Friday, July 20, 2007

Running for the Barn

We wake up in our cabin at Diamond Lake, ready to face the day. This morning we'll head up to Crater Lake to have breakfast at the lodge.

On the way we actually get a decent picture of Mt. Thielsen.

On the way to Crater Lake are these bizarre plains, like the surface of Mars.

As we come around the bend, we see this amazing view of Crater Lake.

And a few of the locals. These are Golden-Mantled Ground Squirrels, and its really clear that they've been domesticated. Years of tourists feeding them has trained them to come and play whenever anyone stops.

But even with a crowd of our little friends, we still can't help but be impressed by the view.

They are awfully cute, don't you think?

I'm thinking of hiring this one as a guard squirrel.

It's really cold up here. So cold that the roads are lined with snow.

Ready, aim, fire!

So pretty...

We make it up to the lodge, which is right along the rim of the crater.

It amazes me that places this elaborate were made entirely of wood, entirely by hand.

Here, Paul reenacts that great picture Tim took of me at Crater Lake a few years back. It really is remarkably peaceful here.

Not a bad self portrait. Even if I do say so myself!

Breakfast at the lodge was pretty tasty, although most things weren't very hot. The coffee was probably scalding hot when it left the kitchen, but by the time it got to the table, it dropped thirty degrees. Brrrr!!! It's cold up here!

It was time to get back on the road. It was definitely a good day for swooshing, and we had a fun ride down the mountain.

Now here is where I get to make my colleges at Akimbo insanely jealous. There is a show on the BBC called "Top Gear", which is all about high performance cars. A while back they did a show about a car called the Ariel Atom. This car is so fast, it rivals motorcycles in acceleration.

Paul is on the mailing list of an American company called Brammo, which has the rights to making a U.S. version of the Ariel Atom. Since we were driving through Ashland, OR., we decided to pay them a visit. Paul being on the mailing list is enough to get in, isn't it?

When we got there, they were really friendly and were happy to give us the guided tour.

Since these cars are custom made, they requested that I not post any pictures on the internet of any car under construction. You can look at these two though. Aren't they cool? Zero to sixty in 3.1 seconds! Think I need one?

By the way, Brammo is currently working on a electric, high-performance motorcycle!

After our tour, we hop on the bikes and do another forty-five minutes to glorious, Yreka, CA!

On our way to Yreka I see a sign. "San Francisco - 310 Miles"

Paul has an expression. Running for the barn. Sometimes when you go horseback riding, the horse can tell when you start heading home. When they do, they often make a run for it. We have a few friends like this. The second they start heading home, they can’t get there fast enough.

Well the second I saw this sign, a thought went through my head. "I can be home in six hours!"

The more I thought about it, the more I wanted to sleep in my own bed. When we stop for gas I mention this to Paul, and he understands the allure. Paul decides that he's going to take the slow route along with Jim and Suzanne, and he'll meet me in San Mateo in a couple of days.

I say my goodbyes and off I go! I-5 here I come! Up this far North, even I-5 has its beautiful sights. Here is Mount Shasta in all its glory.

The rest of the way towards Sacramento is less exciting...

But it is peaceful in its own way.

Now I could have gone the most expedient way, but nothing says "Welcome back to the Bay Area" like the Golden Gate Bridge.

And the best view of the City by the Bay is from the Marin Highlands.

From here its just a hop, skip and a jump home.

And here I am, home again! After 67 days and 14,634 miles, my journey is over.

I'm going to crash for a couple of days, then fly down to San Diego to celebrate with Paul when he completes his journey. We'll be celebrating at Phil's BBQ, so it should make for a good blog posting!

See you in a couple of days! - Peter

Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Joy of Swooshing!

It's raining. I know, it shouldn't surprise me that it rains on the coast of Oregon, but I would be a lot happier if it wasn't.

We start off in our rain gear, but after a half hour it clears up. So we pull over and take off our rain gear. Of course, Mother Nature is quite the practical joker, so it starts raining again. So we suit up again.

Fool us once, shame on you. Fool us twice, well, then we'd get wait wet. And we don't like getting wet.

Eventually it clears up enough that we feel safe enough to take off the rain gear again.

Do you think horses mind getting stuck in the rain?

Now I realize that the quality of this picture is just shy of a UFO, but I've been trying to get a decent picture of a bird in flight. Not easy while driving a motorcycle down the road at sixty miles an hour. It's not that bad though.

Today is a good day for "swooshing". What is swooshing you might ask? The way you turn a motorcycle is by leaning the bike left or right. Push left, lean left, go left, as they say in motorcycle class.

One of the great joys of motorcycle riding is swooshing back and forth, especially on a twisty road. Today was a good day for swooshing. Go right...

Then left...

It may seem simple, but its really enjoyable on a really basic level. Did I mention that we saw llamas?

I tend to pick up little hitchhikers along the way. In Louisiana it was grasshoppers. In Oregon it's ladybugs. This one kept pacing my brake cable.

Eventually we make it to Oakland, Oregon. Oakland Oregon is clearly different than Oakland California.

It's a great little town, and the deli makes a decent latte, and an incredible chocolate chip cookie!


Even the Oregon roads like to swoosh.

And so do Oregon rivers.

There is something about these four trees on the hill that speaks to me.

Mmmmm... cow...

Now this has to be one of the most original stop signs I've ever seen.

We're off to Diamond Lake, by way of Umpqua National Forest. It's beautiful, don't you think?

We eventually stop for gas, and the station is infested with hundred of Sphinx moths.

They're all over the place!

As wonderful an invention the GPS is, often they get confused. Here, Paul and Jim try to figure out why theirs are sending us around in circles.

We finally find our hotel. We live!

They have a nice lodge, with a very good restaurant.

Our cabin was a bit... rustic, with a TV that got sixty channels of TBS. But it does have plenty of electrical outlets.

Diamond Lake is beautiful, even if its really cold.

I keep trying to get a good picture of Mt. Thielsen, but it keeps hiding behind the trees.

Look at that glassy water...

Diamond Lake is truly a beautiful place to visit.

Tomorrow we head to Crater Lake!