- Start location: Eagle Rock Campground, Clearwater, OR
- End location: Wal-mart Coos Bay, OR
- Miles: 169.9
Being on the road can be filled with fun but it also can be filled with problems. Broken motorcycles == broken hearts if you know what i mean. ;)
During the first leg of my journey, I was called to the dirt. I had spent plenty of time poking around on the pavement. I was seeing awesome places like Crater Lake, beautiful mountain passes and quaint (but really warm) valleys. Luckily, in Oregon, dirt and gravel are as common as ever so it was easy to find a road to spend some time on.
The first road was NF-28 just south of OR-138. I took it until I ran upon NF-2715 which turned into New River Road and finally lead me back out on OR-138. It was paved only for the first few miles but otherwise I was on my own. Single lane road with lots of blind turns..
I did run into a couple that was driving their camper van. I was proceeding around a corner as they were proceeding down the hill. Luckily I was totally in non-abs mode and was able do stop and get to the side pretty quick. I continued chunking around at minimal speed taking in the views. At one point I cam upon lots of dead trees and de-forestation which appeared to be more like cleanup after a large fire. A great example of how it looked is below:
I soon found myself back out on the main roads looking for more but first I needed a pit stop. I stopped in Roseburg, grabbed some food and headed back out. My destination was Coos Bay by the means of more (unintentionally picked) gravel. I wasn’t too upset about the option as it was a nice change of pace from the highways I couldn’t go any slower on without getting turned into pavement paint..
The roads I decided to take here was Coos Bay Wagon Road which then morphed into different names as I got closer. It was getting late and one of my rule of thumb is to get to a campground before it gets dark out. The problem? It was a Friday and most campgrounds in August were chock full of families with RVs taking in the last few moments of summer. I pushed my luck and rode down to Sunset Bay State Park only to find that indeed they were full.
I started looking into the alternatives knowing it would be another 30 minutes to an hour to find a spot far away from this colorful town. Thats when the problems starting happening. I was rolling down the street and the back wheel seemed to be pulsing as I continued forward. As if something was on the tire. I slowed to a stop and checked my tire. I had found, what it looked like, a nail embedded in my tire. Despite this nail, my tire maintained pressure so I pushed to get to a gas station and then Wal-mart to re-up my tire patch kit (turns out my first kit was missing some important components..)
I pulled out what was in my tire and found that it had jutted itself into my tread sideways with no damage to the inner walls of the tire. (Great!)
The only problem was that pulsing was still there. I jumped to the conclusion that it was what most guys with direct drive fear – my rear drive bearing was shot. I put it on the center stand and gave the back wheel a wiggle – there was a crap ton of play. From then on out I was out of service.
I called AAA and, as it was covered by my AAA membership, they would be able to tow me from Coos Bay to Eugene free of charge. (It’s a great perk and the main reason I bought the membership! For guys with older bikes on long trips I highly recommend!) The problem? It was 11pm on a Friday night with lots of interesting townsfolk mulling around.. I was stuck.
So, I made the bets of what I could and stayed in that parking lot from Sundown to Sunrise. I made tea. I walked around the Wal-mart as if I was a late night shopper looking for all the things that were missing in their lives.
After a painful night It was early enough to call the tow truck and get everything in motion towards Eugene. The tow truck showed up and we were off. The bike got really good gas mileage that day..