Monday, July 6, 2009

Day 21 - All great things must come to an end

Mileage - 190 (if things had gone according to plan it was only 150)
Ride Time - 10.5 Hours

The day was a bit of a late start since Palmer and I were having a blast at the Casino last night and did not get in until about 1:30am. We went in to grab some food and check out the casino and ended up playing craps for 4 hours. Luckily at Oregon casinos they do not give you free drinks as you play so other than feeling tired, and a little lower on money, we were ready for the last day. After stalling a little and putting up a blog post we loaded up and hit the road.

The day started out great. We cruised down some really beautiful logging roads and were making great time.... then the re-routes started. I think the thing with the Oregon section is that there is so much logging the roads tend to be constatly changing. Once you get sucked into the spiderweb of roads it is tough to find your way out. Our first re-route ate up about 20-30 miles of riding and at least an hour and a half or more. Our short day to the finish was quickly expanding.

Eventually we worked out way out of the spiderweb and then ran into the landslides that we had read about but were hoping had been cleared. Well these were still there but luckily we were pretty good at finding re-routes by this time and managed to get back around to the trail pretty quickly.

The last 70 miles of the day has to be the longest 70 miles I have ever ridden. I was having to manually scroll through the route on the gps as we rode due to a glitch in the gps so every time I scrolled to the next screen full of route I was sure it would be the last... well every time there was just more out there. We just kept running up and along the razor thin ridges. Really pretty but at this point the sun is starting to head down and I wanted to see the pacific by dark.

Eventually we started loosing elevation. All I could think of was this was the point in the trip when the captain comes on the radio and tells you were are beginning our dedscent and thanks for using this airline. In my head it was "this is the trans america trail speaking, we are beginning our descent to the pacific and hope you have enjoyed your bumps and bruises this last 4300 miles.. we know you have choices in which trails you ride and are pleased that you chose this one..." In the end we came around a corner and could see Port Orford below us and the sun getting ready to sink. We pulled in to town just in time to ride out to the beach, snap a few victory pics and try to let it sink in that we had just ridden across the country on dirt bikes. 4300 miles, at least 4000 of it was dirt or trail, and we were unhurt on motorcycles that for the most part were operational and able to get us to Portland the next day.

Little did we know that the adventure had not ended. We had much more in store. As we were getting everythind loaded back up on the bikes and off the beach before the tide came in it dawned on us that we had focused so hard on the trip itself that we had not really thought about the hotel for the night. Normally this would not be an issue but we were at a costal town in Oregon on the 4th of July holiday weekend. See where this is going? Yep, no hotel rooms anywhere. I pulled up a list of hotels in the GPS and started calling... sorry no vacancies.. 40-60 miles each way up and down the coast every hotel was sold out. Hmmm, that is not what we had planned.

So since it was going to be a long night, it was only 9:30, and we had not eaten since having a Gatoraide for breakfast we thought we should find some dinner. At first we could not find anything that was open. Where were all these people that had filled the hotels? Just as we were giving up I spotted an old flat roofed building with what looked like beer signs lit up in the window. We were in luck and a bar, that served food, was open. We walked in covered in dirt and wearing our filthy riding gear and were immediately accepted. The band was great, the beer cold, and I had my 5000th BLT sandwich of the trip for dinner.

At this point I was ready to throw a tent out anywhere and get some sleep. I asked the waitress if the police would care if we camped out in the park just down the road and she said w would probably get kicked out but she would keep thinking on where we could stay. As we were finishing our food out waitress came over and said she thought she had an idea on who to ask about camping. "There is the guy over at the bar that lived in the shed behind my house for a while, I bet he will know where you can camp..." Lewis, our camping advisor, came over and introduced himself. "So you guys are looking for a place to camp? I am camping at a spot just down the road right now and you guys could probably fit in there if you wanted. Of course you would have to camp where I pee." This guy said all of this with a straight face and I 100% believe that he was offering up his pee spot for a campsite. We gratefully said we did not think that was a good idea but did he know of anywhere else? "Well there is one place... you had out of town on 101 and right after the bridge just turn left. Look on your left immediately after the turn and you will see a bunch of concrete barriers with no trespassing written all over them. Just behind those barriers is a great flat spot and nobody will see you back there." Well we were so tired this seemed like a great idea so we finished dinner and headed out.

We were quickly over the bridge and then, right where he said it would be, there was a concrete barrier with no trespassing written on it. There was a small berm of sand to get over but at this point we were so tired we just pointed the motorcysles over and hit the gas. On the other side we were astonished to see a great area for camping. The ground was level and sandy... perfect!! We setup the tent, stopping and turning off all the lights only when a car drove by, and crashed out for the night. I have never slept so well while camping in my life.

1 comment:

Courtney Putnam said...

What an amazing journey, Thomas! Thank you for your generous posting!

I imagine NatDog is pleased you are home safe and sound.