Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Our third honeymoon... Ride Report Days 1-2

The context

My husband and I got married two years ago.  Motorcycles are our passion, and we try to integrate them into every aspect of our life. Our honeymoon was a glorious two week ride down the coast and back up through the center of California.  So far, we haven't wanted our honeymoon to end.  So, every year when our anniversary rolls around, we have another ride planned.  Our second honeymoon journey, (our first anniversary) took us back to the Lost Coast, an area we discovered on our honeymoon that we wanted to immerse ourselves in.

But for years, Utah has been calling. So, no sooner were we back from our Lost Coast adventure than we started planning for this third honeymoon journey. It turns out when you tell people you are going to Utah, they all have amazing suggestions about what to do, where to go, and what to see. So, our route developed based on the suggestions of trusted friends. And, of course, Butler Maps.


The  Bikes

We both love off road riding, thought Nathan has quite a bit more skill and confidence than I do.  Our plan this year was to get me as much practice on my BMW G650GS so I could really enjoy this trip, and the offroad it offered.  And my husband, naturally, would take his KLR 650, a bike he loves, and can trail ride with the lightest of dirtbikes.

Alas, twas not to be.  Two weeks before our trip, the G650GS, which had given us nothing but trouble since we bought it in 2015, said its last goodbye.  Luckily, we had just picked up my old xt225, so it was the only option for this trip. 

We scrambled to make the xt adventure ready.... luggage racks, phone charging, tires, headlight, top case, and more. Nathan ordered a custom carburetor for the little guy.  Right up until the day we left, we were making mods, and the carburetor just couldn't get adjusted, so we took it out, put the stock carb back in, and left.  I didn't even take a goodbye photo until Salem, when we needed heat. 

The Trip

This was the first trip photo, taken in a parking lot in Salem. Unfortunately, all was not well with the xt... it coughed and hacked and sputtered and died as we left Salem, all the way to Sisters.  We stopped multiple times to try out multiple theories as to why this was happening...  

Slowly, we made it to Scio, and stopped for some pretty photos and a snack.  The road between Salem and Scio was beautiful!  The bike continued to have an attitude, but we continued on....

In Sisters, Nathan gave the bike a thorough once over.... Our plodding along the gorgeous and amazing Highway 20 made us realize this could not continue.  He found a pinched fuel line and the bike started to run normally again!  We had dinner in Bend, and though it was getting cold and dark, wanted to get more miles under our belt that day.  I was ridiculously excited to ride as my bike was running properly!  Spanky agreed, though his paws were wet too. 

In my excitement about the bike working, I didn't think to get gas in Bend.... Halfway between Bend and Burns, my bike ran out of gas.  We don't usually worry too much about such things, as the KLR has a 10.5 gallon tank, and we call it our mobile fueling station. I found a little abandoned cafe, and we used their porch to refill the xt.

We later found out a snowstorm was chasing us.  Even with heated liners, it was freezing!  We made it to Burns, OR, and saw two amazing things...

Of course, it was dark at the time, because it was after 10pm.  The hotel was before the gas, so gas waited until morning. The motel, though small, had HEAT and HOT RUNNING WATER and was amazing!  

In the morning, we woke warm and refreshed and ready to ride.

We used Yelp to find a breakfast place that would be nutritious and sustaining, then discovered that in the sleepy town of burns, the breakfast place didn't open until 9:30.  We had spotted a doughnut place on the way called "The Doughnut Hole", and Nathan voted Donuts for breakfast!  I completely fell in love with Burns, Or.  Everyone who came into the donut shop was friendly, talked to us, talked to each other, and it was so warm and fuzzy, it was a wonderful way to start our trip. 

Does this not look like a happy boy?

We set out, and the weather was slightly drizzly.  When choosing our route, neither of us had been through the Steens Mountains, so we chose to head to the west side of them, on highway 205. There's a lot of space between Burns and the Steens Mountains.

Lots of long, straight road space.

We found some fun red dirt for Nathan to play on.  We didn't take many pictures, because as warm as the people were, the weather was COLD!  

"Surprisingly Grippy" -Nathan

We stopped by the side of the road, and I warmed my hands behind Nathan's exhaust.  This was good timing, because after this, we actually ended up in the mountains, in the snow!  There was only about an inch on the ground, with tire tracks through it.  Let the adventures begin!

 We made it to Fields, OR around lunch time.  Well, I should say I drove right past Fields, OR, because the entire town pretty much exists in a parking lot; two gas pumps, a resturaunt/store combo, and a couple hotel rooms.

But again, the people were friendly, the food was good, and the building was warm.

Bellies full, tanks full, and hands defrosted, we set on our way.  The weather was better and our spirits were up.  We were headed down the road, when suddenly, the roadsigns changed!  We were in Nevada!  

We turned around to find the border.  Only about 100 feet back.  

We went to play on the dirt border road!




And then we were on our way, back on the road. Nevada has a LOT of open space.  LONG straight roads with high speed limits that the BMW would have loved to discover her top speed.  But we meandered along at the xt's top speed.  

I was incredibly entertained by these sexy dancing cow signs.  We saw a LOT of cows, and none of them looked as perky as this one.  

Why ride on the road, when you can ride off of it? 

Did I mention a LOT of long straight roads?  

We spent a little time on highway 80 between Winnemucca, NV and Carlin, NV.  Highway 80, with it's 85 mph speed limit and long downhills, was not my favorite.  Just before Carlin, I found myself excited by how fast my bike was going... just before I found it entering a severe speed wobble.  I ddi not let the bike go over 75 (on it's very optimistic speedometer) again.   We were heading to camp near Ruby Valley.  However, in Carlin, I did a weather check... 29 degrees in Ruby Valley... did not sound like fun camping.  We bagged that plan and decided to head to Eureka via highway 278.
Highway 278 was one of my favorite roads of the day. A few more curves, and very scenic.

Upon arriving in Eureka, we got the last room at the midpriced lodging; the low budget motel was full up.

After two long, cold days of riding, I was just DELIGHTED to find this:

 We also checked out the Owl Club Saloon and Restaurant.  If you decided to eat there, just know the portions are HUGE!  Really good, but huge.  I recommend the Steak Cesar Salad.  It was unbelievably good.

Cute, no? 

This is how Nathan felt about me taking pictures of him after a long riding day.

This helped. 

This was the end of our big transport days.  Sunday morning will begin Playtime in Eurkea, and heading to Great Basin National Park.  TTFN!

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