Me, a blonde, 2 Ducati's....3,000 miles (and then some)

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by GP1152, Aug 22, 2012.

  1. GP1152

    GP1152 Been here awhile

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    Our time in Seattle was coming to an end. Time to check out and start making our way to the Canadian border. It was Sunday morning so traffic was light. We made good time getting to the border, stopping every 50 miles or so. We've tried to make this the norm for the entire trip. stopping at least every fifty miles makes the ride a million times more enjoyable.

    As we got closer to the border there are signs that tell you how long a wait you'll have at each of the 2 checkpoints. According to these signs there was a 20 minute wait for the main border crossing and a 5 minute wait at the alternate crossing. I'm in this for the full experience and heard the main border crossing was pretty nice so I figured what the heck, we had time. Sure enough, we got to the border and got in line. Within 2 minutes they opened up 2 more lines and we motored over to one of those. We were next to go and when our time came, we both started riding up together. All of the sudden the red light came back on and the customs agent's head poked out the window with her hand signaling the universal sign for STOP!!. She then held up one finger, indicating one-at-a-time!!! That's a first for me, but whatever. To me it would be no different than when you do customs at the airport. I've never had to go one at a time. You travel together, you see the customs agent together. I guess the difference here is the vehicle. But as you'll see later, when we came into the states, they told us to both come up together. Anyway, we made it through after each of us had to answer what I thought were a few too many questions (how long have you known each other?, did you just buy the bike, etc, etc).

    We made it to the tsawwassen ferry and would have been able to hurry onto the 12 o'clock ferry, but elected to wait for the 1 o'clock ferry instead. It's a bigger, nicer ferry so why not.
    So, If you knew Stephanie as well as I do, you'd realize that she's as much a savage as she is beautiful. What I mean is that she's a bit rough on her things. To prove this, as she's on the phone with AT&T, drinking a coffee, grabbing her helmet AND carrying her camera (with my lens on it), she dropped it like a sack of potatoes!!! I sat there looking at it for a second. I obviously wasn't happy but just picked it up and headed out. They had just called everyone to their vehicles and we were spposed to board first. The camera had a small hairline crack on the corner but was otherwise ok......so far.

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    We waited there for a few minutes until they signaled to us to board. I was first on with Stephanie behind me and another 6-7 bikes behind her. We were directed to our spots along the right side of the ship (marked similarly to curbside motorcycle parking spaces). They provide you with these step-down blocks which you place on the right side of the bike, under and next to the engine case. It's stepped down to provide for varying motorcycle clearances/heights. Pretty good idea and one the Washington state ferries could definitely borrow.

    We took this ferry ride once before but without a vehicle. These ferries are without a doubt, nice. There is also a lounge in the back of the boat that you can pay a small fee to get into. I can see why you would bypass paying this if you commute often to Victoria, but if you're going just to visit like we are, I say screw it and pay the $12 admission. No screaming kids, no crowds......quiet, spacious, with tv and snacks. Not to mention we were able to go get food downstairs and bring it in there.

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    The rest of the trip was uneventful and once we were within 15 minutes of the port we were called to go to our bikes. We docked and rode off, heading towards the hotel, the hotel Oswego. It's centrally located, just a block from the harbor. The hotel apparently is also a timeshare type place. I worked my magic and got another room upgrade. The hotel is nice, but with the exception of the lady that checked us in, the rest of the staff was a bit standoff-ish and had an attitude of everything being a bother. We walked in and out several times with nobody even greeting us. Other than that, the room was great and we scored again with the parking. Undergoing and gated!!

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    A quick note about the people in Victoria. The atitude of the people at the hotel Oswego is definitely not indicative of the rest of thr people in Victoria. Honestly, this is a place I could live in. The town is beautiful and the people are very friendly. We really enjoy going there and look forward to going back. Just won't be to that hotel.

