Article By: Heather Callen
Photos By: Chris & Heather Callen
You know, it really is amazing how much crap you can fit on a motorcycle when necessary. We had been setting up and breaking down every day for a bit now but that was just a few pieces and parts each time. This time, because we were in a hotel and not sleeping next to the bike we had brought everything into the room with us. So, when the luggage cart was loaded to the hilt and next to our ride, it appeared that it would be an impossible feat to get it all back where it belonged but like a jigsaw puzzle everything settled into its rightful place. I do have to admit that this would not have been possible if it were not for the $30 purchase Chris had made back in Sturgis, Rok Straps. These things were killer when it came to securing and releasing our cargo easily, and nope they don’t advertise with us and they didn’t give us the product to test, they’re just really that good. When The Pearl was loaded with us and all of our gear we headed down the road for the last 75 or so miles of 101 in Washington State. We crossed back into Oregon via the Astoria-Megler Bridge which spans the Columbia River. Let me tell you, this just isn’t an ordinary bridge, it was 4.1 miles long, the longest continuous truss bridge in North America, and it was beautiful. We continued on 101 South with one destination in mind, Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach, OR.
If you’ve never heard of Haystack Rock, I can almost guarantee that you’ve at least seen it if you were a child of the mid 80’s and early 90’s and have watched the movie The Goonies. Believe it or not Chris had never seen The Goonies, he must have lived under a rock in 1985! Anyway, Chris has a crazy and long standing tradition of swimming in every body of water he stops at and this would be no exception. So he hid behind some bushes and donned his swim trunks while I played lookout. Despite the warm sun according to Chris the waters of the North Pacific are less than tropical even in August. As with almost everything we’d done so far we didn’t stay long, there was just the possibility of too much cool stuff in our country to still take in. So, somewhat begrudgingly we hit the road, I say begrudgingly because I would have been content to travel the coastal roads for the duration, but alas we’ll just have to go back to run that section of road another time. In the interest of time we decided to go inland on Route 26 to Portland so we could jump on the 5 and head south toward the Redwoods. Once inland the temperatures (and traffic count) continued to climb higher and higher, at 6:30pm it was still 90°. After a long day in the sun and a mere 420 miles logged on the odometer we decided to bed down for the night in Grants Pass OR.
Wednesday morning, we got a bit of a late start because, honeymoon or not, we still had a business to run and we needed to make couple of phone calls. Yeah, this sucked but it could have been much worse, we could have been in the office… on deadline…like I am right now. That day we had a goal, to see the Redwoods. Chris pointed the front wheel southwest on Route 199 and away we went. As we approached the Gateway to The Redwoods the sky grayed, temperatures dropped nearly 30°, the sun faded. No, the weather wasn’t turning bad, the smoke from the forest fires was so thick that it blocked out the sun. As we rode through the unnatural and eerie scene of the smoke filled skies we drove past an emergency camp that had been set up to house the hundreds upon hundreds of fire fighters and rescue workers that had swarmed the area to save the homes and land of the locals: we both said a silent prayer. We moved on and into Crescent City where the first order of business was a visit to the info center. Ranger Poole was kind enough to share some of his knowledge of the big trees and some great spots to visit in the area. At Poole’s suggestion we decided to head to Stout Grove. He had warned us that only skilled riders usually ventured out on the dirt fire road and to be prepared for the dust, which could be choking at times due to the drought. This road ended up being an experience in and of itself! The dust and dirt on the foliage that was naturally a beautiful green was thick brown, it looked pre-historic, like at any moment a Brontosaurus would step out into the road. We weren’t too far into the forest when the trees started getting larger and larger. We made it into Stout Grove after several photo ops along the way. I had no idea what to expect but I knew I wasn’t disappointed. As we wandered among these ancient wonders of the world, a cell phone rang. Who the hell had a cell phone that was working in the middle of nowhere? Oh wait, it was Chris! Roadside Marty was calling to check in on us. So, not to be rude Chris stepped into the nearest phone booth, well it was tree but it worked. It was amazing to see these natural giants in all of their glory. It was a great reminder of just how small we are in the grand scheme of things.
Back in Crescent City, hungry and craving something from the sea and a little entertainment we went to the Chart Room. Who knew that not only the food but entertainment would be from the Pacific waters? There were dozens upon dozens of Seals, Sea Lions and Cormorants taking up residence on the floating docks in the bay. The sea lions were rather boisterous; I think they were arguing over who looked better in their birthday suit…I don’t know, but it was funny. The food at the Chart Room was better than the entertainment, quite possibly one of the best fish dinners I’ve had. We were well fed and decided it was time to venture down the road to find our home for the night. As we drove out of town we came across a huge herd of rather large, and very impressive Elk. They were just hanging out in a field on the side of the road, I wasn’t going to tell them to leave, would you? We took our obligatory pictures, because of course if there’s no picture it didn’t really happen! As we headed south we started checking the nearby State Parks. This was one of the times that not having a plan backfired a bit. All the State Parks in the Redwoods were sold out, unless of course we wanted to ride well into the night. Fortunately, we found the Motel Trees which by a stroke of luck not only had a cheap room available but it was right across from The Trees Of Mystery and the biggest Paul Bunyon statue I’d ever seen. As much as we wanted to explore we knew we needed to rest because the next day promised to be filled with some epic riding… we were going to meet up with Ray Ray and Aaron Green. But, that’s a whole other story…