Ok, ok...Quixote has been pestering me to get this written...so here goes (plan on being here awhile...) It all started back in early spring, while I was drafting up my summer calendar. I happened to be in a conversation with the hubby to one of my cousin's who lives up in northern Washington. For the past 14 years, he and a few of his friends have had the time honored tradition of gathering in Monterey, California to attend the races at the Laguna Seca track... be it World Superbike, or MotoGP. I was inquiring about their plans for any live races now that GP had pulled out for the shiny new venue in Texas, to which they were keeping with tradition and reverting back to SBK this year. He gave me the general dates, and as I looked at the already filling calendar, low-and-behold... I swear there was an actual glow shining up at me... that weekend was still open, as were the days surrounding it!! I'm in! For the first couple months, things were fairly quiet... it dawned on me that not only would I be making a trip that I'd been hoping to make for several years, but I was going to get to do it on my bike - as well as squeeze in some camping, and the maiden voyage of doing an overnight-type trip that didn't translate to a day of travel on each end with staying at a friend's or family's house for the days in between. I was going to be taking an honest-to-god moto trip. Lookie there! Of course, then some of the realities set in. I own a supersport... just where do you put a tent on one of these things anyway?? Lol. Now, anyone that's known me long enough, knows I've always turned my nose up at the thought of putting any sort of luggage on my steed... it's my one vanity thing. Saddlebags, to me, make bikes look like they've got balloons on them, and the more svelte the bike, the goofier it looks lol... the mere thought, well...that just simply hadn't happened prior to this trip - let alone a sleeping bag, tent, bags, and whatever else most people cram into those wind-walls they stack up back there behind them. Luckily, the tent issue was covered... My uncle had made plans to go as well (along with Russ's (the lead) friend Dan - who has been on several treks with Russ) - and his tent was big enough for both of us and our stuff. Russ informed me early on that all the cooking supplies and such would be taken care of as well. That left me with just my own personal stuff and a sleeping bag to stuff somewhere. My original plan was to borrow a slightly larger tank bag than my micro one I use, backpack, and toss the seat on the back which has a tail bag attached to it. As the date got closer and closer (like within the last week...) ZDoc and Ellenom convinced me to at least pick up some of their luggage and have it on hand just in case I needed it. Well...that proved to be pretty useful - thank you both for convincing me and letting me borrow the pieces!! I wound up using every single square microinch of space available by the time I got my clothes, sleeping bag (light fleece roll), towel, snacks, toiletries, tools, and whatnot all packed in there. I had read over several articles on tips for packing - what order things should be in, as well as Wiley's write-up on his and Rick-Rick's trip to Cali the previous year. I'm pretty organized, but some of the tips proved pretty useful when trying to figure out so many days in advance. One reminder... even weight distribution.... I almost lost sight of that while prepping what compartments things should go in based on when and how often they'd be needed. I think I wound up using everything I took, other than the chain lube...which I should have, but simply got lazy and didn't. So, here it is... July 5th - the SS-Daytona, cleaned, lubed, aired, fixed, packed and ready to.... float. lol Russ and his Super Tenere would be the first to disembark, sometime around 0700-0800 from Port Angeles, Washington. He'd be headed down Hwy 101 for the most part and then meeting up with my Uncle Karl in Tillamook where he was spending the holiday weekend (that had to be a packing nightmare!! two trips back to back without home in between!!). Karl was on his Road Star, and this would be not only his first group ride, but first overnighter, as well as first time taking his bike anywhere other than the commute to work and out to the coast. He's been riding for a few years, but mostly just commuting. (Oh, Russ... experienced most of his life...has owned several bikes, all styles, etc...but has mostly done solo riding). In the mean time, Dan would be headed out on his 80's Saber from Lake Oswego, coming down I-5 to meet up with me at the Hwy 34 interchange - where we would head west and meet up with the other two wherever we could find a campsite around Waldport (on July 5th mind you... with no reservations...). As I was filling my initial tank of gas, I heard someone bellering my name, and turned to see someone up in the A&W lot waving me down. He was finishing up his lunch when I came in, stood and greeted me as I noticed he had on an Angry Bastard shirt...must be an alright guy, especially for an old fart. Let the adventure begin!! I was surprised to hear that a native Oregonian who's rode most of his life hadn't been on Hwy 34 yet, but I was more than happy to get to be the one to introduce it to him. We headed out, and just took the more direct route there (bypassing our usual Dekker Rd and such). We stopped off at River Side for a rest, he was pretty impressed with the road and very happy to have been on it after the drudge of coming down I-5. Traffic actually wasn't all that bad either, especially for a holiday weekend! Now, again...anyone that remotely knows me, knows that I usually need to have things planned out ahead of time, for the most part. I'm much better about it than I used to be, but there's certain things that will peck at me... like not having reservations on one of the biggest camping holiday weekends of the year in an area that is a main destination for said activities. Russ had called me a couple days prior with a request to call around for some options for campgrounds. This translated into "find a place for when we arrive". Have I mentioned it was a holiday weekend?? A few times, oh... yeah, that's right. Anyway, I called a couple places in the vicinity - of course they were booked up solid. This left the first-come-first-serve state and federal sites... not exactly what I had in mind for having a "plan", and wandering up and down the coastline without much sense of where different grounds were at that might be off of Hwy 101, just wasn't super appealing to me. I had 2 grounds noted as possibilities, with the second being clear down by Florence and not much hope there, as it would be getting closer to quadtopia. Dan and I pulled into Tillicum Beach, just south of Waldport around 1530...and just in time. There was a woman out scoping the last 2 remaining sites - neither of which worked for their needs, and another motorcycle pulled in right behind us. The camp host was a little dramatic, but she was a cute lil 'ole gal. She got off the phone with the first woman, handed us a slip for the only site that would fit 3 tents and told us to GO!! GO!! GO!! (Dan and I both chuckled after getting to the site...as she had the power to turn others away and had already told us we had the spot...so why the urgency...chalk it up to the adventure!) Our site was oddly shaped and a little cramped, especially since we were apparently sharing with an entire gopher family, but the folks to the side of us didn't mind if we encroached a little. We had the restrooms across the way from us, the beach at our back and the beach access just on the other side. Sky was clear, there was just a slight breeze and it was somewhere in the low 80's.... absolute perfection for the Oregon Coast!! Karl and Russ joined us about an hour and a half later, as Russ had got caught up in Pacific City - taking 45 minutes to putt through there. He had told me several times that we would be eating well on this trip and wasn't kidding. After getting the tents and such unloaded, he and Karl set off to the store, coming back with steak, fresh crab, corn and taters for dinner (and repurposed for breakfast in the morning lol). While we were eating dinner, the next site over on the other side of the path had a large family get-together and had a bagpipe player in their midst.... so we had some entertainment for the evening as well. After dinner, I shed my flip-flops and took a stroll down to the beach chatting with my uncle. While I've been at the coast many times, and have been around for many sunsets while there, this was the first time that I've had a chance to actually take notice of it. To just relax and take it in. I knew the next few days were going to be long ones, so I relished every bit of it I could. That's it for now... considering this was the shortest day...I wrote way more than I intended to!