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Old 08-25-2008, 10:23 PM   #1
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Home is where the bike is

After only 3 weeks, it was time to head back on the road. This time with the KLR and my buddy Tony.

The plan was to spend 3 days in Nelson with a bunch of guys on VFR's (long story, see for some background) and then head out from there.

We had pretty specific plans. They were "East for a while, then South for a while."

Tony left on Wednesday, a day before me, as he was stopping off to visit some friends in the interior before making his way to Nelson. I was going to take off early on Thursday, load up the Killer and make a straight easterly run from Vancouver to Nelson.

I'd had new tires (Cheng Shin 858 front, Trailwing 302 back), progressive springs and a new chain installed and changed the oil. So I was hoping the bike was good to go.

The run out to Nelson was fairly uneventful, I only stopped for gas and the occasional 'pit stop' so there are few pictures of the ride (plus it was territory I'd just recently covered on my sportbike trip).

It did look like things were going to be hot for at least a few days.

The bike ran great and I made Nelson by 3:30 pm. Tony wasn't even there yet, but they let me check into the room and put it on my credit card, so I grabbed a shower and headed to the bar for some cold refreshments.

Just as I got my first beer I saw Tony wander in with a bunch of the viffer folks.

And the drinking was on :)

Tony and Tammy had a "who has the better chest" competition.

It was close, but the guys picked Tammy after considerable deliberation ;)

We stayed in the lounge of "The New Grand Hotel" and the food was good and the service was friendly.

The night ended fairly early, mostly due to the *ahem* entertainment, which consisted of a guy in spandex shorts and a drum machine strapped on. It's a good thing we'd already eaten!

Tomorrow Tony and I were going to go exploring on the KLR's after meeting the group for breakfast and I was looking forward to getting started on the fun riding.

Day 2 preview:

The real riding begins: abandoned mines and ghost towns
6 miles and 3000 feet of climbing? (that's 10 km and 1000 meters for the metric folks ;) )
Idaho Peak followed by more food and drinking!
We must not cease from exploration and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we began and to know the place for the first time. - TS Eliot

jeckyll screwed with this post 08-25-2008 at 11:10 PM
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Old 08-25-2008, 11:02 PM   #2
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Day 2

a.k.a. the real riding begins.

The breakfast plans (as most plans during the viffer get-together) were rather vague and we were to meet up at this hippy place off an alley behind 'The Co-op'. Luckily we found it easy enough, Nelson is a small place.

Some of the crew from last night was already there, but they were standing at the bottom of the stairs?!

Turns out the place wasn't really a breakfast place.

So we decided to take the organization into our own hands and wander around. As we get barely a block away, a woman in sitting in a stairway having a smoke calls out to us to see what we're all doing walking around early on a Friday. Turns out that she runs a small restaurant, but wasn't due to open for another 30 minutes.

So "Packrat Annies" opened early for our crew of 15+ hooligans. But as part of the bargain, we got to help carry and distribute cutlery, dishes, coffee and OJ. It was a blast!

Mike (Mr. Organizer) even made it eventually

Paul and Craig didn't seem all that impressed at first, but they got into it eventually.

So after a great breakfast, Tony and I went to do our own thing. We rode north towards Kaslo and enjoyed the run towards New Denver.

We'd gotten some information on a ghost town and just before New Denver we turned off towards Sandon. Through the town and soon enough the KLR's were in their element

and we'd found an abandoned mine.

There was even still ore in the shoots!

Things inside were still in 1/2 decent shape

But outside it was a different story

Where's Tony? (he's actually in this shot :) )

I decided against climbing along the old ramp

Here is the view from the little ghost town of Cody, BC

I tried to get a shot of the inside, but my arm didn't quite reach

After that Tony and I decided it was time for lunch. So we rode back to Sandon. The trailer was open for business!

The woman who was making our hotdogs was a wealth of information and told us about Idaho Peak just behind us. Climbing up there would mean that Tony would miss the 'brewery tour' later, but he was more interested in what they produced than how they got it there.

So we set off. The road was fairly easy, but they'd just sprayed something which seemed to be a combination of oil and water and was a touch on the slippery side. It did keep the dust down though.

