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On the road about 10 AM, one of those days where you top off the tank and then decide if it's north or south on Hwy 101 on the North Oregon Coast. We decided to head south, with the intention of riding over the Cascade Range and out into Central OR, probably Bend and that area.

It's a PERFECT DAY. I think about heading across the pass on Mt. Hood, Govt. Camp. But before I do I need to check pass conditions. Lots of snow on that mountain.

Heading south down to Tillamook, Hebo and then Hwy 22 through Salem to Bend crosses the Santiam Pass, which is clear of snow and not quite the altitude of the Govt. Camp pass on Hwy 26.

Rolling through Salem, OR -- Thursday mid-day and it looks a bit like some small suburb of So. CA -- I missed the turn for CostCo and topping off the tank. No place to turn around, they're working on the expressway. But I have half a tank, plenty of gas and lots of chances to top off down the road.



Stayton OR, McDonalds because they have WiFi for the tablet. I can check the "Maps" app, update FaceBook "check in" and right now it's "Any Drink, $1.00" . . .

The fuel range gauge says 117 miles. It's 97 miles across the Santiam Pass to Sisters OR. That's LOTS of cushion, besides, there must be gas along the route, right?

WRONG!

Premium at CostCo on the coast was $3.59. Gas in Detroit and Idanha was running $4.39. Pretty much the same at the Chevron in Stayton. I figure there's got to be an Arco and cheap along the way, besides the fuel gauge says I'm fine.

The fuel range gauge calculates distance according to the MPG you're racking up and how you're riding. I'd been riding fairly conservatively through Salem, but now heading into the Cascades, I was passing a lot of Winnebagos and log trucks -- 80 MPH stuff. Besides which, we're climbing a mountain pass, which will trim the MPG.

There's gotta be gas along the way, I mean it's a recreational area, National Forest, camping, boating, snow mobiles. Why not gas stations?

Fuel light comes on at 35 miles. It's about 60 miles to Sisters, OR. I'm not worried. There's going to be gas available down the road.

OR MAYBE NOT . . .

I'm looking for gas, watching the number drop on the range readout: 20 miles, 15 miles, 10 miles, then the gauge starts reading "Lo" and I'm not seeing any stations. Sisters is 25 miles down the road.

There's no traffic, and I've got the clutch in, idle the engine, coast down the steep grades -- about six miles of this. On the flat stretches I decide I need to slow way down, conserve gas, I've got the emergency flashers running and riding down the shoulder at about 30 MPH. Waving traffic to pass --

I'm not seeing any gas stations, or anything else for that matter. Let's add to this that I'm not seeing any highway signs telling me where I am or how far to whatever. There's GOT TO BE some sort of something out here! You know, a gas pump for recreation, deli and cold beer . . .

We're starting to talk to ourselves, actually a great deal of cursing out loud. What is stretching out ahead is a endless stretches of empty highway, a turn off here and there to some remote recreational lake, X - country ski area, snow-mobile trails.

I'm thinking that I have "roadside emergency" coverage. I can call for gas. That's part of the policy. IF I CAN GET A CELL PHONE SIGNAL OUT HERE.

Ahhhhhhhh, coming up ahead, a gas station. I roll in, relieved. The six gallon tank takes 5.49 gallons. I don't care about the price per gallon (which is inflated for the tourists). This is on the edge of Sisters, OR. I managed to stretch the fuel, maybe 25 miles. Coasting and slowing down does increase fuel range.

This is Bend OR, mid-day.



Update FaceBook, check "Maps" -- I'm going to head north on Hwy 97 to Redmond, Madras. I ride this route a lot, know where things are. I'm thinking in Madras that I should check road conditions. I'm thinking Govt. Camp and Mt. Hood would be a nice ride.

McDonalds in Madras is remodeling. A LOT of McDonalds are remodeling, putting in more power outlets for WiFi. They're turning into cyber cafes, w/ burgers, and a newer, more varied menu.

TripPlanner.com is showing the "Pass Cam" for Govt. Camp. There's a snow plow in the photo, deep snow on the sides of the road, and also deep snow in the median strip. Maybe I should ride AROUND this pass, head north to the Columbia River Gorge -- Either Biggs Junction, or The Dalles.

