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Wandering the Northwest

September 14-28, 2015

Day 1 (solo) - Day 4 Total
Yreka, Ca to Springfield, OR via Crater Lake National Park
Recommended Food: Five Guys at Gateway in Springfield OR was pretty good.
Route Map on Google Maps

Gotta start by sayin' - Oregon is beautiful with some great roads!

Still at the COG rally motel, I headed for the free breakfast early. Uhmm, hey, it's kinda, cold, out here. Huh. - and that was a foreshadowing of days to come. A bit more foreshadowing for you readers - I brought a Mesh jacket and thin waterproof windbreaker for the 108 degree days at COG.

Started my first day on the slab heading north, just short of Shakespeareland, Ashland OR I abandoned the slab for more promising roads with numbers. The 273 rolled through some hills and ranches to get to the 66, also known as the Green Springs Hwy. Which, thank goodness, was nothing like a "Highway".

It offered almost zero traffic through sweeps and twists that slowly climbed in elevation. Three straight days of awesome winding roads - yay. Only down side, I could see the dark clouds building and the temperature dropping - quickly. By the time I got to the 66's two thirds point, at about 4000 feet - I pulled over put on an extra shirt, the windbreaker of the the mesh and got out the winter gloves. The C14 outside temp read 43 damn degrees in the middle of the damn day at one point - and I'm in a Mesh. Burr.

Continued up the left side of Upper Klamath Lake heading for the National Park. I could feel the clouds and cold chasing me. This portion was a little more sedate riding but beautiful all the same.

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Reaching the southern gate for Crater Lake NP I was tricked into thinking the building there was the official visitor center. Had a meh meal at the restaurant there. Enter the NP drove 300 yards and came to the real visitor center - ooops, lesson learned. Visited and learned.

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Crater Lake and the NP are amazing. It was cold, windy, smokey, overcast and rainy - and it was still amazing.

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Not sure what it is about the place, but awe inspiring. Entered from the south did a full clockwise loop and continued around to leave via the north exit.

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Each overlook offered a new perspective on the lake and island. Made me want to stop at every single one.

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There was a power boat down on the lake - never would have guessed.

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They were working on the east rim drive and there were a couple of dirt & gravel spots, accompanied by flagmen. I don't mind riding dirt, but my poor Concours has neither an extended fender or radiator protector. Just made me a little nervous.

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I will come back on a day with sunshine for a different experience. And if you haven't visited Crater Lake - do.

I was lucky the north entrance was open for business as you could see the fires approaching the north roads and covering a wide area.

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I spent more time a CRLA than I thought I would (I mean, it's just a lake, right?) so I boogie right on down the road.

Once I was back off the 97 onto the 58, I was on another fabulous motorcycling road. Not many twists, but nothing but sweepers for mile after mile. Traffic was light, there were plenty of places to pass and the locals were awesome about letting me by. It even warmed up a bit.  Enjoyable riding!!

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I got to Lowell and Lookout Point Lake about sundown. Pulled off for a photo, warm up and some smartphone time. Turns out there is a CycleGear in Springfield.

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Got to the CycleGear after closing, but hey look, two doors down is a Super 8 and across the street is a Cabelas.

Major Roads: 5 to 66  to 140 to Westside Rd to 62 to Crater Lake to 138 to 97 to 58 back to 5

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Route Map on Google Maps

Day 2 (solo) - Day 5 Total
Springfield, OR to Sandy OR via some nice roads and some misadventures
Route Map on Google Maps (Section 1)
Route Map on Google Maps (Section 2)

Early start on day two. Had chores to do. First stop on leaving the Super 8, Cabela's for some log johns base layer pants and turtle fur. Next was CycleGear for glove liners and a inexpensive 3 season lined water "proof" riding jacket with CE armour. And... the nice young lady helped me pick the best cut for my look and body type.  At least no more wet and cold for me.

Jumped on to the Mackenzie Hwy (126) and headed east for another run of twists and sweeps in the Cascades. Oregon offered up another awesome road with the right surface and layout - lots of dashed lines and accommodating natives. Even though it was plenty beautiful I was having such a great ride I made no flower sniffing stops on this leg.

At Belknap springs I hung a right an switched to East 242 which becomes a portion of the Mackenzie Hwy that closes in the winter. The suggested speed limit dropped almost immediately and signs started talking about tourists and pedestrians. Hmmmm, maybe this isn't the best choice, but I continued on. I'm very glad I did.

Mackenzie Hwy 242 section had some of the most twisty roads of my trip as well as what is some of the most beautiful roadside scenery to be viewed. The tourist traffic was light so I ignored the posted suggested speed limit - but took the time to sniff and photograph some flowers, and rocks, and mountains, and of course, my C14.

It was like the Concours was camouflaged on this road. Click photos to enlarge


The peaks and lava flows from the Sisters

The Dee Wright Observatory - a giant pile of rocks, arrange to create a safe viewing point of the Sisters and other volcanos.



Playing hide and seek with the Concours 14


Popping out the east side of Mackenzie Hwy into Sisters OR, I looked for some food but nothing struck my fancy. Instead, continued on by switching to north bound Hwy 20 with a fairly fast transition to N Santiam Hwy (22). These were just continuations of the beautiful and fun roads Oregon had provided all along. I had planned to ride the 22 till almost Salem and head north, but...   at Detroit Lake I changed my mind.

Detroit Lake is a rather scenic bunch of water right off the 22 shoulder. As I was rushing past I saw the turn to Breitenbush Rd. I'd seen it on the maps but couldn't tell if it made it all the way though to "the other side" (Hwy 26 at Mt. Hood). SO I ignore the male stereotype to pull in to a little store and ask, "nah, it goes through. Little rough though." Aaaaa, what the hell.

So I headed up Breitenbush Rd for the likes of Breitenbush and Ripplebrook. And this is the spot where it became a little more adventurous. Narrow road. Canopied road. Overcast sky hidden by the tall pines and leafy trees. A chill in the air humid enough to feel wet without the actual rain. Kind a creepy and beautiful at the same time. 

This road wasn't up to the same surface quality of the previous "hwy's" but it was no gravel road either. It just kept twisting deeper and deeper ito the Cascades. And I missed the point where it become NF46 instead of Breitenbush Rd. At one point I passed a sign the said something like "Hwy 26 - 25 miles" and led up an offshoot road the was far closer to gravel than the one I was traveling. I blew past it thinking, "That's gonna come back on me". (I now think it was the fully paved NF140 to NF42 - foreshadowing here).

At a crumbling steel and concrete bridge over the Clackamas River

I continued following NF46 along a Clackamas River (creek) until I reached the Oak Grove Clackamas Fork River. There I made a right onto NF57 / Oak Grove Fork Rd. which was narrower, windier and wetter. I made my way deeper into the bowels of the Cascades, I hadn't seen another living soul in about an hour. No people. No vehicles. But I road merrily on my way.

