Archive for August 11, 2009

Eureka! I have found it!

Posted in Uncategorized on August 11, 2009 by Pat Regan

I had the opportunity to post once since I last left, but I was in a foul mood. It would have been ugly and there is no place for ugly on nygumbo. I’m talking mean ugly. I hit some weather that just warped my whole outlook to a very dark place. I was cold and wet and feeling gloomy. I left Lassen Volcano and hit some bad weather along route 299 headed west. This road was difficult to ride with big trucks and bad drivers. Many parts were overgrown with shrubbery encrusted with despair.
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This part of the country is Bigfoot country. The people here must have something to cling to or the suicide rate would bring them to extinction.
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I ended up riding through fog with nearly zero visibility, adding to my miserable state of mind.
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My choice for reaching the coast…Eureka, California. Sounds good right? Ha! When Archimedes said, “Eureka! I have found it!”, he most certainly was not speaking of Eureka, California the armpit of the Northwest Coast. There is no coast. It’s a swamp of sludge along side a town filled with broken dreams and wandering souls in search of what should have been. I ended up having to get a crappy hotel for the night. I needed to warm my worn down body. I was so sure I would make it to the Redwood Forest this day. But it left hope for another day. And things would be glorious from that day on.

The Redwood Forest is a mystical place. A place from a Tolkien novel where you are dwarfed by these towering giants.
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I took Bonnie on 3 mile dirt road, deep into the woods.
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And I wandered in and about amongst these wise old grandfathers of the forest.
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And then, the coast. It was one month to day I left New York City that I touched the Pacific.
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The coast was an ultimate destination but not where I wanted to spend my time. With the coast comes crowds and solitude was my favorite flavor. I wanted a greater taste. I rode northwest along the Smith River.
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Having never been dammed, the Smith River is one of the cleanest and clearest rivers in the states. It is a natural beauty. As I rode along one of the bends I noticed a bridge ahead with what looked like a rope swing attached. I turned onto the small road where the bridge was and climbed underneath. I would not be disappointed!
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I’ll be back in a bit. I have to pack up and check out, then I’ll sit in the lobby to finish the post.
OK. All checked out. Have you ever stayed at a Red Lion Hotel? These places are nice. I have walked in and asked about rooms before. In fact in Eureka I did this and was told a room would cost me $132!!! I booked it online in Boise for $60, but I get ahead of myself.

So I had fun swinging on a rope. A lot more fun than a lot of people have had swinging from a rope in this Wild West. Just next to the bridge were wild blackberries to provide a yummy snack before moving on.
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Now it was on to Oregon. If you read about my trip last year you know that I didn’t care for Oregon. This was mostly do to the people. That didn’t change much this time, but there were a few colorful characters. Meet Mike James. He is the one in the cowboy hat.
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As I ordered some fish tacos here in Kirby, Oregon home of Jamie Farr, I asked the waitress if she knew anywhere I might camp near or about Crater Lake. Well Mike interjected. Only Mike can’t seem to remember things like the names of places. There seems to be a lot of cobwebs that need cleaning in Mike’s attic. It didn’t seem the staff at Nacho Mama’s were keen on this fella. But Mike saddled up to the stool next to me and we were talking like it or not. Mike told me about camping in the woods on the way to the Lake. He said he camped in the woods there once. The only problem was there was some people being a little too loud for his taste. He said one shot from the 12 gauge took care of that. Mike used to ride too. He was hit by a woman driver and his back was broken in the accident. He said he told the woman, “Don’t worry I ain’t gonna shoot you, but I am gonna blast the hell out of your car.” It seems Mike likes his guns. Then he leaned over and whispered to me, “I think that chick’s a lesbian. It’s vogue you know.” I smiled. He than asked me, “You know what vogue is? Then, “You ain’t one of them gays are you, cause I’ll punch you right in the face! No, I wouldn’t hit ya, but you’re not are ya?” The funny thing is, I grew up in Greenwich Village in NYC and Mike is more colorful than most raging queens I’ve encountered. He’d fit right in. I think they’d like him. As I took that photo of Mike on my way out he screamed, “Ride on you Irish bastard!”
I ended up pulling off onto a dirt road into this forest for the night.
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Here is where I spent the night.
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I had turned into a couple dirt roads before choosing this one. In the morning I got back to the highway and made a left. In the dark I was disoriented. I should have made a right. And because it was dark, I didn’t recognize anything now that it was light. I rode a good 12 miles before I realized what I had done. But it all worked out I ended up finding these beautiful waterfalls that I had passed in the night.
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IMG_6043 copyThere was another interesting thing I passed in the dark. I had heard Oregon’s laws were different than that of the rest of the states regarding a particular matter. That was confirmed when I passed this marijuana farm right off the side of the highway. I would have walked up to the fence and snapped a picture of the garden, but there was a no trespassing sign and the stories of “trigger happy” Mike still lingered in my head.
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I was finally back in unchartered territory. I passed this gorge in the small town appropriately named Cascade Gorge. I stopped in to a place to eat and was greeted by a waitress who had that Oregon attitude that makes me loathe this state. Fortunately the natural wonders outweigh the assholes. I did not stay at the restaurant. A premade sandwich was enough to keep me going.
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I am going to rush things a bit. I have to get going. Next stop Crater Lake. Oregon is full of post volcanic splendor.
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I made a quick stop at this old lava tube but I was too late for the tour.
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Missing that tour was a blessing. Had I gone on the tour I would never have gotten to this place below before dusk. This place blew my mind.
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These are the Painted Hills in Oregon. My motivation for coming here was that they had found prehistoric fossils here. I had no idea that I would see this.
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Wow! It’s one of the most incredible sights I have ever seen. As you look at it you can’t believe it’s real. That night I slept in the cold mountains of Oregon. (there is a funny story that involves a Billy Bob and my personal fears, but I don’t have time for it right now).
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Then next morning I went to another prehistoric fossil site. This one had a blue hue.
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Then I found some old petroglyphs in this canyon.
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These are actual tracks from the Oregon trail left by the covered wagons that first explored this part of the country.
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Then I had a awesome ride through Hells Canyon.
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Well folks I left out some details because the hour is getting late. I am in Boise Idaho now and headed toward Montana. I just checked the mileage and I don’t think I’ll make it to Montana tonight as I had hoped. Oh well, tomorrow I will make one of my few overlaps from last year and visit crystal mountain for some digging. Later my friends!