Tony was on street oriented tires, so I took the lead. Here he is catching up and you can see some of the 'slime' in the corners :)

While it was a quite hazy day, the view from the top was spectacular. We'd climbed to around 2000 meters (6000 feet) and had a blast.

We both broke out the DSLRs and started shooting

Product placement shot

Beautiful alpine meadow, you can see the road running through it.

In case you couldn't here you go, a bit of a close up :)

We kept shooting

I have dozens more shots I like, but I'll spare you the repetition. Lets just say that we were both very glad to have taken the trip up here.

I stopped on the way down a couple of times to get some shots

Tony said he was amazed that I made him 'look fast at 2 mph' ;)

We decided it was time to stop for ice cream before riding back.

We wandered around and got a few more shots of the old town

And then it was time to head back. The ride into Kaslo was *ahem* spirited

After getting cleaned up, back to the bar.

Hey Tony, how do you feel about Honda riders?

Thatta boy!

The drinking continued. I have no idea what happened here... some sort of blurry shot ... oh well ...

The crew ended up pub crawling and some of us closed down "The Prestige". It wasn't even that late.

Day 3 preview:

Solo offroading.
More drinking. Seriously?!
We must not cease from exploration and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we began and to know the place for the first time. - TS Eliot

jeckyll screwed with this post 08-25-2008 at 11:10 PM
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Old 08-27-2008, 09:56 PM   #3
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Nice cliffhanger shot.

I can't believe I missed a VFR gathering in my old stomping grounds. Looking forward to the rest of the trip.
Every day I break my previous record of consecutive days still alive.
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Old 08-28-2008, 11:47 AM   #4
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And can you try and focus a little better.
Momentum is your friend, and never trust a grapevine.

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I wasn't just playing Indian, I was living Indian."
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Old 08-28-2008, 12:09 PM   #5
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Old 08-28-2008, 12:15 PM   #6
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Great stuff, thanks. Awesome pix of those peaks.
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Old 08-28-2008, 04:35 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by morriswf
Great stuff, thanks. Awesome pix of those peaks.
Thanks - Oh, you meant Tammy's!

FWIW, I had newish Pirelli Scorpions on this trip and they were great on pavement - no matter how hard I pushed them with the bike fully loaded, they never gave any sign of slipping and sliding. Great road tires!

On gravel however, even with a drop of a couple of psi front and back, they were very vauge and iffy in corners at any speed above the basic - OK when riding sedately, but corners on smoothish gravel at any elevated speed kept me on my toes.

Anyway, here is my brief contribution to Bjorn's trip report...

Funny, my picture of that cash register turned out slightly differently:

Culture, Nelson-style:

View from Idaho Peak (oh good, more peaks!)

The KLR's quietly grazing:

This is out of sequence with Bjorn's trip report, but the Spiral Highway was worth the detour to get there:

T'was a great trip for sure,

2012 Triumph Tiger XC

Taking the road less travelled... and loving every minute of it!

All my bike pictures here:
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Old 08-29-2008, 06:17 PM   #8
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Day 3

Tony, stop posting out of sequence ;)


The previous day was one of the best days I'd had on the KLR. We rode great roads, explored, found abandoned mines and buildings and climbed to cool peaks. All high up on my list of enjoyable experiences :)

Today was going to be a bit more kicked back.

Breakfast was scheduled for the 'Red Fish Grill'. I had dinner there last year with Jerry and the food was good.

Some of the boys and girls were looking a bit worse for wear during breakfast on Saturday morning.

Maybe it was the walls?!

I just love how this turned out. Badass Tony!

Tony said "F*ck the water, where's the beer!" ... ok maybe he didn't actually say that.

Tim showing off his gay-harley rider wave

There were going to be a few groups and really, none of the group riding interested me all that much. Tony wanted to hang around Nelson and kick back for the day, so I decided to go and ride the same roads as the slow group, just not necessarily with them.

The ride out past Salmo wasn't very exciting and I only stopped once along the way to get a quick shot of the valley.

I did notice that there were a whole bunch of gravel roads that branched off he highway, but being on my own I was not really looking to get too far out.

The summit looked like a good spot to stop and wait to see if anyone from the nelson crew would catch up.

I saw this girl and her mom and they kept looking off the edge of the gravel, which got me to thinking....

... it was these little critters they were checking out.

I spent about 15 or 20 minutes kicking back and shooting.

