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The Ride

 

It all started with these three email messages:

Kurt – “I am attempting to get a hall pass for Sun June 24, back Sun July 1 for a motorcycle trip.  If either or both of you can join me, that would be great.  I have to wait until school is out, and then the first 2 weeks of July are booked with other stuff, and I prefer not to ride late July/Aug because of the heat.

Subject to discussion, I would head back out to Custer State Park, or maybe Jasper and Banff.

I’ll let you know if I get the hall pass, and then you can start thinking if that could work for you.”

Marv – “I happen to be free for that time period, so I’m in.”

Me – “In too.”

From this, events were set in motion that would take the three of us on some of the best motorcycling roads in the country. Starting from home in Washington, we would sport-tour our way through Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and a corner of Oregon before returning home.

Emails for the plans travelled to-and-fro until we settled on a route, a motel for each night, and had our reservations booked.

Day 1 →

Flow of Electric City

Marv and I had been watchful of the weather, and concluded it would be a good weekend to ride to Eastern Washington. After putting out feelers to our frequent riding friends, Chris, Kurt, and Cary would be joining us, so we’d need three rooms. When we started looking for motel rooms in various towns we normally frequent, we discovered there was some sort of Search and Rescue convention that had filled many of the motels, so finding three suitable rooms at the same motel was problematic.  We finally found rooms in Electric City. It turned out to be a good place, but with a weak internet connection.

Kurt, Marv, and Chris met in Smokey Point, and then rode together to meet Cary and me in Sedro Woolley at the Park & Ride at the west end of the South Skagit Highway.

It was a warm Saturday morning and, after a brief ‘hello’, we headed east on the always-entertaining South Skagit Highway to Concrete and then on to Marblemount, where we stopped for gas.

The North Cascades Highway over Rainy Pass and Washington Pass was clear, with sharply-sculpted snow banks along the shoulders.

Washington Pass offered an opportunity for some photos and a leg stretch.

After descending the east slopes of the Cascades through the Methow Valley to Twisp, we stopped for lunch at La Fonda Lopez, a Mexican Restaurant. The people who run it are friendly, and the food is fresh and of good quality. Kurt discovered La Fonda Lopez a couple of years ago, and it’s now a semi-regular stop for us.

A major landslide on Loup Loup Pass had not yet been cleared, so we had to detour from one of our favorite segments of the planned route.  Landslides are common in areas where mountains are denuded by fires, and there had been a very large forest fire in the region in 2014.  Since we couldn’t take Loup Loup Pass, we followed the Methow River southeast to Pateros, and then turned north to Okanagan.

The Columbia River Road across the Nez Perce reservation follows the Columbia River Valley from Omak to Electric City. The valley is lovely in the spring – green and alive.

After pausing for gasoline and a break in Nespalem, we arrived at the motel in Electric City about 30 minutes later.

There aren’t many options for food around our motel, but we did find a no-frills diner for dinner.

Our group split up the next morning.  Cary lives in Wenatchee, so he was close to home.  Cary led Chris and Kurt south through the Coulee over a couple of his favorite backroads. Chris continued over Blewett Pass and I-90 to his home in West Seattle. Kurt went over Highway 2 to his home in Redmond. Marv and I retraced the path from the day before over Highway 20 back to Sedro Woolley where we split at the same spot where we had met the previous morning.

Each of us chimed in on an email thread later in the afternoon that we had made it home. It was a short ride, and gave us inspiration for our next ride, which will be coming up in July.

Here’s a link to this ride report’s permanent web page.

Rockaway!

I was fed up with the weather. Marv and I hadn’t been on a long motorcycle ride since late September, and I was tired of waiting. We’d had a miserable, cold, wet winter and, though the weather had warmed a little, the rain hasn’t lessened one bit. There had been almost no opportunities to get out for a day or two of motorcycle riding. Marv was recovering from surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff, and that had complicated things. He was feeling confident enough to ride now, so we were ready to go.

We had hoped to get away to Manzanita on the Oregon Coast, but the motels there were filling, and the prices were rising. I got online and secured an inexpensive room in Rockaway Beach, so we made plans to ride south Saturday, and return Sunday.

We left on Saturday morning with the plan to ride south through the Kent valley, and then work our way around some back roads in the Morton vicinity. There was a little rain around the Mount Rainier area, and it was still quite cool in those higher elevations. It was around 11 am that I was regretting not bringing my heated liner. I hadn’t expected so much cloud cover, and it hadn’t warmed as I’d hoped.  I borrowed a fleece from Marv to add a layer, and that did the trick. I was comfortable for the rest of the day.

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We cut a path south and west to Castle Rock, and then took a set of well-worn roads through the Longview area to cross the Columbia into Oregon. After continuing southwest on Apiary and Fishhawk Falls roads, we made another cut west on Highway 26 for a few miles to get to Highway 53 that would carry us nearly to Rockaway Beach. Then, after about 10 miles on Highway 101, we made it to our destination.

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The motel at Rockaway Beach was okay. It was right at the standard for motorcycle trips, although it did have an impressive view. The motel is right on the beach, and the second-floor room had a nice wide window open to the ocean.

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Rockaway Beach didn’t offer much in the way of restaurants, and we ended up at the Old Oregon Smokehouse, a crappy little deep-fryer place with only outdoor seating. The fish & chips was passable, but completely unremarkable, so I can’t recommend it.

I took a very nice, long walk on the beach.

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Sunday morning we packed our gear, and retraced our path back up to Highway 26. Then we tacked west to pick up the Lewis and Clark Road, which took us all the way up to Astoria where we crossed the Columbia back into Washington. We noticed that our civil employees were hard at work in all the areas, keeping motorists safe.

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We followed Highways 101 and 107 up to Montesano, and then turned north to work our way up through the Satsop area. We picked up Highway 101 and followed it all the way along the Hood Canal. At the Highway 104 turn-off, Marv turned towards Kingston to catch the ferry over to Edmonds, while I continued north towards Port Townsend to catch the ferry over to Keystone. From Keystone, I headed north on Whidbey Island, arriving home around 5 pm. I got word from Marv a short time later that he had made it home.

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Marv and I had ordered Becca Coolwear last fall.  They’re full-length one-piece garments designed to help keep one cool when worn beneath full riding gear.  We haven’t yet worn them in hot weather, so that feature will remain untested for the time being, but I’ve found the suit works well as a layer to help keep me warm in cool weather. I’ve worn it for short rides, and it works well on my commute to work. It fits snugly, is comfortable, and provides a layer of fabric between me and my Roadcrafter.

We both enjoyed being out on a ride. It was a good trip for getting back in the swing of riding. It had been too long.

Here’s a link to this ride report’s permanent web page. https://johntriggiani.com/my-2017-rides/rockaway/

 

Springtime Northern California Ride – 2016

Early in the year, Marv and I had discussed a ride to California. We missed making a California ride last year, and we were eager to get down there for some of the nice roads we both enjoy. 

We went through the process of recruiting our riding friends to go, casting a wide net to gather those who were interested and could make it. Dan Hytry committed right away, as he loves to ride in California. We had several riders reply with ‘Maybe,’ or ‘Let me see if I can get the time.’ In the end, six of us made the ride. Dennis Cook, and John Parish would go, and our friend from Los Angeles, Chris Hemer, would join the group in Redding and spend the week riding with us.

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