Ok, now it's Sunday morning and time to get back on the motorcycles for the return trip home. "Scattered rain showers" are predicted for today but we are pretty much water proof and in no big hurry so it's not a big deal (we tend to go to sleep and wake up to the Weather Channel on the tv when on the road on bikes).
A breakfast cafe that can't be beat was recommended by a friend and co-worker of Becky's so after loading the bikes we headed across town to the Morning Glory Cafe where I had some yummy, homemade corned beef hash and Becky had a strange but wonderful omelette made with gorgonzola cheese, caramelized onions and walnuts!
Jacksonville looked to be a lovely town, restored with lots of brick and stone building to it's one-time glory. I suspect it is a pretty jumping place for tourists during the summer months. We dared not dally though. The clouds were seriously settling in now and I switched to my rain gloves and put a cover over my tank bag to protect all the electronic gizmos I had inside. Everything else on the bikes was either waterproof or packed in plastic bags. Sure enough we no more than got out of town the temperature dropped and it started to rain.
Hwy 238 was delightful however and the scenery lovely. The two-lane road took us along the Applegate River with just enough twists and turns to make it interesting but at the same time allowing you to look at the scenery...even when dealing with the rain which was becoming more and more intense as we headed west.
Our plan was to take a road just to the east of the town of Murphy that didn't have a road number on it but would save us about 20-25 miles getting over to Hwy 199. It wasn't obvious where the cutoff was when we arrived in the area so I went into a local grocery store and asked directions of 3 different guys and received 3 different answers. We discussed and discussed and finally the one that seemed most credible to me pointed to a road that ran alongside the store and seemed to be heading in the right direction. We took it but shouldn't have. It turned into a dirt/mud goat trail about 6 or 7 miles along.
As walked into a room full of customers a hush fell over the crowd. In full gear we must of looked like giant, dripping alien pod-people to them. As we started peeling off our gear (and leaving huge puddles on the cafe floor) one of the more grizzled patrons exclaimed, "Why you people are way tougher than me!" With chattering teeth I explained that we were probably not tougher just more foolish. He laughed, everyone in the cafe laughed and we had a rousing conversation with the locals as we warmed ourselves on yummy corn chowder and LOT'S of hot coffee and tea.
That's when someone first noticed the snow. Yes, it was actually just starting to snow outside. Now I can ride my bike in the extreme heat and have done so. I can also handle the cold and the wind, the dark and the rain but I don't ride when it's white out. We scrambled back into our gear and headed back out the door to the bikes hoping to get the hell out of there before it got any worse. Before going the locals warned us that there was no lodging on the far side of Cave Junction and that generally it snowed harder the further east (and higher) you go. Swell.
We'd switched to clear visors while in the coffee shop and my clear has a "Fog City" anti-fogging insert in it but Becky's doesn't. She could not see a thing but my tail light and an occasional glimpse of my helmet. Not good. We made it the 10 or so miles to Cave Junction before my hands were freezing again. We stopped at the Chevron station and examined our options. Striking up a conversation with a local at the pumps he said from here the road climbed another 500 feet or so and that it got "REALLY SNOWY" at the tunnel 20 miles or so south. I looked at Becky and she looked at me and we both noticed the other was covered with a crust of about 1/2" of snow from helmet to boots. Screw this.
We headed across the street and got a room at a motel to weather the storm. It was only about 1:30 in the afternoon but we were done for the day.
We stripped off our gear and started wringing out stuff and trying to dry it.
I rigged up a makeshift clothesline with some electrical wire and some clips I carry in my bags over the heater and turned it up to "high."
Becky made the necessary phone calls to her work (the next day would be Monday, a work day) concerned relatives and to our wonderful next door neighbors who were caring for our Basset Hounds in our absence.
There was nothing much to do now except order a pizza, get some Mexican beers and watch bad, mostly teen-aged comedies ("Rat Race"...what's with that?) on the telly. We whiled away the day in this fashion...eventually the snow disappeared outside and was replaced by a hard, steady rain.
Day IV HERE