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Old 09-09-2012, 12:34 PM   #76
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I wonder if you could talk about some of your impressions of your bike. What do you like or don't like about your BMW. How does it seem to compare with Shawn's Suzuki? Thanks.
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Old 09-16-2012, 04:50 PM   #77
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Life is crazy again, updates soon.
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Old 09-23-2012, 01:17 AM   #78
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Old 09-28-2012, 01:38 PM   #79
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NF-42 was so much fun I forgot to take pictures. Narrow enough to barely fit a log truck, it climbed up from Clackmans River into rolling hills where tight corners cut through a young pine forest. The thick scent of cut pine told me this section of the farm had been harvested.

Tearing up the roads as per usual I came in pretty hot around a sweeping right hander, only to come face to face with a log truck barreling down the hill on the left side of the road. I made eye contact with him long enough to note the "oh F**k" look in his eyes as he tried to make room and I got up close and personal with the side of his truck.

Glancing in my mirror I notice Bernie coming up fast, looking like he's not slowing down. I grabbed the throttle and shot out from beside the truck into the road, well aware of being inches from either the truck or the deep ditch at the edge of the pavement.

Enjoying the rest of the road a little more cautiously we moved North, hitting a little dirt along the way before popping out on Rt 26.



A short stint on the highway brought us around to the West side of Mt. Hood past the ski area and into the town of Rhododendron. Here we turned North to take NF-18 over the Lolo pass.



Lolo pass is an access road for the high tension power lines that run through the mountains there. The road is poorly maintained (read: fun) and gave us a constant, if partially obstructed, view of Mt Hood.





Some sections are paved


Some are dirt


And it's all pretty narrow





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Old 09-28-2012, 01:47 PM   #80
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThumperStorm View Post
I wonder if you could talk about some of your impressions of your bike. What do you like or don't like about your BMW. How does it seem to compare with Shawn's Suzuki? Thanks.
Sure, I love it. Pretty much everything about it. It's a blast to ride just about everywhere, until the trail gets nasty. It's heavy, so even knobby front tires don't help too much when the terrain is soft. The only part that's lacking is the fork, but I tend to ride it faster in the dirt than I probably should.

Comparing it to a DR650 is apples and oranges. I had an XR650L before the Beemer, and like the DR it was great offroad and easy to ride. But on road I hated it. I would call those bikes dual purpose, because there is not much sporty about it.

Hopefully that is what you were looking for? They're both great bikes, but for the riding I do the BMW is far and away the better steed.
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Old 09-28-2012, 02:12 PM   #81
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To the South

Eventually we dropped down into the little town of Dee, just South of Hood River. Dee is home to a giant apple orchard with an incredible views of Mt. Hood to the South and Mt. Adams (I think) to the North.


To the North

We moseyed North from Dee to Hood River, the temperature rising with every foot of elevation lost. Mid afternoon at this point, we stopped to wander around and find a bit of real food. I was getting tired of granola bars and redbull so a decent sandwich from a cafe really hit the spot.



We saddled up, crossed the metal grate toll bridge into Washington and headed up onto the ridge on the North side of the river to be treated to an excellent view of the Hood River valley and about 100 kite surfers in the river below.





A few miles later we came to a small intersection - it was decision time.
Take the road into the mountains knowing it was getting late, or head for the main highway.

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Old 09-29-2012, 08:37 AM   #82
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Gas.... Check
Food.... Check
Water.... Check
Daylight... We'll worry about that later

I turned up towards the mountains..



For a short while we pounded pavement on narrow forest service roads that curved gently deeper into the woods. Passing the occasional car headed out of the forest - probably after a day of hiking - we rode further as the road transitioned into well maintained gravel. Turning East we hit our first trail. Trees were down, but had been cleared in the past day or two - a storm must have just come through.

