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Offline JMo

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Re: Trans-Am 500 - the seven year itch
« Reply #50 on: September 03, 2015, 08:27:32 PM »
Day 52: TAT day 25: Glendale OR to Port Orford OR.

Mileage today: 454* (TAT 119.5 miles)

*including final liaison to Bend OR that evening.

With a Coyote full of clean undies (these things are important you know!), I hit the road early, planning to stop for breakfast at the delightfully eclectic 'Morningstar Coffee House' in Glendale, where I had already sampled their fine coffee and tasty smoothies the evening before, while deciding where I might stay...

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photo. As if you really have to ask?!

Those of you who have been following this tale since at least the Iron-Butt ride east (goodness that seems like a lifetime ago now!), may recall I contemplated a five-shot espresso to celebrate the 500 mile mark, somewhere between Kansas and Missouri...

Well, as chance would have it, on the Morningstar menu was the mighty 'Krakatoa' - that was indeed a quintet of their short sharp and fundamentally strong rich house blend - just what I needed to set me up on this, the final day of the Trans-Am Trail!

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photo. That's five straight shots of espresso in a 12oz cup!

The initial ascent out of Glendale was another corker - really, Sam has saved some of the best trails 'til last - although anyone who regularly rides in this part of Oregon will probably tell you, you can't really fail to find some cracking trails in this part of the country.

However, you can find some that are ultimately (or at least currently) closed.

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photo. This was on the ridge at the top of a particularly delightful climb - what a way to start your morning!

As I began my decent from the ridge (above), I rounded a corner and there, about fifty yards away was a big-ass brown bear. I mean properly big - he seemed to take up half the width of the trail, and would certainly have been taller than me on his hind legs!

Fortunately he turned on his heels and trotted down the trail in the opposite direction - although of course this was exactly the direction I also wanted to go... I gingerly proceeded, and once I was pretty sure he was out of sight, pressed on around a sharp corner in the trial - and came face to face with a locked gate. A quick look at the GPS showed a number of alternative trails that appeared to ultimately join up with the way I wanted to go - although when I recounted this incident to Lisa later that evening - she laughed and imagined that the bears were dragging all manner of other gates closed too, in an effort to box me in: "Fire up the barbecue mama bear - we've got another live one!"

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photo. I tried a number of alternative trails that were in my Garmin TOPO maps installed in my GPS, but all of them petered out or were blocked.

Having spent a good hour or more on dead end trails, I eventually took an alternative route down the mountain and back into Glendale. Resetting my GPS track log for this final leg, the network of surround dirt roads and trails revealed the perfect alternative route through that would join up just a mile or two from where I'd had to turn around anyway.

The dirt emerged onto a minor paved road that ran alongside Middle Creek, and the moment I saw the railroad track I immediately felt I'd been here before:

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photo. I have a photo from 2008 of my Tenere in exactly the same spot (facing in the opposite direction of course).

Increasingly the surroundings felt familiar now, and I wound my way west through lush green forests, punctuated by the occasional sign that I'd recalled from those years before:

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photo. this trail was ultimately blocked by a much larger fallen tree a little further on - in fact in the gloom it looked like a sleeping stegosaurus!

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photo. Giant Loop typically name their luggage products after Oregon's regions and landmarks.

There were a few subtile differences to the route that I remembered from 2008 (and subsequent overlaying of my GPS track logs show where short sections of trail that were once included are now presumably closed?); while one particular sign (that points the way to the Mt. Bolivar hiking trail) that I am almost certain was originally on a dirt trail, is now alongside a paved single-lane road - such is progress.

I also noticed that the original exit to the coast (along China Camp Road) was now clearly marked as 'road closed', and the latest TAT route takes you further north along the ridge before ultimately joining the highway a few miles up the coast from Port Orford.

Almost without warning, the trail was over - and I emerged onto the scenic Elk River Road, and subsequently the Oregon Coast Highway (hwy 101):

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A short ride south was all it took to reach the official end of the Trans-Am Trail:

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2.39pm on Wednesday 1st July 2015 - the end of the western leg.

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photo. The official end point is right here... I didn't think to go in and ask if they did a souvenir sticker or pin badge or something!

I then rode into the heart of town, and out to the harbour with the aim of getting a suitable shot or two with the ocean in the background:

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Pausing briefly to chat with a fellow adventurer (who was in the middle of Kayaking the length of the Pacific Coast from Seattle to San Diego!), there really was nothing else for it now, but to find a suitable spot for a celebratory lunch.

