Giant Loop/Reno/Oregon/Boise/Tacoma/Seattle Ride Part I

Kenny Roger’s once sang the words; “you gotta know when to hold em, when to foldem, when to walk away and when to run. Those mere words can easily be used over and over to satisfy almost anything that now ails you. Day two is almost in the books now. Just a short while after arriving at Crane Hot Springs (check in time is 3 pm or a $10 additional charge is due) nearby fuel is only 87 octane, so travel to nearby Burns (20 miles) for real fuel. Hot springs are heated by geothermal heat—that is heat that originated from the Earth’s interior.… If water percolates deeply enough into the crust, it comes into contact with hot rocks and then finds its way to the surface to form hot springs.

I’m here for the start of tomorrow’s Crane, Oregon 10th annual Giant Loop ride – 4-6 June 2021. The only thing that I failed to pack is any kind of shade. If you were to draw a circle around 25 miles wide from Crane Hot Springs, all the trees in that circle could be counted in one hand – and non grow at the hot springs.

Coming from Reno this morning the ride was mostly on good, long and fairly straight asphalt roads and the speed limit was 80 mph. In fact, a large section of that good looking asphalt roads were been removed and repaved. Looking out into the distance of a treeless landscape, one can easily see for miles and miles many volcanic vapors of underground hot springs. That’s probably why the weather is now pushing ninety by 0830. However, I saw plenty of areas designated for installation of tire chains during the snowy weather. I also came close to stopping at least once or twice to take pictures of the barren landscape to share with you but, I changed my mind as the scenery is easily imaginable.

Welcome to Oregon from Reno
A typical backyard

From SoCal to Reno, Nevada was day one for me. Leaving the day after Memorial Day was a great move. Coming into LA from the high desert I saw miles and miles of cars stopped in heavy traffic. The 395 north towards Reno was basically empty. The distance to Reno is just around five hundred miles. My friend John immediately exclaimed that he’s so old, (how old are you John)? I’m so old that young people alive today, wouldn’t know that I grew up in “black and orange”. I looked it up and he’s right. For 30 (1936–67), years television was black and white but, for a few thousand lookers-in who tuned in to television broadcasts (1929–35), images were in fact black and orange due to the orange color of the neon gas in the lamps used in the first television sets. The three year old stroke left him with plenty of long term memories but, lacking in short term memories and physical capabilities.

My first night in Reno I took the gang out to Louis’ Basque corner restaurant. Louis’ Basque Corner opened in 1967. Eighty two year old Elaine wanted to visit Louis’ ever since she beat a stroke and said sayonara to the hospital. Today was cause for celebration. Louis I was told passed away five years ago; an emigrant originally from Mauleon, Basses Pyrenees, France, and a World War II veteran.

Basque Hotels of the American West were once popular homes-away-from-home for newly immigrated Basques from the Pyrenees Mountains. Normally the hotel is located over a restaurant and a bar. The fare is dishes like sweetbreads, oxtail, tongue and tripe. Guess what? I never saw anything like that on the menu. We each ordered a five course meal served family style. I had the best course of lamb chops ever. Mike ordered the sirloin but, was already full by the entree arrived. The fixings are beans, plenty of bread, salad, chicken, split pea soup; washed down with basque beer on tap.

So, no matter how content you are as an adult, travel at times makes you remember what it is to be a child again, experiencing everything for the first time. And it can also turn boring in a heartbeat if you get stuck on a mindless road that drones and on. This is when my brain finally decided that enough is enough and immediately started solving the nation’s homelessness problems; if only in my head. And then I passed on the right shoulder at a high rate of speed.

You’re packing pretty light for a two week, four state ride she said to me before leaving. She is right! I had finally mastered the art of travelling – just bring twice the money and half the clothes you think you need. In my Giant Loop motorcycle panniers on my BMW GSA motorcycle is everything I need to survive- except now- SHADE!

Welcome back Elaine.