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Old 10-20-2012, 11:31 AM   #1
Jedi5150 OP
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Jedi's jaunt to the Pacific North West

Day 1
Tuesday 10-16-12
Monterey, CA to Yakima, WA
802 miles

Hello all, I recently returned from my first motorcycle trip to the Pacific North West. The only parts of Oregon and Washington I'd previously seen was a ride to Crater Lake, Oregon and back, and a little bit of Seattle on a one day flight there. For quite a while now I've wanted to get a better feel for the two states north of me, and this past week was my chance.

Originally I'd planned on doing an Iron Butt "Saddle Sore 1000" from where I live in Monterey, CA, to the Canadian border, on I-5 (1,017 miles). The only previous iron butt ride I've done was a SS1000 where I rode from Monterey to Crater Lake and back in 19 hours. Due to weather forecast of rain on the west side of the Cascades, I changed my plan. Thanks to the suggestion of forum members in the PNW section, I decided to ride up the 97 instead, and stay drier on the eastern side of the Cascades. I also thought this would be fun because I'd never been further north on the dry side than Klamath Falls.

I left at 8:00 AM and headed north, taking Hwy 101, to 680 north, to 80 east, to 505 north, to the 5 north as far as Weed, CA. From Weed I got on the 97 and stayed there all the way to Yakima, WA.

Filling up in Vacaville, CA:

I recently watched "Long Way Down", and laughed at a comment made by Ewan McGregor. He said, "I end up coming back from these trips with 350 photos of my motorbike with slightly different backgrounds." So apologies in advance, but you're about to get your fill of R1200GS photos.

I know a lot of folks don't particularly like the superslabs (the big interstate highways). I'm not in this group. I never get tired of riding through miles of open desert between Reno and Salt Lake City on I-80, for example. Even so, I'll be the first to admit that the I-5 through the San Joaquin Valley is monotonous and ugly. But from around Redding northward, I loved every minute of it. My first view of Mt. Shasta, from the I-5 just north of Redding:

At 14,179 feet (4,322m) tall, Mount Shasta is the second highest peak in the Cascades. For those not familiar with the Cascades, it is a mountain range of vocanic peaks that extends from Mt. Lassen, in California, to the Nicola and Thompson Rivers, in British Columbia. After spending quite a bit of time in the Canadian Rockies and the Sierra Nevadas in California, the Cascades have a very different feel to them. The Sierras and Rockies have the typical "mountain range" topography, with a bunch of long crestlines going for hundreds of miles. The Cascades on the other hand, have a series of volcanic peaks that often rise over a mile above the surrounding peaks. This next photo was taken just north-east of Weed, CA, looking south at Mount Shasta.

""When I first caught sight of it over the braided folds of the Sacramento Valley, I was fifty miles away and afoot, alone and weary. Yet all my blood turned to wine, and I have not been weary since." - John Muir

Back on I-5, just north of Lake Shasta, you come across Castle Crags. This was the site of the "Battle of Castle Crags" in 1855, between gold rush miners and the local Native Americans.

I enjoyed the scenery on 97 between Weed and Bend, OR. Unfortunately, it was dark by the time I reached Bend, so I really didn't get to see what it looked like...or any of Washington for that matter. I'd really hoped to see what the Columbia River Gorge looked like, but all I remember of it was a very cool bridge with black expanses to the left and right. I got gas in Goldendale, WA, and the gas station attendant told me to watch out for deer while going through the Yakima Indian Reservation. He wasn't joking. Within a 2 mile stretch outside of Goldendale, I saw two dead deer on the highway. I stayed under the speed limit all the way to Yakima and thankfully didn't see any more deer.
Next.....Day 2

Jedi5150 screwed with this post 10-20-2012 at 07:42 PM
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Old 10-20-2012, 11:48 AM   #2
El Duque
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Nice pics! and quote by John Muir.

my old stompin grounds. I love 97.

re: Muir I heard once don't know if true but he was lost and cold up on Shasta and found a hot spring up there and spent the nite in it and survived.
it is what it is
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Old 10-20-2012, 12:19 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by El Duque View Post
Nice pics! and quote by John Muir.

my old stompin grounds. I love 97.

re: Muir I heard once don't know if true but he was lost and cold up on Shasta and found a hot spring up there and spent the nite in it and survived.
Thanks El Duque! I wish I'd had a chance to see more of the 97. I loved what I did see of it.
That story wouldn't surprise me about Muir. He was a true adventurer by anyone's standards.

