Saturday, August 05, 2006

Day 10: Sonoma Coast to Roseburg, Oregon

I got a late start because the 8-year-old girl in the pickup truck parked next to the scooter in the motel lot kept showing me amazing seaweed and other objects she had dragged up from the beach. It was cold, so when I hit the "large" town of Ft. Bragg, I stopped at a Starbucks to warm up. A retired guy and his wife saw my scooter and started the usual barrage of questions. This was different, though. When I told them about Canine Partners For Life, he unfolded the emergency check in his wallet, and made a very generous contribution on the spot - in fact, it's our largest gift yet!

Remember ... I dropped my helmet yesterday, and the plastic fastener for the flip-up face shield snapped off. Rich gave me some tape, but it did not hold well. In Napa I had stopped at a Safeway and upgraded it to duct tape, which held better. I love duct tape! It's legendary for good reason. Even my iPod Nano is encased in duct tape. But today I decided to look for a motorcycle shop. Coastal riding was cold, and any excuse for a stop was good. But the one in Ft. Bragg was a small Harley shop, and the conversation went like this:

Me (seeing only a couple of Harley skullcap helmets): "I broke my face shield. Do you have a helmet like this one?"

Lovely Harley Racer Girl: "Sorry, our customers don't wear helmets like yours. This is all we have. You'll have to try in Eureka."

In Eureka (the biggest city on the route) I found a real motorcycle shop and replaced it with a different brand, which was less expensive and more comfortable than the broken one. I love unexpectedly finding something different and better out of necessity!

Near Crescent City at the top of California, the scooter got loud, like it was in Oklahoma. A Vespa is just not supposed to sound like a Harley. But eventually I made it to Roseburg, 175 miles south of Portland. It was a little chilly because most of the day was along the coast in the 60s. I have to say it was the most beautiful whole day of riding. The coast was spectacular, the redwoods were majestic, and the scenery on US 199 from Crescent City into Oregon to Grant's Pass was also stunning. I was too worried about the scooter running loud and dusk approaching to fully appreciate that late-day scenery, though. I rolled through Crescent City about 5:30, which was 30 minutes after all the shops closed, so no one was able to look at my exhaust.

Once I got on I-5 heading north at Grant's Pass, I have to admit it was the scariest ride of the journey. It was mountainous, dark, cold, and truck-infested. In the South, they have double-wide trailers, but not on the highway. Out West, they have triple-length trailers on the road everywhere. I was exhausted, and worried about the scooter.

After 45 miles or so, I stopped at Roseburg and found the first hotel. I was supposed to stay with Rob in Portland, but for the first time in my adventure, I was going to have to cut my riding day short. I had not realized that my route called for 610 miles in one day, which was just too much, especially after a late start and many stops to warm up.

Rosedale was very welcoming. At the front desk of the Holiday Inn Express, another guest had just gotten Chinese food. He offered to share it. As we sat down to eat, my friend Shakti in Portland called.

Shakti: "Oh, you're in Roseburg? The people are really nice there!"

Me: "Yeah, I know they're nice, a stranger named Steve is already sharing his Chinese food with me! See you tomorrow morning at Vespa Portland..."

The hotel's internet did not work for me, and the exercise bike was broken, but at least the people were nice in Roseburg, I thought, as I drifted off to sleep... hoping that I'd make the last 180 miles without incident in the morning.

Miles today: 436
Miles Total: 4203
Song for Today: Talk to Me of Mendocino, by Kate & Anna McGarrigle, because the Mendocino County coast was so beautiful


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