On the Road in Southern Oregon

Story & Photos by Randy Twells

Early September— I had occasion to travel the highways and byways in Oregon recently on personal business, and had planned to visit a few of the motorcycle shops along the way that carry Quick Throttle Magazine.

Starting in Portland to say Hi to Casey at Polaris of Portland, I headed east to say Hi to Sue at Mt. Hood Polaris out in Boring, then back over to Salem Harley-Davidson for a quick stop.  South on I-5 brought me to Eugene and Doyle’s Harley-Davidson where Mark and the whole gang made me welcome.

At Greg Coen Motor Co. out in Springfield I met Greg the owner, where yes, he puts Quick Throttle out faithfully for everyone to pick up.  So does Todd’s Cottage Grove Yamaha, where there is also a real guy named Todd.   Small shops with Quick Throttle for you as you pass through on the road in Southern Oregon.

Out of Cottage Grove a short hop off the I-5 south and west on the 99 hooked me up with Hwy 38 West out of a small town named Drain.  This scenic corridor would take me out to the coast to 101 south.  I started seeing more and more incredible shots so out came the camera.   This is a popular motorcycle touring road, and sure enough, among the few vehicles that I encountered (loved the empty roads!), a good percentage were motorcycles.   Hwy 38 follows the Umpqua River but with forest all around you have to turn off the highway to get a view of the river in most cases.

At Scottsburg and a break from the forest there’s a cool place to stop, Wells Creek Inn.  With a testimonial of a motorcycle parked in front.   Right across the Highway there was the Umpqua River, in all its glory, wide open.   I had lunch at the Inn in their little outdoor patio on the side, and then stepped across the two-laner and got the shots of the river.

All along Hwy 38 is a feast for the eyes, even though it was cloudy towards the coast, a lush green paradise of forest and wildlife.  On the south side about 3 miles before reaching the coast, is the Deer Creek Elk Viewing Area and OH Hinsdale Interpretive Center & Elk Viewport.  A huge parking lot to accommodate visitors’ vehicles, was nearly empty.  Nice public restrooms off to the side.   At the Interpretive Center /Viewport you look out to the wetlands and preserve out beyond, with panels of info about the herd of 100 Roosevelt Elk that live here, and the many other animals including deer, coyote, herons, ducks, migrating birds, etc.  Spotting scopes are available to get a close up look.  I got out my longest lens and shot some photos of the elk just lying down in the field hangin out.  They did keep an eye on who’s where in our direction for sure.

A few miles west I turned south at Reedsport onto the famous Hwy 101 to Coos Bay.   The Conde McCullough Memorial Bridge (5305-foot steel cantilever truss bridge built in 1936) crosses Coos Bay as part of the 101. When it was built it was the longest bridge in Oregon, which is saying something because Oregon is full of rivers & waterways which means, a lot of bridges.    I continued into town along the waterfront with fishing boats, boat ramps and seagulls all over.  Stopping at Highway 101 Harley-Davidson I met owner Alan Pettit, and Lisa in Motorclothes.  Their Quick Throttles are in the customer lounge, sure enough.  Outside in the parking lot, a group of people were standing around their bikes chatting.  I thought, I will shoot a photo of this scene and the front of the dealership.  I asked them to group for me, but they spoke…..German!  Come to find out they were doing a fly and ride, and were from Austria!  More new friends from across the globe!  You never know til you strike up a conversation, who you will meet.

I turned south and east again taking Hwy 42 to the I-5 and the last Oregon Harley dealer before the California border, at D&S Harley in Medford, a bit off the main highway nestled in the trees.  A family business run by Dick Martin’s three daughters Terrie, Kim and Sandy, Dick worked there for many years as a younger man, and later when he acquired the dealership, keeping the D&S name as a promise to the former owner.  And Quick Throttle on the rack too.

As I crossed out of Oregon heading south, I reflected on the beauty there –   An unexpected eye-opening experience, I want to go back and do it again, and find the other hidden treasures that Southern Oregon has to offer.

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About Randy Twells