Jedi5150 screwed with this post 10-20-2012 at 04:47 PM
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Old 10-20-2012, 01:40 PM   #4
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Day 2

Day 2
Wednesday, 10-17-12
Yakima, WA to Port Townsend, WA
total miles= ???

It was chilly when I woke up in Yakima, but the sun was trying to peek through the clouds. My first view of Washington east of the Cascades was outside my hotel room window:

North of Yakima, on Hwy 82, I started getting a feel for Central Washington. I wasn't really surprised, it is almost exactly as I'd pictured it. Once you get east of the Cascades, Oregon and Washington are your typical high desert. This next photo could just as easily have been taken on any number of Nevada highways as on Hwy 82 in Washington:

Along Highway 90, between Cle Elum and North Bend, the Cascades really come alive. Snoqualmie Pass had received a fresh dusting of snow the night before:

After stopping in and visiting the good folks at Hilleberg Tents, in Redmond, I went to the world famous Pike Place Market in Seattle. Having been to the market once before, in a rental car, I knew that parking could be a pain. I wanted to keep the bike and expensive camping gear close at hand. The closest parking is a few blocks away, in paid parking lots. I had Googled motorcycle parking for the market a couple days earlier and came across a little gem of information. Someone had let out the secret that right at the north entrance to the market, there are two un-marked motorcycle parking slots, for free. When I arrived, I found the two slots I'd read about, and one was already occupied by a BMW F650GS. As I was parking in the other slot, the 650GS owner came out and started up a conversations. It turns out he has a large stable of motorcycles and is a fellow long-distance riding enthusiast (Iron Butt Association member):

He asked where I planned on visting while in Seattle, and I told him I was heading out towards Port Angeles and the Olympic Peninsula. He suggested I check out Port Townsend, and I happily took him up on the suggestion.

I ate lunch at a little cheese shop just across the street from the market. At the suggestion of my brother, I got a cup of their mac and cheese, and it was every bit as good as he'd described. You can't go to Pike Place Market and not buy some fresh smoked salmon, so that was the next stop:

Wanting time to experience my first ferry crossing, I decided to take the longer route to Bremerton. I didn't stop to consider that the ferries come and go at scheduled times, and I couldn't have gotten luckier. Within 5 minutes of arriving at the ferry terminal, our boat showed up. And it's true what they go to the front of the line:

The Bainbridge Island ferry was also arriving as we loaded onboard for Bremerton:

The ferry offered some great views of the city of Seattle. I've been re-reading a series of fantasy novels by Terry Brooks. The book I'm currently reading is set in a post-apocalyptic world where zombie-like creatures and demons roam the war torn cities. Safeco Field, in Seattle, has become a fortress-like compound where the few remaining human survivors hold out against the evil horde. It was fun seeing the sports arena in real life to put a better mental picture for the novel setting (Safeco is the one on the right, Seahawks Statium is on the left):

Downtown Seattle:

And the Spaceneedle:

Our ferry, the Kitsap:

A guy next to me on the aft deck was throwing food for the seagulls as we left Seattle. This juvenile seagull landed next to me, assuming (incorrectly) that I was also good for handouts:

Our vehicles down in the hold. I noticed that some folks stay in their cars the whole time:

Mount Rainier is the tallest mountain in the Cascades (14,411 feet), and the most topographically prominent (or "autonomous height") mountain in the continental 48 states. This basically means that it is taller compared to the surrounding terrain than anywhere in the lower 48 states. This next photo is looking south on Puget Sound, with Rainier, nearly 60 miles away, rising into the clouds just left of the tanker:

From the same spot looking west across the sound, the mountains of Olympic Peninsula are visible:

Ships passing in the night (or at least the afternoon). This gentleman spent the better part of the crossing out on the deck, enjoying the scenery like I was:

The Bremerton Naval Shipyard:

Pulling into Bremerton, ready to launch off the ferry. As soon as you leave the ferry you go through an "S" shaped tunnel to get into the town itself. With all the motorcycles being allowed to leave in front of the cars, this S-tunnel makes for a fun impromptu speedway...which pretty much all the motorcyclists take advantage of. Unfortunately I have no photos of the tunnel...they could be used as incriminating evidence and more importantly, I was too busy to hold a camera at the time.

