Aug 13, 2011

Ride Log 14: Texas: Day 13

Current location:  HOME
Total distance traveled:  4145 miles

I woke up in Ontario, OR (which is good since that's where I went to sleep) and realized the room was dirtier than I thought. I have allergies to dust mites as well as to various plants, so I was sniffling nonstop.   In a rush to get out of there I showered at warp speed and threw on my dirty clothes from the day before (my socks almost walked out by themselves).  I loaded up the bike and hit the road around 8:00 AM.  My first stop was the Love's fueling station for a little breakfast (I know how to live!) and some ice.  There was ice for my camelback at the hotel but I wasn't willing to risk it.

At the gas station I met a nice guy and his wife who were riding two up on a Harley, just returning from Sturgis.  They were very proud of their trip and about Sturgis in general.  How precious.  They didn't ask if I was alone (so maybe people from the West coast are more observant?  I'd been asked the day before about ten times if I was alone, followed by the standard, "Oh you are brave!"  As if there are wild people all over the country waiting to find a lone female rider and do unspeakable things. See, my paranoia has limits.)
Preferable over the Budget Inn?
I took Hwy 20 from Ontario toward Burns.  Burns will fool ya.  Don't get gas at the first place you see, instead go into Hines (about a mile away) where they actually have gas stations that have new pumps.  I had to wait for the attendant to manually add up the purchase before mine and hand write a receipt.  Imagine my dismay when around the bend I see gas stations that actually have the ability to take a credit card.  Damn it.  I also found another place to sleep along the route, which would have probably been better than the one I chose (look left).

From Burns I rode toward Christmas Valley on US 395.  This is where Hank (GPS) started getting all stupid.  For awhile he told me I was on an unpaved road (good for me, finally Runkle sees something besides asphalt) and then he stopped working all together, telling me to take non existant roads to nowhere and then politely telling me to turn around and head back the way I'd come.  After that the power kept flashing off and on.  If there is one place you need a GPS to work, it's in the middle of nowhere, which I can safely say is where 395 is located.   This was a cool stretch of road but is open range (like most of the smaller roads I'd traveled on during the trip).  Of course, in Oregon when they say "open range" the cattle are so smart they can read and they actually take to the roads.  I had some great photos of this, but my expensive camera died the day before (thanks Nikon).

There was one point where I was worried about my safety as I slowly pulled up to a herd in the road.  I wasn't that frightened, having passed some earlier..until I saw the largest arse ever.  I stopped behind it about 20 feet and when the animal turned it's head it was a bull (hence the large part) with horns that could have gone right through the bike.  It looked at me and I could tell by the way it's eyes were glaring that this was not a good time to remind him about all the beef I'd consumed in Texas.  The ribs I had left in my camelback (kept cold by the ice) were pork so at least I had that going for me.  I wasn't sure if I should go by quickly, slowly, or at all.  Since he didn't seem to have any intention of moving I started to slowly ride by when the bull on the side of the road started heading onto the tarmac.  I was essentially riding between two animals that could have crushed me on accident and my paranoia, kept at bay briefly, sprung a leak and I was mentally watching them "horn" me to death.  I could think of worse ways to go, especially since my diet of beef was probably going to kill me eventually anyway.

I eased my way into LaPine around 1:00 PM and stopped at the Taco Bell for lunch.  I was going to transport it back to the house and eat while relaxing on the deck so I needed a Pepsi to compliment this gourmet meal.  I don't have a cup holder (want one, dork gage just hit the red) and trying to get the Pepsi back to the house in one piece gave all the locals something to laugh about.  I made it, though, and pulled into the driveway full of awe that I'd made it that far (to and back from Texas, not due to the Pepsi, although I'd say that really was a Pepsi Challenge.  hahahah  Okay, I'll stop)

Once there I thought about Trout who in my mind was alone and sad because I wasn't there.  I got back on the bike and hit the road again, heading toward my final destination of Aurora, OR and home.  On Highway 97 through Bend then onto Highway 22 toward Salem I rode 55-60 mph which seemed slow after my previous day of 75-80 mph. I marveled at how the mountains in Oregon still have snow, how the sun seemed to shine brighter (but not be that hot) and how a familiar road gives you a sense of contentment.

The view from Bend, OR to Sisters, OR
The last 100 miles of my trip were the most challenging.  Perhaps it is because they were miles I've done a million times, perhaps because I had to use the rest room but didn't want to take the time to stop, or perhaps because I knew I was nearing the end of my journey.  Whatever the reason, my arse felt like someone had paddled it relentlessly over the last thousand miles and no movement on the seat was making things better.  I moved up and back and sat straight and slouched.  I leaned and even tried to just take my mind off it by imagining what I was going to eat for dinner (exciting, eah?)  Nothing worked.  Near the last ten miles from Woodburn to my exit I felt relief wash over me as I counted down the miles and told myself I'd already gone over 4,000 miles, ten more would not hurt.

Pulling into my driveway I checked the GPS and saw I'd ridden 4,145 miles over the last two weeks.  Others have ridden farther, ridden faster and ridden better.  The sun was shining, my plants were all alive and the garden was tended (thanks to my landlord and neighbor!).  I threw on a pair of shorts and flip flops and jumped in the car without even unloading the bike, anxious to pick up Trout before my motivation failed.  I drove the thirty minutes and picked her up.  She licked me and jumped up to kiss me repeatedly (not a good trick to show a dog when you have friends who are shorter than you).  When I opened the front door she ran out and jumped right in the car, tail wagging and eyes glistening (maybe I imagined that glistening).
Trout at "pick up" time.  She jumped in and wouldn't get out!  

 It was then I realized that over the last 4,145 miles I'd traveled, there were so many beautiful things I'd seen; so many mountains and drylands, waterways and freeways.  But the one view I would not want to live without was the one view that warmed my heart and made me smile, time after time.

That view could only be the one from home, with Trout laying in the grass or playing in her pool, me on the porch in a comfy chair sipping on a cold drink remembering the time my journey took me solo to Texas.

Thank you all for coming along with me.  I hope you enjoy home as much as I do.

As always, Be safe.


  1. Great write-ups and beautiful pictures...trout looks happy to see mom home. :)

  2. I loved your trip mam, read everyword! Awesome photography of this great land! The shot you took of the shack on day 12 well.. Is it really a shack? If you had pitched your tent there for the night what tales could that place of told ya? How many kid’s where born and raised there before that light pole was stuck in the yard? How many dogs slept under whatever room was picked as a bedroom and talked to each other till you finally pounded the floor and told ‘em to shut up?! Odd they’re where never any snakes around though. How many wild cats you couldn’t catch if had to, hung out because you threw what few scraps you could a time or to a week, never no mice around though. I bet in it’s day it wasn’t a shack, it was home...

  3. You are correct! I LOVE the old buildings that I call "shacks!" I always think next time I'm travelling I'm just going to stop and take photos of them...the more run down, the better. Lots of life in those shacks. If only the walls could talk!



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