

We are discovering that the rest of the world thinks it's the weekend, and hence sites are really booked up. Don't these people know that every day is the weekend?

Four doors down, two of our ferrymates from Port Townshend pull in, Brian from the UK, and Rich, who met up on the HUBB and are headed to South America:

Tried tracking them down on HUBB but was unsuccessful. If anyone makes a positive ID, dudes, here are your photos.

A crowd gathers on the beach to watch the last sliver of sun sink into the ocean.

Do you ever get tired of watching the sun disappear into the ocean?

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Old 10-12-2010, 12:55 PM   #25
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We opt out of the $20 elevator ride to maybe see some sea lions. I admire some quality merchandise instead.

A lot of today’s ride on 101 is inland, through logging territory, and generally uninteresting. Now and again we can see the coast, and we checked out a small park on the Oregon dunes. Lots of ATVs ripping it up, and a few dirt bikes too. Looks like total fun. There’s no way we’d get more than 2 feet in that stuff.

If you squint, there's an "OHV" at the top of that dune, on the right.

Cool tire setup!

Another hunger crisis leads to the standard impatient growliness, and a recommendation from the local Suzuki dealer leads us, after much delay and cursing, here:

Great little lunch spot. Fish and chips, shrimp melt and clam chowder, right on the water.

The ride is actually pretty dull until we approach California, then suddenly it gets nice again:

Here, I was actually worried that the bike would blow over despite being biased in all the right ways on the sidestand. Check out the wind line.

(I keep telling my wife that the bike has to be in the shot... no, just the bike. Step to the side please... It’s like the garden gnomes from Amélie. Context is everything.)

We score the last site in the camp. I use the term ‘camp’ loosely here. The trailer next door (you can spit on it) is watching 'the game', and half the sites have cable TV hookups. But it’s a nice location.

Another nice disappearing sun, our last such scene for this trip.

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Old 10-12-2010, 02:50 PM   #26
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Great ride report! There's something about a Triumph Bonneville that's more than just the sum of its parts. A classic beauty. Kind of like a Rita Hayworth on wheels.
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Old 10-12-2010, 03:14 PM   #27
shaweetz OP
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Originally Posted by Stromdog
Great ride report! There's something about a Triumph Bonneville that's more than just the sum of its parts. A classic beauty. Kind of like a Rita Hayworth on wheels.


I digress. Belongs in another thread, yes.
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Old 10-12-2010, 03:16 PM   #28
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AWESOME so far. Next time you do a loop you've got to run through northern New Mexico, I thought it was awesome.
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Old 10-12-2010, 03:44 PM   #29
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Welcome to California. Thank you come again

Time permits and weather is on our side, so we will backtrack today. It turns out to be a day of incredible changing landscapes as we dip briefly into California and back up into Oregon on rte 199. And up a ways, as it were, into the atmosphere.

It's brief but still awesome: we've seen plenty of redwoods before, so we're skipping the best, but the route still takes us through some nice stuff.

Today is the first day of the trip that the front wheel is pointing east, and the approximate halfway mark. In hindsight, the last weeks have delivered everything we’d hoped for so far.

Always, it takes longer to get there than we think. Travel on the interstate is the accustomed metric we use to gauge travel time. But we are seldom on divided highways.

Camp break, from wake-up to roll out, is a minimum of 1.5 hours assuming we have a light breakfast of oatmeal and coffee. Shopping for groceries eats a significant part of the day, every second day or so. Laundry, ablutions, etc. None of life’s chores go away while on the road. That is one of the big surprises for me. At least with two, the work is shared. There seems little difference between touring for three weeks and touring for twelve, once the routines are down.

Soon we are in scrubby desert hills, something I didn't expect to see yet. And its getting hot. By Grant’s Pass, we are melting in ATGATT, and hungry.

With every day, we’re zeroing in on the proper routine, but it’s difficult when you never know what the next town will offer. So we stop often and have lots of little snacks to tide us over, though every midday seems to bring a new hunger emergency. Tomorrow brings the same. We get along just fine until the hunger comes; then we start sniping at each other like snarling dogs. We know the routine so well, we actually can laugh about it as it's happening. However, a new routine is being drafted.

What's this? A show and shine in Grant's Pass. Groceries can wait!

Mostly it was a Harleyfest, but I liked this:

I'm not sure I believe the owner's claim that it was all original. It looked almost brand new.

And then off to the grocery store, hungry, which is never a good combo for saving money.

Now it’s pushing 30 and we’ve bought way too much food. Cargo net to the rescue (no pie this time), making a big pile on top of the duffle bag that stays put all the way to Crater Lake.

Soon it is smoking hot and we’re on an amazing grassy plateau:

Off the frame to the left, a lonely, perfect volcanic cone on the distant horizon foreshadows what the next few days are going to be about.

Just as soon again, and we’re in a mature national forest, and the temps are dropping fast. And dropping, and dropping. The forest is thinning out, and we are rising, up to the rim of the incredible Crater Lake. There is no snow, the absence of which occurs maybe two months of the year. The road signs here are about 10 feet in the air, and tall 8ft sticks mark the edge of the road, for the snow removal crews. This area averages 44ft of snowfall a year. My new friend Cat from Thunder Bay showed me a picture of 7ft snowbanks in July, and based partially on her recommendation, we have made this detour.

