Me and another dude whose name won't be mentioned headed out for Central/ Eastern Oregon. Took my back roads route Chuckanut, Whidbey, Shelton, Vader and Castle Rock .Then stayed the first night in Oregon City.
We were looking for a road called Sky High off Hwy 224 through the Cascades. Ended up riding all the way down to Detriot. Went up just about every side road which ended in gravel. We were about to give up. Then tried one last time down a different road. This road was a little different from the rest as it had painted lines running along the sides of the road. It ended up heading to Hwy 26 Mnt Hood. great route if you can find it. Through Maupin to Bake Oven road, Fossil, Rowe creek road. The bridge just past Spray was closed for construction, so we had to back track. Stayed in Praire city Hwy 26. The room we stayed in was decorated in Mickey Mouse stuff. We had to make some time and the weather turned poor. Up the boring interstate of Hwy 30, Baker City, La Grande and all most to Enterprise. The elevation changes in this area are amazing. So, its pissing down rain and I start feeling this wooble in the bike, I'm thinking the road surface is rough. Stop and check the tire pressure, maybe I have a puncture. Nope, keep riding wooble gets worse. Stop, the dude I was riding with is long gone. So, what the hell is it. Third thought the nut on the front sprocket has come loose. Take the cover off and the sprocket is fine. So, whats up. I look at the rear hub and I can see the seal has been pushed off from the axle and a lone ball bearing is sitting in whats left off the race. Good thing I have a bike with flashers, I even put out a SOS sign I have in my trama bag. I'm out in the boonies and there is no cell phone reception. A car stops to help and I give him my AAA #'s. He asks me if I want a ride back in town. I say no. Thinking the guy I'm riding with is going to come back for me. Plus I want to stay with the bike. I pass the time by cursing many times, find a small cave for shelter and snap some shots. The AAA tow comes quickly for where I was 2 1/2 hour wait.
Were off back to La Grande. Find a Suzuki shop. They say it will be another week before the bike can be looked at and the duffus can't even get a part # for the bearings. Mike, the tow truck driver realizes this shop is no help. He offers to drive me back to where he lives in Joseph past Enterprise. Mike says I can use his automotive shop and we can order the bearings. This guy was a great person.
So, we get in Joseph around 4pm. I phone the dude I was riding with and he says he thought I rode back to the previous town. If anyone has ridden with me they know I would never abandon a rider that far away from home.
Mike helped me whack out the bearings. In some ways it was good that the bearing was in pieces. What Suzuki has is a tube running between the two bearings and you would need a special puller to get the bearings out. With one bearing toast the inner tube slipped out and we hammered out the remaining bearing. The components were slightly damaged but I could see that with a bit of filing I could clean up the seating surfaces. So, its a two day wait in the pretty little town off Joseph for the bearings to come. Ate some great mexican food, got drunk on Margs, toured a Bronze Foundry, just immersed myself in the local culture. Those people were sure nice. Give you the shirt off their back. My type of people.
The next day I wait for my bearings to come. I hear there's a large fire in the next town and know Mike the jack of all trades is fighting the fire. Am I going to get back on the road today. About 3pm he brings the fire truck by and hands me the bearings. I install them, put everying back together. Get out of it unscathed. Two days in a motel and a bill for $55 for the bearings.
Do I head back home on Interstate 84 up to the Columbia river Gorge or do I check out the area I came for. Go with the latter and ride through Hells Canyon boardering Idaho. Head through Baker city and up the Scenic Byway of the Blue mnt region. Stay over in Ukiah. Party with some riders from Kamloops and Alberta. Make my way to Hwy 97 and cross over into WA. Go to Sam Hills Stone Henge Memorial, his Mansion and continue on down to Carson up to Randle MNt SNt Hellens. Head towards Mnt Rainer not through, its closed up to Seattle then home.
I couldn't of been more happy to be home. Good luck comes to Good People.