Saturday, July 11, 2009

Wheels North Day 6 (I-5, U-5, We All-5!)

Ashland to Roseburg.

This was another epic day. Every leg of this journey has it's own something special. Today found us on I-5 for about 35 miles. Kinda sketchy, but I did find a bitchin VW badge.

Yesterdays brief stint on 5 was like a warm up for today. Yesterday we did one major pass on the highway, Siskiyou Mountain summit, which holds twin distinctions as the highest elevation on I-5 (4130ft) and the West's largest open-air urinal. Needless to say, time spent on top was limited.

Today we had pass after pass on the highway. It broke up pretty early and Warren and I fell in together. Well, backing up a bit, the adventure back story behind today was that our proposed route turned out to be a no go. We were supposed to be on a BLM road, but Eric M. said it was hard going even in the big pickup truck. I related this to Warren later, and he admitted his trepidation about the road when previewing the maps the night before. I believe his exact words were, "BLM people don't even use those roads!" 'Nuff said.

The climbs were not so bad, being graded for highway traffic, but the descents were another kettle of angry fish altogether. I chose to ride my deep profile aerodynamic wheels for the energy savings and well, hell, they're sexy!, but I paid the price in sketchiness when cross wind gusts or the vacuum from passing semis jerked my front end around. If that wasn't enough, someone at Fed Ex figured that if hauling two trailers behind a semi was efficient, then pulling three was f@#%ing genius! All I can say is we took a side trip to Buffet City every time one of those bad boys cruised by.

Well and truly separated from everyone else, Warren and I did what all travelers do on the interstate...we pulled into a rest area. After spreading the word to some friendly folks, we pulled out. It was a little surreal of a thing to do on a bicycle, but then, we're kinda getting used to that.

With the noise, fumes and debris getting to us, we finally got the notion to simply jump the fence by the highway and get onto one of the frontage roads that had been teasing us for a while. Twas nice, especially for Warren who hates even driving on the highway. If anyone honestly tries to be an embodiment of the Bob Marley lyric, "my feet is my only carriage", it is Warren.

After that, we were treated to some very fine roads through the remaining hamlets running into Roseburg. I'd like to point out that, while California's straight-as-a-ruler county roads may be efficient, they are also boring as hell to ride a bike on. Someone should take a lesson from Oregon on how to add a few twists here and there. An occasional hill wouldn't hurt either.

Another stuffy high school gym to sleep in was a bit of a buzz-kill, but at least I got to relive elementary school memories by opening a bunch of windows with the big pole-with-a-hook thingy.

Pictures later, when I figure it out, and have more time,

Hasta Winnebago!

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