Fossil with Bill and Peter – breaking in that new Beemer!

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We slept in this morning ’till nearly 9am – something we haven’t done for a very long time. I thought we’d get going slowly, take the 650’s front wheel off and drive in to Bend to get the tire changed. The front tire is still the same one that I rode to Newfoundland, unbelievably still holding up and within wear limits.

After taking a shower, I came downstairs to hear Mike on the phone talking to Bill – I caught just the tail end of the conversation, but heard “we’ll meet you at 11am”. Hmmm, guess we’re riding!

Peter just bought a brand-spankin’ new BMW 1200 GS, and he’s looking forward to putting a few more miles on her. Mike decides to ride the EX500 and I’ll be on my darling Ducati. As we’re getting ready to roll out of the driveway, I notice the EX is a little noisier than I remember and I check the oil window – which is empty. I yell at Mike that I don’t see any oil. We shut ’em down and he runs into the shop and grabs the oil – we do a quick top up and we’re on our way again. Only 1/2 hour late, rats! Sorry guys.

After turning off of 97 onto 218, the road is freshly striped with very wide sections of tar. Not a big deal if they’re skinny strips, but it looks like the road department was trying to re-pave the entire section with the stuff. The bike hops, slips and jumps through the first few turns and I’m just hoping the entire highway hasn’t been “fixed”. Fortunately the evil stripes peter out in a few miles and it’s back up to speed.

I’m like a neophyte on the Duc, my lean angle is wimpy and I can’t get through my brain how much more agile the Ducati is in the twisties than the Beemer. Slowly I remember my lean lessons and we get going at a little quicker pace. I really need to spend more time with the red bike this summer.

Everything is so green! Wildflowers dot the landscape, and all the creeks are exploding beyond their banks, carrying mud and debris with them in a race to the lowlands. It smells so fresh, a mingling of pine, juniper, flowers and warm wet earth.

Peter is rockin’ the new ride, which looks gorgeous in all its aluminum-boxed and swiss-army-knife kitted glory.

Lunch salads at the Big Timber are great as always. We pick up the tab as a Happy Birthday to Bill, who hit the 6-0 yesterday.

After lunch we head to the gas station, which is closed for graduation (they’ll open back up at 4pm), so it’s off on Hwy 207 towards Mitchell. Bill asked me if I remembered where the little old schoolhouse is on this road, and I told him it’s after Service Creek, on the left in a blind sweeper. I said he’d probably pass it and we’d have to turn around. Sure enough, that’s exactly what we do.

I’ve always wanted to stop here, but just never taken the time. A little one-room schoolhouse at the edge of a wheat field overlooking a small valley. There’s a sign out front, but it’s too old to read from the road. Now we’re stopped we can see it “Waldron School Est 1874”. Surprisingly, the door is open and we’re able to check out the inside. Not much here but dead birds and flies lit by sunlight through the ancient glass window panes. The outhouse is a victim of erosion, falling into the creek bed below.

We leave the little school behind and continue in to Mitchell. Henry isn’t hanging out at the gas station any longer, his owner took him up to the house because he wasn’t spending as much time at the gas station as he used to and didn’t want the bear to get lonely and bored (or hungry – that would be bad). Mike finds some kittens and tries to stuff a few in his pockets, but I catch him and make him put them back.

Ice cream at the store and we head back home. A fun day, glad we got to help Peter put another 200 miles on the new beastie!


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