The trail was great for the big Beemers, tacky narrow double track with just the right amount of grip to inspire confidence. Finding a happy speed in 4th kept the rpms around 4k - enough to give either a good boost of power or engine braking when needed - I led the way now speeding North. The occasional set of potholes caught us by surprise, and a few water bars were big enough that i stopped to warn Bernie and Shawn. Otherwise, the road was clear and before long we began to twist higher and higher - letting Shawn take the lead on the superior dirt bike.





Shawn and Bernie sped by and I waited for the dust to settle. We had nothing to complain about, this trail was beautiful.





As we did the climb dance that brought us ever closer to the three sisters, something Shawn had said to me really began to click. It was something along the lines of "in the dirt, lean the bike, and keep your weight centered" and I finally began to get it. Leaning the bike underneath me while staying upright instilled enough confidence to pick up my pace considerably through the corners. I was able to ride more relaxed, having the time to correct a slide and let the bike straighten up if necessary without risking a low side or a complete flop over.



We carried on, catching our last glimpse of Mt. Hood in the distance.

A little more dirt time would bring us even more incredible views of Mt. St. Helens.




Would have loved to have seen her before she blew her top, alas I was not yet born.

The road was excellent here, well groomed gravel and we really made some good time, all the while watching Mt. St. Helens through gaps in the trees.





Then Mt. Adams to the Northeast



Climbing higher and higher the temperature started to drop and signs of winter were still present.



Some of which got the best of me



It was getting closer to sunset so we started looking for a place to camp.



We found a small forest campground set on a lake at the base of Mt. Adams. We had a bit of trouble at the access road but eventually found a clear path to a nice spot.



And boy, was it a damn nice spot



I've done a lot of camping, and I dare say this is the best view I've ever had from my tent.










I mean, really. Can it get much better than this?

Before it got too dark, Shawn and I went for a little hike around the lake. It felt good to stretch the legs after so many long days in the saddle.



The snow was still several feet deep in places, and it was getting chilly now.






We got back and I donned my deet covered flannel as the bugs came out with a vengeance. Before long Bernie was hiding in the tent while we enjoyed the rest of the sunset and ate trail food. Nothing fancy tonight - granola bars, dried fruit, and jerky for me.

As it got darker, smoke from a campfire wafted through the trees and a large figure approached from another site. A tall, roughly aged man approached and began speaking in a gruff voice. He smoked a pipe and was dressed in a worn green wool button down and work pants, a prosthetic claw protruded from where his right hand should have been.

He introduced himself and through the course of a mostly one sided conversation he reflected upon us fishing memories from his 50 years fishing in the same boat - one his father bought when he was 12. He told about being in that same boat fishing when Mt. St. Helens erupted in 1980, and how his outboard quit from the ash, just as they reached shore in complete darkness. Covering his mouth with a kerchief, the only way to drive was to wrap multiple layers of paper towel around the air filter, drive until the car choked, remove a wrap and keep on going - with about 20' of visibility.

We finally steered the conversation to the road ahead, to which he replied "you ain't gettin out on that road, not tomorrow. Ice out on this lake was only about 2 weeks ago. 'Bout 2' of snow on that pass still." Our conversation went on, but I'll spare the details and move on as I've been a bit long-winded here.


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Old 09-29-2012, 02:22 PM   #83
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Awesome ride report ,great adventure riding ,fantastic pic's...Ride On....
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Old 09-29-2012, 03:28 PM   #84
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DAY NINE: From the Mountains to the Desert


Took this from inside the tent!

The night was chilly but I woke up to an amazing view of Mt. Adams. I guess it could get better than the previous night. It was early but the wind had just started to pick up so I got moving too.


One more, because it's just so amazing



We packed up, saddled up, and said goodbye to the most amazing tent site. On the recommendation of our gruff friend we had a new route around the snow-covered pass.



We checked it out anyway - but we didn't have the time to waste trying to get through there.



The road was rough and fun, but the going was slow. I just about ate it at one point - a pothole sending the front end then the rear up into the air towards the edge of the road, luckily catching it before going off down the embankment.





Northbound and Down - out of the mountains



It was still a hike -about 40 miles- to get to pavement and Shawn had been on reserve since last night, so we were hoping for a Hanukkah miracle. Luckily the ride was mostly downhill and we reached the tarmac without issue.



