To Portland and back… OR

Tuesday, August 21st, 2007

I, we (?) needed the excitement. We got it these past two days in the form of a great experience going to Portland, actually Oregon City… We left Sunday morning as early as possible to catch the cool temperature of dawn, nice ride through the Canyon taking us to Baker City to catch 84 westbound. All geared up with electrics, ready to shed it all as the sun was coming up, but, not so, surprised going through the Blue Mountains. The skies darkened up and the rain, a cold rain with the higher elevation started coming down on us.

I learned long time ago, whether July or January, riding a mile of a thousand, to carry all my gear with me all the time. It never leaves the rig. Change of clothes, electrics, buffs, 4 pairs of gloves as I yet have to find one pair that will be totally waterproof… you name it. It paid off as instead of shedding I end up adding a long sleeve T shirt under the electric jacket and a wind proof vest over it… yes, that cold and that wet!

Spirit, as the trooper that he is, tucked himself into the chair, out of the elements, he never wants to have anything to do with water. As if that was not enough, as we reach the Hood River, or Columbia River as I am still confused on the name of this river which is the same all along, could be called the Snake River also!… heavy gusts of winds right on the nose. Hard to even get into fifth gear, mileage drops to about 20mpg and so does the speed. I am thinking, well, at least on the way back we will have the wind on our tail and make up for it.

We found Tom and Sue’s house easily (Road Rash and Tequila Girl…) and Spirit found a new girl friend, again, the lucky guy, Sandy… a sweetheart of a dog. Fenced yard… much running around, I just loved watching those two play, quite a treat for Spirit as I never run that fast when we play! We felt at home quickly with much conversation about other riders we knew in common… about life you know and upcoming rides. Thanks guys… you made it all very easy for us.

The next morning, up not so early, we arrived at GP Suspension by nine am and what a great experience that was. David and Ben, two professional comedians, I mean technician, were such a pleasure to deal with. Ben helped me out with the removal of my front shock and all was ready by 11am! The shock was totally gutted, with 140,000 miles on it, even with a service done every 20,000 miles, it did need all new parts.

These guys (Davis here above… strongly tempted to not crack a smile!!!) do not only service shocks but also customize the forks so important with racers. They make their own valves, parts, from their own designs tested on their fork dyno and cut from their own C&C machines, impressive equipment which was also demonstrated by Dave who does the programming. I had never seen anything like it, very cool to place a piece of metal and have to come out exactly as designed. They are the ones that will service my shocks in the future…

By noon, it was time to head back and retrace the 400 miles to Halfway. I was a bit tired, I think Spirit was also, but the thought of a tail wind, well, made up for it. Right! No wind at all… no wind surfer… no white caps… nothing… dead calm. Did I mention more rain? That’s okay… the rig’s handling was excellent, smooth… what more could I ask! Again we braced for the Blue Mountains, the rain had fizzled to a drizzle by then, not bad at all.

Finally we are back in Baker City, about time to get off the freeway, a freeway not as bad as others, and ride 82 again toward Halfway. And suddenly I felt at home. There is something about Halfway that provides me with a mental comfort. The town is far from any others, the biggest city being Boise, in Idaho, about three hours away, the population… 350 and all friendly people… the roads… you will see more and more of them.

The sun was setting in and this time we stopped on the side of the road… set up the tripod… one of my favorite hobby, take some pictures! Bad weather makes for some great ones, these shots are untouched by the way… I also gave up on HDR, that is the high resolution photography software that I was trying, just did not seem real enough, too much time consuming… forget it!!!

I must have taken about a couple hundred pictures… hard to pick the good ones… The pictures are the photographs of the moment, but they do not relate the feel of those moments on the side of the road, with a painting constantly spanning 360 degrees, evolving, changing colors, dead silence only broken once in a while by a passing car… I wish you could have been there, we stayed close to almost an hour… living on the road… this what it is all about. Dark fell, with seven headlights I am never ahead of them, superb handling, some shadows ahead of us at times crossing the road… hitting a deer is a lottery… with over a millions miles on the saddle, I have not pulled my number… yet!

Today the sun is back… no more smoke from the fires… the rig is all set… I have taken the first steps for us to be in Big Bend as early as next month maybe… Will there be a Blog while there for the winter… Of course… I think a lifetime in Big Bend is not enough to write all about it!!!… Trying to find some land to camp on… Maybe work a couple days a week… many friends are already planning a visit as last year…

I thank all the ones that have contributed donations to the Blog… all the strangers with their totally unselfish gesture… it has helped a lot for it to continue, and hopefully the help will not stop as much more are in the plans, including a separate website for many on the road or at home recipes…

In the meantime, you all be well…

Ara & Spirit

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You contributions are what will keep this site alive… PayPal above, snail mail below…

Ara Gureghian 853 Vanderbilt Beach Rd #245 Naples Fl 34108

Thank you…

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