The Deserted Lands

Alternate Title: The MacGyver Solution
Alternate Title: Achieving Peace
Alternate Title: I wanted to pay, honest!
Alternate Title: My Trip to Mars
Date: Sunday, 19 July 2009 through Monday, 20 July 2009

It promises to be a nice relaxing day. No schedule and no route other than to head generically to the north-west. Sufficient time visit roads and sights recommended to me before I left and still wander more or less anywhere I want.

Just one minor difficulty: All attempts at attaching the visor to my helmet have failed. Making the attachment permanent is out of the question as I need to wear glasses. The problem with not having the visor at all is that wind across my eyes is tiring at best, and completely prevents me from traveling above 40 mph. Something will need to be done.

Oh well. I’ll solve the problem somehow!

No pictures for a time. The battery on my camera is at being under-utilized on the approach to Steens Mountain. But you’ll get more pretty pictures later in the day. How? You’ll just have to read on….

The MacGyver Solution

I’m reasonably certain nothing will come up to solve this particular problem before I leave Frenchglen. Another rider there offers me an old pair of off-road goggles, but unfortunately they simpy will not work with a street helmet. So, over a fantastic breakfast at the Frenchglen Hotel, I decide it is time to get creative.

Digging through my supplies, I discover my roll of electrical tape. Perhaps I can create my own goggles out of my prescription sunglasses?

A bit of careful crafting and I have covered the space between my eyes and created a flap down over my nose. Mildly annoying, but it should keep the wind out of my eyes.


Later in the day I decide this is simply insufficient protection from the wind. So back to the electrical tape. A bit more crafting and I have created side flaps on the outside of the glasses. This limits my vision a bit more than I like, but not nearly as much as does the wind constantly battering my yes.

The result? Near perfection! I’m probably now a fugitive from the fashion police, the nerd brigade, and every news reporter with a camera, but at least I can ride comfortable to Portland where I can find a new helmet.


I’ve noted before:

There are roads, if you know how to find them, which are deserted. Paved and patiently tended they wend their way endlessly through secluded valleys and hidden retreats. Eternity can be found on these roads. Eternity…and peace.
A Moment of Eternity

What I did not realize at the time I wrote this is that there is an entire state which fits that statement. The state of Oregon.

It can be a bit errie at times, riding through the back roads of Oregon. In any other state I have visited, there would be at least a few cars on any back-country highway on a weekend. Not so in Oregon. Hours at a time passed with no sign of humanity. The roads were all emaculate, and so at times I began to wonder if I had somehow been transported into a post-apocalyptic world in which I was the last person left alive.

Endless stretches of highway rolled by, and all I saw were deer. Farmland and pastures as far as the eye can see, and all I see are cows and herd of wild horses. Endless miles of forest roads connecting pristine campgrounds, all deserted except for a squirrel chiding me for invading his territory.

It was strange at first. Then the winding roads and spectacular scenery worked their magic. Nothing I had endured to this point mattered. No destination was important. Clarity and Peace had replaced Anger, Agitation, and Despair.

The calendar tells me I was only on those roads for a few short hours. I am not so certain.

Eternity can be found in such places. Eternity…and peace.

The Painted Hills

Some time later (hours? days? years? I may never know for certain), I arrived at the Painted Hills in central Oregon. Its a fascinating place. I’m not quite certain if a section of Mars was transported to earth or if God got drunk one day and decided to tie-dye the hills. Either way, the sight is spectacular.

I asked to borrow a camera from a fellow traveler to get a few pictures, only to discover that my battery was more annoyed at the possibility of being unused than it was grumpy at being under-used early on the trip: I press the power button and like magic, the camera works!

The new trend in high fashion: Home-made riding goggles!


Not much to say from here on out. I’ll let the pictures tell the story….



Talking to a park ranger, I was recommended a different and far more scenic route than I had planned. Glad of the advice, I headed off into the evening for more hours of peaceful meditation as I rode along deserted mountain roads….


That night was spent at a city park. I intended to pay. I really wanted to pay! But they closed long before I arrived and did not open until many hours after I left. My sincerest apologies to the town, you really need a self-service pay station!

The next morning, I had more secluded roads to ride before I arrived in Portland….


Eventually I arrived in Portland with just enough time to eat lunch before check-in time for the Accent on Music guitar seminar which had spawned this journey.

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