Tuesday

Day 9 - Iron Butt 4810


Iron Butt 4810 - Day 9

Today we covered Oregon, California and most of Nevada for a grand total of 930 miles!

So much for getting to bed early. I spent my “birthday present” writing and taking a long hot shower. I just couldn’t settle. Consequently, my internal alarm went off, and we were loaded and on the road long before our wake up call. Good thing too because our route today was tough, tough, tough. We started by getting into some foothills where the road was very curvy and narrow. No guardrails, very little shoulder and steep drop offs. I was definitely on deer, bear, elk, antelope, moose, pheasant, jackrabbit, cougar alert.

We went through 2 national forests – Umatilla and Malheur – both of which would have been the kind of roads we would go over twice if given the time. Can deer jump down on top of you from say 20’ above you? Would they? Just wondering.

The Oregon BMW club was having a rally and other BMW’s and their riders surrounded us. It was so cool to be around other beemers and see people in the same kind of gear. The bikes were every model, color and year you can imagine. A lot of them had the same “character” as The Mistress. But she still reigns supreme.

Since starting this type of riding, I’ve wanted to get a picture of us heading into a curve. I’ve caused us to scrape more metal on asphalt trying to get that one perfect leaning shot than any other acrobatic contortions I’ve come up with. Today I think I got it. “Leaning Trees” will be left to my grand children one day.

With all our focus on animals, we were nearly whipped by the road itself today and a herd of salt devils. Towards the end of our ride through Oregon, known by the locals as the Oregon Outback, we started seeing salt flats. We were in high desert. Suddenly we were driving into a herd, and I do mean a herd of dirt devils. Only they were salt. They were on both sides of the road and we couldn’t tell if they were moving or hovering.

The terrain changed to desert quick. Sand. No plant life, just sand. And the road changed to construction with gravel. Which went around a huge salt lake. Needless to say, we were relieved to leave Oregon behind. It had cost us precious time. But once we hit Reno and picked up good highway, we hauled and made up for the land of the salt devils.

All day long RD has been giving out the thigh hugs. We’d lost our intercom system during the downpours from a few days ago. Today he figured out the problem was a bad cable. I asked him why he fixed it now since we’re almost done with the ride. He said he was lonely. And he’s been chatting ever since.

Tomorrow is the big day. We have about 900+ miles to finish. RD and I have seen the most amazing country from a viewpoint that few people ever do. And even though we are sore and tired, we are sad to see the adventure end. When we started this run, I expected we would drive from city to city with a little country in between. Amazingly it was just the opposite. About 90% of the trip has been in rural and wilderness areas broken occasionally by a town or city. We’ve seen wildlife. We’ve seen hotels at just the right time. Gas stations just in the knick of time. And weather patterns before they became a problem. And signs. Lord, we have seen signs. The sign to Gettysburg, the sign to Niagra Falls, and the sign to Elizabethtown, the home of the annual “More women named Elizabeth in one place in one day” festival. In fact, I’m thinking of taking pictures of nothing but all the signs decorating our country.

See you on the road,

Donna


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