Day 8
June 12th, 2007                                                        
Federal Campground                                                     
Near Crater Lake, Oregon    

The campground air at Union Creek was cool, and the rolling water of the nearby creek (here they call it a river, but it's a creek where I come from) beat itself over the rocks and fallen trees.  "Dang, I better get up," as I rubbed the excellent sleep of the night before from my eyes.

The air was brisk and my hands were cold handling the metal poles of the Eureka.  "This will be my last cool morning ride of the tour.  I'm heading south, and home through the Plains and desert."  I was due to meet Uncle Phil next week in Colorado, but I don't look for it to be this cool in Montrose.  I started the ride with my liner and and warm gloves.

"This could be the last time I use my camping gear this tour," so I packed it down carefully.  I'll be staying with friends the next 3-5 nights.  "If I'm under budget the last couple of days (I usually am) on the way back I'll motel it, but we'll see".  

I finished loading and strapped down the Moto Fizz and Helen 2 Wheel compression bag.  The latter bag has a lot of miles on it.  I put the Zumo in the cradle and brought up the custom route for today, and plopped into gear.

I love the first few miles of any long ride.  The morning is fresh and the thought of the adventure ahead makes me want to get started.  I went south on SR 62 and headed to California, but I'll only be there briefly today.  I'm due to meet Don Feyma near Reno, so I won't be checking in the Hotel California just yet.  Don graciously offered to host me for a night, and I was looking forward to it.

The gas gauge was on 2 bars, and Klamath Falls was 50 or so miles.  I was good for it.  I know how far I can go on 2 bars- over 100 miles if I want to go into reserve, something I'm not shy about doing unless I'm in Nevada, Oregon Outback, or the desert, and south Oregon is none of those places.

The highway cut a high path through the thickly forested landscape.  My speed was down to 60 mph to give me a chance if I saw a deer; I spotted a doe and fawn but they crossed in front of me without incident.  Sunlight soaked the forest bed  where it could, and when it landed on 62 the rays felt nice in the cool air.  A slight fog rose up from the forest as the warm light heated up the cool air.  It was a great ride over the mountain and out to U.S. 97.  Temp was in mid 40s, but where I was going, that wasn't going to hold up long.

The highway cleared the mountains and took me into a nice valley rich in pasture land.  The basin was filled with thousands of cows incessantly grazing in the green fields.  A sign noted the landmarks, and gave a profile of what the area looked like before Mt. Mazana blew up.  The peaks around Crater were only 3 miles away by way the crow flies, but on the roadway it had been over 20 miles to get me here.  A farmhouse sat in the trees a half mile away.  "How neat it must be to live in the shadows of Crater Lake."
​This cattle farm is not far from Crater Lake.
The ride into Klamath Falls was uneventful.  The temp soared into the 60s as I came down from elevation on 97.  I gassed at  a Chevron near the busy highway but put off a longer stop till Klamath, the ride was just a long cruise to my morning break.  

Klamath was busy with commuters and vacationers by the time I arrived near 8am.  The GPS took me off the main highway, "Dang it must know a short cut,"  and while working the route through the city, I found Joey's Con Store with 2 chairs out front, so came in to take my break, about 100 miles from my start.

Inside, the store had 80s music on the sound system, common in a lot of con stores, they like 80s music, that's ok, so do I.

The tables outside offered a great view of the busy crossroads, and the gas pumps were doing a steady business.  I'd been out of communication with the rest of the world since late yesterday afternoon, but I had a good signal in Klamath.  I had 5 messages to respond to, before doing that I spent time with Debbie and my son.  I called my nephew who was on duty, and we talked about the loss of the 9 firefighters in South Carolina.  Tragic.

It is not hard to lose touch with the rest of the world while on a long tour, especially if you have camped out several nights in a row.  With no tv, computer, job, or people to interact with, your world becomes a series of roads, gas stops, cafes, picture taking, and riding.  Busy people move all around with deadlines to meet, and schedules to keep.  I sometimes feel invisible as I watch them go about their day.  Reminds me of the the Federation's Prime Directive  (which is- don't interfere with the locals when visiting strange planets)
I loitered about store for the 30 minutes, by then the temp was 70 degrees, and for the first time since Missouri, I switched to the AGV summer gloves, and opened the vents of the Roadcrafter.

I took SR 139 south out of the city and approached California.  The riding was ok.   Because I was on my GPS custom route, I crossed into California and didn't know it.  I noticed the road in the software and wanted to ride it, so flagged it, I knew it would it bring me back to 139 in just few miles.  I hadn't realized it, but it had taken me into California.  I started checking the tags of the cars parked in front of the houses.  When all of them read California, I knew which side I was on.

The nickname of school in Tule Lake is the "Honkers".  I wasn't sure what that meant, but let it go at that.  I amused myself by thinking, "I wonder if they have a guy blowing his nose as a mascot?"
I took SR 139 south out of the city and approached California
​Not really sure what a Honker is.
Three, long, one lane constructions zones, confronted me on the California side of 139.  Each time I rode to the front of the line.  In the Hotel that is not a problem, in fact you're expected to take your proper place.  For all the craziness out there, I'll say this; they know about motorcycles and our uniqueness.

A deputy with his lights on came to my rear giving me a quick pulse, but he was on his way to a call and just wanted by.  I yielded and he disappeared in the distance.

