By Ellie Jayne
Westwood rider, John Stewart, was happy to share with us the information about his ride through “The State of Jefferson.” Stewart answered all the essential questions you would ask, but added a few comical remarks which made the interview quite interesting. He told us he routes his rides using Google Earth, paper maps, and GPS software. He starts from home, picks his destination, and uses his GPS to navigate. “Depending on the experience level of the riders, I try to pick the hardest route.” says Stewart, “It usually takes quite a while to route the rides, and you usually spend several hours working on it, but it is worth the time.” Stewart’s route started at Mt. Shasta, passed through Happy Camp, then to Grant’s Pass, Oregon where the riders stayed the night. After they left Grant’s Pass they followed the Rogue River, rode north, then landed in their destination, Coos Bay. On the ride back they switched it up a bit. They went to the coast, through Gold Beach, Oregon, then rode into the Coastal Mountains. From there, they looped Mt. Shasta, which brought their ride to an end.
When the routing is all done and Stewart and the rest of the riders start out on their ride, they typically ride about 200 miles per day.
“Sometimes we don’t come across towns until we need gas, but on this ride, a guy in our group broke his kick starter, and we weren’t anything close to a town, so we had to bump start the bike, then we found a tractor repair guy who helped us out near Myrtle Point, Oregon,” exclaims Stewart.”Some major rivers we travel are the Klamath, Rogue, and Illinois River. We rode from low elevation canyons to 7000 foot peaks! Stewart and his crew use dirt bikes licensed for the street, but try to avoid roads as much as they can. Stewart’s trusty steed is a KTM 640, while the other two riders’ bikes are a KTM 625 and a Honda XR650, all licensed for riding in the street, which is called “Dual Sport Motorcycle.”
When on rides the group usually stays at hotels, but bring camping gear just in case.”My favorite quote is ‘There is no such thing as bad weather, just bad gear’ by John Muir. The camping conditions weren’t all that great.” Stewart and his posse met up with rain and even a bit of snow! Stewart’s favorite overnight stay was in Grant’s Pass. He liked that the Rogue River runs through the town.
The riders usually eat out, but brought food and a portable stove, in case they ended up camping with no restaurants near. Stewart’s favorite place to eat was a Memorial Weekend barbecue competition in Coos Bay, Oregon.
Stewart was very enthusiastic in telling us about a water tower made into a tree house! At the tree house, he said, they have cool merchandise. He said they have very neat carvings, jewelry boxes, and many more carved accessories.
“This ride was not as difficult as others, there were long stretches of dirt with very little pavement; weather was quite cold, sometimes wet, and remote. I’d probably rate that as the best ride ever- but I always say that.” He chuckled.
“Dirt biking is my passion, but adding a license plate opened up a new aspect of riding that gives unlimited terrain.” recites Stewart.
If you have questions about this route or others, e-mail John Stewart at [email protected], he would be to willing to share maps or take anyone on his next big ride who also has a passion for riding.