As I decided to head back on the highway I noticed a path on the other side. Sure enough it was blocked with a bunch of rocks. There may have been some kind of 'road deactivated' sign, but I couldn't read too well as I bounced over to the side, past the weather station and over some small logs people had used to make a path behind the rocks.

Up and over.

The road was in good shape, I treaded lightly and soon got to another, bigger, set of rocks blocking the road. It was almost like they didn't want you to go any further.

I decided that it might be best to turn around at this point. The little sign next to the rocks said "Park Boundary" and I just got the feeling they didn't want me there... Who knows, maybe I was wrong :)

The descent was pretty and pretty uneventful.

Back on the highway and within 5 minutes I found another trail to explore. There was a sign saying the area was closed to snowmobiles, but it said nothing about KLR's so off I went.

The trail split right off the bat and "... I - I took the road less traveled by" and almost fell flat on my ass. :)

The "road" was the grassy area with the rocks in it directly in front of me. The Killer weaved and bounced but I made it up ... and decided to be smarter next time.

The other fork paid off though, providing some great views of the peaks that folks would never get to enjoy this way if they just traveled the highways.

Eventually I decided to turn back as I had planned to make this an easy day in preparation to Tony and my trip south and the more serious riding to come.

I ran into some of the VFR folks on the way to the Kootenay ferry and stopped to chat with Tim and Cass.

Tim had taken to calling me "Crazy Bjorn". Apparently it had something to do with standing on the pegs while passing sportbikers and leaving them behind in the tight twisties ... I don't really understand what he was talking about ... maybe there's another guy named Bjorn. :)

From here it was a pretty relaxing ride back to Nelson. Damn hot though, one of the roadside displays showed 41 Celsius. That's something like 105 F I think.

Despite the heat I took a bit of a stroll around to take in the sights and sounds of Nelson

and to pick up some ADVrider champagne

There was more drinking, though I split after a couple of pints to go crash. The heat had taken a bit out of me after all I guess.

Preview of Day 4

-Heat, more heat and damn heat
-Idaho, it's not what you think

Hope you're enjoying the ride :)
We must not cease from exploration and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we began and to know the place for the first time. - TS Eliot

jeckyll screwed with this post 09-01-2008 at 10:17 AM
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Old 08-29-2008, 07:48 PM   #9
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WOW, you took some fantastic photos, looks like a great ride, thanks for posting!
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Old 08-30-2008, 08:29 AM   #10
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Day 4

Today we finally left the big group behind and headed south.

The plan was to get a good early start, be out by 7:30 and get out of Dodge before it got warm. Like many a good plan before it, this one did not survive it's first contact with reality.

Mostly it consisted of packing things that shouldn't be packed, wanting to grab a bite to eat, and just general lethargy.

I'd smartly moved the KLR into the shade while waiting and then split to go get some food. Lessons learned from last year: Eat when you can. Get gas when you can. :)

We motored towards Salmo, the same path I took yesterday morning. It was actually fairly cool. Tony had filled up the day before and I had 200 kms on this tank already, so I decided to pull in at the Esso to get some gas.

Turns out that a couple on a VFR (from the meet) had managed to pick up a screw. He was enthusiastic about the whole thing though.

Nothing like having to get back to OR with a patched tire, 2 up with luggage. He had a hard time with the plug and an older shaggy looking local guy kept offering advice, none of which was appreciated.

But after enough comments of "Is it in yet?" and "Are you done yet?" from his wife, and the offer of "I'll fix it for a coffee", Tony bought the local guy a coffee and the tire was plugged within about a minute.

Now fully fueled and having had a bit of entertainment, Tony and I wished them a safe trip home and headed towards the border. (They made it home safely btw :) ).

We set a steady course southward and didn't stop again till Newport where we grabbed some drinks and powerbars. From here it was Hwy 41 to Coeur d' Alene where we stopped at the A&W.

Surely one of the slowest 'fast food' experiences I'd had in my life. Truly horrible service. But we weren't in a rush and the place had AC, a washroom and food, so no biggie :)

We gassed up and headed east on I-90 for a short hop to Hwy 3 south, a "Scenic Bypass". Within about a couple of minutes on the interstate my bike was sputtering and cutting out at 70 mph. My first thought "bad gas" so I pulled off at the next exit. Tony had no symptoms, so I concluded that it was something specific with my bike. The fact that it idled properly seemed to negate the bad gas scenario.