In the shadow of Mt. Adams we found gas in Packwood and made tracks for Paradise.



Up we go



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Old 09-29-2012, 03:51 PM   #85
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The road to Paradise winds up from the valley at 2200' to about 5400' at the base of Mt. Ranier. Along the way the views are spectacular. You'll see.



Not yet



Getting better



There we go



The road was fun, but full of traffic - Ha!



We still managed to rip right along



Vroom, curve, vroom, curve



Three amigos





A shot from Bernie



Getting chilly now



So beautiful



A shot of Bernie



Gettin our curve on



After quite an enjoyable ride, we reached the top.




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Old 09-29-2012, 04:19 PM   #86
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We jumped off and went for a hike. Tons of snow this year left the place quite snowed in, but still beautiful despite the glacial meadows being covered by snow.



It's a popular spot with climbers, skiiers, and hikers.





Then I decided to see how the backplate from my jacket worked as a sled.



Pretty well!







Shawn's turn!



Then back down



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Old 09-30-2012, 09:22 AM   #87
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The descent was just as enjoyable, experiencing a new angle on the scenery than on the ascent.



The air was chilly up top, but not so bad as to turn the heated grips on.



There was a lot of ice on this lake for July!



A comparison picture, from the last time I was there, about the same time of year



I was a little bummed we didn't have time to head to the West side of the park, but the WABDR had shown us a great time so far and we planned to stick with it. We dropped down out of the park and headed East on Rt. 12 for a stretch.



Where we were rewarded with even more beautiful scenery.



Rapidly leaving the snow-capped peaks behind us, the temperature rose and the landscape changed drastically from lush forest to ponderosa pine and an arid climate. We had only climbed 1000 feet and traveled 25 miles, but the mountains now separated us from the rainy climate of Western Washington.



At the very East end of Rimrock Lake, we picked up the trail again and began a gravel switchback climb that would bring us 3000 feet higher onto a ridge.



The climb was steep and the road was one giant washboard. At times I just had to keep in the gas, ride the shoulder, and hope for the best. Shawn had a really difficult time just making forward headway here, having to crawl up in first gear. I think he later found the rear suspension setup to be a bit off.



The significant climb provided us with excellent views along it's entire length, cutting back and forth up the ridge.


An awesome rock from a lava flow



Almost to the top, the views were incredible. We stopped for a minute, just to take it all in. Visible was Mt. Adams, our campsite from the previous night, and Mt. Ranier - where we went sledding but a few hours ago. Now we were in the sagebrush and 90 degree heat.





Loving every minute of this



We sped East along the ridge as the forest road leveled out, stopping occasionally to reflect on the the beauty of it all. It was incredible, and for the next hour I would just be awestruck at the scale of it all.



Not a lot was said for a few miles



We rode East.



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Old 09-30-2012, 09:54 AM   #88
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The road was pretty rough here and we just putted along for a while a not far from the edge of the cliff at times.



Jagged rocks and street pressure kept made the ride rough, but at the speed we were traveling none of us wanted to risk a flat or bent rim from airing down. That was fine though, we weren't too concerned with comfort.


Yup


Please explain how it gets any better than this.

The ridge stretched on ahead



and I dropped back for a bit



to eat my share of dust



and grab a few photos.



Can you spot Bernie?

The trail jumped into a wood and began to descend, the ground starting to get a bit wet.



Keeping to the high side was a challenge with the big bikes, and we just rode out the ruts if the bike started to go down in.





Approaching a trickier spot, we met some Jeepers headed the other way. They passed through with a bit of wheelspin, and it was our turn.



The mud looked worse than it was, but Mr. Wide Bags had to be ever conscious of the back end.



A little throttle gets that rear tire diggin' nicely.



A little detour around a downed tree and we popped back out onto the ridge.





We looked around, checked the maps, and began the long descent to the town of Nile.



I'm going down, down, down, down



To Nile


Heh, looks like you fell in some mud there guy

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Old 09-30-2012, 10:24 AM   #89
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We passed through Nile, then it was time to climb again - on a much smoother road this time.



Starting to lose sight of the tallest of the Cascades.



It was dry and hot as I led us along a more rolling ridge.



still rocky but not as bad and our pace was quicker now



Very beautiful still, looking East to the plains.



Here, the trail was steep and loose - a nice 2nd gear standing climb. Bernie and Shawn watched as I ascended the prominent hill.



Then they started up.





The trusty ride



We began to cross over a series of ridges, zig-zagging our way Northeast.



Ponderosa became scarce, replaced by sage - the scent becoming powerful.



The trail became a rutted two track, someone had torn it up pretty bad during mud season. Dry now, it was still a challenge to stay out of the ruts. We had a few technical miles ahead of us. Eventually ruts gave way to a few serious climbs - steep, loose, and rocky with a few roots poking out in the worst spots.



I biffed pretty good just before cresting the last hill, a tree root sending my back tire out and turning the bike 90 degrees in the trail. Once the rear tire hooked back up I shot right into the sage brush. I got er back up and finished the climb in time for Shawn to come putting up behind me. He dismounted and went back to spot Bernie.



Who did just fine.

It was at this point, looking out from the prominent viewpoint, I began to notice quite a bit of smoke blowing South from a point ahead of us.



I hoped for the best as we pressed on.

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Old 09-30-2012, 12:38 PM   #90
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The rutty sections and rocky climbs had taken a quite a bit of energy as well as taking their toll on the bikes. My rear tire was starting to show some serious wear, and Shawn's was starting to go bald in the middle. We rode along the ridge keeping a close eye on the source of the smoke, past a cell tower and up to an intersection. Straight continued down the ridge for a number of miles before intersecting a road. Right went South towards Selah. Left descended to the North in the direction of the smoke. Shawn was running low on fuel, we had to take our chances and try to get to Ellensburg.



Approaching a small valley things didn't look good. A bush fireman in full gear stood on the side of the trail chatting on his radio, watching the helicopter dousing flames with water from it's bucket. I asked "Hey, can we get through here?" After looking us over he turned and looked down the road, the ground on each side smoldering black and replied without expression "Yeh, give it a shot. I'll let them know you're coming."



None too confident we pressed on, hopeful the fire had passed through here by now. Bernie led the way down the rocky descent, we all noted the sudden blast of heat radiating from the ground. After a few minutes of riding through smoldering ground, small fires still burning here and there, we made it far enough North to stop and snap a few photos.







We rode through the small stream, popped the locked gate and rode by the firefighter's staging area and up the other side of the valley. Almost to town, we passed an abandoned Winnebago parked diagonally in the middle of the road - Breaking Bad style. A forest ranger and police 4x4 with their lights on were investigating and waved us around. A short stint on dirt and we dropped down into the flatlands on tarmac.



It was getting damn hot by the time we arrived in Ellensburg to get gas. We fueled up and decided to just chill for a bit and recover from the exhausting heat of the afternoon. It was around 5:00 and we had done 1.5 legs of the WABDR and we all felt it. I paid for the best ice coffee ever from Starbucks in pocket change, tipped the rest of it and walked back to help (watch) Shawn try to fix his saddle bags.
The strap system had broken and effectively clamped the side fairing to the muffler, melting it into a yellowish curled mess of heat shield and white plastic. Another helper came by exclaiming "oh I've got the same bike, this is how you should fix that!" and I was pretty sure Shawn was going to rip his head off.



I declined the use of Shawn's WD-40 for chain lube and bought a bottle of ATF and a toothbrush. The chain was getting pretty dry and we had been hard on them all day. I packaged up what I could in a smaller waterbottle and figured I'd use it until we could find proper chain lube.

Finally ready to get rolling, the day had worn on pretty long and we really needed to make it to Chelan tonight. I made the tough call to skip sections 3 and 4 with the hopes of being able to complete 5 and 6 tomorrow. Sunset was near and we sped off for Rt 97.



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