FSR February 2002
This Sunday was different...okay it was a Saturday!!
I arose at the butt crack of dawn to peek outside and check the weather. Off to the east it was sunny and clear. O-O-O-Oh yeah!
After the usual pre-ride gear up I was out the door at 8:00 am headed to the local Chevron to top off the back tank. Freshly gassed it was south to Cole School Rd. aptly nicknamed locally as Roller Coaster road. I was going to take back roads to Sweet Home and 228 to Brownsville then Gap Rd. south to cross I-5 to Harrisburg. It would be a short leg from there to the Cheshire Dari Mart the pre-arranged meeting place.
After the first "whoop" on Roller Coaster I hit the "real" weather. Fog as thick as uncut cheese and cold, cold enough that my shield begins to fog almost immediately and the condensing mist on the wind screen streams off before me in a fan shaped stream.
I notice also that the fog has frozen out onto the road surface and it is damn slick in the shady spots. My speed slows as I eye the time. By the time I reach Sweet Home the bank clock/thermometer flashes 33 degrees. My hands are cold but the new homemade, mountain fleece, electric vest is keeping everything else warm as toast.
I have never traveled OR 228 between Sweet Home and Brownsville. According my map it should be a left off of US 20 so I turn right on 20 toward Albany. Big mistake I later learn. After a few miles I realize I've missed the turn and instead turn left for Sodaville where, for the next 30 or 40 minutes I make wrong turn after wrong turn. Time, to make the FSR start, is slipping away and I can't pick up the pace as the next blind corner may be frosted over.
Eventually I wind my way into Brownsville and hurry through town finally picking up OR 228 for a block and then a quick left onto Gap Road. It is still foggy. The mist hangs in the air and swirls around me as I speed through it. Making my way as far south as this road goes it bends its way toward I-5. Crossing the interstate I speed into Harrisburg as the fog is lifting here in the central valley lowlands. A county mounty eyes me closely as I make the last bend into town. A short time later there are only two other bikes at the Cheshire Dari Mart. I join Keith and Jim Hiler inside with a cup of hot chocolate.
The day continues to clear and warm. Before long Dave Morgan rolls in on his Guzzi. Jim needs to run into Junction City for gas. As we BS while waiting for Jim, Aimee cruises in on her Beemer. By the time Jim returns it is close to 10:30 and we head out west on OR 36. Jim leads and the rest of us form up behind.
Oregon 36 is a good road for strafing. The road surface is fair most places and contains a good mix of straights, flats, up and downhills, and, especially on the western side, a fair mix of twisties of varying speed varieties as the two lane highway descends toward Mapleton and the coast. Traffic is generally light, especially this time of year, although a fair number of pickups and rigs with trailers loaded with dirt bikes and four wheelers are headed for the dunes at Florence. This part of the ride is great fun. Mapleton appears all too soon.
Continuing our aggressive riding we dice up the traffic on 126 as we wheel our way into Florence. A quick gas stop, a top off for me, and the group decides to head to Mo's for some lunch. Keith writes an excellent description of our lunch time encounter here. After lunch most of the group decided to head north toward Waldport and make the trip inland on OR 34. Jim decided to head south, solo, toward Reedsport. I would have loved to go that direction but was operating under a bit of a time constraint as we had visitors coming in the afternoon and dinner plans for early evening. Jim's account of this FSR and his solo trip south is at this link. Aimee and Dave both have versions of this same story here and here respectively.
As the rest of us turned north we were quickly separated by traffic. Aimee and I waited quite a while for our opportunity to pass. The scenery was of course fantastic as the day had continued to clear and brighten. After getting around the traffic interleave, we caught Dave shortly and Keith was waiting at the Cape Perpetua lookout turn-off. We zipped up the twisty access road to the lookout parking area and stopped for the photo-op. Most of us got some nice pictures under the cooperating skies. Check the other trip reports and my own pictures to see for yourself.
Heading back north after our quick stop it seemed just moments as we motored through Yachats and Waldport and turned east toward Philomath on 34. Once again our pace was brisk and fairly aggressive as we performed surgery on the unsuspecting motoring public. At one point Keith made a quick pass and I was not able to follow. At the next opportunity I wicked it up and pulled to the left. Dave had been right on my shoulder during most of the previous traffic incisions. This time as I prepared to go I was sure Dave was there ready to go also. As I squeezed back into the flow and made room for Dave, there was no Dave. Oh well, he'll catch-up. I quickly caught Keith and we motored on up and over the hill toward the Mary's Peak turn-off when we realized that no one else was coming.
We slowed and pulled into the turn-off and waited. And waited, and waited. The traffic we had neatly discarded was long gone when we turned around and headed back west. Several miles later we found Dave and Aimee on the side of the road right where Dave and I were going to make the big pass to catch Keith. Dave had no throttle. Upon disassembly of the twist grep it was plain the plastic/nylon holder for the barrel on the throttle cable had broken and would no longer pull the cable. Some judicious trimming with a small pair of side cutters and Dave was able to use the holder for what would have been the "push" cable if he had a push/pull setup.
By now it was nearly 3:30 in the afternoon. At that point I said my good-byes, see you next time, as I was running up on being late for home. I took off and wicked it up a couple notches in an effort to get home close to 4:00 pm. The twisties past Mary's Peak were wet and covered with sand and pea gravel but I attacked as best I could. Shortly I was cruising through Philomath toward Corvallis. Being in a rush at this point I kept on 34 to I-5 and zipped north to the Jefferson exit and headed toward Marion and home to Stayton. Pulled in at just about 4:10. My son Jeremy, Angie, and Justice had only been there about an hour but I had plenty of time before we had to leave for dinner.
All in all a great ride today. Cold, frozen, and foggy as hell to start but once it cleared up it warmed considerably and we even saw the sun on occasion. The roads were not at all bad considering the time of year the considerable snow fall only a short week or so before. It'll be March 3rd and another first ride before you know it.
Participating rider reports:
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