“Time weighs down on you like an old, ambiguous dream. You keep on moving, trying to slip through it. But even if you go to the ends of the earth, you won’t be able to escape it. Still, you have to go there- to the edge of the world. There’s something you can’t do unless you get there.” ― Haruki Murakami, from ‘Kafka on the Shore’
With winter ending last week, what better way to celebrate the end of the nemesis of motorcycle riding, than with a three-day ride to coastal Oregon.
Randy had a ride posted to our group’s web page to make the trip but, until mid-week, none of us thought it would actually come to fruition. We’ve all had a lot of plans drowned out by rain in the shoulder seasons. When the forecast started to improve, it brought with it a little giddy excitement. Not only was the ride not going to be a wash-out, but it was beginning to look like we’d actually have sunshine. I was looking forward to getting reacquainted with my shadow.
The ride was originally scheduled to be a Saturday-Sunday event, but Kurt suggested we try to make it through Monday. Marv, Randy, and I were all able to stretch our weekends by a day. David, the fifth attendee, was not able to get out of work on Monday, and would return home Sunday. We made plans to overnight in Manzanita the first night, and in Pacific City the second night.
Marv and I met up with Kurt Saturday morning, and lit out for Starbucks in Federal Way where Randy would join us for the trip down the freeway to Centralia. We would meet David there for breakfast at Country Cousins before turning onto the two-lane back roads for the ride to the coast.
The morning had started out cold but, by the time we finished breakfast, it was warmer and brighter. We followed Randy’s routing to our lodgings in Manzanita. One of the best things about the Spindrift Motel is that they have the most powerful shower I have ever had in a motel, and no end to hot water. It’s just what I need after a day of riding.
We crossed the street and met Randy and David in the tavern. There was some sort of college sports event displayed on the tavern’s multiple screens involving one of the Oregon universities. The place was crowded and loud. After a minute or so, we exited the tavern, gathered Kurt from the motel, and went to the adjacent Mexican restaurant for dinner. The food was good, and the prices were reasonable.
We went to the ice cream shop across the road after dinner , and then walked down to the beach. We were going to go for a walk, but we found it was too cold. I took a few snap-shots.
Randy went back to the tavern. I’m not sure if David went with him or not. I remember hearing a band playing old Van Halen songs and, as I drifted off to sleep, I was thinking, ‘What if I wake up in the morning in some sort of parallel universe where I’m in a Van Halen cover-band, playing taverns in coastal Oregon?’ I managed to get a good night’s rest in spite of the threatened nightmare.
We had Sunday breakfast at a place in Nehalem a mile or-so from the motel. It looked like a reasonable place – clean, and friendly. There was an old hippie in a poncho sitting at a table having coffee who asked us about motorcycling as we walked in. They served me cold, undercooked eggs and cold hash browns. I won’t be going back to that place again. I left a generous tip.
On this glorious sunny Sunday, we were in for a treat. Randy had selected some excellent roads. We wound our way south for a while, and then took a break at a seaside pull-out. We took a bunch of photos, and then mounted up to journey on. Just a few miles later, we were at the point where David would depart to take the highway home. Randy, Kurt, Marv, and I had one more day of riding we wanted to get in.
We enjoyed a leisurely day, riding about 270 miles. A guy can’t ask for better roads and weather, although some of the roads were sandy. There had been a spell of cold weather just a few weeks ago, so we had to be on the lookout for sand in the corners. That aside, the day was made for motorcycling.
We stayed in Pacific City Sunday night. We had average tavern food.
We took a very interesting route home Monday. A few of the roads Randy took us on were new to me. He has a knack for coming up with interesting routes. We stopped at a Starbucks in Kelso, and split up shortly thereafter.
Randy and Kurt wanted to take the freeway home. Marv and I had nothing better to do than ride for another couple of hours. We were soon ready to be home as well so, when we got to Centralia, we decided to ride the super-slab home. We had enjoyed a great three days with good friends.