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Posts Tagged ‘Tumblebug complex’

OR31On the first day of fall the saddlebags were loaded and ready for another motorcycle trip.  This time the posse pointed our motorcycles south and headed toward some promised fun in the Nevada desert. Street Vibrations was the destination, but our journey through country roads and byway’s was the largest part of the reason that we ride.

The northwest weather provided a late summer blast of heat which was much different than previous years where the threat of rain was always looming.  There were two groups rolling and I was in the second group who departed at noon.   With a solid six hours of riding ahead of us until we reached our overnight destination we didn’t have a lot of down time.  It was gas-n-go and personal refection time would be experienced while we looked at the dramatic views of high Cascade peaks.  Our route was I-5 then connect with Santiam Pass Highway (US 20).  This is a well traveled route as we viewed the Cascade peaks which is made more striking by the contrast between black lava and white snow.  Traffic was light with few commercial trucks and we made our way to Sisters in record time.  Prior to reaching the summit we picked up forest fire smoke from the Tumblebug complex.  A 10,000-acre fire near Oakridge and the wind filled the cascades with smoke.

Arm_OR31We intersected with Oregon Route 31 south of La Pine and headed east.  The highway is a 2-lane, rural road for its entire length.  I never tire of the thrill of leaning into a corner and twisting the throttle out — straightening up the bike until you lean back upright and roll into the straightaway — it’s as much fun now as it was back in the early days of dirt bikes.

OR 31 is part of the Outback Scenic Byway and goes between La Pine and just past Lakeview at the California border. It passes multiple natural attractions like Fort Rock State ParkHole-in-the-Ground and Summer Lake.  This ~150 mile route starts in the Deschutes National Forest, through stands of lodgepole and ponderosa.  As you continue south the landscape has a lot to offer; including high elevation subalpine vegetation, colorful lichen encrusted rimrocks, lush meadows, deeply shaded mixed conifer old growth stands, and sagebrush/juniper covered rolling hills. There are seasonal wildflowers and the views are stunning throughout the route.  The air is filled with bugs.  So many in fact it was difficult to view the road from certain areas of the windshield.

OR31_RestWe arrived at the Best Western motel in Lakeview with time to watch the last of the sunset and clear the windshield free of our heavy bug collection.   Dinner was at a terrific restaurant called the El Aguila Real Mexican Food and we enjoyed post dinner refreshments with a few rounds of pool at the Eagles Nest Lounge…a local “elk-hunter” bar with a number of locals playing lotto slots and explaining how they are trapped in a go nowhere town.  Interesting group to say the least.

Walking back toward the hotel talk turned to nutrition — don’t ask me why — maybe the enchiladas and bean burrito overload at 9pm set it off.  Maybe it was being denied a maple bar at the just closed donut shop and our eyes turned toward the grocery cart return which glistened under the moon light.  It made for the perfect impromptu athletic competition.  No one in town seemed to mind the multiple grunts in the early misty morning.  As a result we now have a new “chin-up” champ.  Sure fatigue prevented a Lakeview world record, but in the off season and with enough high-frequency chin-up reps that record is set to fall next year, right Steve?!

Road Trippn’ to Street Vibrations 2009 — Part 2 HERE

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