The high desert route was my chillier but rain free option for heading north. A 20mph WSW wind helped propell me along earning 120-150mpg to the surprise of Oregon-mandated fuel attendants. Not many stops and therefore not many pictures but trust that the expansive lodgepole and ponderosa pine forests were quite enjoyable. With 65mph trafffic on Hwy 97, I was thankful to Yvette for my construction safety vest which helps visibility. I did lose my flag somewhere in California, rather I inadvertantly returned it to The Road.
Despite miles of NF camping, many trails remained snowed in or a mucky bog so I headed to the Cy Bingham City Park which had picnic tables, water and fire pits. Kindling a cookfire, I set to making coffee amd enjoyed the sunshine and rainshowers that proceedes ever easterly. At dusk, snow began a tinny picking at the rain fly and I rested easy once the adjacent RV finally shut down the generator.
Every time I cross this imaginary line I stop for a snapshot. Oregon, Minnesota, Montana, Maine.
Arriving at the Columbia River Gorge, I was struck by the unique geology of the eroded hillsides and the attractive grassy hillsides blooming with wildflowers and new vineyard growth.
Rain was on thr horizon so I set up camp at Avery Park along the river's edge and watched the barges pass on the slate colored water. The only downside is this site is along the railroad tracks so the overnight whistle blows give ample opportunity to fluff the pillow or pick another side to lay on. This segment of the trip is nearing a close as I stop in Portland tonight to visit Brian, Lindsey and Bodie before completing the final stretch to Bay Center. I've got a tire to change, belt, and a few odds and ends before tackling the northern roads once more.
Leaving the high mountains behind, I checked the radar and found less rain forecast to the east of the Pacific Crest. Wandering northeasterly through the upper valleys of California, Mt. Shasta made a brief appearance before becoming enveloped in clouds.
East of I-5, the Klamath River is dammed for hydro power creating the Iron Gate and Capco Reservoirs. Free campsites on the lake at 2200ft sounds pretty good for a restful night before exploring into Oregon. It is a river and lake system like this that makes me want for a kayak.
It is common up here to give open range livestock the right of way. Complicated rural traffic jam on a Monday morning.
Each bridge over the Klamath into Oregon was closes or private so I pressed on along the California side. Once past a sign warning "No Autos or Trailers", Topsy Grade Trail began. The steep and boulder strewn trail was quite difficult on the Ruckus. Deep mud puddles and large bogs stretched on for miles but the Ruckus crashes through admirably. The restored meadows of pine, grasses and wildflowers were particularly serene in comparrison to the arduous task of keeping the bike upright. Fortunately the hard work kept my core warm.
In some sections, mud built up in layers enough to jam the rear wheel and fender. My boots were also caked and weighed a ton.
My mind drifts to the industrious men who carved this trail from the rocky, wet and unforgiving terrain. I'm enjoying the hell out of it 150 years later.
At each turn the trail seemed to deteriorate and split but thanks to my GPS, I followed it out of the gorge where this view of my progress was reward enough. Onward now to Oregon.
Let me start by saying WOW. The Shasta-Trinity Alps region is a recreation wonderland just emerging from the winter freeze. Snow hangs around above 4200ft and some impressive snowbanks melt along the curves. Signs posted along the creeks mark out mineral claims to the waterways for various individuals and companies. The campsites are plentiful and private.
Boating, hiking, skiing and cycling are all available sports in these mountains. My mind mulls over a future trip to this region in a,van or wagon. Maybe someday.
FS12 goes through on the map but after negotiating rockslides and precipitous cliffs, snow drifts without a mark in them meant the remainder would have to wait for next fall. Fortunately I had plenty of fuel to backtrack.
The mountainous terrain was unrelenting on La Tortuga but it faithfully chugged over multiple 4500-5000ft passes without a break. I logged some seriously long days and the broken wire fix is the only weak point bugging me at day's end.
In May 2014 I quit my job to ride a Honda Ruckus over 69'000 mi and counting. Wild camping most nights and cooking most of my own meals, I keep the costs low and the landscape changing.