The narrowing one lane roads


Around a bend I came to a fork in the road. NF57 which I planned on taking on to the 26 suddenly turned into Timothy Lake Rd, no big deal - except of course the big sign "Pavement Ends, Hwy 26 - 11 miles" and the the gravely, slightly muddy surface it continued on with up a steep hill. Now, if I was on my KLR, OR if I had an extended front fender and radiator guard on the C14 - I would have continued on. But it wasn't and I didn't.

So I tried the other fork, NF58. This one was still paved, and according to my exceptionally stupid useless Garmin GPS it would remain so and go all the way to the 26 - but then that's what the Garmin junk said abou the "proven not to be true" NF57.

Up the 58 I sped, well sped might be a bit of an overstatement. And it got narrower. And it got rougher. And it got wetter. And now, it was getting darker. My dayligt time was slowly ebbing away.  Hmmm. And then, the last straw was the sign, "Emergency Radio Channel 7, 2 Hour Lag from contact".  Ahhhh, what? I mean I can figure out what it means I guess but - why is this sign here. A little farther a sign reading something close too, "Commerical road users, emergency radio area".

OKay, GPS was confused, 1 paper map indicated paved roads that went through while the other said 1 didn't go through (the NF57 dirt road that had a sign that said it did) and one that didn't go through (that I was on and it was still paved).

It's getting dark. I'm in the middle of a getting creepy forest. I don't have a tent or shelter. The rain clouds are thickening and chasing me. I don't know if the roads go through and if they stay paved. I don't want to take the C14 on muddy rock strewn roads at frikin night. Only one choice left.

Retrace my path back down NF58, back down NF57 to the larger "I know it goes through paved" NF46 and continue north, away from my Hood River OR destination. The NF46 becomes the Clackamas Hwy (224) just a few miles past the NF46 / NF57 junction. (But Google Maps won't allow the route from Ripplebrook to Sandy - whatever)

Back on the 224, I pushed my limits on the road a bit as I wanted to get to civilization prior to full dark. I made Estcada OR at twilight and pushed on to Sandy, OR with the very last glows in the sky.

I spent the night in Sandy's one and only hotel - a fairly nice Best Western.

So it turns out the NF57 and NF58 were just interesting side adventures to my main ride. And I didn't quite make my intended destination of Hood River, OR on day 2.


Route Map on Google Maps (Section 1)
Route Map on Google Maps (Section 2)

Day 3 (solo) - Day 6 Total
Sandy OR to Vancouver WA via Mt. Hood and Columbia Gorge
Recommended Food: K&M Drive In - Camas WA - 3414 NE 3rd Camas WA 98607 -- Bacon & Bleu Burger, CrossCut Fries and a marvelous Milky Way Shake www.kmdrivein.com/

Route Map on Google Maps


Waited a bit to get started cause it was, of course, raining. It did get a little lighter before I rolled out of Sandy.

Hwy 26 east is what I've now come to think of as a standard Oregon hwy - curvy, tree-lined, wide-laned, smooth surfaced fun with nice natives. I rode through Mt. Hood Village, Rhododendron and Government Camp in the light rain, with mist and clouds - nad not even a peek of Mt. Hood's peak. Actually not even the base or the ski resorts.

Made it all the way to Hood River OR, without even a glimpse of this mountain I don't even have visual proof exists. I confess, I allowed this to put me in a moild funk.

I wandered around Hood River for a little bit. Seems like a nice place. Sun had come out  and the town and Columbia river glittered. But looking back south, M. Hood remained gidden in the clouds and rain that were once again chasing me.

Found a park. Had a snack. Looked over the steam paddle wheel boat. Viewed the Hood River Bridge. Then got underway for a trip over the very same bridge and it's metal grid roadbed. Wee.


And now I'm in Washington.

Turns out there doing road work on the WA side of the gorge along Lewis & Clark Hwy (SR14). So I had the pleasure of following a line of about 30 cars follwoing the center line painting vehicles - so no passing, no turn offs and the smell of paint. Moderate funk acheived.

Once the painter boys pulled off and let us all by, traffic cleared up really quick (not sure where they went, but hey...) With a little movement and an amazing beautiful river and view, things started picking up. To the south, the storm was creeping closer and Mt. Hood was still hiding.

I just settled down to enjoy the ride. It felt good. Enjoyed enough to even keep me from stopping for a few photos. Regret that. Kept looking for a small little food joint to get some lunch - saw one or two but they just didn't capture my attention. Just kept riding.

Finally rolled off the Columbia, out of the Gorge park areas and into Camas WA. Wandered around looking for some place to eat - wasn't gonna do fast food dang it.

Saw K&M Drivein www.kmdrivein.com/ and decided what the heck. And glad I did.

Awesome service and a very tasty Bacon & Bleu burger with crosscut fries and my first taste of "fry sauce", something I haven't run across in CA or other places I've travelled. All excellent. It was so good I even broke down and got a Milky Way Shake for desert. Yum.

Funk pretty much gone.

Spent some time telling travel tails to several customers and employees. It was nice share the good parts of the trip so far with people interested. BUt every one told me, "total downpour is only an hour or less away, bundle up or maybe get off the roads - you don't want to be on our roads with rush hour drivers in a downpour". Huh.

I figured "meh" and headed out. I quickly found I was not impressed by the Oregon/Washington border rush hour drivers - factored in the warned about rain and figured all right - find a room and settle in for the night.

Without going into a long story about this - worst motel ever (well except maybe the place in Gallup NM with bed bugs I had to bail out of) - Vancouver WA Motel 6. Old, smelly, broken down. Had a customer laundry that took almost 1.5 hours to dry cloths for $2.50. Swear half the guest were full time residents, drinking and fighting out in the public areas. Cops drove through about once per hour trying to break up the drug dealing.

At least the two ladies working the desk were pleasant.

But it never rained. Not one drop.

This turned out to be the shortest day (and least miles) and the longest day all rolled in to one.

Funk was back, this was the first point in the trip I asked myself why are you out here doing this?


Route Map on Google Maps

Day 4 (solo) - Day 7 Total
Vancouver WA to Centralia WA via Mt. Saint Helens
Recommended Food: Sandy's Pizza - Toledo OR - 106 Kellogg Way, Toledo, WA 98591 -- Fresh ingredients, awesome sauce and great crust. www.sandyspizza.com

Route Map on Google Maps


And the funk continues. While there was no rain yesterday afternoon and evening while I hid in my room at the bottom of the barrell Motel 6, there was plenty the next morning. So I sat there in that crappy room waiting for the rain to get a little lighter. This went on for a couple of hours.

(My original plan was to take the 503 north out of Vancouver towards Lake Merwin and Yale Lake then east to NF25 where I would turn north till I reached NF99, the road to the Windy Ridge Observatory for Mt. Saint Helens National Monument, then circle around and go to the Johnston Ridge Observatory too.. I was told this was a pretty scenic and remote ride and provided a good view of Spirit Lake, Mt. St. Helens and the devastation area. I will come back for this road and view.)