There's another motorcycle in the parking. I check w/ him that he's not headed across the Mt. Hood pass. He's got full Harley leathers, even a Harley fob on the key ring. He's sitting on a Honda -- claims he has a Harley at home, "with 150,000 miles on it." I don't take a photo. I have lots of photos of this McDonalds.



Perfect day for riding, warm, cloudless. WAY up the road I see tail-lights, turning off the road. Now they're brake lights, turning around . . . now parked on the side of the road . . .

I check my speed, tweak the cruise control. Open highway speed is 55 MPH. I set cruise control for about 63 MPH. "Eight you skate. Nine you're mine!" -- Actually, Oregon law does not provide a fine schedule for speeding until you're TEN miles per hour over the limit.

-- Yeah, the lights are Wasco Co. Sheriff. I'm at 63 MPH, cruise control, I wave at him. :biker:

Sun is setting, and it's starting to cool off. I packed my electric heated gear. For now it's marginally warm, but then there are cold spots on the high ground, warm spots as I descend into Deschutes River canyon. Tygh Valley, warmer, cooler, sun going down. I'll stop in The Dalles to put on the heated gear. We'll haul out the reflective vest too -- Highway riding in the dark.

Access from Hwy 97 to the freeway at The Dalles is weird. The road wants to drag you through downtown, such as it is. Once on Hwy 30 (Freeway), there's no ready gas until Hood River, a few miles down the road.



I think about taking photos of something besides the bike parked in front of Mickey D's -- but I only do pix when I'm stopped, and I only stop for WiFi at Mickey's.

I pull on the heated gear, am a bit amazed at how cumbersome and restrictive it feels compared to the jeans and assless chaps. Ahhhhhhh, but it's WARM!

There's a Chevron station right next to Mickey's in Hood River, but they're not advertising prices, and I'm fussy. Beside, the fuel gauge says I have plenty of gas to get to Portland, OR. (Like I didn't learn something while coasting into Sisters?)

Gas gauge light comes on again, just beyond Rooster Rock Park, on the edge of Columbia River Gorge Scenic Area. There's no gas until Troutdale and the highway truck stops. I fuel up at an Arco, cheap but they don't take American Express. There's a guy on a nice Sportster -- metal-flake green, and brand new. He's not out riding; he's coming home from work. It's about 10 PM.

The ride is all freeway now, in the dark, on cruise control. Portland OR to Astoria is a frequent comute -- VA appointments at the Med. Center, but mostly that's in the truck.

Safeway in Clatskanie OR is closed. It's midnight. Astoria is 36 miles. That Safeway is open until 1 AM. I want to get some beer.

I roll into the driveway at 1 AM, about 15 hrs on the road, 599.3 miles. The bike is covered in bugs. I pull off the gear, unload the saddle bags, crack a brew, some pepperoni, potato salad. I unwind in front of the TV, a PBS Frontline program I recorded about "9/11 to Boston Marathon -- Govt. Surveillance."

Get some sleep. Get up, wash the bike, mow the lawn.



Now it's Saturday AM. The sun is just coming up on another perfect day for riding. Another one where I figure out where I'm headed after topping off the tank. This time I think maybe I'll pack the 1 gallon reserve gas can that fits in the saddle bag.

:bikerguy:
 

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Do you own a McDonalds franchise or something?

My fuel gauge lies too. The other day my reserve said I had 37 miles to go so I stopped to top off. I was only able to but 3.7 gallons in my 5 gallon tank. The gauge on the top of the tank at the time was laying all the way to the left.
 

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I remember that area being breathtakingly beautiful. I'm envious. Took a scenic route from Yakima to bend, and wound up on top of Belknap Crater. Have you been there? Thanks for the memories!
 

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THE Yuppie Outlaw
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The only way to keep track of gas and mpg is with math.

The gauge, range computer and warning light all lie.

Last time my low fuel light came on, my 6 gallon tank took 4.5 gallons. That means I could have easily rode another 50 miles or so.


