The route home from Ashland would take us north through Oregon from border to border. After breakfast at the motel, Dennis split from the group to take the freeway home as the rest of us mounted-up for the day’s travels.
Traffic was very light Saturday morning over the roads west from Ashland and north toward Grants Pass through forests, pastures, orchards and vineyards. A tenor of restful serenity settled over me as I led our now group of four through the turns. We took some great roads around Grants Pass, but no day would be complete without at least one goat trail.
It was noon, and I was keeping an eye open for a place to eat, or at least have a cup of coffee. The Lighthouse Center Bakery and Café in Umpqua was perfectly positioned for a lunch stop. I had passed this spot a dozen or more times, but had never noticed the bakery. It appears that what used to be a fraternal alcoholic club, had recently been converted to a deli with a vegetarian bent. The food and menu were a pleasant surprise. Imagine finding such nice food out here in the dairy and wine country of Oregon.
We continued north on back roads to Highway 38, and followed it to Curtin Road where we took break. Dan was planning to make it home by Saturday night; it was 3:00 pm and, with the best of today’s roads already covered, this would be a good time for him to jump on the freeway and head home. The remaining route to Monmouth was nice, but not worth turning the day into an iron-butt ride. At the same time, John was weighing his options as well. After a quick call to the motel to cancel the reservation he had booked for the night, John decided to hit the interstate with Dan. Then Dan noticed a wide strip of shiny steel cords exposed on the right side of his front tire. That sealed it; they would head directly home on the freeway. It was good that the two of them would ride together, should Dan’s tire expire along the way. As it turned out, by Dan keeping the bike upright as possible in right-hand turns, the tire made it without exposing more cords.
With our group now down to two, Marv and I pursued our destination north over the Kings Valley Highway to Monmouth for the night. On Sunday morning, we took backroads to Beaverton, and then the interstate the rest of the way home.
The ride was complete.