Day 19

The Lady with the Big Eyes

A green Plymouth Duster in Aloha, Oregon, United States
A green Plymouth Duster in Aloha, Oregon, United States

Gales Creek Campground to Skull Creek Campground


Instagram excerpt - See here


I woke up late. I noticed a bolt missing from the exhaust on the motorbike. It hadn’t moved off the engine but it was still concerning. The shakey single cylinder would rattle every bolt on the bike. The problem was if it fell off I would loose power and make loud noise. That would attract unwanted attention. I found a Suzuki shop in Beaverton outside Portland. It was 40 miles away. I packed up camp and rode out. There wasn’t a ranger in sight.

I got to the motorbike store and was directed to the spare parts section. There were two boys at the counter. One of them asked if I needed help. “Yeah, I need a replacement bolt for my exhaust manifold that fell out” “Sure, what make and model is it?” “Suzuki DR650” “Year?” “2007” He typed into his computer. “No, we don’t have that sorry. We can order it”, he told me. “That won’t work, I’m riding around the country, I don’t know where I’ll be” He looked at me puzzled. “I can’t help you I’m afraid” “Alright”, I turned around confused at the lack of care for my situation. “Hey you could try the hardware store for a matching bolt” “I was thinking that”, I stopped and turned around. “Just make sure it’s in metric, it’s Japanese!” “Oh, yeah, sure”. He either didn’t notice my accent or assumed every country uses imperial measurements. Metric is normal to me.

I found a ACE Hardware store nearby. I found a man called Matt and explained my situation. He immediately asked to take a look. I escorted him to the bike at the carpark. He didn’t say much. He pulled out a measuring tool and put it against the coupling. “Ah, yep that’s an M8”, he said confidently. He got up and walked back inside with me following in tow. He got to the back of the store and shuffled around with some bolts. He grabbed an allan key and loctite. We walked back to the bike. He put it in, and gave it a few turns. Done. I couldn’t believe the motorbike shop couldn’t do that. I paid him, gave my thanks and a 5 star review for Matt on Google.

I don’t remember much. It must’ve been highways and farmland as there’s not much in my photos or memory of this day. I had to get to Laguna Seca in 2 more days. I took the Interstate South. I can never remember Interstates or Highways. They’re terrible things for adventure riders. It’s like cooking your brain and wasting your time. I decided to stay at Glendale. It was off the Interstate. A place people wouldn’t go.

Glendale is a log town. The sawmill was at the entrace from what I remember. It was a small town. I had to grab groceries before heading to Skull Creek campground. I went to the Glenway Supertore. It wasn’t a superstore, more like a general store. I remember when the girl at the checkout took my items. She was on autopilot and wanted to go home. She greeted some locals before she got to me. It was like everyday was the same. “How are you?”, she said as she looked down at the items to scan. “Yeah, I’m alright, do you know of a campground called Skull creek around here?” Her eyes widened as it she’d never heard anyone talk like me before. She probably hadn’t. It was like a shock to her. She was ripped out of auto-pilot. I’ll never forget her big blue eyes. Like someone had come to save her life.

Skull Creek was a short scenic ride out of Glendale. It was free and setup for the logging town to enjoy. The campground was empty. I took up a location on the edge above the entrace so I could observe anyone entering the campground. Sure enough, a school bus arrived. Thankfully, it was a couple who had converted it into a camper and not a bunch of kids. They scouted the entrance to see if it would fit. They tried to get it up. They did after some 3-5 point turns.

I would never tour in a vehicle so large.


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Day 19 - I awoke late after some much needed rest and found a bolt missing from my exhaust header. I hightailed it to Beaverton, Portland to fix my shaky thumper. Failing to find the part at a motorbike repair shop I found Matt at Ace Hardware who came, measured and fitted a perfect size bolt. With a touch of thread-lock and a glowing Google review from me. I toured South through farmland to Carton, Dallas and Wren. Scoring some turns, I submitted to Interstate 5 South to push through to Leguna Seca on Sunday (2 days away). I rolled off and into the pleasant timber town of Glendale where the industry maintain a great road and campsite free for the local community.

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