Day 20

Marijuana and Mountains

The Porch, Buy, Sell, Trade shop in Malice, Oregon, USA
The Porch, Buy, Sell, Trade shop in Malice, Oregon, USA

Skull Creek Campground to Bunny Flat Trailhead


Instagram excerpt - See here


I left Skull Creek camp back the way I came. I headed down the interstate to get petrol at Wolf Creek. Wolf Creek is the name of an Australian horror movie based on a true story. I rolled down towards the town centre. I stopped to take a picture of the road sign for my dad. A homeless man carrying a black bag of rubbish walked towards me along the gravel shoulder. He gave me a nod as he shuffled past. I returned my own. It wasn’t common to see people walking along the outskirts of town.

At the gas station a lady come out to pump the fuel. I said hello and exitedly explained that Wolf Creek was the scene of a horror movie back home. The lady told me about her daughter and how she loved horror films. She went into vivid detail of how it would scare her. The facial expressions and the screams she would make. It was lovely to hear how much her mother loved her. The gas nozzel clicked and she pulled it out of the gas tank. “But anyway, she was murdered”. She put the nozzle back into the pump. I was stunned. She was murdered by her partner in Wolf Creek.

I left the town wondering. Did she make up the story to scare me or was she telling the truth? I think she was. Judging by the detail of her daughter. Not a lot would’ve happened in the town. Perhaps she was bored. I don’t understand how she could stay in the town that her daughter was murdered. She must’ve been joking.

I snaked along the Lower Grave Creek Rd. It was a wonderfully windy and quiet road. It was a opportunity to stretch the legs of the DR. It was a surprisingly capable bike to ride at high speed. Even with all the weight in the bags. It was predictable. The brakes worked well enough and the suspension held firm. Thanks to James putting stiffer springs. It didn’t bounce too much. It had the power and enough grip from the Shinko 705 rear.

A girl was walking along the side of the road. That was weird. The road was remote and empty. A few hundred meters further was a car. A guy stood beside it. It was an odd place to park. I slowed down and stopped to see if he was okay. He wasn’t. They crashed the car a couple of days before and had been stuck there. The girl was off trying to get reception. A friend was on their way with a trailer. They should arrive that day. I gave them some food. They had water. He said they heard mountain lions around the car at night.

I continued along the Rogue River. I stopped at some lookouts and saw a 4WD with a trailer go past in the other direction. It must’ve been the friend. I caught up to a police car further up outside the town of Merlin. It went to do a u-turn. I told the officers about the car I saw up the road. They looked at each other. “We just came from the river. Was it past it?”, the officer asked puzzled. “Yeah, just after. They’ve been there a couple of days” “Alright, thanks a lot”, they went back up from where I came.

I spotted an antique store on the way out of Merlin. It’s the kind of place my mum & grandma would stop at. It was filled with junk. There was nothing worth carrying on the motorcycle. The owner, an elderly woman, came out to see if I needed a hand. I was just browsing. She watched me. I felt sorry for her so I grabbed something small and cheap. It was an sculpture of a dog made of little white bone like objects. It was ugly. It cost me $5. I tossed it in by top box.

I got coffee at Grants Pass. I parked out the front. It was a large venue. I sat by the window to observe the bike. I heard a voice from beside me. “Hey, is that your bike?” I had a conversation with the woman beside me for 10 minutes. She showed me a picture of her BMW 650GS. She had a farm to the South where she grew fruit, vegetables and weed. We were both about to leave and I asked if she was going back to the farm. She said yes. I was going the same way. She invited me to the farm.

It was a small hobby farm. She asked if I wanted some fruit. I said yes. We walked to the front of the farm as we picked plums and apples from the trees. She explained the vegetables she was growing. There was a couple of giant marajuana plants nearby. I’d never seen one in my life. Let alone one this big.

She bred them. She asked if I wanted to the ‘the boys’. Apparently there was a girl and a boy. They had to be physically separated so they didn’t polinate the others. They were housed in a shed. She told me about the process. I didn’t get it. She went inside and got me a fresh melon. Outside she lifed a tarp to reveal her BMW. It was a chain driven. She intended to do some adventure riding. I suppose the chance never came.

I met her friend who lived on the farm. I was about to go when she asked me if I wanted some weed. I politely declined before she told me she would give me some anyway. She came back with the biggest bag of weed I have ever seen. “This is the legal amount you can carry”, she told me holding the bag towards me. “What the hell, I can’t smoke all of this?!, it must’ve been an ounce or two. “Just share it with others” I stored the weed in the top case of my bike.

I continued South towards Montery. I ended up on a dirt forest road winding down to Seiad Valley. The location of the general store and Fort Goff campground. I had looped back the way I came. There were a couple of hikers on the forest road. I rode up to the closest one to me. She gave me a concerned side-eye as if I was being creepy. I asked if they needed anything, traveller-to-traveller, she declined. I powered away.

