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Two Wheels Better

Two Wheels Better
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Time on my hands. A capable motorbike. A clear break in the forecast. 

That's trinity enough for me.

Wednesday morning I headed out on a bright, clear morning, with the idea of riding as many two lane roads of western Washington/Oregon as possible. I hoped to avoid the Interstate 5 drone. While most effective at conveying a rider no short distance in no time at all in something nearing boredom, as it is. The idea was to spend a coupla days riding and camping out and around the area's three major volcanoes, 14,441 foot-tall Mt Rainier, the infamous 8,363 feet of Mt St Helens (just under 2,000' came off the top with the May '80 eruption), and the quiet giant, all 12,280' of remote Mt Adams. I also passed the 11,250' Mt Hood, on the Oregon side.

Columbia River Gorge & the Three (make that four) Volcano Blast 20180875
The salmon are running to their spawning grounds, and the anglers are after them. Here we are in Castle Rock, Washington, along the Cowlitz River.
Columbia River Gorge & the Three (make that four) Volcano Blast 20180876
Crossing the Mighty Columbia between Longview, WA and Rainier, OR requires a ride over this monster, and what a view from the top. The trees are beginning their slow colour descent into Autumn.
Columbia River Gorge & the Three (make that four) Volcano Blast 20180877
Portland, Oregon has plenty of fine motorbike roads, and I lived there in the early '00 for several years, so I thought I'd retrace some of my favourites. Here is a view of the top end of the Willamette valley from Skyline Drive, just east of Cornelius Pass. A small amount of lingering smoke haze from the region's wildfires is still visible. Like most places, the traffic has increased to an almost unbearable level. I vow never to ride Cornelius Pass during a weekday. The massive trucks and queue of cars on the tight curves had us all at a walking pace.
Columbia River Gorge & the Three (make that four) Volcano Blast 20180878
Portland's Forest Park, the largest city park in North America within a city's limits. It beats Vancouver's Stanley Park and New York's Central Park in acreage, and a good bit of it is deep, dark, ferny forest. I'm gunna beep my horn in that tunnel, and the next and the next. It's almost a requirement.
Columbia River Gorge & the Three (make that four) Volcano Blast 20180879
Cape Horn lookout of the Columbia river gorge from WA state highway 14, a twisting ribbon of road that at times is high above the Gorge, then next mere feet from the water, passing Basalt columns like Beacon Rock, windswept rockslides, former Indian fishing falls, whispery waterfalls and pine forests.
Columbia River Gorge & the Three (make that four) Volcano Blast 20180880
The Bonneville Dam, along with several other large dams, provides clean hydro power while also providing a fish ladder for the large number of salmon and other fishies. Unfortunately, since the '30s, the locals, with limited say in the progress of man, no longer have full and ready access to their traditional fishing falls, many of which are inundated, along with their villages and petroglyphs. Still, this time of the year they are out their catching the copious salmon that swim back upstream to spawn. One can buy fresh and smoked salmon from them along highway 14.
Columbia River Gorge & the Three (make that four) Volcano Blast 20180881
After a 300+ mile first day, a coldie and grub at the local brewpub in Stevenson, WA, and a 17 mile twisty ride up into the heart of the Gifford Pinchot Wilderness, I settled into my camping spot. Not one other camper was there. The night was warm and silent save the cool bubbling creek and occasional whisps of breeze in the tall pines above. I slept like magic.
Columbia River Gorge & the Three (make that four) Volcano Blast 20180882
Next Day, 7am, along the tracks and highway 14 near the confluence of the Little White Salmon river and the Columbia, looking west. The rest of the day would clear, with a light breeze, and top out at nearly 29c (about 85f). But for now, it's zippers closed, heated grips on, let's find some brekky. I was not disappointed.
Columbia River Gorge & the Three (make that four) Volcano Blast 20180883
Not the money shot, but worth a look. Snow-covered Mount Hood, on the Oregon side, from a lookout on highway 14.
Columbia River Gorge & the Three (make that four) Volcano Blast 20180893
This is my view from the North Shore Cafe in White Salmon, Washington, a place I recommend for travellers. The food and beverages were mighty fine after a night in the forest. I had switched off my kill-switch to stop the motor but left the key in the on position, only to come out an hour later to a nearly flat battery. A third gear bump start downhill from the town had me purring again and the battery stay afloat the remainder of the trip. A Doh! moment, for certain, but the place is like that. Leave your helmet and keys on the bike with no worries.
Columbia River Gorge & the Three (make that four) Volcano Blast 20180884
Little used old Highway No 8 parallels highway 14, but is as fast and MUCH more twisty. I re-ran a couple of the sets of curves just because those Conti Sport Attack radials just seem to stick like glue!
Columbia River Gorge & the Three (make that four) Volcano Blast 20180885
All the while there's this view over a rider's shoulder...
Columbia River Gorge & the Three (make that four) Volcano Blast 20180886
Route 142 from Lyle, WA through to Goldendale, WA is a road I used to ride every coupla weekends when I lived near Portlandia. It's been eleven or twelve years since I wore a tyre on its surface. The roads bends and curves alongside the Klickitat river with plenty of scrub oak, short pines, craggy, rocky basalt outcroppings and straw-coloured, dried out grasses from the Summer drought. Views of the fishermen waist deep in the silty, glacial runoff water was a sight to behold. Just before leaving the valley and heading up onto the high plains, the road twists and turns with 15mph bends and plenty of wide sweepers, ideally suited for a 160+hp Duolever-equipped muscle bike. I was elated inside my helmet and promised the grinning evil and the smiling angel on my shoulders that I'd go back often -  I had this road to myownbadself the entire way!
Columbia River Gorge & the Three (make that four) Volcano Blast 20180887
This poor bugger, Mt Adams, doesn't get much press as compared to her cousins, Mt Rainier and Mt St Helens, but rest assured she's an active volcano that has erupted relatively recently, geologically speaking (550 BC).
Columbia River Gorge & the Three (make that four) Volcano Blast 20180888
Roads and views to live for.
Columbia River Gorge & the Three (make that four) Volcano Blast 20180889
Highway 142 near the Little Klickitat river.
Columbia River Gorge & the Three (make that four) Volcano Blast 20180890
Bickleton, Washington is a quiet little place with a town hall, post office, restaurant, bar and a few houses. The locals drive muddy pickups with a dog on the back, and when ordering salad with dinner wouldn't dream of getting the dressing on the side like no city folk.
Columbia River Gorge & the Three (make that four) Volcano Blast 20180891
Descending to the town of Mabton from Horse Heaven Hills, into eastern Washington's breadbasket, the Yakima river valley, a place of cattle, fruit orchards and hop vines, ranches, vineyards and trailer parks. A working knowledge of Spanish is a plus, and if you want chiles rellenos autentica, I know the place!
Columbia River Gorge & the Three (make that four) Volcano Blast 20180892
As is often the case, once you reach the upper edge of the Cascade mountain range, the weather shifts from the dry of the east to the wet of the west, and I know I'm nearly home. This is the view just below Chinook Pass, above Cayuse Pass, looking southward.

