Port Orford's Battle Rock

No matter what your field of endeavor, there’s always someone to look up to. I lurk on an online forum of adventure motorcycle riders called Adventure Rider (ADV Rider). By “lurking” I mean I mostly just drool over what the big league riders do on two wheels.

Seriously, before you read any further click this link and watch the slideshow of people riding motorcycles all around the world, from snowy mountain tops to desert sand dunes to tropical rainforests. These people inspire my daydreams. Okay, they also inspire my night dreams.

I tell you this so you’ll understand where I got the idea that I needed to get two photographs of me and my bike in “from sea to shining sea” moments. This means I’d get a shot with my back tire in the Atlantic and then get another with my front tire in the Pacific. There are lots of these on ADV Rider, of course. Why go from coast to coast on my bike and lack the cool photos?

From sea to shining sea in photographs

The day after camping in Crescent City, California, just north of the redwood groves I wrote about yesterday, my dear friend Dusty and I decided to stop for lunch in Port Orford, Oregon. We were both pretty tired from battling the severe coastal winds. Dusty’s bike was even pushed against a guard rail by one blast of wind. Yipes! We treated ourselves to lunch at a swanky restaurant with a beautiful view of the Pacific and I got the inspiration that this was indeed the place where I should get my Pacific-Ocean-front-tire shot. Here’s the view. Admit it, wouldn’t this be a cool shot? Me and my bike posed by that big outcropping!

Port Orford

Wouldn’t this be the coolest shot?

Now to get to that big outcropping I had to ride my motorcycle down a gravel path that had some considerable rutting from coastal rains. It wasn’t super scary, but it was a bigger challenge than I had taken on with a fully loaded bike (luggage, tent, sleeping bag, etc). Meh, as I’ve said before, I’m a GS rider (GS stands for two German words that mean dirt and street), and I had training for moments like this one. No guts, no glory. That picture was MINE! Except it wasn’t, which you’ll see in this quick video.


In short, I forgot one of the most basic things I’d been taught in my BMW motorcycle course: when riding off road, turn OFF your ABS.

As the road got steeper, and I pushed my trail brake, the pump-pump-pump action of the ABS didn’t give me the control and traction I needed. Adding my front brake did no good either.  I knew I didn’t have the skills to go flying down that hill at breakneck pace. “Break” and “neck” being the key words there. So I dropped the bike in the briars. Pooh.

The moral of the story? Tell me what you think it is. One of the lessons I took away was pride goeth before a fall. Literally. No, I’m not sorry that I tried. No guts, no glory. But I’ll leave you with this one:

“...who is the happier man, he who has braved the storm of life and lived or he who has stayed securely on shore and merely existed?”~ Hunter S. Thompson