Apologies for the poor photo, but by evening I'd arrived at my destination for the night, in Port Townsend,WA. On the recommendation of a fellow ADVrider who I met on the ferry, I had dinner (lasagne) at the Pizza Factory. It was very good:

I finally arrived at Fort Worden State Park, in Port Townsend, and set up camp. The inside of my Hilleberg Saivo tent...home sweet home for the night:

Next up, day 3...

Jedi5150 screwed with this post 10-20-2012 at 07:48 PM
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Old 10-20-2012, 03:56 PM   #5
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Day 3

Day 3
Thursday, 10-18-12
Port Townsend, WA to Eugene, OR
Total miles= ???

For $28 dollars a night, the Fort Worden State Park campground was the most expensive state park I've ever stayed at. They have camp sites up in the hills, where I stayed, as well as some right on the beach. Although the campground itself is in a beautiful area, the sites leave a lot to be desired. The ground is way too rocky to get stakes to go in well, and the sites are close together with zero privacy. In fact each two campsites share a driveway. If someone was camping in the site next to yours you could practically ask them to pass the salt without them having to get up from their picnic table. I'm glad I was here in the off-season. The view out of the vent window of my Saivo tent:

Boiling up some apple cider on the morning of day 3:

Fort Worden was an active US Army base from 1902 until 1953, and built to guard the Strait of Juan de Fuca:

The fort had many gun emplacements, both on "Artillery Hill", and down on the beach. I went exploring the latter, and checked out the Kinzi Battery:

On top of the 3 story tall gun battery, looking west out towards the Pacific:

And east, towards Seattle:

Looking north, towards British Columbia, out of the "control room":

You are HERE:

After leaving Port Townsend, I hooked up with the 101 heading west, along the upper edge of the Olympic Peninsula. I started to hit the first rain of the trip just outside of Port Angeles:

I arrived at Lake Crescent only to see that the road was closed, and would require a lengthy detour to get around towards Forks or Cape Flattery. I drove down a little dirt access road to the east side of Lake Crescent long enough to snap a picture. The rain was really starting to come down at this point:

Being the intelligent guy that I am, I figured what better way to get out of the nasty weather than by taking a ride up "Hurricane Ridge"... The road is awesome for motorcycling, even in the rain. But once at the top and up in the clouds, I couldn't see anything but driving wind and rain:

The view out of the visitor's center was equally impressive...

When I finished a snack and came out of the visitors center to leave, I saw a raven sitting on my tankbag, doing everything he could to get at any possible goodies inside. I laughed as I ran across the parking lot towards the bike because he looked up and started pecking away with even more frustration. He nearly had my map pouch off the tankbag by the time I got to the bike and shooed him away.

The ride back down Hurricane Ridge Road was just as impressive as the ride up:

A couple of self-portraits along the way:

Mountains growing out of the clouds:

After coming back into Port Angeles, I was cold to the bone and pretty wet (my rainpants were not effective). I decided to head south and inland, taking the 101 towards Olympia. Highway 101 along the Hood Canal between Discovery Bay and Olympia was outstanding. Too much fun in the twisties running right along the waters edge to slow down and take a photo. I did turn in on a whim to check out Lake Cushman, west of Hoodsport, and I'm glad I did:

From Olympia, I rode south on the I-5 to Eugene, where I spent the night warming up and drying off in the Garden Hilton. After 10 years, 76,000 miles, one massive crash, two broken zippers, and a "waterproof liner" that no longer stopped rain, I'd decided my BMW "Boulder" jacket had had a good life. The previous day I'd replaced it at the Fife BMW dealership with my new Rallye 3 jacket. The old and new sitting on the bed in Eugene, OR:

Next, day 4...

Jedi5150 screwed with this post 10-20-2012 at 05:59 PM
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Old 10-20-2012, 04:32 PM   #6
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Day 4

Day 4
Friday, 10-19-12 (with a few 2007 pics thrown in)
Eugene, OR to Monterey, CA (via Crescent City)
688 Miles

It was raining when I left Eugene the following morning. Instead of staying on the I-5 to head home, I decided to swing by Crescent City, and take the 101 south from there. I've been to the northern CA coast a number of times and never get tired of it, however, I'd never taken the 199 all the way from Crescent City to Grants Pass (or vice versa). This would be the perfect opportunity for it.

