Sunday, January 14, 2018

New Year's Ride, Cline Butte and Beyond

You'd think I'd learn to follow my own advice and heed my own adage that "I only ride in temperatures higher than my age", but for some dumb reason I thought it a good idea to go for a Polar Bear ride, tradition and all that. I gathered up my gear, rolled the Tiger out of the garage and headed to coffee. Trobairitz was smart enough to stay home, where it was warm and dry... and warm.

Andy and Jeff were already there,  riding further than I did. Andy sent me a photo of the ice on his jacket from riding across the valley in the freezing fog.

Meh, we'll just sit at coffee until the sun breaks through and it warms up some. The sun really didn't break through, nor did it warm up some. If we were going to go for a ride, we were going to have to get out of this fog. I didn't want to take our usual route due to freezing fog, or ride very far to higher elevations with Jeff not having a windscreen on his DRZ. Instead we tootled out of coffee and it wasn't long before we could see wisps of blue sky and the sun trying to break through. I thought of a lookout point above town where we could get above the fog.

Above the fog 

Jeff and Andy

Clear enough to see Three Sisters

Speaking of Three Sisters, here you see the Twin Tigers

We chatted for a bit and headed back down the hill into the fog and out toward Albany via the backroads. Within a couple of miles we were out of the fog and enjoying the sunshine and balmy 37ºF (3ºC) temperature. Jeff had prior obligations (football game on tv maybe) so we meandered back to his place, then Andy and I went our separate ways back home. It wasn't much of a ride, but a ride nonetheless.

The following Saturday, Andy mentioned trailering the dual sport bikes out to ride Cline Butte OHV area between Sisters and Redmond on Sunday. I was up for it, as was our buddy Jim who happens to own a Yamaha TW200, a retired Team Oregon training bike. The funny thing is, Jim stands 6' something and can flat foot most any ADV bike, including his '06 Triumph Tiger (where Andy and I struggle to even touch on ours). Watching Jim tower over his little TW200 is a sight, but he managed very well and I actually had to work to keep up with him on my DRZ. Something about those fat tires floating over the rocky technical sections, whereas I had to methodically pick my lines.

Andy and Jim sizing up the little T-Dub

We plunked along a few trails trying to find the canyon we rode through last year. We didn't have a trail map, nor were there any left at the staging area, so were navigating on memory alone; needless to say we never did find the canyon, but had fun riding several of the trails. Eventually, Andy offered to trade bikes with Jim and he accepted. Now you got a short guy on a TW200 and a tall guy on a Husqvarna 450, they both fit their new steeds so much better and they were gone, hang on. We found a familiar trail and made it back to the rig for a bite to eat and loaded up before the sun set. Now for a two and a half hour drive home, thanks for driving Andy.

I then put in a full 40 hour work week, another 8 hours on Friday at Team Oregon all after coming off a bad cough over the holiday break, so I was whooped. The weather promised to be warm and dry this weekend, and I promised to take Jeff for a ride since he couldn't make it to Cline Butte with us. I've been meaning to find a gravel road from here to the coast, but just wasn't up for an all day ride. So we puttered along a familiar loop around the valley that Brandy and I have done before, and I did with Jeff for his DRZ maiden voyage.

Brandy wrote about our adventure yesterday on her blog.

Jeff received a GoPro Hero5 for Christmas so he's been learning how to video, edit, and post. It's sure nice to have your own cameraman tag along behind you.

Yesterday was a good day, I wasn't in a hurry, and I knew the route so I wasn't stopping to pull out the maps at every intersection. It was good to get Brandy out on the TW again, and get her and Jeff used to riding gravel roads in preparation for the Black Dog Rallies this year.

At least she knows what it feels like to lose her chain now, a minor setback, but we got her back and running soon enough. I was so glad that it wasn't at speed on the main road. We took it easy the rest of the way, sticking to gravel roads as best we could and keeping our speed down on the main roads. Note to self, pack more tools.

Glad it didn't break and punch the case, whew.

We were going to drive to the coast today, but I just needed a day off from obligations, honey do projects and other chores; I've ridden every weekend so far this year. I guess I'd better keep track of my mileage, at least on my bikes. Brandy's bike mileage may differ, cue maniacal laugh.

Starting Mileage 2018
Tiger - 63285
DRZ - 2297

I am losing precious days. I am degenerating into a machine for making money. I am learning nothing in this trivial world of men. I must break away and get out into the mountains to learn the news.  John Muir