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Portland, Oregon to the Redwoods 2010 (Days 1 and 2)

Duane n Oregon

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Duane n Oregon

The day has finally come, which means I’m headed from Portland, Oregon to the Redwoods along the northern California coast! The strange thing about this trip is that I am headed AWAY from the area while about 6,000 BMWs head toward Oregon for the BMW MOA International Rally. No, I wouldn’t call this the best planning, but it would’ve been hard to make time for both, and I’d been looking forward to the Redwoods since I drove my RV on those fun roads in 2007.


My friend left the day before I did with his family and headed to Waldport on the central coast. I was riding alone and meeting him there. From there we’d spend the next 4 days riding some great roads!



My first break at Devil’s Lake, Lincoln City, Oregon


I’ve been to Lincoln City several times, but had never ventured off the east side of the highway to see this lake. It was much larger than I ever knew.



Nice view of the lake



My first action shot of the day. Headed south from Devil’s Lake, back to Hwy 101.


Now I’m ready for 40 fun miles down the coast on Hwy 101.



Beautiful coastline


There were many great views of the ocean and other interesting scenery.




Siletz Bay



Another nice viewpoint





Depoe Bay




Two years ago we stopped here on our way down the coast and were lucky enough to see a grey whale swimming in the bay. It also is the home of great storm watching in the non-summer months.


Riding solo is not my favorite way to travel. I see motorcycling as a social experience. I enjoy riding and then stopping at breaks/meals to talk about the fun we have had and the adventure to come. Even so, I was enjoying myself and was looking forward to finding somewhere good to eat. My criteria was to find clam chowder somewhere near the beach.


Just before I reached Newport, I saw a sign leading me to a place called The Chowder Bowl. Well, I figured I’d get my chowder, even though I had no idea where I was headed. A few miles down the road I discover Nye Beach.



Criteria 1-Chowder



Criteria 2-Near the beach


I have never taken a picture of my meal, even though it is one of my favorite parts of being on vacation and of others’ ride tales. Here is my first attempt. Great chowder, calamari, and potatoes!



Blurry-I was a bit self conscious taking this pic, so I rushed it



The Yaquina Bay Bridge, just south of Newport



Crossing the bay





I joined Wayne and his family at a house in Waldport for the night. Tomorrow would be the beginning of our Redwood’s adventure!





Up bright and early…wait, not true. You early risers will laugh, but we don’t get up and out quickly when we travel. Most mornings we hit the road around 10am.



About 10am


Our first scheduled destination of the day was lunch in Port Orford, Oregon. As we pulled into town on 101, just before a big turn in the highway is a road that goes straight up a hill. Painted in large letters on the road are the words, “Ocean View.” So we detoured to check it out and found out that there was indeed an ocean view. And quite a view at that!






These pictures don’t show the elevation change. We are actually quite high above the beach, looking down. The view was awesome, but it was a little scary straddling the bike and taking pictures, as the wind was very strong.


I had once read about a restaurant called The Crazy Norwegian Fish and Chips in Port Orford on someone’s ride tale. Being Norwegian and a big fan of fish and chips, I knew I wanted to try it out.





Norwegian decorations



A common term I heard growing up


And finally…what you all are waiting for…



The money shot


They served awesome fish and chips, and I really enjoyed a side of clam strips. It was an excellent meal!


The restaurant is very small, with about 8 tables. While we ate, a couple came in who were outfitted head to toe with BMW/Touratech gear. Wayne and I wondered how much they had spent just dressing themselves. It was funny to see the friends they were touring with join them a few minutes later…Harley folks head to toe. We laughed about how different motorcycles pretty much come with a “uniform.” What you wear often reflects what you ride. In the parking lot, the BMW couple had a nice 1200GS for him and a 650GS for her. They looked just like Ewan and Eve from “Long Way Down.”


We still had 120 miles of 101 to travel before reaching our campground.



Beautiful coast




The bikes aren’t so bad, either



Showing off our “uniforms”



Crossing the bridge into Gold Beach


As we go further south, the scenery changes. These large rocks in the water are much less common on the northern coast. I don’t travel south very often, so these are signs to me that I am really on a trip!



Great weather most of the day


We approach our destination via the Drury Scenic Parkway. It may be only 9 miles long, but it’s great. Awesome introduction to the Redwoods!





You’ve heard the trees are big, right?



