Saturday, November 6, 2010

Thoughts While on a Southern Oregon Trip

(Grave Creek Covered Bridge - Josephine County, OR)
Wednesday morning I left for Southern Oregon for a couple of days of work mixed with short times of being a tourist.  Okay, I was pretending to be a tourist after enjoy the travels of Gary's USA Tour on a Harley and George's Riding the USA.  The weather was forecast to be dry and the temperature to be relatively mild with the high both days in the mid 60's F.  That translates into, "Go ride!" - especially in November.

As I headed down I-5 in the dark it was slightly overcast with gusty winds.  About 25 miles south of Portland the wind was gone making for an enjoyable time to watch how the sunrise would develop.  Cruising along like this I like hearing the high-pitched hum of the motor below me.

By the way, is it possible to fall asleep while riding?  I've always had the ability to fall asleep anywhere and at anytime.  Being a salesman for almost 40 years I've logged many miles behind the windshield of the various cars I've owned.  Thank God I haven't fallen asleep but I've come close a number of times.  In the late 70's I use to leave the house twice a week at 6 am to drive to part of my sales territory in the desert near Los Angeles.  One morning I was startled by the raised pavement markers between the lanes.  I guess I should call them "Wake-up markers."

I've been thinking that it would be hard to fall asleep while riding.  Maybe it's like falling asleep while walking - there's just too much going on.  I ride with a slight touch of fear.  Then there's the necessity to keep the eyes moving and anticipate what others could do.  Those two factors alone should be enough to take away the threat of sleep.  Plus there's the ability to crack the visor and keep cold fresh air flowing.  Well, Wednesday morning I think I was on the edge of testing this question.  The first warning signal for the potential to fall asleep was riding in not much traffic.  The threat from others was taken away.  Then I began to day dream followed by a yawning fit.  Then I got a little drowsy.  Just the thought of being drowsy while riding gave me the same jolt as the "Wake-up markers".  Then everything was okay again.  Whew, I don't want to test that theory again.

The sunrise was nice and at times I saw places where I wanted to stop and snap a photo.  I usually think about it when I make this run and it's tempting to stop but too dangerous on I-5.  About 75 miles south of Portland and just north of Eugene the weather turned foggy and cold.  The fog lifted in Eugene but a low overcast remained until Roseburg where I work for most of Wednesday.

Just north of Grants Pass, OR there is an area nestled in the mountains called Sunny Valley.   The Grave Creek covered bridge is one of the few remaining covered bridges in Southern Oregon.  I've stopped here before but not put the photos on the blog.  Wednesday afternoon about 4:00 I stopped to get some shots with the sun low in the sky.

At one time (in the early 1920's) Oregon had as many as 450 covered bridges.  Now that number is down to 50.  I have a plan to visit as many as I can in my travels.  The plan is also to get the beemer pictured with each one.  You can see a map of their locations on this link.

Thursday morning in Grants Pass was foggy and in the high 40's F.  It's really feeling like autumn lately.  The parking lot looks empty and November looks like a bleak month here.

The continental breakfast is good, it's just that they don't have a place for people to sit down and eat.  So you have to pack as much as you can in your pockets so that you can unlock the door to get back into the building and your room. 

After seeing some accounts in Grants Pass I rode south about 30 miles to Medford and Ashland to visit more customers.  I made it back to Grants Pass for lunch then saw another account before working my way north.

I have to confess, I have this little routine when I make this trip.  I stop at a Dairy Queen in Sutherlin just north of Roseburg.  It's the perfect snack at just the right time of the afternoon.  It gives me the chance to stretch, get fuel, and use the facilities.  Another confession; the older I get I seem to be what the cup above says... a chocoholic.

The next stop was the Rochester Covered Bridge.  This bridge is about 3 miles from the Dairy Queen.  It was almost torched years ago but managed to survive and was remodeled in 1969.

The bridge has a nice sound when cars pass through.  The floor-boards rumble giving it an old-time sound.

My next stop is the rest stop north of Eugene.  It was beginning to get dark so it was time to change to the clear visor.  I've seen this biplane crop duster before making his exaggerated oval pattern early in the morning.  Because his property is right next to I-5, he makes some of his turns low and right over the highway.  He was flying late on Thursday.  It was quite a sight.

The beemer looks anxious to get back on the road so we do.  With about 80 miles to go it was a nice ride while the sun is setting.  It was dark when I got into the Portland area.  It was another nice mini-trip which makes me only dream about taking an extended one.

