Sunday, May 7, 2017

Another belated post

April 2017, we were into our seventh month of rain, an annual record breaking amount of rainfall at that, and needless to say were are a bit sick and tired of it. May has finally dried out some, at least enough to mow the lawn between showers.

Online photo

A couple... 6 weeks ago, Polar Bear suggested we trailer the dual sports over the wet, snowy mountain pass in search of drier trails and the sunshine of Central Oregon. We heard about a small OHV (Off Highway Vehicle) area nestled between Redmond and Sisters, about a 2-1/2 hour drive. We loaded up the bikes and were off to Cline Buttes.

We drove through rain, and there was snow on the side of the roads, but as we got closer and closer to Sisters, the sun was shining and the snow disappeared. Through Sisters and toward Redmond we kept an eye out for the turn off to the OHV area. I have driven and ridden by this spot at least a dozen times, never knowing it was there, (I bought my Tiger in Redmond).

Three more miles... 2 more... 1 more.... a half mile ahead on the right. There it is! Two dirt bikes were on the cross road to the left waiting to cross the highway. Passing us after our turn in, we followed them to the staging area. More like a camping area as there were camp trailers and toy haulers, even tents staking claim to their own little area. We were only there for the day so we didn't want to take any camp spots and just parked off to the side.

Sunshine! Warm, bright, glorious sunshine! 
And dust! 
Actual, float in the air, in your teeth, up your nose, wear your goggles, dust!

We couldn't get the bikes off the trailer fast enough, then we geared up as the sun warmed our Western Oregon, water-logged spirits. The temperature slowly climbed as we mounted our bikes.

It's been months since being on the bike, so we did a loop around the kiddie track to keep us from setting off full throttle and doing anything foolish. Then it was a slow tootle along the easy, green trails before venturing off to the intermediate blue trails.  We rode clockwise, down to trail 11 and over to 15 and 21. What a great loop, not too difficult although a couple of rocky areas tested us, we had a great ride. 

Intersection of 11 & 15

Our approach to Dry Canyon

Whence we came

Hi Andy!

We gonna talk about it, or ride?

Dry Canyon was a wonderful trouvaille, photos didn't capture the impressiveness, and although not as grandeur as that famous canyon visited by thousands of tourists every year, it was beautifully secluded and quiet.

We rode on, checking the trail map once just to make sure we were still having fun and making good choices. After both of us lugging 500+ lb. Tigers out of mud trails in the past, we are much more cautious of chasing the fearless down rabbit holes, let alone each other.

We meandered back to the staging area for a bite to eat and to load up for the 2-1/2 hour drive home. Andy drove more than we rode, but it was certainly worth it to dry out some from the long, wet winter of Western Oregon. We discussed coming back again with the families for a weekend camping trip and ride.

trou·vaille tro͞oˈvī/
  1. a lucky find.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

A Short Ride...

I finally got a ride in; the recent weather has been rather winter-ish.

The freezing temperatures, snow, and the ice gave way to warm rain, and 53º today.

Although it was only part way up the mountain, before I was turned around due to ice, it was a ride nonetheless. I was able to fuel up and run some fresh gas through the carb before I was rained out.

Fresh powder would've been much more fun, and a whole lot easier to ride in. This weeks old, wet, sloppy snow, and rain over ice was not worth riding on, let alone crashing, as I was by myself.

Not a lot of snow, nor much of a story to tell, but I'm still around and riding whenever I can.

~ The obstacle is the path. 

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Ketchup II

So I left off my last post with the Black Dog in June...

The second weekend in June, Chris from Everyday Riding flew out to stay with us, visit for the weekend, and attend the Vegan Beer & Food Festival in Portland.

Trobairitz had to work Friday morning, so Chris and I were left at home unsupervised to make "good choices". As kids do when left alone, we raided the closet and came up with my spare Aerostich suit, a pair of riding boots, and Brandy's helmet for Chris to wear, played dress up, then went for a ride up Alsea Falls and Mary's Peak.

Just two guys out for a ride

Two of a kind

Goofing off at Alsea Falls

Don't let the helmet fool you, this boy can ride!

Chris's best Julie Andrews impression "The hills are alive, with the sound of music"

Saturday we battled Portland traffic to attend the Vegan Beer and Food Festival, but first we had to stop at Back To Eden Bakery for breakfast and a recommended Mexican Cafe. Sufficiently suffonsified, we were off to taste ciders, beer, and more food. Chris and Brandy were tasting ciders while I preferred sampling the beer. Although we could drink as much as we liked, the line ups and the 3 oz. tasters kept the excitement to a dull roar.

Sunday we drove out to the coast and clambered about the beach for a bit before heading back inland to Eugene for some pizza and more treats. I think we all gained about 10 pounds that weekend.

Thanks for coming to visit Chris, we had a blast. Next we need to go to Minneapolis.


A couple of more weekends were spent leading KLRs through the woods in preparation for our OBDR ride. The guys were having a great time just getting out into the woods and riding gravel roads.

Andy and I rode out and hiked The Valley of the Giants one day.

Then Brandy and I scouted another covered bridge ride.

