Saturday, August 9, 2008

"Liberty's" Last Ride? Motorcycling to Silver Falls Park -Oregon

I rode my motorcycle to our campsite in the middle of a rainforest with my 14 year old son on the back, my wife followed in a van with the rest of the kids. The twisties up the canyon were invigorating, the scenery breathtaking. The Sportster rumbled along flawlessly as always. Would this be the last time I took to this saddle as Captain?

Though this was to be a fun family adventure, it was a "bittersweet" one. The thought of it being the last run for my old friend, the motorcycle I've named "Liberty" weighed heavily on my mind. Economic circumstances being as they are, make it impossible to hold on any longer. The payments too large for my low-income job. With a family of 5 to feed the struggle has become no longer sustainable. I recently lost my opportunity to work overtime and when monthly expenses exceed monthly income, well, somethings got to give. The only thing I have left to give is my Liberty, who has given me so much of the very same.

I will continue to commute to work and with luck get in a few more side trips until I sell the bike. After that the commute will still be on 2 wheels, -a bicycle that is. Hopefully I will find a way to get another motorcycle sooner rather than later.

We went to Silver Creek Falls State Park in Oregon. Not more than 30 miles from our driveway in Salem put us right in the middle of a temperate rain forest and the campground we would be staying in.

The weather held up, it was nice and sunny and it didn't rain until after we had everything packed up and were leaving for home.

The park holds 9,000 acres of forest, meadows and a steep basaltic canyon holding 10 waterfalls, all connected by an 8.7 mile National Recreation Trail.

My son and I with my Sportster in the foreground and North Falls in the background.

Looking at the falls had the effect of washing away motorcycle problems from my mind and to see something bigger, something timeless. The cycle of water, which in the grand scheme of things makes one man's small troubles seem insignificant and temporary.

"Roughing It Easy"

The campground we stayed in was completely full. Filled with a lot of fancy RVs of all sorts, tents being in the minority. This particular RV caught my eye. No it wasn't the $300.000? price tag, it was the satellite dish, custom painted with a nature scene.

I've been practicing being non-judgemental lately which is really against my nature and a hard lesson to learn. So with that in mind, I'm not going to hold judgment on my fellow campers, especially if I don't know their story. The couple staying in the rig with the satellite dish had to be quite well to do. For all I know they may have funded an orphanage in Cameroon or helped feed and shelter children digging through the trash heaps of Mexico City looking for leftover food. Maybe they own a company and treat their employees well and give them good medical insurance and a living wage. Maybe they used some of their apparently plentiful supply of money for altruistic purposes -before having their satellite dish custom painted. -Maybe. Not for me to judge.

Still, it strikes me as a funny way of experiencing nature. I wondered as I walked past their self-contained resort on wheels, appointed with every known luxury and convenience known to man, if they were sitting inside making good use of that satellite dish. With 472 channels, hopefully they found a good nature program to watch.

South Falls

South Falls is a big one by any standard. Silver Creek plummets 177 feet down before landing in the pool below. This picture just shows the lower portion of the awe inspiring waterfall. In 1928 a Pacific Northwest legendary hero and daredevil named Al Faussett went over the falls in a homemade contraption of canvas and tire tubes. He survived with only a few broken ribs, a broken wrist and both ankles sprained. Others that have gone over, not so lucky.

A view from behind South Falls

A ponderous trail leads down into the canyon and around the side passing behind the falls. For the feint hearted and vertigo prone the railings are small comfort, being the only thing between oneself and sudden death, serious hurt, or at the very least embarrassment having to be rescued by means of rope and basket.

Mia Familia

This is a shot of my family perching on the side of the cliff behind South Falls. From the left my daughter turning 9 this week, my wife, my 10 year old daughter and 14 year old son. This 2 night camping trip is the highlight of their summer. God bless them for being patient with my inability to give them more.

And so was this to be Liberty's last ride? Perhaps. How long will it be once it's sold before I can get another bike? Questions that don't stray too far from my mind. I wax and wane between optimism and pessimism. Time will tell...

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Conchscooter said...

A post suffused with saddness. There is something gothic about the pictures, restraint showing on all faces. My doctor during my checkup today said all his patients are stressed out with many losing their homes. A painted satellite dish in every home is my wish for 2009.

R.G. said...

What a wonderful family you have. Pardon the football analogy but sometimes in life you just have to back up and punt. It doesn't mean the game is over it just means your going to regroup and come back stronger. Regardless of where your finances are right now when I see your family I see a rich man.

Lance said...

Kano, sorry to hear about potentially having to give up Liberty. I know she has given you a lot of great memories. The family pics are very nice, and it looks like you all had a great time!

Baron's Life said...

I am sorry to hear about your troubles, man!
I know Liberty meant a lot to you and you were a good Skipper, Captain.
Don't ever give hear ?

Kano said...

conchscooter -Mine too, and peace on earth would be nice as well.

r.g. -Thanks and you're right I am a rich man in countless ways. It's easy to forget that fact when things don't seem to be going well.

lance -Thanks and yes despite the gloominess of the pics we had us a good ol' time.

baron's life -Thanks and it's good to hear from you again. I'm sorry I haven't been over to your blog lately. I just don't have the surfing time I used to. I'm looking forward to catching up on your writings!