All in all it was a two day, 700 mile reconnaissance ride with fine weather, excellent roads, and with many interesting people met along the way. All up, four tanks of premium fuel (two of which without ethanol), two restaurant meals and a coupla smooth frothies, tea made in my campsite, lunch snacks packed into the tankbag, one single roadmap, a change of clothes, a small tent and sleeping bag, and memories made.


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History is a vast early warning system ~Norman Cousins - Political Journo, Editor, Author & World Peace Advocate, 1915 - 1990 - Wikipedia
1977 R75/7-100, '93 K11/K12 Big Block, '93 K1100RS, '95 R100 Mystic, '96 K1100RS, 2 x '98 K1200RS, '06 K1200R & '09 K1300GT. Projects: 1993 & '96 K1100RS, & the 2nd '98 K1200RS
    

Born Again Eccentric

Born Again Eccentric
Life time member
Life time member
Another masterpiece TWB - great pics and ride report.


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Columbia River Gorge & the Three (make that four) Volcano Blast Uk-log10 Columbia River Gorge & the Three (make that four) Volcano Blast Sco-lo15
                              Paul  Columbia River Gorge & the Three (make that four) Volcano Blast 905546712

"Heidi" K100LT 1991 (Grey) (VIN 0190172 Engine No. 104EB 2590 2213) - 5th owner. January 2014 (34,000 - 61,000 miles and counting....)
"Gretel" K100LT 1989 (Silver Grey) (VIN 0177324 Engine No. 104EA 2789 2211) - 4th+ owner. September 2015 (58,500miles and counting....). Cat C Insurance write-off rebuild Feb 17
"Donor" K100LT 1990 (Red)  (VIN 0178091 Engine No. 4489 2024) - 6th & final owner (crash write-off now donor bike).   June 2012 (73,000 miles) to November 2013 (89,500 miles)
    

Two Wheels Better

Two Wheels Better
Moderator
Moderator
Born Again Eccentric wrote:Another masterpiece TWB - great pics and ride report.
Aw, shucks. Ta. I'm just riding, observing, and the words follow.


