Sunday, August 3, 2008

Motorcycle Ride -The Oregon Coast, Barns, Bridges & Biscuits

I was really fortunate to be able to take my motorcycle last week on a business (camping) trip out to the Oregon Coast and stayed 2 nights.

I traveled from Salem on Highways 22 and 18 to Lincoln City on the coast, a distance of about 50 miles and then South down U.S. Route 101 to Newport, a ride of only about 83 miles from home. I feel fortunate to be living where I do because I have an amazing backyard.

My bike "Liberty" overlooking the Pacific Ocean at Depoe Bay, Oregon

Depoe bay is where the fishing trip sequence was shot in the 1975 film One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest starring Jack Nicholson. The 6 acre harbor is the smallest in the world according to the Guinness Book of World Records.

Yaquina Bay Bridge as seen from where I was camping at South Beach State Park

The Yaquina Bay Bridge just South of Newport on U.S. Hwy. 101 was built in 1936. It must have been difficult getting around on the rugged Oregon Coast before the bridges were built.

"The World's Best Biscuits & Gravy"

On the last day I packed up and left camp early and hungry. Finding good biscuits & gravy in this world is a rarity indeed. The breakfast at the "end of the rainbow" is "The Pines Restaurant" in Newport off Highway 101. They had the best ever. Perfectly done biscuits with sausage patties, scrambled eggs and gravy on top. Oh Man!

Drift Creek Covered Bridge

On my way back home I made a stop off Highway 18 at Rose Lodge to see the Drift Creek Covered Bridge. Oregon has the largest collection of covered bridges in the west and one of the biggest in the nation. They were built around here from the 1850s up until the 1950s. 50 remain from an estimated peak of 450. Drift Creek is the oldest one left which was built in 1914. They were built because the roofs protected the huge truss timbers from the damp Western Oregon climate. A covered wooden bridge could last upwards of 80 years whereas an unprotected one could be expected to last only 9.

"This Old Barn"

Next stop was Ft. Yamhill, a new Oregon State Heritage Area. It's open to the public but still under construction and being excavated near Grand Ronde off Highway 22. The fort was built in 1856 and was abandoned in 1866. Its purpose: to ensure the Indians and white settlers didn't get into each others hair. The fort was built adjacent to the newly created Grand Ronde Indian Reservation on a strategic hilltop overlooking an encampment.

Which really must have sucked for the Indians at the time.

Being prevented from roaming their own land freely and having to live in one place couldn't have been a whole lot of fun.

Their revenge? A large and hugely profitable tribal casino just down the road a piece.

Small in stature, big in ambition, young Lt. Phil Sheridan reportedly used to sit in the mornings and look out for couriers bringing him a much anticipated call to action in the Civil War raging back east. Lt. Sheridan got his orders and in 1861 he left Ft. Yamhill. By war's end he had become a hero and a 4 star General.

I took a picture of this barn because first of all it was a good subject to photograph and secondly I was thinking of Lt. Sheridan, he fixed his gaze in the same direction some 148 years ago. I have a theory as well, about the barn that is.

This barn is obviously very old. It wasn't standing during the days the fort was occupied. There would have been an Indian village or encampment there. Most of the buildings at the Ft. are gone. Only the Blockhouse (moved to Dayton) and an officers house remain. What happened to all the other buildings? I think locals may have tore them down and carted off the wood to build their own structures, like maybe this old barn...

Living where I do in the central part of the Willamette Valley of Western Oregon puts me within an hour or so ride to seemingly endless curiosities. As I said before, I have an amazing backyard. I've been living around here most of my life and have seen all the main attractions, it's the small and lesser known wonders I now seek out. Like where to find a great breakfast, or places to ponder history and my place in it...

Tomorrow I'm going camping again. This time to Silver Creek Falls. One of the most scenic places anywhere. It's a common tourist stop, my assignment: Find the uncommon, stuff that won't be found on a brochure.

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R.G. said...

You are right about living in Oregon. The grass is green enough right here.
I am very familiar with all of those roads you traveled. I love the Oregon coast in mid to late summer.

justin said...

Nice biz trip!

irondad said...

Ok. All this travel stuff is well and good. You've braved the traffic from Lincoln City to Newport. That's tough. Here's what I really want to know.

Will Liberty make it over the sand hill from the South Beach State Park parking lot and onto the beach? Believe it or not, the ST1100 did it. Even with me on it. Of course, the rest of the story is that it got bogged down on the beach side and nearly tipped over. No alcohol was involved. Just ego's and off duty cops.

Did you think I would do this without official partners in crime?

Lance said...

The Oregon coast is beautiful - I actually prefer it over the Washington coast, which is pretty in its own right! Thanks for capturing some of the barns and bridges, and especially for the biscuits and gravy...simply amazing!

Kano said...

r.g. -my favorite time o' year is fall. September is usually still fairly nice, prices go down a bit and most of the tourists have already done their thing, so less crowding.

justin -yep, I work night shift at a group home for adolescents and when they go camping, well, someone has to sit outside their tents and keep the fire going.

irondad -good work, not many would brave the dunes with their street bikes. I didn't get to see what it was like getting to the beach from the day use parking lot but if it was anything like the trails from the campground, sheeesh! A tough go indeed!

lance -thanks for reminding me about the biscuits & gravy, now my stomach is growling! Yep, the Oregon Coast is something special alright. For me it's more scenic than the Washington Coast but on the downside it's more touristy.