Screw it. Back on the highway and within a few minutes Tony indicates his bike is doing the same thing. Vapour lock? It is freaking hot out after all (over 40 Celsius).

We limped to the turn off and slowed to around 50 mph, where the bikes run fine as long as we keep the RPM's down.

Hmm, should have done the T-mod on the carb vent. I figure that the vent hose may have been collapsing. Eventually we stop to let the bikes cool off and to chat.

There was a cool breeze and the bikes were in the shade.

Tony went to educate himself on the local history.

It looked too damn far to me. I did however manage to burn one of my fingers on the exhaust while trying to check for any problems...

After a while we started heading further south. The bikes are now fine. Definitely heat related. Now I'm no longer concerned, we know how to cure it.

We passed on a number of spots that would have made for some nice photos, it was just too damn hot to stop. My bike only acted up once more and I cured it by slowing a bit and waiting to get to more open area where a bit of a cross wind was blowing.

In Deary I spotted a large group of cruiser riders hunkered down in the shade behind a gas station and decided to pull in to get some info about local roads. They were friendly and told us about a side road we should take on the way to Orofino. On my AAA map it's listed as "P1" but google shows it as the "Old ID 7"

On the way there we finally stopped to get a couple of pictures.

Eventually though ...

Wide spaces

I loved all the 20 mph corners on the drop into Oroville along Old ID 7, what a blast! At the bottom the heat got even more intense and I was very much ready to find a place to stay grab some food and some brews.

I'd spotted a sign for the "Kokoville motel" and we went to investigate. Around $50 / night, clean and friendly people. Sold. Then it turns out we're checking into room 140. We'd been staying in 140 in Nelson. Good omen.

We'd asked about dinner and by the time we'd dumped our gear and grabbed some shorts and sneakers to squid back into town, they had menus and info ready for us.

After some great Mexican food we grabbed some Henry Weinhard's Private Reserve and crashed early.

Sorry about the lack of photos, in the next part the visual content will return :)

Day 5 Preview

-Too good to leave
-Offroad? Yes please.
-Faster on gravel than the interstate? Say what?!
We must not cease from exploration and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we began and to know the place for the first time. - TS Eliot

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Old 09-01-2008, 09:53 AM   #11
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Day 5

Tony and I had kicked around the idea of spending an extra night in Oroville after looking at the map and doing some quick calculations. The initial plan I had was to do a loop through Idaho and into East Oregon, but Tony's plans had changed and his return date moved up to mid week.

We saw a gravel loop on the map that would lead us to Lolo pass on the Montana side.

Lolo pass simply as a commute back to the hotel? That sounded promising. We chatted with the owner of the hotel some more over breakfast and he provided what details he could. The road was supposed to be in good shape, important as Tony was on more of a road tire (Pirelli Scorpion MT90's for those of you who care ;) ).

We set off after breakfast and quickly pulling the seat off my KLR to see what shape the carb vent tube was in. No problems to be found in the morning, but then it wasn't 107 F ... yet.
The road started pretty easy and besides a bull on the open range who didn't seem to be a fan of red motorcycles, pretty uneventful.

The plan was simple:

Ride North-East to Headquarters, take NF 251 -> 250 which forked a couple of times and ended up in Superior, MT.

So we get into Headquarters

(note, no gas anywhere along this route of course, but we'd filled the KLR's in the morning).

And there is a fork in the road. The only road. And it says: 247 left, 246 right.
Back to the AAA map (GPS is for sissies ;) ). Hmm nope, definitely 251 on the map. We explored quickly on 246 but it didn't look like the description we'd had. So we went into the forestry building and chatted with a couple of nice ladies at the front desk. Looked like 247 was the way to go. *shrug* OK. Off we went.

The pavement continued for a while and Tony still thought he was riding a sportbike

But soon enough the gravel started and the views continued to be great, though a bit hazy.

Hey, 250! And Superior, MT only 71 miles of gravel to go

We were on the path. I guess there are points where you can't completely rely on a AAA map after all ;)

Cool suspension bridge (see Tony's 'KLR's grazing' shot above)

The road (trail?) got smaller and more fun. I was able to get into a good rhythm and make great time. Loads of stretches where 50+ was a good pace, followed by tighter sections to keep you wide awake. But less of the deep gravel compared to earlier and much better traction.