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Discussion Starter #6
No ownership of the Mickey's franchise (but I should buy some stock!). The thing is, they're easy to spot from the freeway, pretty much always located on the main drag through town. They have WiFi -- where I update my FaceBook page so my pals back at the coffee house (buncha HAWT baristas, all about 25 yrs old) can keep track of where I am when I'm on a road trip.

I was 15 miles out of Winnemucca, NV one morning, like 1 AM -- coming out of the north from Denio Jct. and Burns. I'd never been to Winnemucca, had no idea at all what to expect. In the lights far below I could pick out the golden arches -- which was closed, but located at a 24 hr. truck stop where I could get gas. (I had 8 miles gas range showing on the read-out. This sounds like a recurring theme, eh?) Mickey's was closed, but they leave the WiFi on, so I could post on FaceBook, check my email.



Next day, in Lovelock, NV, on the way to Reno -- at another Mickey's -- I commented to Renee (just passin' through) that it's easy to find a McDonalds when you're on a road trip.

"Yeah!" She says, "Those golden arches stand out on the landscape like a turd in a punchbowl."
 

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Village Idiot
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I agree with the fuel guage, that is one of the reasons I keep a full reda gas can in the saddle bag.

Sounds like a good trip in spite of that.
 

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Mississippi Cajun
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I've been in that area on my bike, and I noticed right away that when they say no gas for the next 98.2 miles, they mean no signs of human habitation, too. Also, if all of those bugs are the same little flies that turned my old black Ultra a reddish color on the run up 395, I'd have to say they take the prize for bugs in any state I have been in.
Regarding the gas gauge, I had mine go from a few miles left to L to UF (Ur Fooked) and still only took 5 gallons when I filled up finally. I use the odometer as my gas gauge these days. BTW, the Mickey D's "Senior Coffee" deal is pretty good, and it's about the most consistent and pretty good tasting road coffee I've found.
 

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i would think running fuel that low would be hard on the pump, just like in a car the fuel cools the pump. i consider quarter of a tank empty.
 

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Forget the gauge and don't worry about the low fuel light. At fill up set one of your trip odometers to 0 and when it reads 150 or more miles you need to think about filling up soon.
 

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Mississippi Cajun
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Forget the gauge and don't worry about the low fuel light. At fill up set one of your trip odometers to 0 and when it reads 150 or more miles you need to think about filling up soon.
I've had to push it to 200 a few times, but it starts getting anxious about then.
 

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Just Ride
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Gone as far as 259 on my RGC. Took 5.6 gallons. Average is 220 between fill ups. When she says low I figured good for 50 more miles.

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Discussion Starter #14
i would think running fuel that low would be hard on the pump, just like in a car the fuel cools the pump. i consider quarter of a tank empty.
Fuel pump would not be circulating gas in and out of the tank -- If you have fuel enough to run the engine, the fuel pump is "at full capacity."

But I'm starting to think that anything under a half tank is time to top off.

Perfect weather predicted out as far as we can see. I'm thinking about taking a "right" at Bend, heading to LaPine, Paisley, OR and then Denio Jct. in Nevada, Winnemucca -- wing it from there.
 

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Buddy of mine likes to REALY see how far he can go. He purposefully runs his down to the point of no return. Most of us go by the idiot lights. I do. I don't like the thought of being stranded. He sets the trip and gauges how much gas he has to put in. While I can certainly appreciate knowing I have 40 more miles when the gauge says GET GAS I don't chance it. Here in PA a station is never far away.

To those of you out there where it may be a "few" miles between stops knowing ecactly how far you can go is never a bad thing.

I sort of keep track. I set the trip when ever I get gas. I also keep an eye on the gauge. If I know I'm going for a ride today I will top off the tank just because I don't want to do it later.

For what it's worth my trucks gauge is WAY off too. Light comes on and I can put 16-17 gallons in it. It has a 24 gallon tank. It gets worse as it gets older. When it was new I could put 18-19 gallons in it.

I would rather have it tell me I'm out of gas when I'm not than tell me I have gas when I don't. I know a few people that have had that problem.
 
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