Archive for September, 2014

A trip to Southern OR to meet friends and make new ones!

The catalyst was losing another dear friend. When my moto-pal, Bruce Laidlaw died and I realized that I needed to spend more time nurturing friendships and creating some new ones. I have spent years on the motorcycle forum Pashnit, yet had not met but a handful of other riders in person and the few that I had created some lifelong pals. So, when there was an upcoming ride to southern OR, I jumped in and committed and I’m ever so glad I did!

I left the Sacramento area at 7 am and for those of you that do know me, this is a near impossibility! It’s not that I don’t have good intentions, as I do, it’s just that I can’t seem to get out the door nor matter how hard I try. I decided due to the high temps, that early was best and I’d have everything ready to go the night before. NOT.

I got up at 5:45 and after only one cuppa joe, got everything ready to go and was on the bike by 7:15am! A first!

I was going to ride all the way to Shady Cove, OR which was a fairly long day. My friend Bonnie Lamply had a good looking route going from her place and I decided to borrow some of the back roads she was going to ride. Leaving home I took a b-line to Truckee via I80 and then veered off through Sierraville and Loyalton, by-passing Reno and reaching Susanville where I could then take Hwy 139, a personal favorite through the little town of Adin and up to the Klamath area where I planned on adding Bonnie’s route to my own.

As I rode through Loyalton, some fun memories arose. I had attended a senior prom there with my then current boyfriend. His father was the local judge and the town was tiny but adorable. As I passed through, things looked a bit rough around the edges and when I got to the north end of town there was a large queue of people. I immediately thought it was a farmer’s market or some such, but no it was a line for the food bank. Wow…

Not much around Loyalton, but hay fields and apparently not many jobs. 🙁

Eagle Lake on Hwy 139. Note the low level of water!

A little riding selfie…

I stopped in Adin for a coffee milkshake. YUMMY…the frosty there is delicious and the girls friendly. I alway enjoy a visit there but today there were two of CA’s finest in the parking lot when I arrived. Once I got situated, I asked them, “which way are you guys going?”. 😉 They responded, “well, it depends, which way are you going:”. I then said, “hey, I asked first!!”. They just chuckled and continued their tales of BMW GS riders whom they considered too old to still be riding. They kept the tone within earshot and quite frankly, I wanted to say, “hey, I’m not that OLD, damn it.” I instead simply moseyed back on the road heading north!

As I began my back road OR adventure, I discovered there was simply NO GAS to be had in any of the small towns that I passed through! I was trying to peruse my GPS for gas, when I heard a tiny, “beep beep beep”. It was Bonnie! What are the chances?? Apparently, pretty good. We both should have played the lottery that day! Bonnie suggested we might find gas in Lake of the Woods and indeed we did. It was $5.75 a gallon, but was 92 octane and had no ethanol! I don’t think my bike has ever been happier!

The route Bonnie and I wanted to take was through Butte Falls, but the guys in Lake of the Woods said it had recently been chip-sealed, so advised against it. We decided to check it out anyway and we were glad we did. It was firm and really quite good!

Bonnie decided upon reaching Butte Falls to go and find the falls. I began the trek but quickly bailed after my last supposed short jaunt on OR dirt roads a couple of years earlier. Nope…not this year!!

We pulled into the Shady Cove and the wonderful Royal Coachman Motel around 6ish and there was already a good sized contingent of Pashunts that had arrived earlier. The motel is the perfect venue for a group due to its placement along the Rogue River and the outstanding grounds! After a meet and greet and a beer or two later under the gazebo, we headed over to have dinner at Mac’s Diner wich is right next door and ate on the outdoor deck above the beautiful Rogue. Twas a very nice way to end an awesome day of riding and meeting new friends.

Though blurry, I loved how this photo captured the spirit of the evening!

This is a group of breakfast eaters and early risers. Needless to say, I didn’t make “breakie at 7:30”, but I did get some morning shots of the bikes and a cup of coffee with real milk that Bonnie had grabbed from the store even earlier!

Bonnie and my bike in front of our room. Notice they placed the fire extinguisher on the wall outside of the “hot girls” room or was it due to the fuel pump recall on my bike! 😉

Ken’s gang gears up and is ready to go. Bonnie and I didn’t want to take the exact routing, though Ken had done an awesome job on creating a lovely route. We were hoping to add a few extra back roads through the farm country and we succeeded in finding some great roads!

227 to Tiller…I enjoyed watching this skateboarder.

Bonnie securing a reflective river shot before her shadow took control.

Suddenly our shadows were attempting to twerk. We were able to catch them before it got scary…

Some nice folks we met along the way.

Farmland vista outside of Glide, OR

As we arrived in Glide after gassing up, we found our Pashnit group finishing up their lunch. Bonnie and I quickly grabbed a featured Orange Cream milkshake and Geno came to our rescue with some actual food. We then left with the group riding up Hwy 138. Bonnie and I would follow until she found another road, this one with “only 10 miles of dirt” that she had wanted to ride. I bid her farewell and noted where I left her, you know, just in case! I figured I’d catch the group, but they had gone off to visit a waterfall and I didn’t see them until that evening. I instead headed up to see Crater Lake. It wasn’t one of my best ideas!

Ken’s shot of me…I loved the peace out in the background, but being an old hippie, of course I did!

Photo Credit–Ken Jacobs

Leaving Glide…note that BIG smile!

Photo credit–Ken Jacobs

Apparently, there were enough fires in the area to create a mass of smoke which filled the crater. I, luckily had seen the lake before, as today was certainly NOT the day to view it. Sadly it only reflected the color of the sky, which today was brownish gray.

I did meet one little buddy, though.