Me and a tree



Wayne and his Ducati ST2


We got to Elk Prairie Campground around 8pm. It had been a great day of riding, and the weather was perfect. The camp host told me that it was 76 degrees that day, which was pretty warm for our coastal location. We would camp here for two nights, enjoying a ride around the area tomorrow.



Our spot



The backyard



Lawn ornaments


We ate a “grocery store dinner” of meat, cheese, crackers, and fruit before finishing the day in my favorite way, sitting around a campfire.














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Duane n Oregon



Options! This is the day where we get to just figure it out as we go. We have all day to play and return to camp one more night. It was nice to not have to pack up. You’d think this would make for a quick getaway, but we slept in, lazed around, and finally got to breakfast at 11am.


At breakfast we debated what route to take. We had initially thought we’d go east on 299, south on 3, and return on 36. We’d heard so much about HWY 36 and its famous miles of curves we thought that would be our highlight. Talking through breakfast though, we had another idea. With our late start, maybe we should just head south and check out the Avenue of the Giants, 31 miles of awesome narrow, windy, scenic road that goes through the Redwoods and a few small towns. With our minds made up, we laughed at ourselves as we got on the bikes at 12 noon straight up.



30 miles of this!



The obligatory drive through tree pic



Does it get any more touristy than this?


We stopped at one of the “towns” along the way for a drink and snacks.





Touristy again



Yup, both of us





At the end, we turned around and enjoyed the road again in the opposite direction! We felt NO regrets about skipping HWY 36 this time, but it is on our short list of roads to explore.


Headed north again, with no set plan, we detoured into the small Victorian town of Ferndale. It’s a town of small, neat buildings, a fun little side trip.




Typical houses



Charming downtown







We headed north again and wanted to figure out where to eat. I had read a ride report that touted the Samoa Cookhouse, just across Arcata bay from Eureka. We followed the signs and were pleased with what we found.




Inside the building is a small museum displaying logging equipment from the past.








It’s not the prettiest plate, but the food was excellent. I remember the person who recommended it boasted about the bread. He was right on!





Family-style dining


We had one last stop to make on the way back to our campsite. Trinidad is a small town situated above Trinidad Bay. A large rock divides the area into a harbor side and beach side.



The view on the way




The rock on the right is the divider




The fishing boats in the bay




The beach on the other side of the rock



The only thing left to do as we headed back was to enjoy the sunset.







Another perfect ending to a fun day





We packed up and left the campground, headed back into Oregon to Crater Lake. Our first stop was the tourist trap known as Trees of Mystery. We only went into the gift shop looking for some kind of gift to take home for the kids. I decided there was nothing other than junk they would not really enjoy, so I decided to save the money instead. That being said, it is a pretty fun place to stop, a definite must-see the first time you visit the area.



Should I post the normal pic of me with Paul B?



Or the dorky one?



One of the few pics with both of us


At Crescent City we went northwest on HWY 199 and began to pass through Jedediah Smith Redwood State Park. 199 was great. We spent many miles riding along the Smith River, my favorite way to travel! The temperature increased steadily as we got farther away from the coast. We eventually pulled into a rest area and switched to our mesh jackets and were looking forward to more typical summer weather. The cool temperatures and clouds along the coast did not distract at all from our fun, but the warm sun and clear skies are nice to see.


I had one brief moment of “fun” just after the rest area. We were heading uphill passing a semi truck and trailer. There was an oncoming car, but we had plenty of time and room to safely pass. In the middle of passing, a coyote came out of the woods from the right and proceeded to pass in front of us. When it caught my eye, I immediately began watching, hoping it would keep going. If it continued to cross, it would be out of the way and not be an issue. If for any reason it stopped, or got panicked by traffic, I was worried anything could happen. The oncoming car might swerve to avoid it. I may need to swerve to avoid it. Don’t forget the semi! I decide that I did have an escape route, but an irregular one. My only move would be to continue moving over to the other side of the road and stop on the opposite shoulder. I’m not sure how that might have worked out, but thanks to the coyote darting straight across the road, I never had to find out!


The rest of the day had us looking forward to visiting Crater Lake National Park. This is another one of those pictures-don’t-do-it-justice type of places that you just have to visit at least once. Even though I live in Oregon, I haven’t been there since I was a teenager.


We pulled into the campground at Crater Lake, started to unpack, and immediately got back on the bikes to go back to the store because of the VISCIOUS, ATTACKING MOSQUITOS! They were huge and awful. I have never been somewhere where they were this bad. The tourist/camp store price we paid for the repellent was well worth it!


