Anyone know where this is?
After a year off from riding, I finally had a chance to visit the majestic Cascades Highway - on a new bike no less. Earlier this year I had already put on a few thousand miles on my new Triumph Sprint ST around NorCal. With 8000 kilometers on the odo, the oem Bridgestone 020s were toast (curious because I used to get 12K on my FZ1).
I left Burnaby Friday morning at 5:30 in the morning to have a new set of tires installed at I90 Motorsports in Issaquah, WA. At 9am, a brand new set of Michelin Pilot Road 2 were waiting for my Sunset Red Sprint. I told my wife I needed new tires - and to scratch that Cascade itch. I could not have picked a better day. I hit Seattle morning rush hour around 8am and I have to admit - I rather enjoyed making my way thru the morning commute - 5 lanes of cars and trucks all moving at 70 mph. Our freeways suck.
After a breakfast croissant and two cups of coffee at the Front Street Cafe in Issaquah, Sunset was ready to roll with labels still on the tread. Gearing up, I plugged in my MP3 and blasted over Snoqualmie Pass to the sounds of She Wants Revenge. If you have never been over Snoqualmie on I90 - it is one of the most beautiful interstate routes. Fast sweeping 3 lanes blessed with gorgeous scenery up top, but lots of fast moving tractors and cars. From I90 I headed north on 97 over Blewitt Pass - beautiful 2 lane hwy with lots of passing places and medium traffic, so smooth, so scenic.
Coming down Blewitt pass the mercury climbed to the mid to high 20s, not too bad though if you got good vents in your gear moving at a good clip. Stopped in Wintrop to take a break and watch the tourists- there were a few... looking at all the vehicles, you wouldn't think we had high gas prices.
It was about 3pm in Winthrop and time to scrub in my new Michelins... and what an awesome road to do it on. I have ridden this highway many times in the last 8 years, but the experience differs from bike to bike and Sunset made me fall in love all over again. This Sprint between my legs felt like I was having sex with the curves of the pavement and the tires - well safe sex of course. I love the way these PR2s feel - they aint race tires obviously, but they are perfect for sport touring and road sex. Longevity and good feedback.
At this point I need to plug in a review of this Triumph Sprint ST. I love this bike - the 1050cc triple is such an awesome powerplant. I never though 3 cyclinders could be this smooth all thru the rev range - lots of usable street friendly power. It has the low end torque of a twin combined with a tone down hp rush of a four. Front suspension only has preload, but is more than adequate for sport touring and even the odd track day. The Sprint's handling is very very good - I am very surprised how quick to bike "drops" into turns and holds what ever line you point it to. The Sprint is very easy to handle for a 450 lbs bike (even with hard bags and travel gear). It's flickable yet stable thru any curve you guide it thru - simply amazing.
I was hoping to stop at Diablo Dam, but the gates closed at 4:15 - just missed it. I guess its time to go home. I pushed on to Rockport where I decided I didn't want to deal with that boring stretch of 20 to Sedro Wooley. I pointed Sunset south to ride the South Skagit hwy - so sweet, I didn't have to pass any cars all the way to Sedro. The slow place cruise under the tree canopies to the sounds of Van Halen. Pavement is a bit rough, but theres enuff turns to keep you at attention. South Skagit finally spit me out at Sedro where we took hwy 9 back up to Sumas. A very pleasant road to finish Washington state on.