The late start and amount of rain scared me off my intended route. I was told the road was pretty rough and might even be dirt in places, which would now definitely be mud. So not for me and the new Concours.

Instead, I rode up the 5 super slab to Castle Rock where I jumped off on to Spirit Lake Hwy (504) and headed east for Mt. St. Helens and the Johnston Ridge Observatory. I stopped a mile or two from the freeway at the Washington State Mt. St. Helens Visitor Center. They had a pretty interesting set of interactive exhibits and short movie worth watching.

Turns out there are like 5 visiting/learning/tree/native American centers for Mt. St. Helens along the length of Spirit Lake Hwy. I decided not to stop at them all.

The road was more sweeps lined by trees and vistas. The cold and rain certainly kept the traffic low too. I did enjoy the scenery.

Hey do you see Mt. St. Helens? Neither did I.

Upon reaching the Johnston Ridge Observatory I spent some more time looking at exhibits and watching informative movies, mainly cause you would only see the base of the volcano. No portion of the crater or caldera was ever visible while I was there. Kind of disappointing.

All the ranger walks were cancelled and ranger talks moved inside the visitor center - thanks rain.

The one weirdly bright spot for me, was Spirit Lake. You could only see it from this Observatory as a sliver of in the distance. And like the time I visited the Statue of Liberty and I expected it to be you know, ehh, interesting in a mild way - it actually had more of an impact than I expected. I remembered the event from my youth, the news coverage, the impact even worldwide. The stories of those caught and lost.

So once I had enough of not seeing Mt. St. Helens I took my souvenirs, packed up amd headed out the very same road I came in on. Still, the road was more sweeps lined by trees and vistas.

About 2/3 the way back on the 504, I switched to the 505 which lead me straight to the famous Toledo OR. Well, you may never heard of it, but it was a quaint little place with at least two good points that I know of; an interesting mural on one of the few large walls in town;

and Sandy's Pizza. Sandy's Pizza claimed to make their own sauce, dough from scratch and use mostly local fresh ingredients (not sure they could get peporoni from the local farmer but...) and it certainly tasted like they did. This tasty pizza helped get me back to thinking right and stop wit the gloomy Gus routine.

After a satisfying meal for the day, I slabbed it up to Centralia and settled in for a nice calm, early night.

I wanted to have a big day the next day.


Route Map on Google Maps

Day 5 (solo) - Day 8 Total
Centralia WA to Redmond WA via Mt. Rainier National Park and Snoqualamie Falls
Recommended Food: Henry M Jackson Visitor Center - Mt. Rainier National Park, WA -- Anything they have or make that you can eat while gazing on the spectacle Paradise Lodge

Route Map on Google Maps

The weather was better and so was my attitude.

I actually got to see the peak of one of the volcanoes I came to see.

With a quick backtrack down the slab, I started today's adventure going east on Hwy 12 in glorious sunshine. It wasn't particularly warm but no rain and I cold SEE stuff. I even started seeing glimpses of Mt Rainier through the billions of WA trees. Although the peak was shrouded in clouds.

It was a nice ride along rivers and lake with some open areas before heading north at Morton WA on Hwy 7, which brought back the ticker forests. Upon hitting the National Park Hwy (706) I headed east towards the west entrance for Mt. Rainier NP.

There were tons of small a quaint motels and lodging along 706 both before and once in the national park. If I would have known there were so many options I would have optioned for night near Ashland than Centralia - just seemed, prettier and more adventurous. Mt. Rainier continued to tease me throug the trees, but still hidden in white puffiness.

I just enjoy the peaceful sedate ride through this beautiful park and scenery. Traffic was light and allowed be to enjoy the views around me without being rushed or surround by cages.

My first stop of the day was at the bridge over Nisqually River. There was a little bit of river, but mainly I was a giant boulder strewn scar down the mountain. It was pretty impressive. You could see the power of the flow by what it left behind.
Up the river and down the river

(I do regret not stopping for a bit at Longmire, but I did not know it's part in the Mt Rainier story until I reached Paradise)

I kept rolling on Paradise Rd till I reached Paradise itself and the Henry M. Jackson Visitor Center. The open areas and meadows with their beautiful fall colors and flowers were inspiring. Mt. Rainier itself was shrouded in white cotton balls. The sun was out and it felt great to be alive.

The picture looks fake - but it's not

After spending a little time in the displays and exhibits offered I found my way to the food offerings. I chose a hot dog, slice of pizza, chips and a Gatorade. The selection was pretty small, and other than the items I chose, cold.

I took my little warm picnic and found a spot away from the lodge and center and most of the people. I gazed at the magnificent mountain while savoring the edibles. Best institutional hot dog and pizza slice ever. Nature can just make things better.

As I was finishing, the crown of clouds Mt. Rainier was wearing began to break, They blew off the Paradise side, flowing over the peak and leaving Mt. Rainier basking in the sun for all to see. Picture time. Get'em while you can. My photos don't remotely do the landmark justice.

After photos and souvenir shopping it was time to roll on down the scenic road. I continued on Paradise Rd until it became Stevens Canyon Rd. Which along the north side of the canyon offering vistas to the south, with rivers, falls and peaks. Stevens Canyon eventually starts heading north and finally t-bones Hwy 123.

Hwy 123 runs north in the NP and provides glimpses from the east of Mt. Rainier, and eventually dumps you on to Mather Memorial Parkway (410). The clouds were settling back again. But not far along is the junction back into the park for Sunrise Park Rd and  Sunrise Ridge. This is the place you go to see Mt. Rainier from the north.

Sunrise Park Rd is a little rougher, little narrower and a lot twistier. It runs along canyons mostly without vistas so I , ahh, added a bit more speed. (Not brilliant in a NP, but fun). The view from Sunrise was obscured by clouds, but offered some beautiful vistas of the mountain range to the east. It's boggling how far the mountains and trees extend in every direction.

Mt. Rainier Hidden in clouds

To the east of Sunrise

The end of photos signaled it was time to continue on. Mather Memorial Parkway (410) north & west. You could both see and feel "civilization" in the distance. Hooked a right on 169 and danced up the eastern edge of the metro areas till I reached the Auburn - Echo Lake Cutoff (18) heading for Snoqualmie Falls.

I arrived at Snoqualmie Falls just prior to sunset. I've been to the falls before, maybe 15 years ago. While the falls themselves haven't changed much, the "park" and "civilization" around it have. More and newer of everything. Not quite so, rustic, as I remember.

So i finished up by riding down the 202, through Fall City to my nights lodging in Redmond, WA - an Extended Stay right in the middle of Microsoft land.

Tomorrow the visits with friends and family started. (I won't subject you to those).


