There are times you just need a break from the norm, whether that’s everyday life or the bleak scenery that often envelopes our daily views.
By JD Gore
As I canvass my schedule, I look ahead at the opportunity to get out. The grey cool sky seems to grip the landscape in an unreleasing hold and it drives the spirit down. We have all been there after a long, hard winter. We look for the days we can roll the bike out and actually hit the road again.
This past winter came late here in Oregon, and before it hit there were opportunities to get in some rides and my girlfriend Jody and I were thankful, especially after she got a new Sportster. But the last few months brought rain and snow, which equals little to no riding, and a huge desire for Vitamin D and wind therapy.
Chomping at the bit to get out, Jody declares, “There is a weekend coming up and the weather is supposed to be clear, at least on the coast.” We decide to plan for it. Any reason to get out, even knowing the weather forecasters are only about 50% correct, we wanted to chance it.
We planned our ride from Albany, west to Newport and down south to Bandon, then east to Winston and the final stretch back north. Jody watches the weather on an hourly basis days out, remarking how the forecast changes about every few hours. “Just clouds with periods of sun” is Jody’s last report. We are good to go.
The excitement slowly builds from deep down. It’s a very subtle feeling. It seems to percolate. It is there because after every riding dry spell, you are craving that first good glimpse of the ride season to show itself. I’m not talking about the dinner rides or the short toy run or quick bike blessing. I’m talking about being able to enjoy the roads. The entire idea of being on your bike and gathering the sights, smells and temperature changes. I’m talking about letting her run out at the speeds she purrs at. You get the gist. Knowing we are going to have that good first ride of the season is making us nearly burst with anticipation!
We are packed and about to back bikes out. The last-minute decisions; heavy coat or hoodie under vest? As we get ready, we question whether we are wearing too much as we share how warm we are moving about and prepping for the trip. But we both know at 60 or 70 mph, that all changes. We are done overthinking it, we head out.
The light grey in the clouds indicate the sun is wanting to break through. As we head west, we can see spots of blue. Crossing over the coastal mountains, we get a dose of typical spring with winter not wanting to release her grip; we hit some cold spots with light rain, but then that moment of triumph! The sun breaks through and as far as you can see, she has settled in. We know when we hit Newport we can look out over the ocean and have a better idea of what the weather will be, maybe even as good as the 5 o’clock news.
After stopping at Rogue Brewery for lunch, we head south. We could not have picked a better time for our ride. We plan to make a few stops to take in the sights and views from a few high spots, then head to Florence for the night.
The next morning, we leave Florence and continue south with the Coos Bay Harley dealership as our next planned stop. The ride and the weather could not have been a better solution for the doldrums of the past few months, and we just soak it in. We pull out of the dealership and now Bandon is in our sights. We’ll plan on lunch there with a walk around the old town, then somewhat of a sprint home.
Highway 42 is under us and Bandon behind us; we enjoy the curves and hills on our way to Winston. The sun was beaming down on us most of that leg of the trip and now we hit the interstate. It’s a little faster and straighter path home from here. We move along at a pace that works for us and always mindful of the cages nearby.
Either way you look at it, we are right where we want to be. We are well pleased at having picked this time to ride and feel very fortunate that we got to glance at the beginning of our ride season. A few days of sun and being on our bikes was only a quick fix. As we near the end of this short 400 mile trip, we feel refreshed yet wanting. Wanting it to not end so soon. But already talking about our next ride. Ride safe and ride often.