I headed back to Shady Cove with a brief water stop in Union Creek, where I met a youthful couple returning from Washington to Oakland. He asked me, “Are you the back rider or the front rider”? I quickly let him know that I was the ONLY rider! 😉 We had a nice chat and I met their king sized dog Oso then we parted ways.

I’m not sure what time I got back but it was before the rest of the group and even Bonnie was not yet back which made me wonder if I would have to soon call in the local scout troop to put on a search. It wasn’t long before they all arrived together, Bonnie having her own dirt horror to tell, but she and the bike were unscathed!

Tonight was a Mexican meal with Margaritas and my downfall. 😉

Steve, Bonnie and Ken our illustrious trip planner. L-R

There is no existing proof that I was there after that margarita shot. 😉

The morning after…apparently I couldn’t get my eyes open!
Meredith, Ken’s wife and I in our lovely dayglow jackets!

Photo Credit–Ken Jacobs

My pal Ally House and me before we all parted ways!

Photo credit–Ken Jacobs

The following morning, I was unsure what route I was doing. Crater Lake, I had already visited, so I considered going east and connecting with Ken and Ron in Burns, but once I reached the Crater Lake turnoff, I decided instead to go to Chiloquin, a town where I spent two years of high school.

When I was there, I remember it quite differently. There little down town teemed with kids after school buying hotdog gum and eating fries and gravy at the local cafe. Now sadly, it’s mostly boarded up as the mill is gone and there isn’t much left to support those that live there.

I wonder how many visitors use the visitor center…

Bygone Americana…

My old high school. In Chiloquin, high school was grad 7-12. I was in 8th and 9th grade here.

Riding along the Sprague River.

Beautiful country!

At this point of my journey, I was still considering meeting some of the pashnit group in Burns and I thought I could turn on Hwy 140 and head towards Lakeview, OR, but the beauty of traveling solo, is the ability to change ones mind on a moments notice. Thus, when I reached 140 I decided that I would instead head home as it was only around 2pm. I made my turn toward west instead of east.

I stopped in the funky town of Bonanza, OR for something to drink since I was foolish enough to leave my camelbak at home!

As I sat and drank my cold drink and ate my trail mix I listened to two young girls talking.
“Well, what do you expect from a girl whose favorite color is camo”? hahaha…i had no idea what the rest of the conversation entailed but that was funny!

Almost as funny as this storefront! In the foreground was picnic food covered with ants and flies. The background was old products and the rest was booze. Uh….wow. I could only think of was Miss Havisham’s jilted wedding in Great Expectations, only this was the jilted picnic.

Back on the road, I stopped in Adin for gas and Susanville for coffee. It was after 5 and getting smokier and smokier due to a fire in Pollock Pines, CA, as I headed toward Reno. By Reno, an apocalyptic sky filled the landscape.

I had given up the dream of making it home this night and instead headed for my friend’s home in Carson City. They are my bestest of pals and I even have a key to their home in case they are gone, that’s how close we are! I rode right in to the garage that seemed to know I was coming and docked the beemer for the night! I was ready for WINE!

A great meal and camaraderie sitting outside in their lovely back yard commenced until I poured myself into bed with thoughts of an early short trip home.

The day was lovely over the Sierra Nevada Range but summer heat still raged in Sacramento.

A quick stop for a delicious grilled cheese at Woodfords Station, at the base of Hwy 88. I spent time there as a kid when they once had a pond of trout outside. Today I was told that the trout were taken out since it brought bears down who enjoyed a fine meal of fresh rainbows.

Fall colors filled the air.

Just outside of Kirkwood, some road construction is being done. While waiting I saw this man running down the highway with an American flag. I discovered he was part of an awesome organization. As traffic passed there were others from Team RWB in vans honking as they went.

Thirsty and once again wishing I had brought my camelbak, I stopped at the park in Fiddletown for drinking fountain water.

I rode by Gary and my favorite restaurant in Plymouth. If you go by, do stop, as it’s an amazing and outstanding culinary experience!

Ahhhhh, the oaks of the Sac valley on the last leg of the journey. I was home at last!

Tribute to a friend…RIP Bruce Laidlaw

The motorcycle community has lost a great guy, an active rider, a good mentor and a fine photographer. Bruce Laidlaw was a friend to all that knew him. He had a riotous sense of humor and a big heart and last week he died.

Without dissecting how he died, his friends should reflect on how he lived. Each and everyone of us have had some rocky roads in our existence and Bruce certainly traversed his own, but more importantly he contributed to each of us that knew him, a pat on the back, a good word or his endearing smile.

He was an active member of the Streetmasters crew and served not only as a talented rider, but as their photographer in residence. He shot photos of all the participants as we worked our way around the track our faces filled with determination. 😉

The 2013 Streetmasters Reunion crew.

During the 2013 Streetmasters Reunion, he chose to take a little ride with us girls and what a wonderful day we all had!

He kept us entertained at a store with his shenanigans.

We had a wonderful memory-filled day!

I was fortunate enough to travel with Bruce on a trip to Death Valley a few years back just prior to a gig at Streetmasters. We had a wonderful time exploring many a fun road in the area. We shot photos, shared stories and he supported me as I went through numerous stress-inducing phone calls from my father who was sinking farther into his darkened state of dementia. He helped me sort out the craziness from my father’s actual needs and allowed me to vent my family frustrations.

While riding DV he took a photo of me while I was stopped taking a photo of the valley. It became one of my absolute favorite pic.

Bruce riding Artist’s Loop.

Bruce on the overlook.

Way to smile for that selfie, bro!!

His smile went ear to ear only moments later when a jet buzzed us at least twice saying a very boisterous, “hello!”.

It’s with these and other memories that I choose to keep Bruce special. He was my friend, afterall, and the moments we shared will be mine forever. Godspeed, Bro, you will be missed.