Route Map on Google Maps

Days 6, 7 and 8 visting with family and friends

Day 9 (solo) - Day 12 Total
Redmond WA to Anacortes WA via Motoplex Lynnwood, the Sound and Orcas Island
Recommended Food: The best pre-made, waiting in the cooler sandwich I've ever had,  from Orcas Village Store at the Orcas Island landing - a generous amount of real Turkey and thick tasty bacon on good Marbled Rye. Orcas Village Store
Helpful Dealer: Lynnwood Motoplex, 17900 Hwy 99, Lynwood WA. Doug in service [url=http://www.motoplex.net/]www.motoplex.net/[/url]

Route Map on Google Maps

Three days of fun and food with friends and family, and now I'm back on the road.

For the last couple of days riding I kept getting wiffs of an odd smell from the Concours (pretty sure it wasn't me) that I hadn't noticed in the past. (picture me walking and kneeling around the bike, sniffing like a coke fiend with a cold) Couldn't really locate anything specific. Then on day 5, the front brakes started a little squeal.

Brakes looked good to me, plenty pad left and nothing I could see stuck in them. Left Cali with like 65% left (with 8K on them). Looked up the closest K dealer and headed over.

SHOUT OUT to Doug the service guy over at Motoplex in Lynnwood WA ([url=http://www.motoplex.net/]www.motoplex.net/[/url]). He listened to my story, venutred out side, rolled around the asphalt parking lot inspecting the brakes, front and rear. "They look good, but let me roll it in the shop and look closer. We can at least blow them off and see if it's just brake dust squeaking". Ten minutes later - I have my bike back with an all clear diagnosis. When I asked what I owed them, "Nothing, only took a few minutes and that's what I'm here for. Where you riding too?" And he proceeded to tell me about some awesome local rides I should hit if I had time. Another dealer that treated me right! Lynnwood Motoplex, 17900 Hwy 99, Lynwood WA.

Slabbed 5 to Hwy 20 on the path to Anacortes and the ferry terminal. Some nice views of the bays and straights from a fairly bring stretch of road.

When I got to the terminal and got in line to pay up for a trip to an island, turns out I timed it perfectly... wrong. To late to make the non-international ferry I could see in the terminal by 5 minutes and 2.5 hours early for the next one. Nice job Keith!! I just handed over my money and figured I'd find something to do.

So there were two cars that were already waiting for my Shaw, Orcas, San Juan Ferry (whatever dudes) but the ferry pay booth lady said, "Go around to the left and park you bike infront of the cars in lane 12." Ahhh, okay. Seems motorcycles get to go to the head of the line (even though there wasn't much of a line, but that would change).

2 hours and some foot wandering behind me, we rolled onto the big boat. The Shaw folks got to go before me, but I was first for Orcas! Felt important.

Nice ferry lady showed me where I should park. And then she walked away. "Uhmm..", "Yes Sir", "Don't we strap it down or something" - I get a laugh (snicker really and that wave you get when some one is brushing you off because your silly) "Just leave it in gear on on the kick stand and it'll be fine sir". And she continues on smiling and shaking her head.  Ahhhh, okay.

The views from the ferry were beautiful. The lunch was... non-existent. Opposite of all the advertising and info I was given, only food on ye ol' car carryin' boat were vending machines. Appears that on Tuesdays after 2pm - no food for you. Orange Crush and Red Licorice for lunch - mmm.

First stop Shaws Island.

Orcas Island, my stop, was second. As you approach the landing it all seems quite picturesque with the white buildings and tiny harbor. First vehicle off the boat. Mr important again.

My original intent was to find a place to stay on Orcas Island and bail in the morning. But... that meant I had the choice of being in line for the ferry by 6:15am or waiting for a later boat that got me to the "mainland" about 1:30pm. Neither really worked for me, so it looked like a 3 hour tour of Orcas to see the sights and be back at the Orcas terminal by 7pm for the trip back at night.

Heading out Orcas Village on Orcas Rd (I thinking I'll be typing Orcas al lot) I quickly noticed that the island topography was going to be more diverse than I expected. Large meadows, lakes, farms, crops and other "normal" stuff abounded. All pretty as a picture though. Took a quick non-stopping tour of Eastsound and the quaint waterline businesses. I headed south when I hit Olga Rd.

My first try for lodging was going to be Rosario Resort (before I changed my plans) so I decided I at least wanted to see it. So I did. In very pretty place at the end of very pretty road on a very pretty island. I wandered the ground s for a few minutes. Found a nice bush down near the waterline out of site from the building windows (and possible cameras) to make myself more comfortable. And headed back for Olga, the path to the southern tip of the eastern section of Orcas.

I really wanted to ride to the top of Mt.Constitution in Moran State Park to see the view from the mountain portion of Orcas. But alas, time was tight and I only had enough minutes to get down to Obstruction Island or to the top of the mountain. I'd seen more mountains on this trip so far, so opted for the water experience.

Got down to the end of Obstruction Pass Rd. saw some pretty island coastline scenery and then hightailed it back for the ferry terminal,  while watching REALLY carefully for the deer as they were tiny, in big bunches and everywhere.

Making it back to the terminal (and front off the line, still don't know why they let motorcycles infront of everybody, but hey, awesome) alive, undamaged, no deer blood and with 15 minutes to spare, I quickly hunted around for some lunch/dinner/only meal of the day. Everything was closed, except the Orcas Village Store right there at the terminal.

The scanned the little market and didn't really find anything to make or box of something to eat. So I grabbed a pre-made sandwich from the cooler that all small markets and convenience stores have, some chips, a strawberry Fanta and splurged on a homemadeish brownie thing. Yay, another fancy meal. Packed it up to eat on the ferry ride back to solid land.

BEST FREAKIN' PRE-MADE SANDWICH EEEVVVVVEEEEERRRRRR! I'm sitting their upwrapping the sandwich as I realize what I really bought - fresh marbled rye bread with real turkey carved right off an actual bird and gobs of it. Huge thick strips of bacon, smokey and sweet. Perfect amount of a couple of kinds of lettuce and just the right amount onf condiments (I pulled off the beautiful fresh tomatos cause... yuk). People actually walked by oogleing my sandwich as I guarded it from the hungry hordes (since the ferry still only offered vending machine fare). BEST DAMN PRE-MADE, SARAN WRAPPED, OUT OF A CONVENIENCE STORE COOLER, SANDWICH EEEVVVVVEEEEERRRRRR!
Orcas Village Store and there is a sandwich section on the site.

Got off the boat. Almost got killed by a deer and then a lady veering out of the oncoming lane right at me when ithe same deer startled her on her lane. Found a hotel in Anacortes and packed it in for the night.


Route Map on Google Maps

Day 10 (solo) - Day 13 Total
Anacortes WA to Forks WA via ferries and Olympic National Park
Recommended Food: Staring down Mt. Olympus (among others) from Hurricane Ridge  while eating freshly made chicken tenders and fries, with an extravagant fudge and caramel candy desert. Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center

Route Map on Google Maps

Up early as I wanted to get a lot of miles in today while seeing Olympic National Park.

Started with a run from Fidalgo Island to  Whidbey Island and beyond on Hwy 20. Another scenic and diverse road, farms to forest. Deception Pass State Park is split between the southern tip of Fidalgo and the northern tip of Whidbey right along the, you guessed it, Deception Pass Straight. It all seems so very remote and hidden with the big span of bridge between the two.

My first indication of a naval base (Naval Air Station Widbey Island) was the fighters suddenly flying over Deception, followed by various heavys. Kinda weird, in a state forest park to suddenly hear a building roar and the military topping the trees. Area locals probably find it pretty mundane.

Little farther down the island I caught the Fort Casey to Port Townsend ferry. Had a little better timing this time. Paid me fee, got in the assigned line just as the very last car was puling on to the ferry. Never even stopped until I was in my place on the ferry. But behind everybody this time.

I do enjoy the ferry crossings, but they sure slow down progress.

Port Townsend seemed a pretty little place, at least down by the shoreline. But I headed right out, circling the southern tip of Discovery Bay with it's views through the trees of calm blue water. Migrating from Hwy 20 to Olympic Hwy (101) at the city of Discovery Bay. Rode pas the tip of Seqim Bay too.

It's a bummer to have to bypass so many little places and side trips I would like to partake of on the way (Dungeness, Hwy 112, Shipwreck Point, Neah BAy, etc.) but there is only so much time I can spend each day. Unfortunately I do need to get closer to home with each passing day now.

At Port Angeles,  I veered off for Olympic National Park on Hurricane Ridge Rd. After a quick stop at the visitor center I continued on for the Hurricane Lodge, said to be a great place to view the expanse of Olympic NP and Mt. Olympus. It is.

It starts with a wonderfully twisty and vegetation shrouded ride that then breaks out on to the windy and open Hurricane ridge. There are evening passing areas. The vistas are spectacular.

The expanse, the number of visible peaks, the gorges and canyons, falls and rivers - staggering. The hugeness is impressive all in itself.

This raven and I squared off. Every time I would walk away from the Concours he would take flight and try an land on my seat. I think he wanted to check out the yellow bag over the GPS. But I wasn't gonna leave him to destroy my seat and scratch my bike the little pecker head. He finally gave up an sailed away - no flapping needed in the wind.

I enjoyed an oil-boiled lunch of Chicken Tenders and Fries from the visitor center while sitting in the wind and slight rain at an outdoor picnic table all by myself while gazing upon the splendor of Mt. Olympus and like 30 other peaks. (Everyone else huddled behind windows inside) These are some of my favorite meals, the surroundings making the comfort food staples even better. I topped it off with a ridiculously extravagant dark chocolate caramel candy brownie thing. Couldn't get both in focus.

I walked a few paths, one leading to the "other" side of the ridge where you can look back where I came from and see Port Angeles, Vancouver Island, Victoria BC, San Juan Island, Hurricane Hill, Strait of Juan del Fuca and more. Quite the astounding view.

After spending way to long at Hurricane I'm know running way behind the schedule I hoped  to keep. I wanted to make the rain forests at either Hoh or Quinalt yet today.

With that intention still in mind I set out at a brisk pace, blowing right past many things I would have enjoyed enjoying. Skipping photo ops too. One I am specifically disappointed to have skipped was Lake Crescent along the northern border of the National Park. I regret no stop and no pics. I was certainly beautiful as I rode by.

The real disappointment came when I was getting dark and I was still at least 1 hour from the nearest rain forest (Hoh). As I was hoping to SEE the rain forest and not just stumble blindingly through it on a dark and stormy night (would have been cool if it was Haloween), I decided I might as well wrap it up for the day in Forks WA as it was the last "real" town for awhile.

Turns out, I found out, that Forks is the place the filmed (at least portions of) that sappy vampire / werewolf saga thing called "Twilight". Didn't see it, didn't really care. But Forks thinks it's pretty impressive and important. Unfortunately for me, all the Twilight themed rooms were taken in my motel (eye roll goes here).


Route Map on Google Maps

Day 11 (solo) - Day 14 Total
Forks WA to Netarts OR via Ruby Beach, Quinault Rain Forest, WA & OR Coast
Recommended Food: Slater's Diner - Raymond WA 124 7th Street, Raymond WA 98577 Stuffed Sandwich Fries Incredible Hulk Soda (7-Up & lime) and Gooey Butter Cake http://www.slatersdiner.com/
Recommended Lodging: Terimore Lodging By the Sea  Netarts, OR - 5105 Crab Ave W, Tillamook, OR 97141 http://www.terimoremotel.com/

Route Map on Google Maps

Wanted to leave early, but waited a bit for the rain to stop. A familiar theme. But by waiting an extra hour I managed to not be rained on for the entire day. Kind of ironic as this was the day I was going to visit the rain forest.

As I rode south out of the twilight zone of "Twilight" land (Forks) I came across the Forks Timber Museum. Small but interesting. If you visti Forks and aren't somekind of Twilight groupie, the Timber Museum is worth at least a few minutes of your time.

Olympic National Park is fairly unique in that portions of it are separated away from the main body. The largest section is the most well known and contains Mt. Olympus and the mountain ranges plus both the HOH and Quinault rain forests and all are surrounded by the Olympic National Forest. But there are sections, thin slivers actually, that run along the WA coastline from Ozette to Kalaloch and are not connected via national park or forest land to the main body. These coastline stretches include some very famous spots like Ruby Beach.

Ruby Beach was my first stop of the day. When some one says to me, "Washington coastline", Ruby Bach is the picture I conjur in my head. Tall pine trees all the way to the sandy beach. Crashing waves and surf pounding cliffs and rocks strewn with the white trails left by eaons of seabirds roosting. The beaches littered with driftwood some nearly entire intact trees. This is Ruby Beach.

Next stop, a moderate rain forest within the Olympic NP. I finally decided on the more southern Quinault as it was closer to the park boundary and less of drive off the 101 to get to the rain foresty part. I HAVE to make some distance southward today, so the Quinault choice made sense.

I found the North Shore Rd. turnoff just before Quinault Lake and rode along it's picturesque shoreline as I headed for the rain forest. I stopped at the Ranger Station/Center it was closed. Zero cars and zero people. It appeared I had the rain forest to myself.

I rode. I hiked. I took pictures.

Suddenly, much sooner than I expected, the road turned to gravely dirt (with a nice slick mud sheen on the top). I had expected crappy pavement for another few miles so I could get to the bridge that would allow me to ride the South Shore Rd. back.  But again the lack of radiator guard, fender extender and chickeness to ride my 700 lber plus fat, out-of-shape rider and overstuffed luggage,  on the slick wettish dirt led me to turn around and miss the upper portion of the rain forest area. I suck.

I really liked the rain forest. I wish I could have stayed longer. I wish I would have visited Hoh and Quinault (the rangers said they are very different with Ho being wetter and mossier and Quinault being more ferny and oaky). I wish my legs were longer so I was more comfortable duck walking the Concours on crappy slick roads when needed.

Back on Hwy 101, I blazed south. Enjoying the good roads with lots of sweepers and plenty of places to pass folks who aren't in a rush (not that I was, I just prefer my vehicles traveling a little speedier than some).

At Aberdeen WA, an interesting little river town, I crossed over the Chehalis River. I decided I wanted to see more coast, so rather than continuing on south on 101 I veered west on Hwy 105. This gave me some beautiful vistas of Chehalis Bay and then the Pacific Coast with a final loop back to Hwy 101 along the northern edge of  Willapa Bay. Lots of  wildlife areas and marshs teaming with birds.

As I passed through Raymond WA I decided it was time for chow. I stumbled across Slater's Diner right on the 101. Let's give it a shot. It was a kitchy little diner decorated with pop culture artifacts from the diner eras. Maps, records, playbills, tons of photos. True soda Shoppe drinks named after people like James Dean and Marilyn Monroe. I ordered an Incredible Hulk - 7Up & Lime - which was very tasty (this was one of those days I was bummed about giving up sodas/caffeine 10 years ago - really wanted a James Dean- Dr. Pepper and Vanilla).  I ate a fantastic "Stuffed" sandwich - Canadian bacon, turkey, pastrami, roast beef, cheese all stuffed in to their signature baked pocket bread along with a hearty helping of crisscut fries. Nom nom nom. And I finally topped it off with their Gooey Butter Cake - oh good lord was that rich, and tasty.
Slater's Diner gets a thumbs up from me.
Slater's Diner - Raymond WA 124 7th Street, Raymond WA 98577 http://www.slatersdiner.com/

And back on the road, Hwy 101 to be specific, heading due south as fast as I thought I could get away with. Enjoying the smooth asphalt, long sweeps and relatively light traffic. Crossed the big ole long and tall bridge at Astoria OR over the Columbia River. See ya Washington you've been fun and pretty.

Southbound 101 offered many more glimpses of beautiful bays and the Pacific Ocean.

As the day was ending I passed through Tillamook. Huh. Tillamook Cheese. I thought Tillamook cheese was from Wisconsin or someplace like that. I looked around Tillamook for a place to stay. Nothing seemed right.

Finally I decided I wanted to stay on the coast, not inland. Figured the price would go up, but what the heck. I should get to spend one night really on the coast. I wested it on the 131, which took me to Netarts OR. I headed north from there and passed into Oceanside which turned out to only be residences. While there I saw a sign for Cape Mears Lighthouse - yea, I should visit at least one lighthouse on the coastline trip! SO I did. Rode into the state park as the sun was getting close to setting. Pulled into the lot with one other car. Hustled down the trail and suddenly I see... the light. Just kind of sitting their at the end of the walkway. "That's it. I came this extra way for that." But I got closer and there was another trail down the hill a bit to where the light house tower started. Okay - now that's a light house (still a small one, but a real light house).
My first look.

Views from the Cape Mears Lighthouse

As the sun finally set, I pulled out of the Cape Mears State Park, back south through Oceanside and as I passed through tiny little Netarts I saw a couple of small Inns with vacancy signs. I had planned to make Pacific City for Lodging, but that was before the Cape Mears side trip.

I wound out at the Tenimoore Inn.
Surprisingly affordable for a place along the top of the shoreline cliff. The service was excellent and helpful. I had a nice room, with a good bed, sporting a private balcony overlooking the the cliff, beach and ocean. The roar of the waves filled my room. I even was able to park the Concours right outside my fron door. I walked up 50 yards to the little market, bought a few things for a light dinner. I spent the evening on my balcony, eating my morsels, drinking a little Scotch, browsing on the fast, free wifi and then sitting in the dark evening listening to the waves crash on the rocks below. I slept well. Perfect.

From my balcony

A few more from the next morning

Terimore Lodging By the Sea  Netarts, OR - 5105 Crab Ave W, Tillamook, OR 97141 http://www.terimoremotel.com/


Route Map on Google Maps

Day 12 (solo) - Day 15 Total
Netarts OR to Shady Cove OR via OR Coast
Recommended Food: Yeong's Place - North Bend OR - 1120 Virginia Ave, North Bend, OR 97459 - Elk Burger, Tater Tots and Chocolate Shake Yeongs Place
Recommended Lodging: Royal Coachman - Shady Cove, OR Crater Lake Highway 62  - inexpensive - http://www.royalcoachmanmotel.com/

Route Map on Google Maps

Got up. Enjoyed a nice leisurely breakfast on my ocean balcony. Headed down the Oregon Coast.

The scenery was gorgeous. The road surfaces smooth. The route presented lots of twists and sweeps. The first 2/3 of the day was some of the crappiest riding I've endured.

Lines of cars that were unwilling to pass each other, even on long open straights. Drivers holding back lines of vehicles while siteseeing at 10 miles under the posted speed limit (and again, no one willing to pass).

Just enough on-coming traffic so that it took forever for me to find places I could jump 5 cars at a time.

And... I just plain had terrible timing. After a couple of long straights, with multiple multi-car passes I'd get around some guy doing 10 miles under while holding back a line of 20 cars (and nobody passing in front or behind me). Now nobody in front of me for two more miles of straight. I'm only doing the speed limit and feel like I'm on a drag strip.

Awesome, here come some sweeps and twisties. Round the first corner with some good lean angle and  - arg! were the hell did that semi come from? He wasn't in front me a second ago.

I'd then then follow this truck, rv, sedan, willys jeep, under-achieving corvette, station wagon, harley, delivery van, family truckster, at-at walker, scooby mobile, foot-pedaled kids tractor or sight-seeing flying saucer through 10 miles of the good stuff, and finally get to whip around them on the first straight right in to the rear spot in a line of 20 cars going 10 under the speed limit. Deja freakin' vu.

No stops. No photos. I wasn't gonna let the last (each) group of ridiculously slow pokes back in front of me. Not that it mattered. This pattern lasted the entire length of the beautiful Oregon coastline from Netarts to Coos Bay.

For some reason, I've always had it in my mind that I wanted to see Coos Bay. Don't know if I read something, over heard something, was told a story, or as a youngster I thought "Coos" Bay meant something a little different. But frankly I stayed the coastline course specifically to get to Coos Bay (otherwise I would have bailed by Newport and found better riding).

Wow - Coos Bay. What a let down. Not sure if I missed the "real" Coos Bay, or didn't understand what was supposed to be so great about it, or was in such a foul mood I spoiled it, or...  but I found nothing special about Coos Bay. Didn't even see a food joint that struck my fancy.

Finally asked the guy working the Chevron. He sends me, get this, back up the road, out of Coos Bay, to North Bend. "Go to Youngs man, awesome burgers and service. Oh and it's spelled Y-e-o-n-g-s - so you don't miss it."

With huge doubts in my head I almost skipped it. But I decided I was really hungry and  I'd give Yeongs a try. Soooo glad I did.

Found it and pulled up to the place that looked like an old fosters freeze building from the 70's. Not dirty but just a little, old. They were busy at 2:30 in the afternoon. Nearly all seats taken and a couple people in line. I think it's a good sign when a place is busy on off hours. Ordered me a 1/3 pound elk burger - yep, elk, along with tater tots (childhood being relived) and lemonade from the smiling and admittedly pretty young ladies. They were quick and efficient and always smiling. They seemed to be enjoying the customers and the work. Actually brightened my day a little.

Then the elk burger came. This is what a burger should be; juicy, hot, thick with lettuce and condiments dripping out of it. Full on mouth watering aroma and satisfying to the taste buds. Don't know how much of it was the elk - but this was a damn awesome burger. Great fresh fries with there version of that not-found-in-Cali thing called fry sauce. The food was so good I splurged on a choclate shake that I saw her put the real ice cream in. Heaven.  Can't recommend Yeongs enough.
Yeong's Place - North Bend OR - 1120 Virginia Ave, North Bend, OR 97459 Yeongs Place

I left with a good impression of North Bend and a food and chocolate shake adjusted mood.

I headed east, away from the dreaded ride killing coastline on the Coos Bay - Roseburg Hwy (42). This proved to be the type of roads I was used to in Oregon, wide with lots of sweeps and places to pass that were often not needed because of the light traffic. Yea.

I quickly arrived a the 5, were after only a few miles of southbound action I ramped off in Canyonville and continued heading east, on Tiller Trail Highway (227). This was a sparsely traveled 2 lane with fantastic surface and lots of fun twists and sweeps. And I rode them fast as I dared.

Farm land, canyons, cliff sides, ridges, it had it all. I pushed my limits riding all the way through to Crater Lake Hwy (62) at which point I considered going back to Crater Lake for a visit in the sun (see day 1 back up at the beginning of this thread). But the sun was almost gone already and I didn't really have two more days to be riding. I needed to get home. So I headed SW on Crater Lake Hwy instead, figuring to stop for the evening in Medford or Ashland.

But just a few miles down the road I rolled into Shady Cove. A nice quiet little place. I passed a motel called the Royal Coachman (seriously, Royal Coachman in Shady Cove) that looked small and quaint with a big sign that said king singles starting at 49.99. And a second sign saying motorcycles welcome. As I rode through town I saw bigger places, fancier places and chain places. For some reason, my brain was telling me, screw Medford stay in Shady Cove - and Royal Coachman is the place. So I doubled back.

Now, it isn't the Ritz, and it had a shower stall that felt like a vertical coffin (drop the soap and you have to step out to bend down to retrieve it - not kidding) and there was one extra electrical outlet in the whole place (oh the horror). But it was clean, had a comfy king size bed with good pillows, exceptional WiFi, fridge and micro plus 42" flat screen with Dish. And the big unexpected bonus - decks at the edge and over the Rogue River.
Royal Coachman - Shady Cove, OR Crater Lake Highway 62  - inexpensive - www.royalcoachmanmotel.com/

So again I went up a street to a little market, bought some goodies and returned to throw myself a little party on the river decks. This time I had some company. I shared the deck, as the sun set and the air became cool, with a nice thirty-ish couple that arrived on their BMW, and four college kids on a weekend adventure . I shared my newly acquired good cheeses, dry salami and fancy crackers as appetizers. The BMWers chopped their two thick steaks into shareable portions, while the collegians ponied up a chicken. While the BBQ action took place, bread and salad appeared from somewhere. I stepped next door and bought some wine to serve with dinner. Let the deck party commence.


A few hours later, after we polished off a six-pack of some local craft beer I'd never heard of and my newly purchased bottle of reasonably good Bourbon (that I didn't have to drink alone), hugs and contact info were exchanged and we all stumbled off to our respective rooms, cabins and bungalows.

A perfect end to a day that started out so... slow.


Route Map on Google Maps

Day 13 (solo) - Day 16 Total
Shady Cove OR to Central Valley Ca via Lassen Volcanic NP, the Sierras & slab

Route Map on Google Maps

Struggled out of bed with a slight hangover. The Beemer Couple was long gone and I'm sure the collegiate four were nursing real hangovers.

Headed south on the Crater Lake Hwy till it met back up with the super giant slab of asphalt, Hwy 5. I had a lot of miles to cover today to get me home, so as much freeway time as possible made sense. I still wanted to have a little fun and tourism along the way though.

I jumped over to Hwy 89 just south of Mt. Shasta. Back to two lanes, with curves and plenty of places to pass the sparse traffic. This pretty little road with its northern Sierra beauty took me straight to Lassen Volcanic National Park.

I had learned earlier this morning that it was a "Free Day" at the nations Parks and Monuments. I almost bailed on a trip to Lassen as I feared huge crowds and long lines. Finally decide d to go anyway, and hear at the northwest entrance - no big deal.

Lassen Peak Hwy (still 89) winds through Lassen NP as the only major road. Traveling at the reduced Federal speed limits gives you plenty or opportunity to view the amazing sights. There are huge wildfire scars left from last years burn in the park. Huge swaths of dead trees with still no ground vegetation. It's beautiful in it's own sad, desolate way.

Continuing up the the side of Mt. Lassen you get huge vistas looking over the heart of the northern Sierra Nevada range. Pretty impressive.

At the highest point of the Lassen Peak Hwy you find a large parking lot and the trailhead to the 2 mile hike to the summit peak of Mt. Lassen. It's quite a change in elevation and takes a few hours to complete, so not in the cards for me today. There was a steady stream of hikers though. You could see the effects of Free Day on the trail.

The southern portion of the Lassen Peak Hwy, coming down the mountain is full of fun tight curves, but it still has those pesky Federal park low speed limits. I passed a single car and found no "obstacles" ahead. I just couldn't help myself and ran this road a little faster (a lot really) than posted. I never encountered another vehicle while all the way to the visitor center - unless of course you include the ranger, sitting stopped in the middle of the oncoming lane as I came around the last tight corner.

He flipped on those blues and reds. I tried frantically to slow down and look innocent. Just sitting in the road, he glares at me and gives me a super dirty look, points at me with emphasis and mouthed the words, "Lucky". As I started to pulled over so he could spin around and deal with me, he turns the lights back off, puts the rangermobile back in gear and heads up the road, away from me. Guess he had something more important. Lucky is right.

When I pulled into the visitor center 50 yards farther up the road, luck was still shining on me because I got a space right up front. You see, I found where the "Free Day" was having the biggest impact, the south entrance visitor center. They were having a wine tasting wine fest thing - right there in the visitor center (I have to do 35 or less but the Rangers and getting people drunk  - whatever). It was a zoo.