Eagle Lake reminded me of Mono, so I took a few pictures.  A sedan with Arizona plates pulled in to do likewise.  An old couple got out of the car and starting snapping pictures.

"Nice day for a ride," the man called out.

"Yes it is"
​Eagle Lake reminded me of Mono Lake near Lee

In Actin I stopped at a store for no other reason other than it looked interesting.  A young clerk inside by the name of Amanda, gave the history of the place.  She had moved with her family here a few years ago from San Diego.

"So you ever wanna move back south?"  

"Nooooo not on a bet."
​The general store in Actin has everything you need.
Like most Californians, they refer to the "south" as San Diego, not the place I live.  They make it sound as if it's another country, and in most ways, it is.  In the Hotel natives believe there is California, and the rest of the country.  But I think this-  and I've spent a lot of time out there the last 7 years.  I know the state better then most that live there in terms of seeing things-There is going to come a day the north will break from the south, and set up their OWN state making it the 51st state in the Union.  

I say that in all seriousness. The north has little in common with the south.  Not in climate, politics, or culture.  They will tire of paying so much in taxes to fix the problems in the south, and will want to keep their money at home, and thus ask to be let out.  I don't know what Sacramento can do to keep them in if they don't want to stay.  Somehow I can't see National Guards units from LA, facing off with those from Eureka.

I may not live to see it, but going to happen. 

​Mt. Shasta dominates the North California skies.
I followed 395 down to Susanville, where I had a quick lunch in a Mickey D's.  I took a break here in 2005.  On that day I was riding north. I Had 2 small hamburgers and a cookie.  I called Don to give him a better idea of my arrival time, then called Uncle Phil.  He is due to leave out Thursday for our rendezvous in Colorado.  He is riding to Washington and Montana to do Lolo, and Beartooth, before dropping back south to Montrose.

As usual it went to voice mail because his phone is NEVER on.  I kid him about it.

"Look here, why ya even got a cell phone, you won't answer it."

"I talk on it at MY convenience"

" I can vouch for THAT."

The coordinates for Don's house were already in my saved file, so when it came time to leave I tapped the favorite folder, then Don, for the auto route to his house. 
The temp now was in the mid 90s and climbing.  I knew the ride down 395 South would be unpleasant, and it was.  This route is the main connector into Nevada and points south.  "I'm riding non stop to Don's, so y'all get outta the way."

After riding 3 days in the curvy, and slow paced mountains, it was time to turn the 1300 loose in the desert.  I belted down the 100 or so miles at 90 mph after crossing into Nevada.  I don't recall much about that ride other than I wanted it over with.

It was a quick ride to the Carson City area, but in the city it was almost 100 degrees and traffic lines bogged me down.  The 1300 is a hot bike on a day like today, working through downtown traffic.  The fan kicked on and I could feel the heat.  That doesn't bother me, but some have a real issue with it, just depends on what your perception of  hot is.

It was not a pleasant ride through the Sparks/Reno/Carson City areas.  Lots of urban sprawl.  I was glad to leave it behind when I came out the south end and went left on SR 208 to Smiths Valley.  Don told me the GPS will direct you to the first turn off, he advised to ignore it and continue to the next, and it will make a half mile dirt road ride into less then a quarter mile.  

His instructions were spot on, and soon I was on the scene but not sure exactly which house was his.  My GPS said I was there, but I kept looking around.  I went down the dirt road a block or two, to see if I could see a ST in the garage.  I was turning around when I saw Don's figure waving at me from the first house.  Why I doubted the GPS I don't know.

I rolled the ST in the garage after a 422 mile day.  Anyone who has a ST pretty much knows Don Feyma.  He was riding ST's when I had never seen one in real life.  He's good people and one of the most liked in the Honda community.

Don has a great place in the valley.  His wife was on a road trip of her own so it was just us and his adult son.  After several nights in my tent, I now had a bed, tv, shower, and the best steak I've ever put down!  High cotton as they say around here.  I'd just completed 8 days of solo riding.  It was good to have company, after being alone for so long.  A friendly face, good meal and bed, and a place to catch your breath are nice.  Those items are important for a Long Rider in the middle of a long tour.  For the next 9 days or so, I'll have company.
Don's home is situated in the valley and has a scenic view of the surrounding mountains and desert.  A great place.

Larry Talbot, a great neighbor of Don's that just happens to own a ST 1100 stopped by to say hello.  A great guy.  Now that I had the resources of Don's garage I needed to fix my Sony videocam.  I had lost the tiny screw that secures the unit to the mount and as a result have not been able to video any footage on the fly.  I lost a great opportunity for some awesome riding footage at Crater because of that.

Larry found a screw, right size, but too long, so he doctored it up to fit with a hacksaw and file, and I was back in business.  This is what I mean by a place to catch your breath.

Because I missed my shower last night, I took a long hot one at Don's, and it felt extra good.  By now he had the steaks on the grill and the sizzle was like violin music.

I don't eat much red meat nowadays, not because I don't like it, just that I can't.  But I was on vacation, so I indulged. Folks, that was some of the best meat I'd ever had the pleasure of.  Don has that down to a science.  
After supper I called home, then tried to watch tv.  I managed about 30 minutes of news before my eyes grew too heavy, so I adjourned to my excellent accommodations.
I went to bed looking forward to seeing the Cortez's the next day.