Lava to Rain Forest

July 3, 2017

I am doing this blog from a small town called Reedsport which is about as far west as you can go in Oregon without being in the ocean. The town has a population of about 4,000 and historically (1850’s) a lumber town until that industry died a few years ago. Now it is basically reliant on tourism – sand dunes and fishing. From here I can take my time to get down to Salinas in California for the WSBK race at Laguna Seca.

Yesterday and today are so in contrast I feel that I have been in different countries. After finishing the desert crossing I set up camp in the RV park and here are some photos of the RV’s as promised;

I don’t see how you can call it camping when you are living in a house. Well I survived the night of the dogs and made my way off taking the usual photos along the way;

You wouldn’t believe it but I came across a mattress sitting in the middle of the road with a ute and 2 guys further up – obviously it had blown out of the back of the ute and they were backing up to get it. What is it over here with unsecured loads?

I also come across this road sign (mustangs to the rescue) and I know my boss would love to have it in his shed back home – sorry boss but the bolts were welded!

The scenery starts to change the closer I get back to the mountain range – I pull up in a great little town (Sisters) and had a big breakfast at the local cafe. Inside is a top girl named Rylee. She tells me that her boyfriend builds skate parks and they are both moving to NZ. She is obviously an adventurer and full of life. She ends up signing up to my blog! Hello Rylee! She tells me that that the road over the mountain could not be more different from one side to the other and she was dead right.

I set off and go pretty slowly up the mountain to take it all in;

As I get to the top it changes to this;

Its the result of a lava flow millions of years ago. As I am riding I see a lot of walking tracks that have been made thru the rocks. I come across a wider one that looks like it is for cars (daydreaming as no signs) so without hesitation I ride Fred on it. The track gets narrower with rocks getting rougher. People walking on it in the opposite direction are giving me strange looks and I realise that I am riding Fred on a walking trail that comes to a dead end. At the end was about a 5 metre patch of crazy rocks and rubble to get over and back to the road. I stopped and considered unpacking Fred and trying to turn him around. Stuff it, over we went with Fred’s bash plate making a racket but we managed to get to the road. It was like being in one of those super enduros.

I ride thru the lava and it changes back to green scenery – I find a dirt road that heads off to a lake so I decide to ride down to it to have a look;

Down at the lake I find a young hippie couple and stop and have a chat to them – it just so happened that I had my gopro on for the lake and the whole conversation is recorded. Hippies in the wild movie!

I get back out on to the road and the riding is sensational. On this side of the mountain the trees nearly touch each other over your head and its like a rain forest with moss rocks;

I ride beside the MacKenzie river and keep taking photos;

I stop at the local Police Station at this town given that I had been to the nuclear power plant and was now in Homer Simpson territory;

I have to wait a short time for the Patrol Sgt – he comes out and he is a huge guy (tall). He is my age and has also been in the Police for 31 years. He asks me what firearm am I carrying on my trip and is in disbelief when I tell him I haven’t got one! I am sure he would have found one for me if I asked. We swap patches and I am back on my way. I get a bit lost trying to get out of Springfield and go thru some of the worst looking neighbourhoods for the whole trip – real ghetto! Dogs tied to old RV’s that were on blocks etc.

From Springfield I had to get on the Interstate for about 45mins before I could get on an alternative route. I really don’t like the Interstates because its just too busy and because I am going slower than the general flow its downright dangerous.

One good thing though was I stopped at a rest area that provided coffee. I got talking to a real biker dude that basically just keeps on riding his Harley around America – he was on a Sportster that he had done 200,000 miles. (Don’t let anyone tell you Phil they are not reliable). Compared to my gear he was only carrying a toothbrush and I had the dentists chair. I also found time to belt out a song with this guy who was playing his guitar at the rest stop;

I get off the Interstate and ride thru a lot of small towns that are along the river – I also go thru mountain tunnels and over old steel bridges. Really fun ride and I also see a couple of old Chevy’s.

Although I had intended to get to Coos Bay I pull up and get a cheap room at a Motel that is run by Indians (as in taxi drivers and not native Americans). The sky was pretty dark all day and there is no way I am going to tent it if there is a chance of a thunderstorm.

I go and speak to a woman who works managing the Hotel and find that she is totally deaf and lip reads. It becomes chaos as she tries to interpret my accent and we end up having a great laugh over it. She tells me that she grew up near the Grand Canyon – Stanfield, Arizona. Turns out that her mum worked for John Wayne at his Ranch on White Parker Road, Red River. I asked her what her mum thought of the Duke and she told me that he was a proper gentleman and kind guy. Wow! I can’t make this stuff up!


  1. Comment by Nath

    Nath Reply July 3, 2017 at 6:13 am

    Hey mate, because you’re punishing us with your great trip. Update from Melbourne…Collingwood 94 Hawthorn 118. Haha

    • Comment by Noel

      Noel Reply July 4, 2017 at 12:05 am

      Why do you think I am over here. Ha.

  2. Comment by Phil

    Phil Reply July 3, 2017 at 8:00 am

    Big story today Noel and great to read. Would love to do a ride like that on the sporty.

    • Comment by Noel

      Noel Reply July 4, 2017 at 12:10 am

      He was a real dude on it – definitely off the crazy train and living life.

  3. Comment by Chris

    Chris Reply July 3, 2017 at 1:57 pm

    Sorry to ruin your trip Noel, but I will still be at SCIB when you get back. Have to keep throwing Noelisms at Priscilla so she does miss you too much. Not as good as yours, but trying to fill some big shoes.

    • Comment by Noel

      Noel Reply July 4, 2017 at 12:06 am

      What does SCIB stand for again?

  4. Comment by Helen Athans

    Helen Athans Reply July 3, 2017 at 3:49 pm

    Hi Noel just read your last three blogs OMG what an experience so far – love your descriptions of each place and your photos are brilliant so glad its all going well for you! Keep riding like the wind bullseye! Looking forward to the next chapter stay safe!!

    • Comment by Noel

      Noel Reply July 4, 2017 at 12:07 am

      Thanks Helen – missing the turkish coffee!

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