Wednesday night was Bike Night and mutterings of an off road ride were made near the end of the table. There was talk about tires, gravel roads, routes and when was I going to get the Tiger dirty?
Saturday seemed as good a time as any, except that is was forecast to rain. By the time Friday came around there was 1.49 inches of rain forecast to fall throughout the weekend. That should get the bike good and dirty.
Daren offered to take a couple of us gravel newbies for an offroad ride with about 70 miles of gravel, on logging roads, over the Coastal Range and back through the countryside. Daren rides "Misty" a VStrom 1000 and invited Erik on his Triumph Scrambler and me on my Tiger. Knowing Daren does offroad rides all the time and has ridden from Alaska, all over Eastern Oregon and goes for weekend camping trips on a moments notice, we were in good company. Daren is a great guy, very knowledgeable, experienced and a former scuba instructor so he has the patience to teach our motley crew. I invited Josh to tag along on his WeeStrom knowing he was wanting to explore the wonderful world beyond the pavement.
I learned to ride on gravel and dirt roads but that was twenty five years ago on a little 80cc Yamaha enduro, then a bit here and there over the last 10 years or so on my step-dad's dirt bikes.
I knew the basic principles and it didn't take me long to get right back into it, the Tiger was just a bigger bike than I was used to riding offroad and I was running on street tires. As long as we didn't get into deep mud, I'd be okay.
The route took us through clear cuts, over hill and dale of tall conifers into valleys of blushing vine maples, all hanging heavy with rain. We never got into anything that one couldn't take a car over and passed many little cabins, small retreats and camping spots. Most of the day I had no idea of where we were but had complete faith in our fearless leader, we'd pop out on a road somewhere I'd recognize then after a few miles we'd turn off onto another gravel road to disappear for thirty more miles.
This is Erik at our first stop, Erik and I have the same riding suits which kept us dry all day so we were happy and enjoying the ride in the rain.
Daren is in the hi-vis jacket with his beloved Misty
We didn't stop much for pictures as it was raining most of the day and it is not always easy to take off and put on wet gloves over wet hands. We did make it into Newport and stopped in at the Chowder Bowl for some of the best chowder on the Oregon coast. (We have yet to make it down to Barnacle Bistro in Gold Beach).
The rain had stopped, so after fueling up I switched to an extra pair of dry gloves and we were off again for adventure. We rode up and over Sams Creek and into Logsden, Nashville and stopped at Ritner Creek Park.
We were nearly home and it was getting late. We stopped at Ritner Creek covered bridge before one more gravel stretch and home.
My loving wife was waiting patiently for me. I hosed off the topsoil and hung up my gear to dry. What a fantastic ride, I am hooked on dualsport.