Tony was hanging back to keep the 'dust eating' to a minimum. I could have stopped every 2 minutes to take more photos, beautiful country. But we still had a bunch of riding ahead of us. So I generally stopped every 15 minutes to 1/2 hour to made sure we were good and he was still behind me.

Finally I got hungry (it was around noon) and I stopped in some shade for a powerbar (we'd stocked up the night before) and a bunch more water. We generally drank 3+ liters on the hot days.

After a few minutes Tony arrived. Looking dusty but happy He's got some photos of his helmet and bike I'm sure.

We didn't stop for long and reached a stretch of paved road and along with it a change of scenery. There were some mountains ahead and the alpine flowers gave away the climbing we'd already done.

Tony said "Hey this is turning into a great day of riding!"

The views continued and there were no warning signs at any corners. Or signs of any sort anywhere. Good stuff, kept us on our toes.

Finally we could see the summit and stopped just short as there we wanted to break out the DSLR's for some shots. My watch read about 1800 meters, or about 5500+ feet.

I broke out the 10 mm lens for some ultra-wide angle shots

Soon enough we took off and were back on gravel. Tony took the lead for a while and I took my turn hanging back. D-U-S-T-Y! And loose gravel. And more traffic including logging trucks *cough*

We made Superior, MT and gassed up. I had a couple of salami & cheese sticks. Today we were smarter than yesterday and parked the bikes in the shade. The temperature had climbed again and was over 100 F at this point.

We had no great desire to head into Missoula, so after a short hop on I-90 we pulled off in Alberton to find the gravel cutoff to get to Hwy 12 (i.e. Lolo Pass).

Finally found a road that crossed the highway and turned into gravel. I though, ah, this should be it! How many gravel roads could there be in Montana. Right? Exactly!

I didn't want my bike to cut out again so I kept it at 110 km/h on I-90, indicated on the KLR, so really about 100 km/h. Sure enough, we were going faster on the gravel than we had on the interstate. We had a good laugh about it later!

This was some fast stuff

We stopped once as the hydration was working well. You know what I mean ;)

Tony pulled up after I'd finish my pit stop and we motored on. The road got a bit more twisty at this point.

All too soon:

Hwy 12 West. The gravel ended :(

Off we went.

We stopped to take the mandatory pictures:

But seriously, this was a very uninteresting ride after what we'd done in the morning. Maybe if I'd been on my Ninja and had room to run the 40 and 45 mph corners at 1XX mph, this road would be great. But the 'winding road' was too gently winding to be much fun on a dual sport.

Still we managed to work the tires to the edge. Note that it really was a bit dusty earlier ;)

We only stopped once for a bit of a rest, another powerbar and some photos.

Talked to a guy on a KLR who had the "Wal-Mart" seat pad. I sat on his bike and decided I was going to stop off in Lewiston the next day to pick one up. My ass and back were plenty sore from the stock KLR seat.

Besides almost zipping past a trooper at 20 mph over the speed limit, the ride back to the motel was fairly unexciting.

For a "short day" we ended up being on the road for 10 hours and did over 400 miles, with over 150 on gravel. Good thing we're taking it easy

It was 'steak night' at the motel and we partook.

Combined with a number of these

it made for a great end to a great day.

The wind had picked up and rain and thundershowers were forecast for the next day. Tony was going to turn back towards Vancouver at some point and we'd looked at the map and worked out a few different possible routes.

Great trip so far!

Day 6 preview:

-Spiral? Yup
-Rain and solo riding.

Thanks for coming along on the ride :)
We must not cease from exploration and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we began and to know the place for the first time. - TS Eliot

jeckyll screwed with this post 09-03-2008 at 10:22 PM
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Old 09-01-2008, 09:22 PM   #12
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The dust was nasty when we picked up the pace.

The haze we would encounter every now and then was from a distant, unseen forest fire. As I was riding along in the dust and smelling a little smoke in the air, I kept thinking that firefighters are called 'smoke eaters' - today I was a 'dust eater'.

