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Old 05-30-2012, 05:01 PM   #1
81forest OP
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Seven Days of Seat Time on a R1100S


I gave myself five days to get to Berkeley, California, from Seattle. My plan was to ride as few miles as possible on the interstate, but on the first day of my trip I decided to jog East on I90 in order to reach a couple of interesting roads that I'd heard about. Today I would end up in Bend to meet my old friend Stormy, and from there we would discuss our routes for the rest of the trip.


View Driving directions to Bend, OR in a larger map

I was so elated to be getting on the road that I didn't want to stop and put on another layer for Snoqualmie pass, so I cranked up the grip warmers to "super toasty". The temps started to rise as soon as I approached Ellensburg, which is where I turned off the freeway to explore a recommended road called Canyon Road (821) between Ellensburg and Yakima. Canyon Road is a fun alternative to I82, as it follows the Yakima river through one of Washington's least interesting areas. The corners in the canyon are big, gentle sweepers that don't exactly get the adrenaline flowing at legal speeds, but cliffs and canyon walls are beautiful. I saw two cops on Canyon road.

The next recommended road I took was more exciting and remote. Highway 142 out of Goldendale starts out rolling through some vintage farm scenery with fantastic mountain views, turns into a thrilling one lane descent into a deep gorge, then opens up into some incredible sets of turns along the Klickitat river.*The town of Klickitat seemed to be the only spot to get gas for quite awhile.



[caption id="attachment_2036" align="aligncenter" width="640" caption="142's undivided section"][/caption]

Highway 197 came highly recommended, so I climbed up out of the Columbia river gorge on the "Dalles California Highway." After blasting through these wonderful turns, I turned off onto an interesting detour out of Dufur called Dufur Mill Road. Dufur Mill climbs way up in elevation and becomes a little forest service road that offers stunning views of the backside of Mt. Hood. Amazing.

These glimpses of Mt. Hood from an old service road were the first indications of a theme for this trip. Gravel in the corners, no signs, and a feeling that I was happily lost in an incredibly remote and beautiful place.

From here, the rest of the ride into Bend via Highway 26 was a scenic adventure with mountains all over the place. I didn't want it to end, but I knew that there was a hot tub and cold beer waiting at Stormy's place.

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Old 05-30-2012, 06:47 PM   #2
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Looks like 7 days of heaven on 2 wheels.

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Old 05-30-2012, 08:29 PM   #3
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Day Two

[caption id="attachment_2046" align="aligncenter" width="640" caption="Morning of Day two"][/caption]

View Larger Map
I love riding solo, but I was looking forward to riding with Stormy for a few days. We worked together briefly as mechanics at a local shop before Stormy had a big falling out with the owner, and he recently moved to Bend with his lady friend. He is an interesting character and a superb rider, and has an off-color story to tell about nearly every subject imaginable. He's a decorated Vietnam vet, former TZ750 road racer, BMW mechanic, and an Ozark hillbilly. He also plays a mean harmonica.

[caption id="attachment_2048" align="aligncenter" width="640" caption="The Stormtrooper"][/caption]

Day two began with a quick blast up to the base of Mt. Bachelor, then to Sun River, and South to Crater lake. Stormy has a brand new Moto Guzzi Norge, a large and impressive touring bike that is equipped with an electric windshield, heated seat, and a Valentine radar detector. The radar detector paid for itself several times each day of our trip, and every time it lit up and we slowed down just in time to see the highway patrol cruise past, Stormy did a little "HaHa, Suckers!" dance on the seat of his motorcycle. I nearly fell off my bike laughing every time.

[caption id="attachment_2049" align="aligncenter" width="640" caption="Yours truly"][/caption]

The North entrance to Crater lake was closed, so we entered from the South, and it was during this stretch of ride that my reserve fuel light came on. I had no idea how far my bike would go on reserve, and didn't think it was the worth the risk of riding all the way to the lake when the nearest fuel stop was 28 miles ahead, in the town of Prospect. Going to the lake meant I would need to go nearly fifty miles before refueling. Seemed like a bad idea, but Stormy said, "Fuck it, man! I've got a turkey baster right here under the seat, we'll siphon you some!" Sounded OK to me. Now I know that the R1100S will go 200 miles on a single tank, and the lake was worth it. Stormy loves to get discounts on things, and always asks for the "disabled veteran/student/hippy/senior discount." The lady park ranger said that his military disability would discount our park entrance fees, so Stormy produced his disability card.

"This isn't current, sir. Your card needs to be current," said the lady.

"Whadya mean, not current?!" Stormy was in his element. "I've got pieces of ordinance currently embedded in my leg!" The park lady looked perplexed.

"Well, I won't argue with somebody who's just doing her job, I guess," Stormy said, and put his card back in his pocket. The park lady realized she was on the wrong side of the argument and handed us each a Crater lake brochure. "You all just go ahead, it's on me," she said quietly. We thanked her, started the bikes and rode up the road a ways, so that Stormy could do his "HaHa, Suckers!" dance out of sight.

