Carol, Steve, and I watched “A Prophet” tonight. I’ve been fascinated since viewing the preview at some film last year, so put it in the ‘flix queue, and then it arrived. Carol and I both thought it a superb film. Click on the montage to see what IMDB has to say, it’s not for everybody.
Friend Barbara Meyer called and asked if I’d like to go to the Laura Love concert tonight at Soho. I had not seen Laura Love in several years but used to like her a lot so “yes”.
Barbara, Connie, and I had a very nice evening at dinner, chatting, and listening to Laura and Orville Johnson. I had never heard of or seen Orville but I like his guitar playing very much so he’s on my list of not to be missed now.
On my Oregon bike journey I checked the oil level on the bike for the first time in Bend. Alas, the circular 3/4″ window in the crankcase to monitor the “H“igh and “L“ow levels was completely empty. So I found and rode to a cycle shop and added a quart of oil. Right up to the “H“igh mark, great. I later added 12 more ounces in Ashland.
Upon arriving home I put the bike on its center stand for the first time since leaving. YIKES! The monitoring window was completely full, way above the “H“igh mark. How far above? I could not tell. I emailed this observation to friend Jeff and he responded thus: “When you are checking the oil level, are you sure the bike is level? I don’t think you can check it on the side-stand. It needs to be checked on the center stand. Another thing: I’ve heard, for small engines, too much oil is way more dangerous than not enough oil. You might want to consider draining it to the right level.”
Yesterday I decided to follow Jeff’s advice and remove the extra oil. It turns out that the nice skid plate I added under the engine goes not allow for a graceful reduction of oil quantity. So I elected to try and siphon out the extra oil and went off to an auto parts store and purchased three feet of 1/4″ fuel hose. Returning home I got a nice quart pan (the yellow one above) and went at it. Starting a siphon with 10–40 oil is somewhat different than with gasoline or water 🙂
It took me about five tries to get it flowing to the yellow pan along with the usual treat of some fluid in my mouth. 10–40 oil also flows MUCH slower than gas or water, at first I did not think it was flowing at all. But 25 or 30 minutes later the yellow pan was full, yet there was no change in the monitoring window so I employed pan #2. After another 15 minutes the level in the window was between the “H“igh and “L“ow levels so I stopped the siphon and poured oil carefully back into the bike until the level was right at the “H“igh mark.
After finishing up I took the bike off the center stand and put it on the side stand. The monitoring oil window was completely empty, just like in Bend. And how much oil did I end up removing from the bike? As near as I could tell the total of the amounts I put in in Bend and Ashland. Kudos and thanks to friend Jeff.
I awoke rested to another great day. After a leisurely walk around Klamath Falls and a nice breakfast I loaded up and decided to go up to Crater Lake even though it was looking stormy.
It was a beautiful ride up with sections of rain now and then. After I entered the park the temperature started dropping, first into the mid 40s, then low 40s, then into the 30s. I had augmented yesterday’s outfit with a wool ski sweater and wool long johns so I was doing OK. Arriving at the park entrance kiosk it was maybe 34 and I was feeling nervous about hitting an ice patch on the road. The kiosk woman suggested I stop at the visitor center several miles further up the road for a more accurate assessment.
Arriving at the visitor center during a brief time of light snowing (32 degrees now) I noticed a BMW GS type bike with an Australian plate! Going in I chatted with the couple riding it who seemed to me about my age. They are going all the way into Western Canada, then over to Yellowstone, some of the Utah parks, etc. Very cool. I asked them the cost to have the bike shipped over and back and was told that it cost $3,000 US.
Opinions from visitor center folks were for no ice worries so I road on up to the rim. It got increasingly cloudy approaching the top, so much so that looking over the rim produced no sense of lakeness. It was then 30 degrees and the ends of my fingers were getting numb. I started the ride around the western rim road then, realizing that the 21 miles to the north exit would just take too long for my deteriorating fingers I turned around and backtracked the wiser and shorter 10 miles down to the mid 40 degree threshold where I knew I’d feel better.
Twenty five miles later I saw again a very scenic photo op of a picturesque barn I had noticed on my way up. After stopping I decided the best shot was about 80′ back. I had rolled the Suzuki back about 65 of those 80 when I lost balance and the bike fell over (moto nightmare #2). I took off all the stuff I could in preparation for a lift attempt when a friendly and helpful guy in a pickup stopped to see if I was OK, as one interpretation could easily have been that I had gone down at speed. I said I was fine and asked if he’d help me lift up the bike. He quickly helped me lift the bike thus my learning experience, i.e. do not backup the cycle for more than 10′ unless no other options exist, ended quickly and easily.
The rest of the day was spectacular, especially the 66 miles along the “The Cascade Lakes National Scenic Byway”. After 50 of those miles being in the mid 40s and somewhat higher things started to be a replay of the morning’s downward trend. It got to a low of 32 and I was wondering WTF about the time I rode by the entrance to the Mt. Bachelor ski area, checked the altitude and realized it all made sense.
Another wonderful day of adventure ending in the very interesting city of Bend, one of the best outdoor recreation areas in the country.
More amazing territory today, Reno to Klamath Falls — which is in Oregon and signifies riding in three states in one day for those of us noting such. Leaving Reno this morning looked like rain so I got somewhat rain-ready and headed out. Forty five miles north of Reno I thought I had gotten clear of the threat. HA! Not Even!
Two hours later I road along in mild rain for 50 miles or so. My HiViz outfit worked as advertised, dry as a bone while continuing it’s main function of glowing in the dark. But the temperature was in the high to mid 40’s and, while thinking of stopping and putting on a sweater I fought that impulse, remained in character, and did not.
