Beantown Baggers

Day 12 – Portland OR to Grants Pass OR

This will be the first day riding with somebody on the back
since starting this journey almost two weeks ago as I picked my girlfriend up in Portland last night.

To start the day we repeated the ride to Cannon Beach that I
had done the day prior. It was a scenic
and easy ride that will welcome her to the ride. Before we left we had to tie all of our gear
on the bike. My passenger packed lightly and we only had to add a small roll duffel to the top of my case – two extra
straps and we would be out.

The ride to Cannon Beach was similar to yesterday’s,
starting off hot and getting chilly as we neared the coast. Apparently when Portland is hot, the coast is
cold as the heat sucks the clouds over the beach.

IMG_1418 IMG_1423 IMG_1419

We had lunch at a local restaurant and learned about double
salted black licorice from the owner of the candy store across from the
restaurant. Apparently the double salted varietal is Dutch and difficult to
find in the US. I’ve always enjoyed
licorice of all flavors and after lunch we would walk across to the candy

After lunch we stopped at a coffee shop to fill the thermos
for a long ride. This shop only had
manual drip set up so it would be 10 minutes for the thermos. No worries – if I had anything to do I
wouldn’t be on this journey so I waited and spoke with some of the other
visitors at the café. The Café was
Hawaiian island decorated and reminded me of a place in Hanelei Bay next to
Bubba Burger called Java Kai that I visited five years ago.

This candy shop and factory was pink. Every wall was pink and very cheery. They were just finishing making a batch of
PB&J saltwater taffy and offered a sample. It would be rude to decline so I
accepted it but not before trying the double salted licorice first. I was excited to try a licorice not yet in my
catalogue of flavors. The licorice was a
small round shape most closely resembling a junior mint instead of a rope as we
normally think of licorice. The texture
was smooth and the candy was dense. I
had this one sample and would surely buy more if it met my expectations.

I ate the sample of licorice and the only flavor I tasted
was ammonia. It tasted like bathroom
cleaning products smell. It was
horrific. I quickly grabbed the taffy
sample and made my way to the alley outside the candy shop to spit out any remaining
pieces in my mouth quickly unwrapping the taffy and replacing the putrid flavor
with something warn and delicious.

A few minutes later we exited the store with a small baggy
of 11 pieces of licorice. 10 traditional
and one double salted. The double salted
was larger than the regular so I should be able to differentiate between the
two while on the road.

The ride down the 101 Coastline was slow but beautiful
filled with twists and turns accompanied by the most amazing views on our
right. The temperature went from 50 to 100 in a flash and we found ourselves
removing layers at a cherry sales stand on the way to the I-5. This fluctuation would continue all the way
to our destination 80 miles North East of the Redwood Highway.

Having a passenger was not very different than riding
alone. Some of the maneuvering in small
spots is a little more tiring but overall the bike is big enough to neutralize
the additional weight. The only
adjustment that needed to be made was adjusting the shocks for “less carry” or
a slightly stiffer ride. I did this at a
pull-off on the 101. The process
includes removing the saddlebags and twisting the shocks until they are at the
top of their limit. It’s a simple
process but would prove important as we carried on.

The ride was exhausting at times and I found myself dipping
into the licorice for a blast of sugar and pulling over to drink the slow drip
coffee more often than I was used to. Often
I forget that I’m actually dehydrating during these long stretches of road and
then am forced to drink a few liters at once to recover from the elements.

Eventually around 7PM we arrived at Grants Pass OR – a town
that sits North of Ashland and North East of Eureka CA. We checked into a small
hunting and fishing lodge called The Weasku Inn (We-Ask-You). The Inn was along a river bank 6 miles from
the main town. When you enter the Inn
you would see an enormous fireplace right in front of the door with a common
room for guests to socialize. Behind
that living room was a dining room and further behind was an elevated deck
overlooking their humble but inviting grounds.

We walked through the living room to the back where a quiet
mid twenties woman stood next to the innkeeper.
She said nothing and let the innkeeper do all of the work – maybe she
was an apprentice. The Innkeeper who reminded
me of Kenneth from the Tina Fey show “30 Rock” greeted us and shared some of
the Inn’s history. Apparently Cary Grant had stayed in the Inn a number of
times and even in the same room I was to be assigned. This was hard to believe as the room looked
as though it was much larger and recently partitioned into two smaller rooms
but it still had a homey and comfortable feeling that I was hoping for during
this trip.

After dropping off our belongings we went into town for a
quick dinner. We found a local brewery that
served pizza and pasta – that would work for the night. The building resembled a newly built church where
a friend of mine was married 8 years ago.
It was bright and carpeted – not a place I expected to see beer tubs and
live music. The waitress was a bubbly 19 year (Miranda Mae) old
who spent some of her time in Hawaii and most of her life in Grants Pass. She seemed excited to have animated patrons
who were slightly out of the ordinary. We
ate our food, drank some home-crafted beer and listened to a singer strum a six
string and sing to the other restaurant patrons.

After dinner we would head back through the main town to the
Inn. The one aspect of this slightly
tired town I will remember is all of the painted bears and eagles that lined
the main drags. Apparently local artists
are given the opportunity to paint life sized statues of bears and other
animals for the towns consumption. They
were on ever street corner but must have meant something. The other memorable piece of the town was the
banner stretched over Main Street saying “Grant’s Pass- It’s the Climate!”. I have no idea what that is supposed to mean as
it was hotter than hell and the climate was not the best I had experienced thus far.

Back to the Inn, a little writing and a fresh baked chocolate
chip cookie the Inn leaves in the lobby for guests. I would fall asleep in
front of that giant fire place and eventually make it up the one flight to my
bed for the night. It was a long day and
I have a lot of riding to make it to San Jose tomorrow.

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