Crater lake highway (62) is an epic descent through the Rogue river wilderness, and it was some of the best road I'd been on so far. We got lunch in the town of Rogue River and sat outside so Stormy could make fun of the hordes of Harley riders we saw. About ninety-nine out of a hundred bikes on this trip were Harleys, and Stormy had a comment for each and every one of them.

"Nice Hardly Dangerous, dude." "That's a real nice Hoggley Ferguson." "Gee, where'd you get your nice Farm-All, buddy."

Heading Southwest on Highway 199 out of Grants Pass, we hit an unbelievable section of curvy road that seemed to last forever as it descended down towards the coast. This was the first time that I really felt the cornering abilities of the S, and it seemed to handle just as well loaded up with gear as I pitched it down low into the turns. Stormy's a better rider than I am, but there was no way his big Norge could keep up with my S when the lean angles became acute. It was heaven. When we finally reached Crescent City at the California coast, we were tired out after a long day and found a campsite in the redwoods. Stormy slept with his Smith & Wesson bear repellent in his tent.

[caption id="attachment_2054" align="aligncenter" width="640" caption="Side carry"][/caption]

 
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Old 05-31-2012, 01:42 PM   #4
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Looks like 7 days of heaven on 2 wheels.

Thanks, it was. But seven days was not enough time! So many roads...
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Old 05-31-2012, 01:49 PM   #5
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I like the bear repellent. I always keep a can of bear spray in my boot, next to my pillow.
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Old 06-01-2012, 01:30 AM   #6
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Day Three

The morning of day three was cold and damp, and Stormy crawled out of his tent to announce that his balls had turned blue and he was going home.
"Let me give you a piece of advice: don't ever get old," he growled.

He perked up over breakfast, though, when we unfolded the map and began looking at our big road of the day: Highway 299, from Eureka to Redding. The proprietor of our camp site had told us not to miss the Newton P. Drury Scenic Parkway off of Highway 101 as we made our way South. The sun came out for a beautiful morning.


View Larger Map


Watch out for elk on the Newton P. Drury:


Once we turned East onto 299, things started to warm up significantly and the riding got very, very exciting. The highway climbed up forever with beautiful sweepers and vast passing lanes. By the time we finally stopped to shed some layers I was overheated and ecstatic, and we were barely half way to Weaverville.


When we got to the area called Whiskeytown, Stormy motioned for us to pull over.
"Time for some refreshments," he yelled from the shoulder of the highway, and pointed his Goose towards an obscure looking side-road that looked like it went nowhere. I followed him, and five miles later we were in a tiny little mining town called French Gulch.

French Gulch consists of an ancient saloon and hotel, and a few houses. It was probably a hot little spot in the 1880s, and is now populated by artists, hippies and reclusive prospectors. The fantastic saloon is like a museum of old mining memorabilia, run by an old-timer bartender with a bum leg.


Inside the saloon, it was dark and cool. Stormy asked, "ya got beer in here?' The bartender sized him up for a second and said, "yep."
"Is it cold?"
"If it's too cold, I'll put it in the microwave for a minute, how'd that be?" snapped the bartender. It was the first time I had ever seen Stormy out smart-assed. We ordered two frosty mugs and looked at all the stuff on the walls.



We explored some side roads around French Gulch, talked to some locals, then headed East again towards Redding. Between Whiskytown and Redding, Highway 299 goes from fun & fast to fun and harrowing, with a long section of twisting corners that are very tight and require full concentration. I was hanging off of my tank for miles. Once again, it was the best so far.

After gorging on Mexican food in Redding, we decided to continue East into the remote Intermountain region of California to look for the next campsite. 299 wasn't as exciting out here, but the scenery was good.

We rolled into a suitable looking place to camp in a quiet Baptist community outside of the Shasta National Forest. A tiny old lady came out of a cottage, and I asked her if she had a tent site available. It was evening time and there were people quietly relaxing in their RVs throughout the campground. The lady said we could camp there. Stormy, who doesn't have the best hearing anyway and was also wearing his helmet, shouted at her in top volume,
"WHAT WE'RE LOOKING FOR IS SOME COLD BEER."
I cringed, and the lady said, "No, there's no beer here." Stormy rolled his eyes and made the universal circulating hand gesture for "let us leave this place", and we taxied our machines back to the highway.
After gabbing with some ladies at the local mini-market, Stormy found out about a better spot up the road, and we made camp as the sun was setting over Mt. Shasta.
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Old 06-02-2012, 12:05 AM   #7
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Day Four


Stormy had decided that he didn't want to deal with California traffic, and that he would head north on Highway 139 back up to Oregon when I headed south towards Lake Tahoe.


View Larger Map

On the morning of day four, we rode together on the last section of Highway 299 to the junction with 139, and had breakfast in the town of Adin at a little burger joint. There were several local guys out on the front patio of the place, and in typical fashion, Stormy was best friends with all of them in a few minutes. The conversation went from motorcycles to mule breeding to firearms to romantic encounters with plus-sized women. I talked with an old-timer about raising buffalo for nearly half an hour, and we all drank coffee and looked at the landscape.

