Last Friday night, Sixgill, 6E Chick, Finix and I took off from Vancouver, and headed south. We crossed the border and booted down I5 for a couple of hours, and found a cheap motel in Lakewood for the night. The plan is to ride 4 solid days (Sat, Sun, Mon, Tues) and see how far we can go.
Had breaky at Dennys, set off for the road around 8:30 am. From Olympia, we headed west towards Hwy 101 to ride along the coast. By 10 am'ish, we went through the cute little town of Seaside. I saw 6EChick eyeing the Arby's we rode by.
Just outside of Tilamook, one of us had a little incident of dropping the bike at slow speed in traffic. We took a break to let the adrenaline subside, and rode into Tilamook for a clutch lever. Sixgill borrowed a pry bar to bend the shift lever back out.
Then we went back about a mile to Tilamook Cheese, where some of us tried their famous icecream, and got some lunch. If you have a chance to visit the cheese factory, I recommend the icecream! They also let you sample some cheeses. So if you are on a budget, go through the sample line a few times, then you're set to go. :P
We continued south and stopped in Florence for the night. If you are considering going down the coast, I would say that the coast is definitely worth riding south of Newport. The scenary and road are much better south of Newport in my opinion.
We were all feeling restless about getting to Cali. After 2 hours of setting off, we all pulled over by the roadside to take a picture of the "Welcome to California" sign. Up to this point, the sky was cloudy, and weather was cool. The scenary between Newport and Gold Beach was breathtaking! I've seen the coast before, but it does not seize to amaze me.
The redwood forest was incredible. It was the first (and only) fog we hit. We rode through the forest, enjoying the almost magic look to the huge trees in the fog. We stopped at the giant Paul Bunion and Babe the Blue Ox for some pictures. Babe had a huge blue ball, so Finix and I went under there and posed for some pics, and had all the audience laughing. Paul Bunion said to us, "yup, we don't charge extra for that."
From Arcata, we turned east towards Redding. We stopped in Willow Creek for lunch, where Sixgill found out from the locals that Hwy 299 is good, but Hwy 96 is better "if you REALLY wanna have some fun". So, easy enough of a decision, forget the largest sundial in Redding, we're doing Hwy 96!
Hwy 96 was the most memoriable part of the ride for me. It was corner after corner after corner after corner. The pavement was excellent and no gravel, and you'll think you're in corner heaven. Personally, I would ride down again just to go on Hwy 96. It was even better than Hwy 112 to the Olympic Peninsula.
Then I didn't pay attention to the maps coz Sixgill was leading, so I have no idea which road we took after that. We stayed in Grand Pass for the night.
At breakfast, Sixgill sneaked out and bought me a blue ball (dog toy) to remind me of Babe's body part. I had the ball strapped to the back of my bike for the remainder of the trip.
We got on Hwy 126 and rode through Willamette National Forest. That was the tightest twisties I've ever been on, with gravel guaranteed in every corner. The dense forest was beautiful, but we had no time to enjoy the view, as our eyes were affixed to the road, trying to stay alive. I don't think I was breathing much from the intensity of the road.
The top of the mountain was mostly huge, rough rocks from the vulcano, with little trees grew through some rocks.
The ride down into Sisters was a little less intense, but still with lots of gravel. The public market at Sisters sell homemade gelato--yummy! It's a cute little town, worth stopping and taking a look at.
We continued north on Hwy 26, took a turn at Warm Springs to go north on Hwy 197. The stretch looked a lot like a desert, with dried up hayfields and ridges. The view was amazing. On one straight stretch, we all went a little faster. At the next turn off, Finix honked her horn and I thought she said "redline". I gave her the thumbs up...thinking, good for you! Then she pulled over. I stopped and took my helmet off, then realized she said "red-light". Her oil light went on. Sixgill went and got some oil, and we were on our way again. We ended in the Dalles for the night.
We went north on to Hwy 97 towards Yakima. The cross wind was so strong, we were all riding with our bikes leaned on the straights.
Between Yakima and Ellensburg, I think Hwy 821 was definitely better than Hwy 97. There's some sweepers, and some never ending corners.
Just outside of Dryden, Sixgill announced that he had to be in Vancouver by 6 pm for work. Given the different expectations of pace, we split up there.
Between Ellensburg and Chelan, I think both highways are just as boring as the other, with lots of trucks on the straight road. We stopped in Chelan for fuel, when 6Echick saw some white threads in her tire. Uh oh...her back tire was so worn that the threads were showing. We rode to Mason, where there's suppose to be a bike shop. Turns out, it was some kind of junk yard that sold some Harley parts, and it wasn't even open on a Tuesday.
We ride back to Chelan and finds a motel for 6Echick. Her husband volunteered and drive down with their pick-up to get her. What a sweet heart.
We sadly said goodbye to 6Echick in Chelan. Then, it was just Finix and I. We continue north, determined to go through the Cascades and make it home in one piece. We stopped for fuel in Winthrop, decided to forego lunch to save time and stay awake. We grabbed some snacks and kept going.
Just before hitting the mountain, we noticed the rain on the ground. So we pulled over to put our rain gear on. I'm glad we did, because it rained through about 50 km, and it was freeeezing.
Diablo Lake lookout is always worth stopping at, so we did just that. We admired the view for a few minutes, and continued into Rockport for fuel. In Rockport, we decided that we are tired and just wanted to get home. So we stayed on the boring stretch of Hwy 20, and hopped on the I5 to boot it home.
Total mileage: Exactly 3,300 km from my east van home.
Total cost: Approximately US$320 (food/water, gas, motel split 4-ways)
Some of the pics were taking while riding, so I coudn't aim/focus: