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Posts Tagged ‘Adventure’

Oregon Scenic Byways

You might have an image in your mind of what motorcycle riding through Oregon is like, and the truth is, it’s a compilation of adventures. The landscapes are incredibly varied from Martian-like vistas in the driest place to ecosystems with a staggering array of flora, fauna and fungi.

America’s Byways® is an umbrella term used for a collection of 150 diverse roads designated by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation. The road designation is typically based on their archaeological, cultural, historic, natural, recreational, and scenic qualities.  They are considered gateways to adventures where no two experiences are the same.

Oregon is fortunate to have 10 incredible roads as part of America’s Scenic Byways and whether a maiden voyage or seasoned adventurer, you can see a lot of Oregon from behind the handlebars.

Below are snapshots of each Oregon Byway:

Cascades Lakes

Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway — 66.0 mi
This byway cuts a path through the mountains, lakes, and forests of central Oregon. Volcanism and glaciation formed more than 150 lakes for which the region is well known. See outstanding examples of lava flows, alpine lakes, and meadows. Cross paths taken by such historic figures as Kit Carson.

 

Hells Canyon

Hells Canyon Scenic Byway — 218.4 mi
Journey from river’s edge to mountain top and down to valley floor. Savor panoramic views of rugged basalt cliffs and fertile fields, rimmed by snow-tipped peaks. Tour foundries, galleries, and museums. Touch the weathered track of the historic Oregon Trail. Watch the majestic Snake River tumble through North America’s deepest canyon.

 

Columbia River

Historic Columbia River Highway — 70.0 mi
Travel to magnificent overlooks that provide views of the Columbia River and waterfalls, including Multnomah Falls. Springtime has magnificent wildflower displays, including many endemic plants. The Columbia River formed the last leg of the Lewis and Clark Expedition and was part of the early route of the Oregon Trail.

 

McKenzie Pass

McKenzie Pass-Santiam Pass Scenic Byway — 82.0 mi
Experience dramatic views of the snow capped High Cascade Peaks. The panorama of lava fields and six Cascade peaks is made more striking by the contrast between the black lava and white snow. The mountains are mirrored in crystal-clear lakes, and the byway passes beautiful waterfalls, including Sahalie and Koosah Falls.

 

Mt Hood

Mt. Hood Scenic Byway — 105.0 mi
On this byway, volcanoes once erupted and mammoth floods scoured deep gorges. Discover geologic wonders, waterfalls, temperate rain forests and wild rivers. Explore pastoral valleys with farm-fresh produce. Experience the formidable last leg of the Oregon Trail, the Barlow Road. Enjoy this bountiful wonderland that the pioneers called “paradise.”

 

Outback

Outback Scenic Byway — 170.0 mi
“Outback” refers to land with a natural ruggedness. Though people come here seeking independence, they know each other’s first names. Community is paramount. Jonathan Nicholas, publisher of the Oregonian, said it is “a star-spangled landscape of marsh and mountain, of reflection and rim rock, of seamless vistas and sage-scented dreams.

 

Pacific Coast (North, Mid and Southern)

Pacific Coast Scenic Byway — 363.0 mi
Starting in Astoria and traveling south to Brookings, the Pacific Coast Scenic Byway provides views of amazing coastal scenery. The road winds by estuarine marshes, clings to seaside cliffs, passes through agricultural valleys, and brushes against wind-sculpted dunes. Charming small towns, museums, state parks, overlooks, historic bridges, and lighthouses ensure a delightful journey.

 

Rogue-Umpqua

Rogue-Umpqua Scenic Byway — 172.0 mi
From rolling, oak-covered hills to towering coniferous forests; from roaring whitewater rapids to incised inter-canyon lava flows; the Rogue-Umpqua Scenic Byway invites you to experience 172 miles of diverse river and mountain landscapes. Drive alongside the Upper Rogue and North Umpqua Wild and Scenic Rivers, both of which contain world-class fisheries.

 

Volcanic Legacy

Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway — 500.0 mi
Explore the wonder and beauty of a dramatic volcanic landscape from Oregon’s Crater Lake National Park to California’s Lassen Volcanic National Park. Encounter ancient natural forces that shaped exquisite mountain lakes. Amid spectacular scenery, you’ll enjoy charming towns, abundant wildlife, world-class birding, and extraordinary recreational, historical, and cultural opportunities.

 

West Cascades

West Cascades Scenic Byway — 220.0 mi
This byway offers some of the best up-close views of thundering waterfalls, ancient forests, rushing whitewater, and cool, placid lakes. The drive begins in the historic logging city of Estacada, immersing you in an old growth forest. Continue and see snow capped volcanic peaks and the breathtaking Wild and Scenic Clackamas River.

Are you an owner of the new Harley-Davidson LiveWire and wanting a new perspective in sustainable travel?  Oregon is home to one of the largest and most robust networks of electric vehicle fast-charging stations in the U.S. You can download the Oregon Electric Byways map and guide HERE.

Information, maps and photos courtesy of Oregon’s Scenic Byways

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Slowly but surely, things are getting better—or so we’d like to believe.

The unfortunate truth is the recession has sent an alarming number of families into financial distress for the first time. Unemployment remains high. Home foreclosures continue. The Portland Police Bureau respond to what seems like an ever increasing number of calls involving people struggling with mental health crisis, including suicides.  Visits to food banks have reached record levels. The increasing demand for services—and diminishing state and local resources—is straining the community safety net for people in need.

I don’t have answers to the economic issues.  But undeniably, the sensation of air molecules colliding with one’s face is refreshingly life-affirming.  To be in the wind: Free. Untethered. Sans obligations, financial, agendas, appointments, offices, annoyances.  Life’s problems just don’t seem as bad…

In part, it’s the reason for the tag line of this blog Whatever it is… it’s better in the wind” which I created back in July 2007.  The thinking was all a person needs is a few bucks for a used bike, $20 bucks for some fuel, a couple t-shirts, some free time, and a couple like-minded friends to enjoy the sensation. If you can’t scrape that together, then at least roll down the windows on the SUV, and enjoy a few moments of well-deserved Wind.

And speaking of wind in the face… a couple years ago I blogged (HERE) about Scott G. Toepfer — an emerging documentary photographer with a love of motorcycles and adventure.  His posse set out across the Western U.S., to experience the spaces between here and there, and to see what becomes of them on the road.

It turns out that Mr. Toepfer finally aggregated the content he captured from their rides over the last two years and release the short film (HERE – 17 min) which tells the story of their adventures.  It’s certainly worth a watch and may even be an inspiration for getting out in the wind!

Photo courtesy of Scott Toepfer.

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The smell of fuel, the camaraderie of fellow riders and the attention garnered from the public in a long-distance endurance motorcycle competition are the backbone of the sport.

Last year it became more than apparent that the public and participants of the Hoka Hey Challenge were left with some incorrect perceptions and information about the competition.

I’ve previously blogged about H-D throwing their corporate weight behind the long-distance event and wasn’t sure why given the history and the risk to the brand.  Will Barclay (the 2010 winner) even posted a comment. However, the new team behind the 2011 event are working hard to correct the communications and with big name sponsors (now includes the Harley Owners Group (H.O.G.)) it looks to be on a more positive track.

H.O.G. recently jumped in and announced their support of the event.  To recognize the H.O.G. members partaking in the Hoka Hey event – as among the most adventurous in the world – the highest finishing eligible H.O.G. member who completes the event (as determined by the organizers) will be awarded a 2012 Harley-Davidson Custom Vehicle Operations (CVO) motorcycle of his or her choice. In addition, the 2nd through 5th highest finishing eligible H.O.G. members will each be awarded a portion of a total of $19,000 in additional cash prizes.

Very cool!

The Hoka Hey Motorcycle Challenge will begin August 5, 2011. The event, the second annual in a series, begins in Phoenix, Arizona, and travels through all forty-eight contiguous U.S. states and several Canadian provinces to Nova Scotia.  The route will travel more than 10,000 miles, and is open only to riders of Harley-Davidson motorcycles.

Photos courtesy of Hoka Hey Challenge.

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A Motorcycle Film By Scott G. Toepfer

Sound familiar?  It’s a modified version of the above tag line, but that’s not the point.

It’s about a Portland transplant living in L.A.

Scott G. Toepfer, is an emerging editorial and documentary photographer with a love of motorcycles and adventure.  His posse is setting out across the Western U.S., to re-imagine the stories of previous generations, to experience the spaces between here and there, and to see what becomes of them on the road.  No escort vehicles.  Basically a couple $20 bills and a change of t-shirts.  More importantly he plans to photograph the entire process and its through his Red Letter Images company where he intends to release a documentary (still-photo) film that tells the story of their adventures.

Scott describes the documentary as:

“This project is a “visionary journey.” There is something very visceral to the riding of a motorcycle for long distances.  You are naked to the elements, forced to listen only to your own thoughts as the engine becomes white with the background.  The road is beneath you and you are one with the world that surrounds you.  The elements in your face remove you from your daily comforts, and you become alone within the group. The most important reflections in your life can happen here, and at the end of the day it is the group that will bring us to face the next”.

Most of us are on that “gainfully” employed treadmill — motoring along the track.  But, it’s one that discourages a seemingly outlandish and extremely open-ended adventure across this country.   It’s refreshing to know that there are people who can capture and share the essence of how “it’s better in the wind” and this is one film I’m looking forward to its release!

UPDATE: October 1, 2012 – Mr. Toepfer finally aggregated the content he captured from their rides over the last two years and release the short film (HERE – 17 min).

Poster photo courtesy of Scott G. Toepfer.

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