A Sunny Oregon Day

Today is the first truly nice day we’ve had since I got to Oregon. It’s the Pacific Northwest, so I pretty much expect a lot of rain, but this is a pleasant surprise. Conveniently it happened on a weekend, and I took full advantage.

In one of my past lives, I’ve owned not one, not two, but three first-generation Mazda Miatas. I even used to race them, and earned a bit of a trophy collection doing it. My only experience is with the latest generation is a brief sideways ride with Travis Okulski, then with Jalopnik shortly before moving to Road & Track, around the autocross course at Lime Rock Park. I was impressed by how much the latest Miata recaptures the spirit of the original. But even a spirited ride with an excellent driver is no substitute for driving it yourself. Keith gave me that opportunity today.

I immediately felt at home. It’s been years since I’ve driven any Miata. It’s even been more than a year since driving a car with a manual transmission (the last one was my Mazda 6 I sold when I hit the road in the van). Yet I quickly got a feel for it, and indulged myself on the twisty roads around nearby Dorena Lake. This car’s still got it. All of my race-honed instincts from the original car work perfectly on this one. I need to own another Miata again someday. They’re just so much fun for carving corners.

The first part of my Amazon order was here when we got back, so I put this tiny trivet to use and made myself some pizza bagels in the cast iron Dutch oven. It worked perfectly. Not only does it fit inside the pan like it was made for that purpose (it wasn’t), it also prevented the bottom from burning, which is a problem I’ve had on previous pizza attempts. It was so easy. I think I’m going to have to try this with a small crust and make an actual pizza. And who knows what else. Cookies, maybe.

Another part of this order was a pair of Doubletake Mirrors for the KLR. All winter I’d been smacking my mirrors on greenery close to the edge of the trails I was riding. With these, I can just pull them in when I hit the trail (where I don’t need to see traffic behind me), then swing them out when I get back to the road. Even better, when deployed these mirrors stick out a bit farther than the stock ones. That means I now have an unobstructed view behind me. Previously my arms filled up half the stock mirrors. So not only are these better suited for riding off-road, they’re even safer on the street than what I had.

I took another loop around Dorena Lake to try them out, this time stopping to admire the scenery. This also warmed up the oil so that I could change it, having picked up everything I need for that job in Pahrump, and acquired a drain pan at the local auto parts store since Keith’s seems to have disappeared. That job went smoothly as well. So now the only DIY job left on the bike is to replace the radiator fan switch when it arrives later this week. I still have to figure out how, where, and when to get the leaky fork seal replaced, but it doesn’t seem to be leaking on street rides, only when I beat the bike up on trails.

Looking at Google Maps, I’m only about half an hour away from some of the National Forests in the area. That would be great for camping if I wasn’t so comfortable where I am. But it would also be fun to go explore on the bike, especially now that it’s in better shape than it was. It looks like there are National Forest roads winding all over the place, which are typically well-maintained dirt. That would give me my dirt riding fix without punishing the suspension in the process. I might have to make some plans for later this week, especially if we get another day like today weather wise.

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