__________________________________________________
History is a vast early warning system ~Norman Cousins - Political Journo, Editor, Author & World Peace Advocate, 1915 - 1990 - Wikipedia
1977 R75/7-100, '93 K11/K12 Big Block, '93 K1100RS, '95 R100 Mystic, '96 K1100RS, 2 x '98 K1200RS, '06 K1200R & '09 K1300GT. Projects: 1993 & '96 K1100RS, & the 2nd '98 K1200RS
    

Saxon7

Saxon7
Life time member
Life time member
When selling your ute over in the States, is the dog considered to be a fixture or can it be removed after inspection and before sale?

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCc7NNjWO7nHEhMpErSDJ5Hw
    

Two Wheels Better

Two Wheels Better
Moderator
Moderator
Columbia River Gorge & the Three (make that four) Volcano Blast Dogsin10
One dog, or two?


__________________________________________________
History is a vast early warning system ~Norman Cousins - Political Journo, Editor, Author & World Peace Advocate, 1915 - 1990 - Wikipedia
1977 R75/7-100, '93 K11/K12 Big Block, '93 K1100RS, '95 R100 Mystic, '96 K1100RS, 2 x '98 K1200RS, '06 K1200R & '09 K1300GT. Projects: 1993 & '96 K1100RS, & the 2nd '98 K1200RS
    

Dai

Dai
Life time member
Life time member
I live on the remains of a volcanic flow but the wee buggers here haven't gone pop for over 90 million years. Mere pimples compared to those three.

...and yes, I'm jealous. If I stick to the 'interesting' roads around here I'm lucky to hit 150 miles on a day's ride.


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1983 K100 naked upgraded to K100LT spec after spending time as an RS and an RT
1987 K100RT
Others...
1978 Moto Guzzi 850-T3, 1979 Moto Guzzi 850-T3 California,1993 Moto Guzzi 1100ie California
2020 Royal Enfield Bullet 500
    

Two Wheels Better

Two Wheels Better
Moderator
Moderator
Dai wrote:I live on the remains of a volcanic flow but the wee buggers here haven't gone pop for over 90 million years. Mere pimples compared to those three.

...and yes, I'm jealous. If I stick to the 'interesting' roads around here I'm lucky to hit 150 miles on a day's ride.
It's the youthfulness of the Amerikan west, in the vistas, recent major geologic change, miles of open range, and in the general curiosity & friendliness of most folk (on empty roads you still get the three finger wave off the steering wheel from passing drivers), the can-do attitude that's prevalent, conservative in outlook tho' a fair few 'out west' are, by practicality and nature. I love it here, for many reasons. I extend the invitation once again to forum members who need a bike, a spare room and a tour guide for a few days or a week. The choice of choice roads is nearly limitless. They're all Beemers in my garage, of some sort, too.  Cool



Last edited by Two Wheels Better on Sun Sep 02, 2018 12:04 pm; edited 1 time in total


__________________________________________________
History is a vast early warning system ~Norman Cousins - Political Journo, Editor, Author & World Peace Advocate, 1915 - 1990 - Wikipedia
1977 R75/7-100, '93 K11/K12 Big Block, '93 K1100RS, '95 R100 Mystic, '96 K1100RS, 2 x '98 K1200RS, '06 K1200R & '09 K1300GT. Projects: 1993 & '96 K1100RS, & the 2nd '98 K1200RS
    

brickrider2

brickrider2
Life time member
Life time member
Thanks for that fine RR, TWB.  You've put my feelings about the Pacific northwest in far more eloquent terms than I could ever do. 
Home for me is a fairly easy day's ride from the roads you've described.  I plan to visit the general area soon.  My excuse (as if one were needed!) is to see the centuries-old Cannonball Run machines in The Dalles, their last stopover prior to the finish in Portland.  Seeing those relics and their determined riders is always a treat!   cheers

    

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