From August 13th-17th I did a solo loop through Washington and Oregon. I'm happy to answer any questions anyone has.
By the numbers:
10 Destination Highways in Washington
For those just looking for pictures, the link is at the end of the post.
Day 1: Vancouver - Omak, WA
Weather looked a bit shaky when I woke up so I decided to put on the rain gear. This turned out to be a good choice because a thunderstorm started just south of Nooksack. After I made it through that, it was off to South Skagit Hwy (DH #56) from Sedro Woolley to Hwy 530 Junction. The rain came back for good just before Concrete. This made my ride through the cascades not so fun. They have Hwy 20 (from Rockport to Winthrop) rated as DH #1, although I didn't think it lived up to that rating. Although the scenery is amazing, there was lots of traffic (it was a Thursday at 10 am) and the twisties weren't anything spectacular. Arriving in Winthrop I had a very good lunch at Boulder Creek Delicatessen. From there it was DH #29 from Twisp to Okanogan, and then on to Omak for the night. I stayed in the Stampede Motel as the weather looked a little too risky to camp. It was decent for the price (38.50) and is in walking distance of restaurants, etc.
Day 2: Omak, Wa - Enterprise, Or
Woke up to bad looking weather again, which started raining quite hard shortly after I gassed up before heading out. I was starting to get pretty frustrated with the rain. First up was Hwy 155 to Nespelem (DH #69). Then it was some smaller more remote roads to Inchelium (DH #26 to Hwy 21 and DH #23 to Inchelium). These roads have nice scenery and it was a definitely nice to get off the main highways. The sun actually started to poke its head out around this time which was awesome. After crossing the Inchelium-Gifford ferry, it was time for DH #24 from Fruitland to Little Falls. This road was very nice, definitely a highlight of Washington. After some boring riding it was time for standard lunch in Rockford at a pub called Frednecks. From there it was down Hwy 27 to Pullman (DH #68) through the Palouse region. This wheat farming area is quite pretty, rolling hills and wheat fields as far as you can see, but the road is nothing special. Next up was Hwy 129/3 from Asotin to Enterprise Or (DH #18), otherwise known as The Rattlesnake. I have no idea how this road got the #18 rating, from all the riding I've done in Washington, I'd strongly argue it's a top 5, and possibly even #1. Straight out of Asotin, you immediately climb up a fresh paved looping set of twisties that sets the excitement bar pretty high. Then you head along a boring plateau for awhile, the whole time just waiting for the Snake. The best part starts with a 6 mile section of 25 mph corners, followed by more twisties paired with awesome elevation changes, and finally into the epic part you see in the pictures. Shortly after crossing over into Oregon, the twisties stop and it's a nice leisurely ride to Enterprise. With the weather in Enterprise looking good, I set up camp at Log House RV Park and Campground ($11) and then headed into town for some pub food at the Range Rider Tavern. The sun + remote roads + awesome twisties made this day much better than the first.
Day 3: Enterprise - Mitchell, Or
Sun shining and no traffic means fun times on the Imnaha Hwy. I missed my turn-off onto NF-39 and ended up taking a nice 40 mile detour to Imnaha and back. After realizing what I did, it was a fast ride back to NF-39 and into Hells Canyon National Recreation Area. The pavement on this road is marginal at best in places, but the scenery is amazing and it is very remote. There was also lots of deer out the morning I rode it, with me having to split two mother and fawn pairs that jumped out. After hooking up to Hwy 86 it was a boring ride to Baker City, where I had a very good lunch at the City Cafe. From there it was back into empty remote mountain roads for a good section of the day. From Baker City to Sumpter was ok, the pavement was quite bad in places, and if doing it again I probably would have gone straight down Hwy 7. The road from Austin Junction to Hwy 395 was quite nice, with some fast sweepers running along a pretty river. Long Creek to Kimberly was nothing special. Heading down Hwy 19, you enter the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, which has amazing geology and is very pretty. I arrived to Mitchell quite tired, and was pleasantly surprised by free camping (up to 3 nights) in their city park, which is right across the street from the Little Pine Cafe where I ate a salad for dinner (enough greasy pub food).
Day 4: Mitchell - Waldport, Or
First thing in the morning I headed out to the Painted Hills, which were beautiful in the early morning sun. Then it was quickly off down the 26/126 to Sisters. From Sisters I took Hwy 242 through the McKenzie Pass. I took this road last year on my way down to California and it the pavement was pretty bad, with gravel in lots of the corners. They have since repaved the entire thing, and there is still some gravel, but it has vastly improved. Sections of this road are very twisty and technical, with some blind corners, etc. With some cautious concentration, this road can provide the twisty bliss we as sportbike riders constantly search for. Unfortunately I rode this on a Sunday, so it was quite busy, and they were still painting road lines on the fresh pavement in some places, so it wasn't fast paced by any means, but on a weekday I think you'd do a lot better. From there is was a boring ride east on Hwy 126 to Crow. The road from Crow to Reedsport starts out very nice, with some good pavement and nicely engineered corners, once you leave wolf creek road, the pavement deteriorates and the road narrows significantly, but I'll take this remote backroad to the coast over the boring 126 any day. After reaching the coast, I took in the beautiful scenery while during a nice evening ride up to Waldport where I stayed at the America Inn & Suites which was clean and reasonable (about $60) for the coast. I ate dinner at Geng Sing, a greasy chinese food place. All the beautiful scenery and more relaxed pace made this day the most enjoyable.
Day 5: Waldport, Or - Vancouver
Not much to report here. Straight up the 101 in reasonably heavy traffic to Aberdeen. I was hoping to take it all the way to Port Townsend to bypass most of the I-5 but all the ferries were booked. After a sweaty section in Seattle rush hour, I returned home tired and sore. Overall it was a very good trip and nice to explore places I had never been.
Washington: DH #24-Fruitland to Little Falls
DH #18-Asotin to Enterprise Or
Oregon: NF-39-Joseph to Hwy 86
Middle Fork Road-Austin Junction to Hwy 395
Wolf Creek Road-on the way from Crow to Reedsport
PICS are here (click slideshow in top-right corner):