Monday, August 25, 2014
Last day of the TAT! We can’t believe our trek across the US is almost over. Anything longer ago than yesterday is almost a blur. The TAT finale would have us riding along roads we hadn’t been before. The day was still, temps were crisp (not cold), and we’d have to be a little on-guard as loggers would be back to work.
The image below is where the TAT crosses Cow Creek. A nice, twisty little asphalt road parallels the creek and this was the perfect way to start our last day.
From the Cow Creek bridge crossing, the TAT climbs up into the Oregon Coast Range. For the time being, the TAT had good, gravel covered logging roads that were fast, fun, and less stressful than negotiating larger, rock strewn uphill goat paths we encountered in parts of Utah and Nevada.
And, clearly we were in Oregon. The TAT wound its way through tall stands of trees. We were adjacent to the Rogue River Wilderness and may have ridden through old growth timber.
For most of the trip we found the TAT roll-charts and corresponding GPS waypoints were quite accurate and reliable. One little stretch of the TAT that had us following single track until our pathway was totally blocked by a rather large fallen tree with no way around or over. Luckily, less than a couple of hundred feet downhill was an alternate road, so we retreated for a bit and reconnected with the TAT in a matter of minutes. No lost time or lost riders.
New to us were the “heliponds” we rode past. Not exactly the place for a quick swim, but obviously critical when fighting a nasty wildland fire.
We weren’t at Port Orford yet, but we were getting close. The TAT followed a couple of ridgelines west and then dropped down along the Elk River as it makes its way to the Pacific Ocean.
The afternoon was toasty and even though we were only fifteen miles from the coast, the temperature hadn’t dropped. Then, five miles from the coast, the temperature dropped from over 80 degrees to about 65 degrees within a matter of feet and we could smell salt in the air. This was the sign our TAT adventure was nearing an end.
At 2:10PM PST on Monday, August 25, 2014, we put sidestands down on our BMW F800GSs at Port Orford, the westernmost point of the TAT. We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day to end our ride, all 4,800 miles of it!
Madelyn’s parents joined us a couple of hours later and we headed up to Bandon to spend the night. As we strolled from dinner to our motel room, we enjoyed the sun setting on the Pacific Ocean.
Mission accomplished. No one hurt and only mild damage to the F800GSs. Tons of memories that we hope to share with our family or friends this winter.