It was my fourth visit to Oregon in a year. After taking in the tall-treed majesty of the Cascades, the rambling golden grasslands of the northeast and the soaring ridges of the Wallowa Mountains, I was expecting my meander around the high desert of southeast Oregon to send me to sleep. I didn't realize I'd saved the best for last.
Rolling into Lakeview, Oregon (elev. 4,800 ft.) late in the day after crossing California from the coast, the Trophy and I have been climbing steadily since we left California's pan-flat central valley in Redding. Each successive pass rises higher than the last until we crest the plateau near the Oregon border.
The sun is sinking fast, and the temperature plummeting. It's mid-October, the sky is clear, and we're 500 miles from any moderating ocean currents. Using some of the cunning acquired in a long riding season, I steer clear of the main street motels and settle on the backstreet Lakeview Lodge, a neat, clean and, thankfully, well-heated motel. The owner runs the desk, too - always a good sign. On my room TV, the weather channel tells me Lakeview's temperature will fall to 18 degrees overnight.