Sunday, February 5, 2012

Sunny February in Oregon?!

The wacky new weather global patterns have brought us a dry Oregon February so far, and dry weather always means the same thing: motorcycle riding!

The weather forecasters had said it would be a great weekend for several days, but we've had our hearts broken so many, many times by Oregon weather forecasters. We hoped for the best, planned a route - but were ready for disappointment. Kind of like how my love life was before I met Stefan...

Stefan planned the route, which took us to the coast and back. Riding the coast is fun, but we like back roads riding through mountains, forests and fields even more. This ride had all that.

Pacific Coast in Feb. 2012

And at by the middle of the ride, I saw a sunny Oregon coast for the first time since we moved West 2 1/2 years ago. This is the view from one of the lookout points at Cape Meares State Scenic Viewpoint. The parking lot was full - but we were the only bikers! I still cannot get over that. A day like this and so few motorcyclists?! Unfortunately, the lighthouse here was closed for winter - so I guess we'll just have to go back again. Although I can't imagine how insane it must be on a summer day on the weekend...

Before we got here, we stopped for lunch in Forest Grove, a city that has let ugly business development run wild. It seems to be a place of just ugly strip malls, national chain restaurants and pawn shops, but head to the downtown - yes, there is one. It's next to Pacific University, and it's actually quite pretty.

Little Monkey Deli in Forest Grove, Oregon

We stopped at the Little Monkey Deli, and liked it VERY much. The owner/manager, from Laos, is a delight. Stefan loved his pulled pork "burrito"/wrap, and I liked my turkey panini (lots of artichoke hearts!). The manager seemed particularly happy that we were bikers - sorry that are bikes parked out front didn't bring in more bikers for her that day. I remain stunned at how few motorcyclists we saw out and about on this incredibly perfect day for riding!

I really love my motorcycle boxes (my Christmas 2011/Birthday 2012 present from Stefan - buy some for yourself!) - as well as my motorcycle. I was really ticked off at the guy who told me in front of this cafe, "That bike seems a bit too high for you. You should lower the back wheel." I was ticked off because 1) a KLR cannot be lowered more than an inch and a half without then dragging the center stand every time you turn, something we learned the hard way right after we bought it and lowered it more than that, and 2) I hate being short! I want to ride a KLR! Bite me!

But, really, I got over it. I love the KLR. I don't care how klutzy I look getting on and off it. It's so much lighter than my Nighthawk, and I feel more in control of it. I'm still getting used to the thumping sound though.

Since I bought the KLR, I think I have ridden more than 700 miles - my goal was to have ridden at least 500 by May. My next goal is to find a class or a tutor regarding the basics of riding in dirt and gravel. The two classes nearest me that would be perfect are BOTH the first weekend in June - right when Stefan's parents arrive from Germany. And, really, I don't want to wait until June. So I'm going to go visit the dirt bike shop here in Canby and hope the owner takes me seriously when I ask him for recommendations (it's not always easy to be taken seriously when you are a middle-aged woman on a dual sport).

A beautiful ride - and yet another time when I wish so much I had started riding a motorcycle in my 30s. It's never too late to start, true - but, wow, I love this!

Also see:

A Broad Abroad
Resources & Inspiration For Women Who Travel
(or Want to!)


For Women Who Travel By Motorcycle (or want to)


Suggested short motorcycle routes in Oregon and Washington state (from an hour to all-day; many can be linked together to create longer trips).

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