Day 2: Port Orford-Glendale(ish)

I set out of the Dublin-whatever-the-hell motel/hotel over priced place at promptly…1030 am.  Much later than I’d hoped.  It was a perfect morning though, so it was hard to complain.  It took a while to reload everything onto the bike; I’m going to have to get better at this.

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The ride down the 101 was pretty dramatic I must say; a much better view without all of the rain.

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Just overlook after overlook of this.

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I finally made it to Port Orford, pulled down onto the beach like every good TAT rider does.  Unfortunately, the tide was way up so I couldn’t ride down the beach. Well, that’s a lie; yes, I could have as you can see from the picture below.  However, I wasn’t about to get stuck in that little stream there.

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I turned around and rode back up the drive from the beach and met up with a few Advriders from Canada who had caught up to me on the 101.  They were making a loop into California then back towards Crater Lake before heading home.  The one guy gave me a decal to throw on the bike; I guess I am now officially part of the roaming polar bear club.  Still have to throw it on though.

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The TAT ends in Port Orford, OR but this is where it will start for me.  The first loop on the route is a 114 miler to Glendale, OR.  It was about 1:30 when I set out from Port Orford.  It was too early to stop and I was anxious to get off the highway.  The 101 was great; but sort of miserable on a dirt bike, especially after 300 miles.  I think I’d like to do it in a car maybe.

I set off down a back road that wasn’t much more than a road you’d commonly see in Pittsburgh.  Paved but crappy.  At least in Oregon they save those for back roads and not the main routes in and out of Downtown; but I digress.  I rode down along this river that was pretty amazing looking and took a few snaps.

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Then the off-road sections began and they kept on going up the mountain.  The view from the top were AMAZING.  Hard to describe, so here:

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Now according to some people online there’s a rock slide about 35 miles in and this point I’d ridden roughly 50 miles.  This update was added sometime in late July; but judging by the size of the rocks they posted in their ride report they weren’t getting cleared anytime soon.  The trail I was on came down out of the mountains and dumped out onto a “main” rode.  The tracks had you follow this road about 2 miles and then back up into the woods.  That’s where the road rock slide was at; about 55 miles into this leg of the trail.  I think I could have squeezed around it if I’d opted to take the panniers off the bike but the ledge was pretty steep. I’m alone and I wasn’t looking to hit the “O dear God, please come save me…” button on my rescue beacon the first day so I back tracked down to the main road and took the next dirt road into the mountains.  This road converged on the TAT track about 5 miles in.  We were on course again.

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I followed the tracks for some time.  Not sure for how much time but I wasn’t really making the progress I’d hoped and it was starting to get late.  I had planned to be done riding for the day between 5-6 pm so I could get everything in the motel or camp set up before dark.  I came across this downed tree that the forest service thankfully had already cut up.  Back tracking would have taken some time.

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I finally popped out of the forest again; this time thinking I was on the home stretch into Glendale. There have been a lot of wildfires out here over the years and every road I turn down seems to have a fire risk level warning signs and they were all set at extreme.  The tracks took me a through a paved section that at some point was on fire; it’s pretty devastating, especially when you consider this probably used to look as lush as the other pictures I’ve posted.IMG_1720 IMG_1719 IMG_1718

It wasn’t long after that that the tracks led me to a section with such an extreme fire risk that they closed the road for use entirely.  Which is probably a safe bet on their part but it was even later in the evening now and I was starting to panic.  There has to be an easy go around right?  It was time to consult the GPS!  The map I have loaded has almost all of these forest roads on it but they really just look like a spider’s web and 90% of them go nowhere.  Shit…

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From what I could tell the road went up maybe another 1/2 mile and then turned in the same direction as this closed road.  I figured they may parallel for awhile then run into each other like they did earlier.  At first things looked pretty promising.  The road I was on kept getting closer and closer to the track so I stuck with it figuring any moment now the tracks would meet.  Three miles passed.  Four miles passed.  I know what you’re thinking; trail blaze across the gap?  Sure, you aren’t supposed to do that but desperate times right?  Unfortunately, the track was several hundred yards away; which wasn’t the problem, the 30′ drop next to the trail I was riding on was.  I followed it out until they diverged which looked to be permanently.

GPS is an amazing tool. The problem though, is that GPS never seems to work when you really need it.  Mine wasn’t showing my current track.  Meaning, I couldn’t just follow the line I’d been drawing on my GPS screen literally all day until now.  New plan:  the I-5 was showing on the GPS.  Time to zoom out and and just keep making turns that kept me pointed in it’s direction.

That meant we were going up hill; exactly the direction I didn’t want to go.  Oh yea then a giant brown bear came running across the track I was riding on (This is the part where you comment and tell me they don’t have those in Oregon; just don’t and keep reading the next few posts).  This wasn’t going well… I don’t have many pictures of this part since it wasn’t exactly my top priority but I snapped these.

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Shortly after snapping these I started downhill again and 10 miles of logging company access road later we dumped out into a town. Success. I was 20 miles up the interstate from Glendale though and another 3 from the campground.  I hit the interstate since it was the only option and cruised down to the camp.  I pulled in at 8:30 PM, called the number on the office,  paid my $7 dollars, ate some soup and went to sleep.

The 114 mile leg of the trip turned into 150 miles.  289 miles total for the day.  Oh yea, the lady at the campground also informed me I made a good choice in skipping over the inn in town (of course she did).  I skipped it because it was supposedly a “haunted” tourist attraction; who needs that crap right?  It’s also run by tweakers; God bless meth.

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