I was genuinely sad to part ways with the Storm. There hadn't been a dull moment since we started, and now I would be relying only on maps instead of his crazy anecdotes. We said our goodbyes at the local gas station. We each bought some water bottles and other supplies, and when Stormy was paying for his corn nuts, the clerk said,

"Would you like a bag, sir?"*Stormy winked at me and replied,

"Well, I had one once. But I divorced her."

Today's routing came exclusively out of the Destination Highways map. I hit two roads that were absolutely stellar, and that I never would have ventured onto without the DH guide: Eagle Lake Road (201) heading into Susanville, and the spectacular Janesville Grade (28 No. 1--> Indian Creek Rd.--> Antelope Rd.--> Beckworth Genesee--> N. Valley), between Janesville and Greenville. The road out of Janesville becomes extremely remote, lacks signage and is in some disrepair. It was a particular highlight of the whole trip. I highly recommend it, but it is easy to get lost and you would not want to have a break-down out there. The plus side is that there is no traffic.




As I got closer to Greenville, the yellow dividing line appeared again and the pace became a little quicker. Still, no traffic out here, and the scenery was pretty breathtaking.

Farther down Highway 89, Destination Highways recommended this short little gem of a backroad, called Portola McLears Road:



Highway 89 is a blast all the way to Lake Tahoe, and one could easily spend a few weeks on an adventure bike out here, exploring the High Sierra. I was in a strange mood as the temperatures started dropping and the air became crisp with the clean alpine atmosphere. I rolled through Lake Tahoe right as the solar eclipse started, and dozens of cars were parked in unusual places along the side of the road with people standing around, staring up at the sun with odd contraptions held up to their heads. Things like welding masks, cardboard tubes, and blacked-out ski goggles. The eclipse cast an eerie light over the lake, and I felt like I was in a weird and *picturesque sci-fi movie.

A group of people had gathered on a huge rock to witness the eclipse as I cruised past. That would have been an awesome place to camp...

Because Stormy likes hot showers, we had been camping at designated camp sites. I prefer wilderness camping because I like an excuse to not take a shower, and that is what I planned to do in Lake Tahoe.* However, even though the lake is surrounded by National Forest,*free wilderness camping is difficult in the Lake Tahoe region because there are expensive vacation homes all over the hillsides. * I was not having any luck finding a secluded spot to pitch my tent, and the Lake Tahoe campground wanted $24 for a tent site. Luckily, I found a closed, gated road overlooking the lake that I was able to sneak the bike onto. I camouflaged my hi-viz BMW from the surrounding vacationers, and pitched the tent right on the road. Free, lake-front camping!

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Old 06-02-2012, 01:38 AM   #8
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wow I want more more moreeee
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Old 01-23-2013, 04:45 PM   #9
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Good to see other folks adventuring on R1100Ses!
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Old 01-23-2013, 05:08 PM   #10
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Makes me miss my S! What a beauty.
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Old 01-23-2013, 05:36 PM   #11
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[ Stormy loves to get discounts on things, and always asks for the "disabled veteran/student/hippy/senior discount." The lady park ranger said that his military disability would discount our park entrance fees, so Stormy produced his disability card.

"This isn't current, sir. Your card needs to be current," said the lady.

"Whadya mean, not current?!" Stormy was in his element. "I've got pieces of ordinance currently embedded in my leg!" The park lady looked perplexed.

"Well, I won't argue with somebody who's just doing her job, I guess," Stormy said, and put his card back in his pocket. The park lady realized she was on the wrong side of the argument and handed us each a Crater lake brochure. "You all just go ahead, it's on me," she said quietly. We thanked her, started the bikes and rode up the road a ways, so that Stormy could do his "HaHa, Suckers!" dance out of sight.
Did Stormy fraudulently impersonate a disabled, combat-wounded veteran to cheat the Park Service out of a visitor fee? If so, "stolen valor." If not, the "HaHa Suckers!" dance doesn't seem appropriate.
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Old 01-23-2013, 06:29 PM   #12
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Did Stormy fraudulently impersonate a disabled, combat-wounded veteran to cheat the Park Service out of a visitor fee? If so, "stolen valor." If not, the "HaHa Suckers!" dance doesn't seem appropriate.
Lol. Stormy does very little that "seems appropriate." He was combat wounded in Vietnam and I've seen his photos and medals, but for whatever reason his disability card had an expired date on it. The absurdity of being denied the park entrance discount just because he hadn't renewed his card through the VA became apparent to the park employee. Stormy also does the "HaHa Suckers!" dance whenever he fires up his snow machine, when he shoots his Weatherby and hits something far away, and when six packs of Corona are on sale.
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Old 01-23-2013, 08:02 PM   #13
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I'm with Stormy !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Old 05-15-2014, 02:20 PM   #14
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Makes me miss my S! What a beauty.
Had to go back and look at these, because I have been missing my S lately too. Stupid internet rumors about input shaft splines got the better of me. The current owner is racking up the miles. I never should have sold it.
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Old 05-15-2014, 06:25 PM   #15
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Never let a few splines get between you, and BMW ownership.

And there's lots of great deals on Oilers out there.
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