This summer when I took my rear tire to the dealer to get a new one installed, I was waiting for the place to open when I met some people gathering there for a ride to Mt. Saint Helens.   A Harley rider showed me photos still in his camera from a ride with a couple of buddies to the Grand Canyon.  I told him I'd like to do that someday.  He said, "You just have to do it.  Don't keep talking about doing it, just do it."

Good advice.  Maybe next year.

God's speed.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Ha - you certainly travel through some magnificent countryside Mike - what a pleasure.

    I don't suffer from yawning or tiredness on a bike, but what does sometimes scare me is having passed through a section of a journey and having absolutely no memory of it, particularly on familiar routes. I just hope that the "automatic pilot" was programmed to avoid other vehicles and pedestrians!

  3. Fun idea to get a photo of each covered bridge with the bike in it. I'd struggle with finding safe parking. Some parking I won't attempt when solo ie, soft shoulders and such. Still lots of lovely fall colors showing up in the photos.

    I've seen the yellow biplane many mornings dusting one field or flying off to another. I could watch them all day long.

    I'll have to come back and finish later...Ron is shutting off the power for some electrical thing he's working on...Sheesh, can't he wire with the power on! J/K :)

    Great post!

  4. After I posted a comment, I noticed that if I had read more carefully, I would've seen the answer.

    Great pictures of the bridge and a great reason to ride around the state (as if you needed one!). I use geocaching as an excuse to get out and about though mostly on foot.


  5. I don't know if it's possible but I know that I was close a couple of times on my trip :-( I had to start talking to myself out loud, singing (I can't sing) shaking my head, cracking the visor to get fresh air, it's scary. It happened because of boredom and heat and it was mid afternoon, route 50 in Nevada, east of Craters of the Moon and other places, usually long flat stretches of road.
    Thanks for mentioning my blog :-)

  6. Geoff,
    Up until the other morning I haven't had any symptoms related to sleep either. I've wondered about it though. The drowsiness was trouble enough to do the trick.

    I've had that lapse in memory too. That's another one that kind of gets your attention. Thank you!

    I watch where I park too along side the road, especially this time of year with the wet leaves.

    Yeah, that yellow biplane is fun to watch. I've wondered if he's a road hazzard because sometimes he's low and right over the highway.

    Good luck with your power. Thank you!

    I read your first comment earlier but my wife had me working on a project so I couldn't comment. I don't remember what it said.

    I just googled "geocaching". I didn't know what that was. It sounds interesting and definitely a good way to get exercise and see the sights. You should do a post on it. Thank you!

    I was thinking that no one else has ever had any sleep related experiences. It is scary when it happens. I hope we're cured and it doesn't happen again. Singing is good though. It's okay to do that while riding even if you can't sing, unless you have a communication device with someone else. :-) Thank you!

  7. That is a terrific idea to go visit all of the covered bridges, but as the Harley rider said, just do it! I don’t know if I could fall asleep riding a bike, but like you I can fall asleep at just about any time, any place. My wife Jackie fell asleep on the back of the bike a few times when we were in Arizona together!

  8. Tongue in cheek I pass along a comment somebody made to me. Why don't you get a "real" job? Playing on the bike is a job, isn't it?

    Enjoyed the post. I rode to Eugene Wednesday, too. Never did clear up. Just a bright spot of sunshine for a few minutes coming home through Brownsville.

    I've never been close to falling asleep on a bike. What I notice, though, is that I start having a hard time keeping steady throttle. That's when I know it's time to take a break.

  9. Mike:

    I am not sure whether I was falling asleep, or whether I was dehydrated but I ignored the symptoms and continued onward. I eventually realized that I was putting myself in danger. I now try to stop every couple of hours or so to relax and stretch my legs. or take a photo or two at a lookout.

    When I was driving across Canada late at night I found myself getting drowsy so I opened all the windows and turned up the radio. It seemed to work for a while.

    Wet Coast Scootin

  10. Gary,
    I've heard of wives falling asleep on the back of bikes. Sometimes the guy will know shes asleep when her chin hits his back. Thank you!

    Yeah, riding for work puts us in a sub-group I guess. I try to keep the fact that I ride low key with the people I do business with.

    Dang, if I'd have known you were heading south Wednesday maybe we could've shared the road a little. You could help keep me awake! Thank you!

    I too try to stop fairly often to stretch. The superslabs (I-5) tend to get boring at times especially when you're familiar with the road. If I didn't have to be somewhere at a certain time I'd probably take backroads like you tend to do when you can. I like the fact that you meet more people and get better photos on those roads.

    I've done that trick with the windows and radio too. It does help. Thank you!

  11. very cool shots, Mike

    ya take care out there, ya hear! ;0

  12. Jel - thank you! I will, thanks again for stopping by! Take care...