Close-up - no problem with dust:

However, at speed - the dust would hang forever:

Although hard to capture, my visor was impossible to see through with the dust:

Although Bjorn's trusted watch indicated 5,500 ft +/-, we were going through Hoodoo Pass near the Montana border which is around 7,000 ft I think... but I will never question the watch .

The paved section through the pass was beautiful - a little piece of heaven that just kept climbing and climbing:

The road was lined with beautiful wild flowers:

And of course, the sign of good things to come:

And every now and then the dust would die down and I would get on the gas and catch up - up to an indicated 130+ kph on the gravel... I don't think we ever got over 110 to 120 on the Interstate

Too much fun and an awesome day with constantly amazing scenery... and great riding too!
2012 Triumph Tiger XC

Taking the road less travelled... and loving every minute of it!

All my bike pictures here:

thumper 8 screwed with this post 09-01-2008 at 10:34 PM
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Old 09-03-2008, 10:20 PM   #13
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Day 6

The morning doesn't look all that great. Last nights storm was pretty severe and while it's not all that wet yet, you could see it coming.

Some light sprinkles, but not too much yet.

We pack up check a couple of weather reports online and head out. The plan was to take Old ID7 back and then drop into Lewiston to see if Wally World has the ATV pads that work on the KLR.

By the time we start the climb up Old ID7 it's wet. My tires are sticking well though and soon I'm riding on my own.

After a bit I stop to see where Tony got too and to take a few photos.

Turns out that Tony feels his front end slipping a bit and is taking the smart approach and going easy.

No big deal, he sets off down the road and I snap a few shots.

As I'm putting my gear back on, an empty logging truck passes. Hmmm, not going to be as easy to pass with all the spray.

Eventually I catch Tony and we ride over to Lewiston and find the Wall Mart. I got the last seat pad!

After a quick installation, we head back out of town to find the spiral highway. In the wet. Still what an amazing road. If only it were 10x as long :)

After a quick navigation error (mine) we ride back down the spiral highway and grab some lunch at a DQ. Tony is going to take 12 West, I'm going to head South on Hwy 3.

And I'm on my own.

It's always an odd feeling for me when I leave a riding buddy and start the solo part of my trip. I'm not sure why, but it is both easier and harder all at the same time. A safety net is removed but simultaneously, everything is up to me now. No checking, no discussing, just ride to where I want, when I want.

The road soon becomes absolutely amazing. What can I say, some of the best twisties I've ever ridden and the scenery is great.

Curve after curve after curve.

At one point there was a sign announcing 25 mph corners for 13 miles. I did take a couple stops along the way to just sit and think and soak it all in.

On the way into Enterpise I spotted these fellows...

I filled up and having forgotten that in Oregon they need to help you swipe your credit card, was pretty much done by the time the gas station attendant came over. *shrug*

My goal was to ride to La Grande and kick back for the night. But frankly, I was less than impressed and decided to just keep riding. A quick stop and a check of the map and I rode towards Pendelton. I don't even know why, I just thought it'd be a decent jump of point the next day.

The ride on I-84 was a bit painful and when I saw the sign for Deadman's pass I decided to hope off and take a look around. Mostly it was the name though.

At the rest stop I read up on some of the history of the area and then decided to explore the little road that branched off, expecting it to end at some type of viewpoint.

I soon found myself paralleling the interstate and quite happy to do so.

I decided to just follow this little road and see where it took me.

The corners were banked nicely and it was a pleasure to ride here, versus fighting the blasts from the big rigs on the super-slab.

And guess what? I ended up in Pendelton anyway. I took a drive through town and then returned to the little friendly looking motel at the edge of town.

Glad I did too. The room was nice and clean, the girl at reception helped me with where to get some supplies and got me a room where I could park the bike right outside.

I was starting to run out of band aids and went to grab some, along with food, at Safeway. The blister I'd gotten when the bikes weren't running right and I accidentally touched the exhaust was pretty nasty and I'd used up most of my band aids over the last couple of days. Long days in gloves didn't help.

I killed the idiot box after checking the weather (it was looking pretty wet for tomorrow) and finally got a chance to start reading one of the books I'd brought along.

Another great day on the road.

Preview of day 7:

-Wet and windy
-The painted hills
-Watch out you turkey!
We must not cease from exploration and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we began and to know the place for the first time. - TS Eliot

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Old 09-05-2008, 06:18 PM   #14
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Location: Vancouver
Oddometer: 592
Today I was going to make the Painted Hills. In a way, that was the goal of the ride since I saw photos of them in someone's ride report a while ago.

