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Day Twelve - May 27, 1999

A Road Too Blue?

Winnemucca NV - John Day OR

5:30 riding time - 330 miles - 55 to 85 degrees

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Winnemucca - John Day

Today is John Day.

We enjoyed a Basque meal last night in downtown Winnemucca, recommended by the place with the cheap shampoo plus conditioner. The dinner was quite good. We met a couple of guys on motorcycles from Washington who were touring some similar areas, and traded some favorite rides. The bond among fellow motorcyclists is strong.

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True colors

We awoke early again this morning to beat the heat and get a jump on a long day. Mark was admiring his look while brushing his teeth, so hey, why not share it with you? Typically we start out the day with two layers of insulating polypropylene under the riding suits, and Mark adds a finishing touch with the electric vest. Since I have a windshield, I do without the Borg peripheral.  I am able to stay warm enough with my clothing, but my next bike will have heated grips. 

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Parting shot

Riding out of Winnemucca we get one last reminder of how desolate the ride will be today - if you can feature paved streets and rationalize a billboard promoting it, hey, go for it!  It seems that Winnemucca (try saying that five times quickly) really is the cultural mecca for this part of Nevada.  In a relative sense.


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Hmmm, maybe not

Our original plan was to take highway 140 north towards John Day, but as soon as we turned onto the road we were greeted by this sign.  We probably could have made it, but we already had 50 miles on the tank, and would have to ride at 60mph or less to eke out the mileage.  So, there is a road too blue for us.  This year.   With these bikes.  My next bike will have a longer range. 

Shortly after we encounter this sign, we come to the city of Orvada.   Now, without any specific knowledge of the area, I'm guessing that this town is named because it's the last sign of civilization before Oregon, and if you breed the two state names of Oregon and Nevada you get 'Orvada'.  Which made me start thinking, is there a Washingho?  Idatana?  Oreton?  Orefonia?  Hey, send me your best state border city name and I'll print the winner tomorrow.  The only rule is the states have to be contiguous.  Write your submission on the back of a twenty-dollar bill and send it to [email protected].   Winners will be notified by mail.  You must be this tall to play.  No purchase necessary.

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The scenery is changing quickly as we transition from the high desert to south-central Oregon's scenery, which has far more water, trees, grass, and their natural companions, BUGS.  Yes, we knew there was something missing from the last few days.   Ever since we had been in the desert, there had been very little in the way of BUGS.  But today they are back, and it seems that they're trying to make up for lost time.  I felt several smack my face as we rode, and had to spit out various insect body parts a couple of times, but I didn't really comprehend the mess until we stopped for gas and Mark told me he wouldn't have lunch with me unless I washed my face first. I'm not sure you'll be able to see the full graveyard on my face, but maybe you can.  And if you know Mark, you know his standards aren't all that high. 

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Darn it, we have to eat somewhere else!

At the very same gas station, where highway 78 splits off from 95, just over the Oregon border (I'm giving you all of this detail so you can avoid the place) I looked toward the cafe, seeking my daily fix of human interest, and noticed this sign by the entrance.  We decide to just keep moving before having lunch today.  And besides, I needed to wash my face, and I didn't want to risk going inside this place.   I wonder if they allow lizards?

So, back on the bikes as we head for Burns OR.

We arrive in Burns about an hour later and tank up before stopping for lunch.  While I'm filling my tank, a chatty guy from the next island comes over and asks what kind of Harley I'm riding.   

"It's a Road King."  He replies, "Noooo!  Is that a new model?"

I reply that the Road King was introduced in 1994, and has been Harley's most popular model for the last several years.  "Noooo!  I've never heard of it."

I shrug and keep pumping.  He ponders all of this new data before exploring a new line of attack.

"Does it have rubber engine mounts?"

"Yes, it does.  It's a very comfortable ride."

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That's me!

He seems satisfied with all of this and goes back to tend to his truck, but then he comes back for another round.  "What does your license plate mean?"

I reply that it helps us tell which bike is which.  He nods knowingly before coming back with "What's a GRIKER?"

"Gosh, look at the time.  Gotta go!"

We escape to lunch at the Ye Olde Castle just down the street.  Ye Olde Castle is decorated by antique toys of all descriptions, including these fine items:

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My next bike?

It's a Huffy!

My next phone?

After lunch we continue north into the Malheur National Forest, which is just fabulously beautiful.  There is virtually no traffic, the streams are full of mountain runoff water, and the roads are twisty.  I'm sure by this weekend the place will be packed, but for now we have it to ourselves.

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Malheur National Forest

What a beautiful state

Motorcyclists take note:  At Seneca we head east on NFD 16, which is a great two lane through the park, then head north again on CR 62 into Prairie City.   Just fabulous, and highly recommended.

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Is this idyllic, or what?

As we ride into John Day, we've logged 330 miles on the back roads, and put in a solid day of great riding.  We pull in the Best Western, and call it a day.   After checking in, we move the bikes in front of the room, where there is a sign declaring "NO BACK-IN PARKING".  You know our response.

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Once a jerk ...

Until Washington,

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