Arriving in Klamath Falls around 3:00 and stopping for a late lunch I finally understood my condition when I started shivering in the restaurant and could not stop. It was during this shiverfest that a distant shot of sanity suggested to me that I sh/could get a motel room ASAP to get inside and out of the then current 57 degree day. But returning to the Suzuki the Coutts genealogy section of my brain suddenly took control and, seeing there was plenty of time to ride on to Bend, had one of my fingers plug Bend into the GPS. Off we went for many blocks until Darwin reasserted the modern layer and had the GPS repointed to the Klamath Falls EconoLodge.
Once in the room I lay under the covers for an hour and a half while my trusty (???) brain kept suggesting I get up and go for a walk around the town. My body negated all those cortical misfires by continuing to luxuriate under the covers. I did not leave the room again until morning.
For the record 1001.3 miles on the trip odometer with Sisters now within easy reach for Friday afternoon.
Getting out of the tent this brisk and beautiful morning I walked the 200 yards over to Rock Creek Lake and poked around a bit enjoying being in the High Sierras. I then packed up and rode over to the nearby Pie in the Sky Restaurant only to discover that I was one hour too early.
So I road off and down Rock Creek to Highway 395 and north to the scenic June Lakes Loop (all the hype is well placed) then continued up 395 to Lee Vining for lunch and a stop at Mono Lake. On north another 60 miles to highway 89 where I turned west then north again to cover about 40 miles of friend Tom’s 113 mile 2009 Death Ride course, a good and beautiful choice. I stopped around 4:30 in a restaurant in Tahoe City for a delicious and MUCH overdue turkey burger.
Riding around the west shore of Lake Tahoe to arrive at the burger was stunning. After the burger I planned on heading on up 89 to 49 then look for a place to camp. I went into three adequate campgrounds but I would have been the only one in any of the three so rode out of each. I was just enough frightened to not wish to stay, oh well.
It was a spectacular evening so I road to the end of 49 then on to the end of 70 again rejoining highway 395. This 65 miles was through amazing long and beautiful valleys of cattle ranches.
It seemed about 35 minutes to dark as I arrived at the juncture with highway 395 and looking on the map north saw few choices for accommodation so I rode south 23 miles to Reno and gratefully found and stayed the night in a Super 8 Motel.
Journeying forth uncharted on a motorcycle has lots of similarities to bicycle touring, e.g. easily starting up conversations with folks or as with my lunch stop today in Lee Vining someone coming over to my table and asking me to join him. Also, there is the similar feeling of just being out there in the environment rather than moving along in an isolating glass and steel bubble.
All in all I am loving doing this. As usual, almost the only time I am not enjoying it is when I’ve ridden too long without stopping OR have gone TOO long without eating. Nothing new there.
At the Winnedumah hotel breakfast this morning I was chatting with a couple from San Diego. Interestingly enough the man of the couple turned out to be best friends with Scott Allen when they were at Poway High School together. I made a small recording of Paul with my iPhone so I could pass it along to Scott, which I did later in the week, it was all very fun.
After breakfast and loading up of the Suzuki I rode up the due west road to Onion Valley (that’s me in the upper left starting up). I have only been to there a couple of other times, both in the 70s. The first one was when I walked out from the trip up the John Muir Trail to pick up a food parcel Carol and I had mailed ourselves to the Onion Valley Ranger Station. The other was a few years later when best friend Dave and I parked in Onion Valley and hiked up over Kearsarge Pass and into the Rae Lakes basin in late October. It was a beautiful ride up to the valley and back down to Independence before heading north on 395.
It was up to Bishop for a late breakfast then by the Millpond Recreation Area where we all used to attend the annual September music festival (which is still happening in two weeks). Favorite bicycling country all around this area from those years. Up the road along the lower rock creek to Tom’s Place for a stop and shop then UP the Rock Creek Road to the end for a wonderful six mile hike.
After the hike I rode over and reserved campsite #17 in the campground adjoining Rock Creek Lake then found out that the closest dinner was at Tom’s Place, The “Pie in the Sky” restaurant across the lake was not open for dinner. Oh well, too hungry to do much inner brain bargaining so it was down the 13 miles to Tom’s. As I was eating I debated whether to forgo the $10 deposit I’d paid for #17 and stay in the lower (and potentially much warmer) campground 1/4 mile from Tom’s. But I decided I had not been camping in the high country for a long time so, well fed and content, I enjoyed the 13 miles back up the mountain, set up my camp and wandered around the lake for awhile as the day was ending.
A very wonderful day in my favorite terrain. Click on the montage above for some shots of the day. Clicking in the center of the screen during the slideshow will create and provide full screen images to you if you wish to see the images enlarged a bit.
This road has to be one of the great scenic highways of the world, certainly one of my favorites. I am so grateful I thought to come this way and certainly to be able to cruise through it on my Suzuki magic carpet, I’ve never enjoyed it more than today.
Tonight I am staying in Independence in the historic, i.e. 1927, Winndumah Hotel. I am just back in my room after sitting on the front porch for a couple of hours watching the 395 traffic roll by and visiting with a couple on their way home from Burning Man. Many interesting stories accompanied by 200 images on their camera.
Friend Carol Bornstein’s suggested I stop on the way here at Fossil Falls. I rode in the .4 miles of dirt, parked the moto with my trusty, patented String-O-Board then walked in the 1/4 mile to the Fossil Falls. Very worthwhile side trip and good to test the waters a bit beyond the tarmac.
I also stopped for a bit at Manzanar, as I usually do. What a sad part of our history. Kind of erodes the “can’t happen here myth”.
Great first day out. Tomorrow it’s into the Eastern Sierra.