I had not slept all that well as the motel was apparently on the truck route and I faced the street. But the breakfast was excellent and I got a chance to chat with a fellow KLR owner from California... though he and his wife were out in their cage, having just bought a camper.

I stopped by the office to check out and to see if the girl could check the forecast. The weather didn't look very promising.

Sure enough after riding about 30 minutes I stopped and got my rain gear on.

There were a couple of small climbs, even one 3000 foot 'summit' on Hwy 74 along the way. You see, it's clearing up over there!

But I'm of course headed over _there_

Off 'into the sh*t' I went. :)

Really, I missed most of the rain. It was windy again and the Killer was a bit of a handful given that there were no trees to provide any shelter from it, but the road was empty, the scenery was nice and I was having fun.
Once I turned south on Hwy 207 I saw some deer along the way, even as late as 10:30 am which was probably caused by the major shift in the weather. I took it easy through the valleys where they seemed to congregate.

The ride through Umatilla National Forest was beautiful.

I came around one corner and the entire road was full of turkeys! I got the bike slowed down and enjoyed the sight. No chance to get the camera out and nowhere safe to stop unfortunately.

It cleared up and I stopped a few times just to enjoy the silence.

There was only sporadic traffic and it gave me a chance to reflect and appreciate the ride ... and the fact that the sun was out and it was warming up a bit :)

For a while Hwy 207 South and Hwy 19 North are the same road. I was going to take a picture of the road signs because it made me laugh. Then I decided to just get a shot of what a difference water makes when you're in the desert...

I had spotted "Richmond - Ghost town" on the state map and decided to go explore to see if I could find it. I found it all right, but all the old buildings seemed to be on private property and have fences around it. It also started raining and I decided to move on.

View south towards Mitchell

I decided to stop in Mitchell to fill up. Cool little town. If I didn't want to get to the painted hills so bad, I'd probably have hung out for a bit. But the weather looked dicey and I decided to not 'waste' time...

And then, my first view of the painted hills

Stunning and I wasn't even in the park yet!

I got out the DSLR at this point. And man, was I glad I came.

For a while, I just sat down and looked. I was the only one at the viewpoint. It was great.

After a bit I decided to explore.

All too soon found a gate.

The rain picked up a bit, still pretty tough and the road was fun.

Back towards the park and another interpretive area. The sun came out again and I swapped camera gear and grabbed my ultra-wide lens.

Finally, it was time to leave.

I'd met an older couple from Prineville along the way and they spoke highly of it. I thought that it might make a good stop, though I'd originally wanted to get to Redmond.

Into the mountains once again and the weather turned truly nasty. Windy and strong rain. I put the full rain suit on, switched to the winter gloves and was dry.

Though I was glad to get out of crap, into the sunshine and back to some more comfortable gear (the nylon raingear turns into a sauna after about a minute, especially in the sun).

This is where I was headed. Sun!

That's where I'd come from. Nasty Rain!

I got to Prineville, drove through and decide to spend a bit more and stay at the Best Western. Turned out that I got the last room and that I got the 'apartment' which had a full kitchen, fridge etc.

So I went next door to the store and bought supplies and made my own dinner. Figured that saved me some money and really I didn't mind just plopping down in front of the idiot box as they had a lazy-boy recliner! Drank a bunch of Cascade Ale and ate some pizza and then after a while got back to my book.

What a great day!

Preview of day 8:

-Cold! Wind!
-Finding the smallest roads I can.
-Looking for Old Blewett Pass road.
We must not cease from exploration and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we began and to know the place for the first time. - TS Eliot

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Old 09-08-2008, 10:06 PM   #15
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I had a great night's rest and followed that with a good breakfast. Today was time to head North and the beginning of the return trip.

There were still a lot of dark clouds around after breakfast and as I was packing the bike a Sheriff stopped by the hotel. As he got back into his car I asked him if he'd heard anything but he didn't and started to drive off.

A few seconds later he pulled in behind the bike and I thought "Don't tell me, he's going to give me a hard time about something". But that wasn't it. He'd come back to tell me that they may have a thunderstorm forecast at the office and he was going to call in to check. Cool guy!