Somewhere along the I-5 between Eugene and Grants Pass, OR:

In Grants Pass I got off the I-5 and headed towards the 199. At the gas station I met up with a gentleman who had just bought a KLR650 in Seattle. He was coming from Seattle and taking the same route south as I was, although he was actually taking the scenic route back to Colorado, via San Francisco. Hwy 199 proved to be the great highway that it was alleged to be, and was worthy of it's respect among motorcyclists. Just outside Crescent City, as I entered the redwoods, I stopped to snap some pictures. Now for the next couple shots, I tried to duplicate photos I'd taken on a trip more than 5 years ago when coming to the area from the opposite direction. I'll include the old photos for fun. Looking out over the Smith River, near Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park:

I totalled this first R1200GS years ago (remember the comment about the crash with the Boulder jacket?):

In the redwoods along Walker Road, off Hwy 199:

For all of my fellow Star Wars fans out there, you will better recognize the area in these photos as the "Forest Moon of Endor", from Return of the Jedi (a rather fitting name in light of the last few photos of this thread and my screenname). The movie was shot less than 2 miles from where these pictures were taken. The actual area used in the movie is on private property, and was logged many years ago:

If you look closely, you can spot at least five Ewoks in this photo:

Some elk in a meadow along Hwy 101 near Orick, CA:

My last touristy spot for the adventure was in Arcata, CA:

The historic Hotel Arcata was made in 1915, where visitors arriving by rail or steamer could stay for $1 a night, or $2 a night if they prefered a room with a bath. In 1920 the Redwood Highway (now Hwy 101) was completed and made the town much more accessible:

All in all, it was a great trip. I feel like I know the PNW a little bit better, and hey, what would a trip to Oregon and Washington be without a little rain? Because of only having a few days, it left me with a whole lot of places I'd like to explore, including more details expeditions in some of the areas I already saw. It was really just a teaser for me of how great the PNW can be. Hopefully I'll be back up there again soon.

Jedi5150 screwed with this post 10-21-2012 at 10:56 PM
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Old 10-20-2012, 05:16 PM   #7
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Nice jaunt... well as pix. I always enjoy seeing our backyard through a visitor's eyes. Nicely done!
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Old 10-20-2012, 05:51 PM   #8
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Nice ride report and photos. I too like seeing and reading what visitors have found in the area I call home (PNW). It would be nice to have known the actual dates of the ride, or did I miss them...
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Old 10-20-2012, 05:56 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Bruce H View Post
Nice ride report and photos. I too like seeing and reading what visitors have found in the area I call home (PNW). It would be nice to have known the actual dates of the ride, or did I miss them...
Thanks Chrome Bandit and Bruce! I'm glad you enjoyed the pictures.

I should have been more clear Bruce, I just got home at about midnight last night. I rode from Tuesday through Friday of this week. The ride was partially to celebrate my 40th birthday, which was on Wednesday. I've updated the posts with dates.
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Old 10-20-2012, 06:17 PM   #10
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Man oh man those are really nice photo's...
thank's for taking the time to post up.... & taking us along for the ride.....
going south...

Never Lost! Just Don't know where I am!

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Old 10-20-2012, 08:03 PM   #11
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I almost took your ride in reverse to Bodie CA today, but they're forcasting snow Saturday thru all week on 97, 4-8 in' on the passes. You may have picked the last good weekend up here. BTW, at Ft Worden,you were camped in a RV spot, tent sites are at least 1/2 that.
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Old 10-20-2012, 08:05 PM   #12
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Very nice Jedi. Beautiful photos. Glad you stopped by Kinzi Battery. What a neat place!
Thanks for sharing.
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Old 10-21-2012, 12:42 PM   #13
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Thanks for the kind words everyone. I'm glad you enjoyed the report and pictures. BaddAndy, I love Bodie, I've been there twice. In fact, in the link to the "Exploring the Eastern Sierras" ride report in my signature, you can see some of my Bodie photos. I'll never get tired of the eastern Sierras. Hopefully you'll get to do that ride soon.
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Old 10-21-2012, 01:54 PM   #14
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Beautiful photos Jedi5150. I agree with your assessment of the Hurricane Ridge ride. I got to do it with a dry roadway. PNW is an awesome place to ride. I enjoyed following yours.
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Old 10-21-2012, 08:32 PM   #15
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Nice power ride through many of the great spots in the PNW. Hopefully next time you have more time and daylight, you missed A LOT. Good job though given the time constraints, thanks for sharing.
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