I'm going to start off this ride report by saying that I'm a 20 year old college kid who spends all of his spare time money not on beer; but on the nasty, expensive, and antisocial hobby of motorcycling. After a somewhat unsatisfying summer of operating ski lifts in the Northwest, I decided that I needed to go on an epic (epic to me, at least) motorcycle ride to mark the end of the summer months and the transition back in to college life. Unlike many of my other epic ride plans, I actually followed through with this one.
I intended on doing this ride with a friend and his GS500, but he flaked out in the last few days proceeding the ride. While I was discouraged by the loss of my wingman, I still decided (perhaps against my better judgement, but I'm going to let my youth be a good enough excuse) to do this ride alone. Oh boy!
This was my game plan - five days and four nights of camping rough, and consuming lots of peanut butter and caffeine:
Ignoring the increased possibility of failure that comes with going on such a large trip with a bike that has definitely seen better days, I threw a bunch of camping gear on the bike (1996 Triumph Tiger) and left White Salmon, WA at around 7:30 AM on Monday, September 10. I was ecstatic to be departing on such a long ride (the longest I've done), despite having all day scheduled on an interstate. I had Boise, ID in my sights for the evening.
The first 114 miles heading east in the Columbia River Gorge on Highway 14 was marvelous. I had a 35 MPH tail wind the entire way, and I interpreted it as a good omen for the remainder of my trip. There's something uniquely beautiful about the eastern part of the Gorge in late summer - everything is dry, windy, and you can see hundreds of enormous windmills lethargically churning out electricity.
Sorry about the hideous bike ruining the otherwise nice scenery, but it's a common theme in the pictures I took. I was only stopped for a few minutes, so I don't think I interrupted too many peoples' enjoyment of the scenery:
I continued southeast after crossing in to Oregon and getting gas. Oregon is quite possibly the most awkward place in America to get gas, especially while on a motorcycle. State law requires that an attendant pump your gas. Usually for motorcycles they'll just let you pump it, but the attendant is still required to take the nozzle out of the machine and press the buttons for you. On the plus side, I got 47.7 MPG out of the Steamer with the gnarly tailwind in the Gorge.
I snagged a picture at a rest stop just outside of La Grande, OR. Despite all of the negativity there is on this website towards riding interstates, I was having fun getting in to the mindset that happens when you waft along the interstate on a motorcycle.
After a curiously satisfying day of interstate travel, I arrived in Boise, ID, which was much larger than I expected it to be! When I think about Idaho, I think about things like the number of pickup trucks per capita, helmet laws, and cheap alcohol. I certainly didn't expect Boise to have a five lane interstate littered with Toyota Priuses. For my camping arrangement, I wandered in to the nearby national forest and found a suitable place to camp - I love taking pictures that really emphasize the scale of the world that I am riding through:
I read a book until dark, and spent the night listening to coyotes and thinking about the adventure to come!