Oh, and of course consider what I might do now?


Denoument

Inevitably if you arrive in Port Orford, on your own, in the middle of the afternoon, on a windswept Wednesday, you can't really expect a great sense of occasion. And I have to say that a rather insipid selection of prawns (at least the fries and the raspberry fruit-pie were good) at the Crazy Norwegians restaurant didn't really give cause for celebration either.

Of course I realised that while the TAT itself was now over, there was still a way to go until the Trans-Am 500 adventure was truly finished. 335 miles to be exact.

I'm sure the majority of people who typically ride the TAT in a pair or more end up drinking the afternoon away and ultimately retiring to a local hotel to sleep it all off... but I suppose I considered this achievement was really only part of the bigger picture (that had not least incorporated the whole ride east too of course), and felt there was still unfinished business that if I were lucky, could be wrapped up this evening after all.

Heading up the coast, and directly into the wind it appeared, it wasn't long before I had to dig out my sweater that had not seen the light of day since Mississippi! I pressed on into the early evening - the coastal traffic left behind as I finally headed inland at last, and out of the wind.

As the sun slipped gently down behind me, casting a long shadow forward - I realised this would be for the very last time.   I'd loved riding at this time of day, every day, for the past seven weeks. And I'd loved riding this bike. God how I'd loved riding this bike - it had been fu*king phenomenal if I'm honest!   Yes I'd had a hand in the development of the specification, and subsequently the initial testing too back in the UK - but this was the acid test, the real-world proving - and it had exceeded even my own expectations as a true all-rounder - a genuine 50/50 road and trail machine that fundamentally compromised at neither, and more importantly, had proven itself to be an utterly faithful companion throughout this massive adventure.

I admit, I even shed a few tears when I realised tonight would be the last time I'd be riding this bike, the last time we'd be looking for a hotel, unpacking our modest belongs, taking a shower, drinking a vending machine soda, and maybe finding time to share a few thoughts and photos with you all...

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photo. The final ascent over the mountains before Bend - crossing MacKenzie Pass under a full moon - the perfect end to the perfect day of a perfect trip on the perfect adventure bike. Goodnight.

Jenny xx

Offline Grim Rider

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Re: Trans-Am 500 - the seven year itch
« Reply #51 on: September 03, 2015, 09:41:09 PM »
What a great adventure Jenny, very jealous  :001:
2016 BMW RnineT Scrambler X; 2001 BMW R1150 GSA; 1990 BMW K1
1998 Suzuki DR350S;1977 Honda Camino; 1962 AJS 250 CSR
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Offline Xo

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Re: Trans-Am 500 - the seven year itch
« Reply #52 on: January 24, 2016, 10:35:40 PM »
I agree with Grim very much!  :462:  :431: :745:
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Offline JMo

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Re: Trans-Am 500 - the seven year itch
« Reply #53 on: March 12, 2017, 01:36:10 PM »
Following on from above, if you enjoyed this ride report and/or want to re-live some of the highlights, there is now a condensed video version of the AV seminar I presented last summer at various Overland events in the UK and USA - here on Rally Raid's sister site: >>>> link hidden <<<<
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Grab a coffee (tea, or beer) and enjoy the next 23 minutes!

Jenny x

Offline Susi_X

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Re: Trans-Am 500 - the seven year itch
« Reply #54 on: March 12, 2017, 02:18:35 PM »
"video is restricted"...
 :157:

Offline JMo

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Re: Trans-Am 500 - the seven year itch
« Reply #55 on: March 12, 2017, 03:02:26 PM »
*Originally Posted by Susi_X >>>> link hidden <<<<
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"video is restricted"...
 :157:

Yes, hang fire - it appears there is a tech glitch at the moment.

I'll let you know when it's sorted!

Jx

Offline JMo

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Re: Trans-Am 500 - the seven year itch
« Reply #56 on: March 12, 2017, 06:02:19 PM »
Right, the cinema ought to be open for business again now...

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Jx

Offline Susi_X

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Re: Trans-Am 500 - the seven year itch
« Reply #57 on: March 12, 2017, 06:36:35 PM »
 :028: :028:
great !
thanks for sharing
 :020:

Offline JMo

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Re: Trans-Am 500 - the seven year itch
« Reply #58 on: August 12, 2017, 07:48:13 PM »
If anyone is interested in finding out more about the Trans-America Trail, I took part in a special feature on Adventure Rider Radio recently

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Jx

 


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