I had heard lots of great reports of the fine riding to be had in northeastern Oregon, so when ‘Scooter’ (Brian) posted a ride, I jumped at the chance to go, especially since he had a reputation for knowing all the ‘secret ways’! Poor weather put us back a time or two, but eventually we committed to the beginning of May, despite a shaky forecast.
Brian came by my place before 6am Sunday, and we hit the border around 6:30. Once we were across, we had to don raingear, as the skies were grey, congealed, and weeping. We blasted down I5 to 2 or 3 interchanges south of Bellingham, then dropped onto Old Samish Way to start the ‘fun’ riding. The roads were damp, but the rain had stopped. We took OSW back north to the Chuckanut, then ripped south to Edison, and onwards to Hwy 20. (We missed the turning onto Bayview-Edison Rd, but we caught it on the way back.) South of Anacortes we took a diversion along Rosario Rd, and south of Oak Harbour we hit Madrona Way into Coupeville (pleasant little town – apparently Christopher's is the place to dine). It was 8:30, 2 hours from the border, when we arrived at the Keystone terminal for the 8:45 ferry, which amazingly is only $5 and change for the bike and rider!
Once across to Port Townsend we started down Hwy 101 about half an hour before stopping for a robust breakfast at the Loggers Landing in Quilcene WA, which is worth the trip. A later trip onto the Olympic peninsula revealed that the Chimacum Café – 15 min closer to Pt Townsend – is pretty much as good (in fact, has better hash browns), and definitely is as ‘folksy’, altho it’s hard to beat the “Spotted Owl Helper” in the Landing’s checkout display case for authentic humour!
I love the blast down the Hood Canal when there’s not much traffic, and soon we were south of Shelton and branching west onto Hwy 108 towards McCleary and a long network of secondary roads west of I5. Brian ran out of fuel on Bunker Creek Road, but he’d come prepared (the SV1000 is thirsty!), and soon we were in Adna to top up.
fuel in Adna - the end of Bunker Cr rd in the background
More side highways took us to the Columbia and the crumbling-but-impressive Lewis and Clark bridge into Oregon. 20 minutes west, in Clatskanie, we refueled again, and the fun really began!
Brian had told me that Hwy 47 and Hwy 53 were a couple of his favorite roads, but I was unprepared for the ridiculously twisty nature of the initial 20km or so of 47. I reckoned my grin would split my helmet! More secondary roads branched right, then a few miles of high speed sweepers westbound on the 4-laned Hwy 26 with no traffic going our way, and a steady solid stream of weekenders heading back to Portland on the opposite side of the road added to the thrill of the day. Hwy 53 was not as ‘wild’ as 47, but it was certainly outstanding, and soon we were in Nehalem, and soon afterwards checking into the Blue Gull Inn in Cannon Beach, our home for the next two nites. We had been on the go for about 12 hours, and after a look at the beach and a pizza we unceremoniously hit the sack.
map of day one:
...day 2, next post.