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Old 08-17-2010, 07:01 PM   #1
ericz OP
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Joined: Jan 2010
Location: Pacific Northwest
Oddometer: 4
Western to Eastern Washington and a bit South as well.

I didn’t plan on taking such a long ride, it was my wife’s influence, really!

The plan was to ride a nice little circle over Chinook and White passes and then back. What I did was something a bit more.

It’s been very warm here in Seattle of late. So I rolled out early (6:30 AM) to beat the warmth of the day and slabbed it down to Auburn. From there on to Enumclaw and picked up the 410. I stopped for a few photos at the “Mountain of Fire” display about half way up to Cayuse Pass. The guy in the Corvette, who stopped to let his wife out to snap a few of her own, declined my slow roll by to try and follow me. LOL On up and up to Chinook Pass where the view out to the east was unending and gorgeous. Snapped a few more photos and then took the plunge down the 410 towards Yakima. The road was in good condition and even by 9AM the pavement had warmed due to the southern exposure. Thanks guys on the WDOT crew for patching the road! The wait was short. To the chipmunk that crossed my path, sorry! Evasive maneuvers over 30 mph are not possible. So down and down into the eastern Washington heat I rode not a cloud in the sky. The detour off 410 came up way quicker than I expected. Saw the sign and whoa! turn right means turn RIGHT here, NOW! As this was a Monday the only traffic was west bound. No one in front of me almost the whole way down. I rode into Naches for gas and explored a road up to the ridge north of town. A bit of gravel gave me a momentary scare as I slipped sideways but my Bridgestones eventually caught and held me on the road.
On the way into Naches I’d already seen the turn off for 12 up to White Pass. So no surprises this time. Another WDOT crew was completely repaving the road and had things down to one lane for close to half a mile. And thankfully they were laying down new asphalt and not just tar and gravel. I still caught a chunk in the face from the car in front of me. ATGATT means a full-face helmet for me. Shook it off and as soon as we were back to two lanes, buh-bye cars!! By this time it was just before noon. And eastern Washington was HOT, HOT, HOT! The lake looked cool and refreshing off to the left as I went up. I’ve never been over White Pass before so I wasn’t sure to expect but it seemed as if the top came way too soon. Maybe it was my pace. Did I just say that? I mean, the riding was so smooth the miles just flew by, at absolutely legal speeds.

While in Naches I’d called the wife to check in and let her know what a good time I was having. A few years ago she’d ridden her bicycle from Packwood up to St. Helens and back (google High Pass Challenge) and she recommended that I would love the roads with a motorcycle. (Love the way you look out for me, dear!) So at the bottom I turned left and gassed again at Packwood and headed off to St. Helens. Highway 25 turned upwards at grades that challenge a bicycle and let me tell you the NSF road I wound up on could benefit from some attention from a work crew. Do not take your eyes off the road here. The road is pretty rough and one pothole/depression nearly jacked me out of the saddle. I saw it coming but not until I was right on top of it. I managed to stand in the pegs and still got smacked in the a$$ as the bike came through. Ducati, thanks for the great suspension.

If you’ve never been awed by the power of nature, I recommend you visit St. Helens. Its all trees and shade, until you turn a corner and pow! you’re in the blast zone. As most of you know St. Helens let go over 30 years ago and wiped out, burned and smothered 10’s and 10’s of square miles of forest, streams, rivers, wild life and some people with it too! I’ve never seen anything that could compare to this. There are still enough trees floating in Spirit Lake, it looks as if you could walk from shore to shore without getting your feet wet.

The road was clear except for a few loose rocks that had rolled on to it and those were easy enough to avoid. Windy Ridge lived up to its name while I made a phone call to the wife and had to shout to be heard. Yep cell coverage for me but I guess not everyone as I notice the guy on the HD dialed twice and couldn’t get through. Now I was ready to head home. Back down again, better prepared for the rough roads. Over the single lane bridge after waiting my turn. Back through Randel, back to Packwood for some more gas and a bottle of cool water. Half of which I drank and the rest I poured over my head. Did I mention it was HOT?! Back to Cayuse and back to Seattle. When I arrived home it was quarter to five. Tired but satisfied! Was it a long day? You bet! Did I enjoy myself and the 400+ miles I put in? Uh huh!! Would I recommend the route or even just part of it? Absolutely!!!!

Yeah maybe other folks have done it quicker, or gone further in one day. I had a great day off with very little traffic. I took some roads I’d never seen before and really enjoyed them. Met some great people too. I would have been satisfied with just that but I got to do more than I planned and that shouldn’t be taken for granted.

Cheers!
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