My original plan was to hit some gravel going north, but the wind was blowing hard and with the chance of thundershowers, I decided to stay on pavement, at least for a bit.

It was cold and dark clouds accompanied me on my trip towards Hwy 97. I was going to do a quick trip on the superslab to get north and then turn off at the first opportunity.

That happened to be the road to Antelope. With a name like that, I had to check it out. And it was nice lonely twisties right off the bat. Awesome.

A major metropolitan center it's not ;)

And just outside ... wait, that's no Antelope!

It was a young deer buck.

I took it a bit easy, but with roads like these, easy is a relative term...

Just up the road I stopped in Shaniko as I was pretty cold and could have used a coffee. But sadly everything was closed.

I did manage to stay out of jail though, so it was a wash.

I headed north again and thought that they got rid of an old gas station I'd meant to stop at last year but then didn't. As I was thinking about the fact that some opportunities only come around once, I saw it.

After a bit of rain and more strong winds, I stopped in Moro for some lunch and to warm up. The soup, a grilled cheese and a bunch of coffee helped. The waitress had some tips for how to get north on the smallest roads possible. I thought it sounded promising.

Once again, I was enjoying the emptiness.

Soon enough I was at the Columbia and the wind was ripping. Not too much fun as I hopped onto I-84, but it didn't take all that long and I crossed over into WA in The Dalles. Biggs would have been closer, but hell, I went through there last year so why not go somewhere new?

The drive into Yakima would have been uneventful, if it hadn't been for the wind blowing me 2 feet in either direction. I thought I looked pretty out of control to people in cages... but I was starting to enjoy it. At one point I laughed out loud as I thought "Is this all you got?!?"
Sick, I know.

I'd considered Yakima as a stop at first, but having skipped a bunch of gravel this morning I had some exploring to make up for! And Yakima is not exactly a pretty town. So I passed it by and headed for the Yakima Canyon. Always a favorite of mine.

Last year I saw some big horn sheep, but with only an 18-55mm lens, I didn't get close enough to get any decent shots. I kept a close watch, but nothing. Oh well. You can't always get everything you come for. After all, I'd made it back to the gas station earlier, didn't I? I shouldn't be greedy.

Almost at the end of the canyon...

Well, maybe you can have it all ... as long as you don't get too attached to the outcome. I was there for about 15 - 20 minutes. Then more cars stopped and the moment passed. I moved on.

North through Ellesburg where some dumba*s in a minivan just about ran into me and then had the audacity to yell when I shook my head at him... a less relaxed Bjorn would have pulled him out of the van to help explain the error of his ways to him. But I just saw big horn sheep.

So I shrugged it off and decided to go look for an old road on the way to Wenatchee. I'd forgotten the road's name and what the turnoff looked like. So it was time to 'look around a bit'.

This wasn't it.

The next one definitely wasn't it, it wasn't paved. Of course, since I was having fun and had plenty of gas, who the hell cared. I followed it until it got a bit sketchy for a 4pm exploration. I stopped here and asked a couple of guys in a XCountry Volvo if the trails ended up back on the highway.

Their answer was that "they all end up somewhere". Which damnit, you can't argue with!

But given that the big trail looked like this already (that's where I'd come from)

I decided to go back.

And then

Yay! That's the one I was looking for. Now, when they say "maintained" that's sort of a relative term...

Great ride. Only saw one other vehicle, a small 4x4. Wonderful views.

Eventually I pulled into Wenatchee and decided to stay at a Holiday Inn express. I was tired and actually ended up doing a lot more miles that I thought I'd do today. Turns out, I got the last room. Again. And they had "managers night" which meant free burgers and beer. Nice.

In addition, I still had 2 Ale from yesterday, if they survived my special packaging.

Note: Cascade ale packs well in size 9 1/2 runners.

Again I slept early (maybe helped by a bunch of beer). Tomorrow is likely to be the last day of the trip. I was a touch sad. Home was starting to be the KLR. In the mornings I'd found myself get a bit jittery. As soon as I got on the bike I was calm and relaxed.

Day 9 preview:

-_This_ is on the state map?
-Familiar roads at last
-Some final thoughts
We must not cease from exploration and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we began and to know the place for the first time. - TS Eliot

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