As I de-gear myself for a trip into the building, a Harley rider standing with a group walks over. "Man are you ever lucky." Not sure if he means the FedCop or the parking spot. "I was standing here watching. He pulls out of the parking lot here and heads up the road and suddenly stops right over there and just sits there. I look up the road to see what he's looking at and I can see this motorcycle popping into view every now and then around some of the outside corners. Buzzing along pretty fast there weren't you?" He grins at me. "He sat there waiting for you, watching you speed around those turns - and then let's you go. Lucky man." He walks away shaking his head.

So I just wanna buy some tourist trinket and maybe some food in the visitor center, but it's a madhouse. Drunk people trying to buy "chits" to get more wine from the visitor center cashiers (who thought up that plan). Music, art booths, wine producers it all looked lovely - and I wanted the hell out of there. Twenty minutes later I gave up on food and took my $4 magnet and left.

I continued south on Hwy 89 through the scenic Sierras until I reached the junction with Feather River Hwy (70). This is a motorcycle road. Nothing but sweepers and twisties through a gorgeous canyon with sweet smooth surface and a startling lack of traffic in either direction. And no Federal NP speed limits. I just opened her up and never slowed down till I reached the bottom of the mountains and connected with the flatland 2 lanes rolling into Oroville.

From Oroville on it was nothing but super slab and flat lands traveling in a straight line. Still almost 3 hours to go with less than two hours of daylight left. There were some unique clouds and sights on the last section though.

Finally arrived home. Ended the final long day and my awesome wanderings of the northwest with a glass or two of some Angels Envy Bourbon neat, with one ice cube.


Route Map on Google Maps

Wandering the Northwest Summary
16 = Total days
3 = COG NW/SW Combined Rally in Yreaka
13 =  Solo days exploring the northwest

3783.7 =  miles traveled, garage to garage

44.2 =  average mpg
2 =  number of times I forgot that I need help filling my tank in Oregon
50% =  amount of PR4 GT's used up from starting brand new on this trip
12 =  days I got wet from rain while riding (at least a little)
3 =  days in 100+ heat
42 =  Lowest riding temp
108 =  Highest riding temp
107 =  Fastest mph
15 in a 35 =  Slowest speeds - Oregon Coast on Hwy 101
5 =  National Parks visited
2 =  National Monuments
2 =  Close calls with gendarmes
0 =  No breakdowns, no flats, no motorcycle issues at all (other than my imagined brake issue cleared up by Lynnwood Motoplex)

Best road/ride
(Criteria in order; % and quality of twists & sweeps, passing ability, traffic level, road surface, scenery)
In 16 days - Hwy 96 from Yreka to Willows Creek with Barry on COG Sunday
In 13 days - Really, really hard to pick, but Springfield OR to Sisters OR on Hwy 126 and Hwy 242 (Solo Day 2)

Most terrifying moment
When I barely missed (actually ran over a tiny end portion) a giant blue semi tarp in the middle of my lane (the fast one) on the 5 super slab in WA. I swerved just right to keep from getting enveloped in the bleeding thing.

Superficial Impressions
COG - Great folks. Welcoming to newbies. Enjoy their food, beverages and bullspit sessions. That for some (most), the purpose of the organized get togethers are about the fellowship, tech and beverages more than the riding. Totally worth attending and participating.
Oregon - Pretty. Great roads, Lots of trees. Drivers that are almost fanatic about letting motorcyclists get by (except on the coast).
Washington  - Pretty. Great roads, Lots of trees. Drivers that are less fanatic about letting motorcyclists get by (and when you get close to Seattle, they try to stop you from getting by).

Shout outs
COGgers that made me feel welcome and accepted at the rally
Doug the service guy at Lynnwood Motoplex, 17900 Hwy 99, Lynwood WA  http://www.motoplex.net/ [Day 9]

Recommend Stops/Destinations
Because I saw so much that was awesome, cool and worth visiting, I'm just going to pick my top 5. I'm glad I went all the places I did, and you can read about them in the proceeding ride report. So in no order:
  • Moderate Rain Forests in Olympic National Park - Quinault or Hoh [Day 11]
  • Crater Lake National Park - the whole thing [Day 1]
  • Mackenzie Hwy (242) from Belknap Springs to Sisters (closed Nov-June) [Day 2]
  • Mt. Rainier National Park - especially the southern road including Paradise [Day 5]
  • Hurricane Ridge - Olympic National Park [Day 11]
  • Honorable Mention - Orcas Island and the ferry ride  [Day 9]

Recommended Food (better than average)
Camas WA - K&M Drive In 3414 NE 3rd Camas WA 98607 http://www.kmdrivein.com/
Bacon & Bleu Burger, CrossCut Fries and a marvelous Milky Way Shake "$" [Day 3]

Toledo OR - Sandy's Pizza 106 Kellogg Way, Toledo, WA 98591  http://www.sandyspizza.com/
Fresh ingredients, awsome sauce and great crust "$" [Day 4]

Tulalip, WA - Tulalip Casino, The Draft, 10200 QUIL CEDA BLVD, TULALIP, WA 98271  http://www.tulalipresortcasino.com/Dining/TheDraft
Mr Snappy Burger (cow, candy bacon and peanut butter + fixens) "$$"  [Day 7 - no write up]

Kirkland WA - Pizza Bank 14401 124th Ave  NE , Kirkland 98034   http://www.pizzabank.net/
Just a really good pizza "$$"  [Day 7 - no write up]

Orcas Island - Orcas Village Store - Orcas Island WA Ferry Landing  http://www.orcasvillagestore.net/
Premade Turkey and Bacon sandwich with huge thick strips of bacon and real turkey (no processed loaf stuff) "$" [Day 9]

Raymond WA - Slater's Diner 124 7th Street, Raymond WA 98577 http://www.slatersdiner.com/
Stuffed Sandwich Fries Incredible Hulk Soda (7-Up & lime) and Gooey Butter Cake "$" [Day 11]

North Bend OR - Yeong's Place  - 1120 Virginia Ave, North Bend, OR 97459  Yeong's Place Reviews
Elk Burger, Fries and Chocolate Shake "$" [Day 12]

Recommended Lodging (out of 11 motels - these were something more than a clean room at a good price)
Netarts, OR - Terimore Lodging By the Sea 5105 Crab Ave W, Tillamook, OR 97141  http://www.terimoremotel.com/
Ocean side, bay and ocean views, balconies and courtyards "$" [Day 11]
Oregon Coast, Tillamook Area

Shady Cove, OR - Royal Coachman ,  Crater Lake Highway 62, Shady Cove, OR  http://www.royalcoachmanmotel.com/
River decks, suites and full kitchens available. "$" [Day 12]
Crater Lake Area

Full Trip Map

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