We set up camp and decided to go ride the road the encircles the lake. It’s about a 30-mile ride with several pullouts displaying stunning views.



Approaching the rim



Up and over and we will see the lake



The “up” part


On the way up, I was looking forward to seeing the lake. I didn’t know we’d be treated to some amazing views when looking away from the lake also.



View to the south/southeast



Mountains as far as the eye can see


Our first view was of the east side of the lake. It was late and the sun was beginning to go down. I don’t know how to either use the sun to my advantage or how to offset it, so bear with the pictures.



Looking down at the Phantom Ship





Beautiful, brilliant blue water



Wayne in shadows on the west side of the lake



I think they add to the scenery



One of Wayne…



…and one of me





My silhouette



Middle of July, but still snow



Not just a little snow


We got back to camp and ate a random dinner of what we had. We had a fire and the chill was coming and the mosquitoes were calming down. Tomorrow would be our last day, but we had a lot of fun roads left to ride.






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Duane n Oregon





Me packed and ready



Wizard Island



Last shot of the lake


The first 90 miles of the day were nothing to talk about, but then the fun began. We planned a route that stayed off of the major interstates, but also just got lucky part way through the day. We had both read about the Aufderheide Scenic Byway, but were surprised when we rode right passed the start of it. We hadn’t planned on taking it, since we were a bit unsure of it’s exact origin. About a mile after we passed we pulled over and talked about it. It didn’t take long to agree that we needed to go back and follow it and see where it would take us. Almost 70 miles of fun along a river and through the woods!



Covered bridge at the start of the byway


Now we get into the part where I say, “We were having too much fun to stop and take pictures!" We did decide to find a place in the shade to stop for lunch. We wanted a spot right on the river, but a few we passed had people there already. We finally pulled in to a place that was nice, but high above, so no river access.



A well-earned rest



BMW or pack mule?



Quick breather



My view, when I kept my eyes open


You know, it’s amazing how good something can taste when you are hungry and in an awesome setting. We ate things like packaged tuna, Ritz, apples, and water. That would bore me for lunch any other time, but not at a time like this.



Great ride through the trees



Typical view, curves signs


After the Aufderheide we still had about 200 miles to go before getting home. We were able to stay on small, scenic highways for about 195 miles of it. We headed north, got to Detroit, then took an awesome road that goes north from there to Estacada, OR. Those 75 miles are as good or better than any of the roads we’d taken on the entire 1,400-mile trip. It was a great way to end our Redwoods adventure!
























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Great stuff. Nice post. The Oregon Coast is one of my wife's and my favorite places in the world. Just love it. Great roads, great food, beauty and natural wonders everywhere, and excellent hiking opportunities as well if you're into that.


Regarding your comment, "The strange thing about this trip is that I am headed AWAY from the area while about 6,000 BMWs head toward Oregon for the BMW MOA International Rally... No, I wouldn’t call this the best planning"


Actually, I would say that IS the best planning. Nothing against big rallies, but for me, the last thing this type of ride needs is a crowd.

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Really nice shots Duane. I went through that same area about a week later. My only issue was that I'm a "morning person" and so the first half of any day's ride was either foggy or overcast. Other than that and the RVs, it's a great ride.

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Like Vinny says, may be better planning. I don't like crowds either.

Too crowded.

I like to take the road less traveled.

I also don't see motorcycling as a social sport. I see it totally as a solo activity.

My rule is, ride your own ride.

When it's time to rest, rest. When it's time to eat, eat. Don't ride beyond your ability to keep up with a group.

July, I see it's July there. It didn't look like the Pacific Northwest in December.

But it is such a scenic area.


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Duane n Oregon

I don't think I would be too excited about a big rally, but since it was in my backyard (150 miles away) I thought it would be fun to check it out once.

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Great photo's and writeup! The good news is you didn't give away the BEST roads, just the second best! :grin: I actually led a small group of riders up California 1 to US 101 into Newport three years ago. It was one of the BEST rides I've done, but you have better photo's, and are MUCH better with words....

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Great trip report, made even better with all the pictures! :thumbsup:


We lived in Washington for ten years & pretty much traveled around it & Oregon quite a bit.


Not so much Northern California; planning a road trip out there later this year. Your report sure reinforces that decision!


Thanks for posting, & nicely done.



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