The road lead me back to the Seiad General Store. I’d done a complete loop up to Canada and back. It was unintentional. A hiker sat on the bench outside. I walked in confidently. An older woman, different from before, sat on a rocking chair behind the counter reading a book. I got what I needed and paid her. I pushed the door open to go outside. A thought crossed my mind. I grabbed the door before it closed and poked my head inside to tell the old woman she looked beautiful. She jumped up in her chair in shock, disbelief and joy and said thank you with a smile. I don’t think anyone’s ever said that to her before.

I said hello to the hiker sitting on the bench as I packed my things. He had his phone out and was studying a potato in the other hand. “How are you going?”, I asked. “I’m alight, just trying to figure out how many calories are in this potato. You have the right idea.”, he pointed to the bike. “The right idea?” “Yeah. If I could go back, I’d travel like that. I have to figure out the calories because I can’t carry much” Him an two others had been hiking through the forest for a few months. It was unbelievable. I can’t remember the entire story. He must’ve been just over 20. He looked dirty and exhausted. I don’t know if he was having much fun. He seemed determined though.

I went along the highway as far as I could. I had to make ground to Montery. I took the interstate to Mt Shasta. The place was covered in smoke. I ducked into a local auto parts store for something. I asked them if there was a campground nearby and safe from fired. They suggested Mt. Shasta. The clerk, who looked like a lumberjack, gave me directions to get to it. They turned out great.

The mountain road was well maintained. There were some slow vehicles on it packed with camp gear. They must’ve had the same idea. I passed a campground at Bunny Flat Trailhead. It looked filled with strange dreadlocked campers. I decided to continue to the next one. It was cold. I must’ve gained some altitude. I got to the next one that the clerk recommended. It had the highest star rating on Google. A ranger approached me. “Got any sites left?”, I asked him. “Sorry, we’re all full. You’re better off down at Bunny Flat”. I nodded and turned the bike around. I didn’t want to stay at Bunny Flat. The people didn’t seem like the regular campers I was used to. I needed a place to stay never-the-less.

There were many eyes on me as I rolled down the entrance of Bunny Flat. It was a bizarre feeling. Most people don’t pay too much attention to me. Dirt bikes are a common appearance. Not to these folk. There were some people ahead of the main entrance. I would ask them where to camp.

A great way to break the ice and introduce yourself is to ask where a good campsite is. They would’ve scouted it before you and they will let you know if they want you close, far away or if you’re not welcome at all!

“Hey, how you going? Are there any good spots to camp?”, I shouted through my helmet to the group blankly staring at me. “Just go easy around here there’s a lot of dust.”, a man told me. I switched off the bike to hear better. “I see, you wouldn’t want dust on your items”, they appeared to be selling things. Odd for a campground. The man didn’t say anything. I continued. “Would you know a good spot to camp?” “Yeah, over there would be good. Or maybe further down”, he pointed. “Thanks mate, I’ll have a look”, I gave him a thumbs up. I don’t think he liked me or was weary of motorcyclists. Perhaps he’d never met one before.

I found a nice plot not far from them. It was better than I thought. There was a lot of noise though. Music came from a van filled with about 10 people. I think someone was playing a ukelele. It had a hippy vibe to it. I thought I would setup camp, smoke some weed and join them. I wasn’t sure though.

The sound of heavy drums began. A constant ‘thud’, ‘thud’, ‘thud’. It came from the top of the road I thought. It was mysterious and strange. I’d never experienced anything like this before. I wasn’t at a music festival. The ranger insinuated that the campground was a bit different. Perhaps it was a ‘spiritual place’. It would explain the merchants and the tourists on the road. Other campsites did not have this.

A couple of kids walked passed and asked about the bike. I was a bit paranoid from the beating of the drums and the weed I smoked. I tried to to make converstation but I think they felt the weirdness as well. They ventured off together. I can’t remember what they asked me. I took it as a sign I shouldn’t join the ukelele group by the combi. As much as it sounded like a cool party.

It just wasn’t me.

The drums faded around 10pm and I fell asleep.


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Day 20 - I left Skull Creek and headed to Wolf Creek for fuel. I joked with the service station attendant about the movie. She told me all about how her daughter loved horror movies. Enthralled by her visit description of how terrified she got, she abruptly said “but anyway, she was murdered”. On that sober note, I headed onto Rogue River where I found a couple who ran their car off a cliff. They’d been there for 3 days. They had a friend on their way. I gave them all my food and they were greatly appreciative. Upon arriving at the next town I alerted the Sherif whose eyes grew when I told him the news. I continued further for coffee where I met a “ganja” farmer. I took up her offer to see the crops where she educated me on history, laws and the pollination process. A fellow adventure rider (800GS) she gave me free: a cantaloupe, 5 pears, as many plums as I could carry and a huge bag of ‘Pirate Booty’ and ‘Girl Scout Cookies’. Overwhelmed by her generosity I headed to Copper where I found out the road to Saide Valley was tough dirt. Adding an hour to my trip and in a rush to get to Leguna Seca in a day I marched onto Mt. Shasta. It was drenched in smoke. I asked the locals the safest place to camp and recommended Bunny Flat. I headed up the cool mountain and found a camping retreat for hikes filled with music and singing. I sat down with my Pirate Booty and reflected on a pretty good day.

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