Chris' 1994  R100GS/PDChris' new bike, a 1996 F650 ULTIMATE JOURNEY Erin's 1997  F650
Living a Dream . . . 2 Live-N-Ride

June 17th, 2003.-- Meeting folks in the US of A -- 94,000 miles

Credit to 2 Englishmen to Oregon

-- Story by Erin --

Monday, June 9th: We head out from Lake Tahoe around noon picking a course directly north through the Sierra Valley and scenic farming areas. Our destination was Lassen Volcanic National Park, but due to the late season snow falls this year the road through the park and the campsites were closed. We drove to the entrance anyway and tried to get a peek at the volcano’s summit. It was indeed very cold and there were still many snow banks on the roadside.

Plan B was to drive east, down out of the mountains and into Red Bluff, off interstate 5. When we arrived we were tired and ready for a hotel room with a good bed and cable TV -- also, we needed to work on an outline for a seminar we will give at the National Rally, and email it from a room with phone-line. We found an economical room right off the highway and began to unpack the bikes. Just then, two men on a DR650 turn up and say they recognize us. It turned out to be Englishman (and resident of Dubai, UAE) Bob West (Ushuaia to Alaska) and his friend Graham Wadsworth (riding a XR400). Bob had recognized us from the Horizon’s website and happened to spot us as we drove past Denny’s where they were having dinner. While in the parking lot, another fellow (Chris) walked up and said, "I knew it, I knew it! I knew you were in the area, and was hoping to run into you -- Hello Erin and Chris!" Graham got a kick out of our "fame", and kept touching us saying, "I have to touch you, you're famous."

Tuesday, June 10th: We hit it off with Bob and Graham so well that we all decided to travel up to Oregon together to the BMW rally in John Day. They were at the end of their trip and still had a few weeks time to kill before returning to England.

A few locals in Red Bluff suggested we take route 36 westward toward the coast, for the scenery and the uncluttered winding roads. The recommendation was a great one as we thoroughly enjoyed the trip. But, as we neared the coast the fog settled in and we were soon stopping to change into our warmer waterproof gear. Just before hitting highway 101 we entered a state park which had the magnificent redwood trees so famous in this area.

We stopped in the town of Eureka in the late afternoon and had a cup of tea in a Wendy’s to warm ourselves. It was getting too late to make the run up to the Redwood National Park and then find accommodation for the night. So, we decided to get hotel rooms here and get some rest for an early departure the next day.

Wednesday, June 11th: Just after breakfast we set off up the coast. The highway here runs right along the coast but unfortunately we couldn’t see a thing for the fog. It didn’t inhibit the view however of the mighty redwoods and the lovely elk relaxing in the meadows all around the national park. At the visitors center in the park a kindly ranger pointed out a very scenic dirt road that we could take on our way north where we could wind our way around the big trees for an even more dramatic experience.

As we headed northeast out of the park the weather began to clear and also warm up just a bit. We had hoped to make it all the way to Crater Lake National Park in southern Oregon but found ourselves just short by sunset. About 20 miles south of the park there are several national forest campgrounds and a small hotel for the guys. We camped here for the night and cooked steaks on the BBQ for Bob and Graham.

The next morning Bob and Graham brought the eggs and we cooked a quick breakfast and shot off to see the lake and get to the rally at John Day. The lake was spectacular and while there we ran into two other bikers, Dana and Paul who are both German but now living in southern California. As we approached, Paul said, "oh my gosh, I can't believe it's you guys. Hello Chris, hello Erin!" Graham was enjoying our fluke encounters with fame, and kept touching us :-) Paul was heading to Alaska while Dana was on her own ride to the northeast before returning to LA. We only stayed long enough to take a few photos and make the rest of the ride around the crater and then on to John Day.

The scenery in Oregon is strikingly different from what I had expected. There were smaller mountains covered in pine forest interspersed with high desert valleys with reddish brown cliffs and yellow-green grassy farmland. It is scenic in its own right and very rustic. We pulled into John Day late in the afternoon and were immediately greeted with storefront marquis saying Welcome BMW Riders! Even McDonald’s got into the act. John Day is a relatively large town in this area with a population of almost (but not quite) 2,000 people. Everyone was happy to see us including the supermarket stock boys where we stocked up on supplies for the weekend. It seemed that the whole town wanted to pitch in and make all us visitors welcome. A local women’s club contributed with the floral arrangements on the tables in the dining area and the students of the nearby Humboldt Elementary School made handcrafted place mats and party favors for one of our dinners.

While we went on to the rally site, Bob and Graham found their hotel and checked in. The BMW Oregon club members warmly greeted us at the fairgrounds site and gave us the schedule for the weekend. The camping sections were segregated between the "quiet section" and the "loud crowd." We didn’t really care where we camped we just needed two good trees to set up our hammocks. Well, this turned out to be in the loud crowd section. Loud crowd didn’t live up to its name though and we were in the most peaceful section of the rally site for all 3 days! Turned out most of the rally-goers considered themselves quiet and packed into the quiet section near the front.

The rally was a big success with lots of interesting bikes to look at, seminars, a fun off-road GS ride up to a fire lookout tower, two great dinners, entertaining music and a huge assortment of door prizes. The awards ceremony on the last evening proved to be a big surprise. Chris had (unknown to me!) entered me in the Long Distance Female BMW Rider category, which I won. With 3,200 miles from Phoenix, Arizona (where we registered for the rally) to John Day, Oregon. I won a lovely etched plaque with the rally logo on it.


Lassen Volcanic National Park, unfortunately still closed this time of year.


Bob and Graham in front of one of the bigger Redwood trees.


Bob's plate gets a lot of attention.


Elk gather near the visitor center in Redwood National Park.



Our scenic ride through the Redwoods.


The motorcycle gang at Crater Lake National Park

Graham, Erin, Bob, Chris, Paul, Dana


This section was neither loud nor crowded at the rally!


Joan and Joe, Fire Watchers in their tower for the summer.


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