I'm sure Crater Lake OR probably requires no introduction to this crowd. You've either been there, or you're going there, because it's awesome.

At the park gate, we are told there are a few spaces left at the only tent campground nearby, and we head in, and up, up, up a steep winding road with no shoulder and a complete dropoff. The signs FALLING ROCKS are not for show here, as the road follows the contours of brittle 200ft+ cliffs, there is boulder debris everywhere, and the asphalt is a pockmarked war zone. There is no way I am pulling over for any photo. My eyes don't wander to the stunning views until we’re safely parked at the overlooks. It’s a similar experience to the Mt. St. Helens ride, but this time we are rewarded with crystal clear weather.

At the top, an incredible barren meadow of pumice stone dotted with low red plants and tiny yellow wildflowers, struggling for a brief existence.

The campsite is self serve, and totally full.

On the second go-round survey, a nice couple from Seattle hears me cursing about it (damned earplugs), runs up, and offers us space on their plot. Their incredible kindness saves us perhaps another hour or more of riding to another site, and I am already toast for any more riding today. Big, big karma to the amazing Clint and Patience from Seattle. I was angry with the squirrel, who, in the morning, woke them up (and half the campsite) by flinging pinecones onto the roof of their van.

In one day, we have ridden up nearly 8000 feet to the rim of this magnificent caldera. And a peaceful, not-too-cold night in a much nicer, cozy tent campground in the woods, more our style.

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Old 10-12-2010, 04:14 PM   #30
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Crater Lake, OR

We did most of the rim road before scramming off to the north in search of a hot spring. Positively jaw-dropping views from 1000 feet above the water.

I want to camp out here for a whole day (a week, perhaps) just to patiently await the right light and sky conditions for photos, but it's not in the cards, this time.

Now this is a bit over the top, my 14 x 10MP panorama of the pumice desert as we leave the northern access road...

(click to enlarge)

We intend a detour to the Umpqua hot springs, which is a mostly boring one hour ride, down, down, down the low slopes of the ancient mountain. The state department of transport thoughtfully provides a sign demarcating every 500 feet of elevation change. We drop some 3500 feet.

The hot spring is deep in the forest, plus another 1400ft steep hike from the parking lot.

A motley assortment of hippies, RVers and othes are gathered, perhaps a dozen. Etiquette precluded the taking of photographs at the spring, due to the nekkidness (including our own) but it was a half dozen small pools on the side of a narrow rocky wooded gorge, with a rushing creek far below, and a steep wall of beautiful trees on the opposite side. One pool had a nice log lean-to built to provide midday shade. Seven or eight people are lounging around in their personal pools of bath-perfect temperature water, admiring the view of the gorge. Totally idyllic. Recommended.

Back at the parking lot, a strange scene is unfolding as three law enforcement vehicles have arrived, including the sheriff, to deal with some issue, we figure probably not to collect the $5 site fee we didn't pay. Keep in mind that we are 15 minutes down a dirt road (yeah! dirt!) in the woods from the nearest highway. Odd.

Hot springs are always amazing and a little creepy to me. Moreso because we have been cruising these last days in a landscape that's been shaped by old and not-so-old volcanoes. As with the atmosphere, we always figure the crust of the earth is an enormously, inconceivably thick entity. The hot springs remind us that this is not the case. The molten core of our earth is not that far down; in this case, close enough to heat these waters for our enjoyment. We are small on this rock, floating around on these islands.

Detour complete, we head off the highway a short piece to grab a snack. Dirt ride! ADV cred!

Do that on your Road King! Nyah!

There is no moisture anywhere, and everything is a dusty mess. I am surprised they even allow controlled burning in the campgrounds here. Here is the first time I've bothered to pick up a hunk of pumice. I'm totally shocked at how light it is.

Another hour, and, yes, another hunger crisis. Finally, finally we pull into the McD's at Kalmath Falls. It seems some of the irrigated fields enroute give life to bugs in addition to the crops:

The final helmet bug shot. Thank you.

Semi-recharged with french fries, we make a final shot towards the south. The Shasta Lake region has been recommended to us, so off we go, back into California. It's getting late, but exceptions for dusk driving are occasionally allowed. In this case, we are richly rewarded with golden light on a new landscape and a completely unexpected view of the 14,000+ ft Mt. Shasta. It is so huge, it's in our view for over an hour, and most of tomorrow's ride too.

Reached the campsite south of Weed in a nick of time... well, not really. We set up camp in a quiet state campground in the pitch dark. The place was all but abandoned, a self-register place off the highway.

We're not disposed to shafting the state parks system (and I've read all the threads here with interest), but we broke camp early without paying, and spent our $25 on a nice breakfast in the local town instead. Mid-breakfast, a boisterous woman walks in with a Bruce Lee purse, no sh*t (no way you are sneaking a shot of anyone with the GF1's noisy shutter, boo). So I'd say it was worth it.

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