We left Ontario, OR this morning at our usual 9:00ish departure time. The temperature was already climbing and it had reached 72 by the time we pulled out. We weren’t quite sure what the roads would be like but we pretty well knew that we were in for another hot day.
US26 is called the Central Oregon Highway. I think it should be called the All-Encompassing Oregon Highway. We left Ontario on a pretty flat straight road at 65 MPH and by the time we had reached the half-way point we were climbing in elevation through some twisty mountain roads. We stopped at a rest stop and were surrounded by beautiful, tall pine trees that reminded me of the redwoods in northern California. We rode through a one stretch where a small river ran between rock walls and there was barely enough room to fit the road in. There was no place to stop and take pictures even though Jana called it “picture perfect”. We saw a lot of bikers headed the opposite direction today. I saw an advertisement for the Hell’s Canyon Motorcycle Rally and I suspect we were seeing the participants.
The issue we had today is that it is a long way between towns or gas stations or rest areas or even wide spots in the road to pull over. We were forced to do another long stretch in 90 degree heat early in the afternoon. That’s how we ended up at the rest stop. By the way, a rest stop on US 26 is not required to have running water, vending machines or his-and-hers outhouses. So basically it is a paved spot for 10 or so cars with 2 unisex outhouses and some signs explaining nature. I am so glad we threw the extra water we had purchased in the tour pak of the motorcycle. The water was beyond warm but we drank it anyway.
By the time we got to Prineville, the radar was showing me that we were headed right into a major green area on the screen. The rain seemed to be moving off to the northeast so I thought we could wait it out by sitting a while in a small café. Well, we ate small salads and stuff while watching the green area just hanging around. So what do you do when you need to kill an hour and your parked in a shopping center?
We found something to do. You can only carry so many clean clothes on a motorcycle even with all the bags, etc. we have on the Harley. That’s the reality of motorcycle travel – sometimes you have to do laundry or you quickly become a true social outcast. All of your clothing begins to smell like week old underwear (clean and dirty are in the same bag remember). Funny that the clean smell doesn’t migrate to the dirty stuff. Must be a one-way transfer.
Two good things came out of the Laundromat. We have clean clothes and we met a really nice couple who ride. They are getting ready to head to Sturgis and we spent a good portion of the drying cycle talking to them about road trips. It made the time go faster.
The radar finally showed that the last 40 miles were clear of green so we headed toward our final destination of Bend, OR. The sky still looked threatening and I was running a good 10 MPH over the posted speed limit trying not to get wet. At least the temperature was down to low 80’s. We rolled into the hotel and found out that it hadn’t rained in Bend all day. Another great learning for me. Green on the radar can indicate that it is raining high in the air but in arid regions the moisture never hits the ground. We did laundry to stall for clear weather and we didn’t need to. We could have cruised into Bend with smelly clothes and still been dry.
The hotel we are staying in is really proud of their rooms because they charge enough that I think I should own at least part of it. They claim it’s because of the view. I included some pictures of the view out our window – you be the judge of how much you should pay for a room like this.
Tomorrow we’re finally going to hit the coast. Funny thing about the Oregon coast – the temperature starts dropping about 30 miles inland and drops a degree per mile (I made this up but it sounds good). It will be 90 inland but in the low 60’s right on US101 – the honest-to-goodness Pacific Coast Highway. The last 120 miles or so tomorrow will be running due north on the PCH.
It took Lewis and Clark almost 2.5 years to get to the west coast, we have done it in 9 days without being in a hurry. Growing up I had no appreciation for the story of Lewis / Clark. I challenge anyone to come out here, cross the mountains and rivers, watch the storms, endure the heat, get bitten by all sorts of bugs, etc. and the read the true story of The Corps of Discovery. You’ll shake your head like I do every time you think of those guys walking and paddling for 2.5 years. What an incredible feat.