Vegans aren’t literally strung up there, but you will pick from chicken or beef if you want to eat. The steak is a 30-ounce investment in grass-fed Oregon beef, and the chicken is…a chicken. Appetizers including dirty bean soup, green salad, and fresh-baked rolls with honey butter are hearty and endless. You will ride like a mad(wo)man to get there; you will have chicken or beef; it will cost you 25 bucks a head, and it will be one of the best meals of your life—well, actually two of ‘em. Maybe three. They don’t have a Web site, a billboard, proximity to the Big Road or a chamber of commerce membership, but they’re full every night. Doug knows the way, and he can get you reservations.
Fighter pilots talk with their hands, too, but they take themselves way too seriously. Whe
The next morning, we opened chapter two of our Moto Fantasy with an early call. Cranking up a piped, blue and white K1200S, Pretty Wife and I charged out alongside Doug and his buddy Jim, journeyman racer and the owner of the Ducati 996R that hunches in Doug’s garage incognito under humble race plastic. With Doug grunting along on his XR1200, we hit the lake road, first paved just a few years ago and cheerfully notorious among local riders as “Paulina International Raceway.” Don’t tell anyone.
This magazine does not advise breaking the speed limit, no matter how delicious a set of perfectly cambered curves through the jack pines you may find. Speed kills, kids—and bugs take the most tragic, violent losses of all.
From earliest family history, the lodge at Paulina Lake is stuck in my memory like the grasshopper husk at the edge of your headlight. My dad leased a primitive cabin in the old Odd Fellows camp through the ‘60s and ‘70s, and we drove countless un-air-conditioned hours to get there from Portland when I was a single-digit tot. It’s where I first pumped water for a drink, first caught a trout, fell out of a loft, hunted obsidian arrowheads, used an outhouse, trapped crayfish, and got profoundly and terrifyingly lost in the woods. (My older sister swears I never really came back). My little sister almost drowned in that lake, so deep and cold that Dad always said no one knew how far down the crater went…
Moto or not, returning to Paulina Lake had been on my personal fantasy list for a long time. Standing at the end of the dock, peering into the green shoreside water, I could almost hear the slippery, quick fins of foot-long Rainbows lurking deep in the chilled volcanic crater.
“What about you?”
“You mean my fantasies?” Pretty Wife smiled out over the lapping water. “I didn’t think you’d ever take me on a trip other people might call a vacation.”
Fantasy enough to go around, then.
After riding smoky rubber circles around us for a while as we played musical bikes, Jim blasted off to work at his Madras shop. Apparently, fantasies (and riding skills) vary widely in this part of the world. No slowpoke himself, Doug led Pretty Wife and I on a hot loop past the reservoir, this jaunt featuring a road advisory from our host that sounded very much like, “If there’s ever been a deputy on this road, I don’t know about it. And I ride this road a lot.”
Remember that Motorcyclist magazine does not endorse breaking the law. That is pure fantasy. We’re pretty sure, however, that a big K—the very bike which, last we heard, holds the land speed record with passenger—will remain fairly stable up to at least 90 mph, two-up on a dirt road while your pillion shoots video. Dirt roads have no posted speed limits, but you best keep an eye out for deer.