(wherein our intrepid adventurer's experience the "kick in the rear" part of their trip)

Day III:

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!

-simply too much food, too little time to eat it ALL

Rather than having to deal with Interstate 5 again we opted to stay on Hwy 99 (which passes through and is the main street for Ashland) up to just east of Medford and then take Hwy 238 through Jacksonville, Applegate, etc.

-Becky checking out a "hidden" police car that is checking out us

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.

-"End of Josephine County," "(dirt) Road Privately Maintained"

So we turned the bikes around and went back out the way we came. So much for shortcuts. We decided not to wander about the hills in the rain anymore and headed north up the rest of Hwy 238 to Grants Pass and hooked up with Hwy 199 there. It was really, really raining now and visibility had become marginal. With a temperature drop our "smoke" colored visors (used in lieu of sunglasses) were fogging up something terrific. Slowly we made our way south on Hwy 199 to the very small town of O'Brien when lack of visibility and frozen fingers (my Joe Rocket "waterproof" gloves had totally failed and now weighed about 5 lbs each and were acting like an evaporative cooler freezing my fingers) forced us to stop at a local cafe.

-the picture gives no sense how good/warm/dry this cafe was a lifesaver!

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.

-panic sets's just starting to snow

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.

-the snow was MUCH worse than it looks in this picture and soon it had covered everything!

We stripped off our gear and started wringing out stuff and trying to dry it.

-wringing the water out of my "waterproof" gloves

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."

-soon the room was about 100 felt kinda good

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.

-it could have been worse