Wildcat Covered Bridge


A bunch of us instructors got together one day to practice the Rider's Skill Practice course. For the RSP, we set up a course stringing together many of the exercises we teach in the Basic Riders Training and Intermediate Rider Training classes with the addition of a barrel ride type exercise.
So we'll ride through the barrel ride, into a corner proficiency evaluation, then through the swerve exercise, then ending with the quick stop, all under the watchful eyes of two instructors with stop watches. The idea is to time the student through the first course, break down and practice each exercise, then run the course again to see how much they improved. We all had a blast, leaned and learned a lot. Evidently I ran the course about one second shy of our new director on his BMW K1600, and a senior instructor on his Aprilia Tuono earning me two awards; scoring Best Time, and voted Most Inspiring from my peers.

I was also able to sneak in an Instructor Cornering Clinic and a Braking Clinic to my schedule this summer. The braking clinic is part of motor officer training and gives us the opportunity to practice quick stop braking and swerving at highway speeds on a closed drag strip. This is a great way to communicate with your bike while practicing and honing our skills.

Cornering Clinic at Pat's Acres Go Cart Track in Canby
Cornering Clinic at Pat's Acres Go Cart Track in Canby

Braking Clinic at Woodburn Dragstrip

Do attempt this at home, practicing a swerve at 60 mph.

Woodburn Dragstrip


Next up, my coworkers and I headed out to ride Route 6 of the Oregon Backcountry Discovery Route from Crescent Lake to Coos Bay.

To be continued...

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Ketchup Post

Wow, I have neglected my blog! Allow me to catch up, remind myself why my schedule is so full, whilst referring Trobaritz's blog to jog my memory. I'll post these up as I find time.

Choose KLR

First off, this Spring a couple of guys at work decided to buy motorcycles. Three of them bought Kawasaki KLR650s, and knowing that I rode a Triumph Tiger and a Yamaha XT250, they too wanted to ride gravel roads.

Jeff and his daughter on his new KLR

I try very hard not to mix my work life with my home life, but when it comes to motorcycles what are you gonna do? As my social calendar started to fill, my solitude seemed to slip away. Since we all work in the same department, have the same schedule with Friday mornings off, they suggested we meet for coffee every week. Of course, meeting for coffee leads to discussions about rides, roads, and maps, and we all know what happens next.  Yep, we're shucking our obligations at home to go riding.

They wanted to see covered bridges

So, covered bridges it is!

Then all of this riding has led to trip planning, particularly a 2+ day ride from the Cascades to the Coast, or the Oregon Backcountry Discovery Route (OBDR), so when we're not out riding, we were buying camping gear, fitting kit to our bikes, and doing short shakedown rides to coffee. Still shucking our obligations at home.

Hanging out at  coffee, on their cellphones...

Aren't cellphones great?! *eyeroll

One of my shakedown rides, (the guys at work couldn't make it, but Polar Bear did) was the Black Dog Dualsport Adventure Ride; a two day dust fest near Hood River the first weekend in June.

2012 Black Dog AMA National Dualsport/Adventure Ride Promo Video from openmike on Vimeo.

Andy and I loaded up the bikes onto his trailer that Friday morning and headed off to Hood River. We got barely an hour up the freeway when we received texts and phone calls from Mrs. Polar Bear stating there was a train derailment and oil tankers on fire in the Gorge and that I-84 was closed at Hood River, the very spot we were headed.

After a bit of head scratching and consulting our maps, we decided to head East through Molalla and sneak around the backside of Mount Hood. This made for a steep climb and a minor overheating issue, but with Andy's mechanical wizardry and a temporary repair to the radiator with some quick steel, we were able to make it over the mountain and into Odell to the Fairgrounds where we set up our tents for the weekend. Another friend Don, beat us there with his motorhome and was able to claim a spot for us and a couple of other friends who arrived later because of the train. We could see the smoke from the fairgrounds, but not close enough to bother us.

Our camp at the fairgrounds

Up early the next morning, we registered and received our roll charts for the day's route. Having never used a roll chart before we clumsily loaded them into our holders and set off for adventure.

It took a few stops and turns to appreciate a roll chart, but once we got it, we loved it. Coming from a guy reluctant to give up his antiquated flip phone, this sure beat messing with GPS tracks and maps.

The ride was great, however, being on smaller bikes we weren't in nearly as much of a hurry as everyone else. We pulled over a number of times to let a herd of KTMs stampede past us in a cloud of dust, we started referring to KTMs as rhinoceroses.

We would putt along and eventually come upon the same herd of rhinoceroses (evidently known as a "crash") that had stopped at a crossroads to refer to their GPS and maps, then tootle past them with a friendly wave. It wasn't five or ten minutes before the "charging crash" would be blindly stampeding past us again in another cloud of dust, where we would again stop to let the dust settle only to come upon them again at the next intersection. Silly rhinoceroses.

The scenery was fantastic and the roads were just challenging enough that we weren't going to hurt or exhaust ourselves to feign a work related limp Monday morning.

Back at camp

We had a great time, the roll charts made for a self guided tour at our own pace.


This should catch you up to the end of June. To be continued...