    To continue.......After showering and changing we headed out for a snack. We found a cafe right by the harbor and got a sandwhich and a chili. Both were pretty good. From there we walked around the downtown a bit. This guy was on his bachelor party trip with his buddies. I told him it was all fun and games until someone ends up on the internet...and here he is, on the Internet:

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    We headed back to the hotel to shower and change for dinner. Since it was getting late and our options were limited we decided on a place called the Keg, which we learned was a chain of restaurants in Canada. it was raining a bit as we walked out into the street so we went back in and borrowed umbrellas from the hotel, just in case. Luckily it was just a sprinkle and it let up. There would be no need for them other than for a pimp-like gate.
    It was a short walk to the restaurant. It was nice, well appointed place and the food definitely hit the spot. Since it is a steak house after all, we both ordered the NY Strip steak. No complaints from either of us. The whole meal was very good and the service from our waitress was equally good. We passed on desert and headed off to our hotel for some much needed sleep.
    (more to come...)
    #61
  2. GP1152

    GP1152 Been here awhile

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    The next morning we took the bikes down the road for breakfast at a place called the Blue Fox. Allegedly a good place to have breakfast, according to yelp. It was nice to be able to jump on the bikes without a bunch of gear. I believe in ATGATT, but to go down the street at bicycle speeds that rarely get me into 2nd gear....jeans will do fine.
    The line we found waiting for us at the blue fox confirmed what people thought of the place and although I hate waiting for food, I figured it would take us as long to find another place and just stuck it out.

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    It's funny how pulling up on these two bikes makes people stare at you as though you just landed from outer space. It's actually kind of uncomfortable. People don't just stare when you pull up, they sit there waiting to see who gets out from under the helmet. Doesn't help that they see blond hair coming out from under one of the riders helmets (Stephanie's, not mine. I left my extensions at home this time). That never fails to get even more attention. While in line we met a nice family that was visiting from the Toronto area. Talking with them for a while made waiting in line a bit more palatable.
    We saw them out walking around later:
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    While we were standing in line I went to the bikes to take a few pictures. There was a group of what sounded like French Canadians. One of the girls sees me taking pictures of the bikes and yells out jokingly, "that'll be $5 bucks!!". I said laughing, "not a chance, that's my bike...You actually owe me $5 for standing near it!!". They laughed and said, "nice bikes".
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    #62
  3. GP1152

    GP1152 Been here awhile

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    On the way back to the hotel:
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    Back at the room, relaxing a bit:
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    We had originally planned to go see the butchart gardens, but I wanted to do one of the cheesy harbor tours on these little (really little) tug-boat-like boats. I gotta tell you....this was cool. Was fun to just putt around on the water and see the different places around the bay, like the city-like area of houseboats by the fishermans wharf. This is also where we got off to grab some food. They give you a token so once you're done hanging around there you can hop on the next boat that comes by to take you back to the harbor where we got on. Even if I lived there I would do this very once in a while. Good fun.
    We had hoped to be able to meet with Joel, from Ducati.ms, while we were in town. He had given me plenty of tips for our visit and I figured dinner was the least I could do. He was nice enough to ride down from where he was spending a few days with his staff on work outing. Joel's a great guy and is welcome in the bay area any time. Unfortunately I started feeling like crap earlier in the afternoon and had to cut the night a bit short, but it was great to meet up with him nonetheless.

    I still wasn't feeling very well the next morning when we headed out to catch the Washington State Ferry to Anacortes. I felt even worse when we got pulled over on the way there. This time around we actually WERE in a hurry to catch the noon ferry, because the next one was at FIVE. Our next stop was Winthrop and starting that late would be a huge problem. I thought of going with the whole KMh vs MPH excuse, but figured I'd just apologize and hope for the best. Ultimately he only gave me a ticket for failing to use a turn signal.
    We made the ferry, boarded and found a booth where we could hang out for the 2 hour and 10 minute ride. As I mentioned before, when we rode off and approached the customs booth the female customs officer waved us both up to see her. Good to see american efficiency at work ;)

    The rest of the day would prove to be an epic one.

    The road coming straight off the ferry is HWY-20, the same road which would take us to Winthrop. It started pedestrian enough, with traffic lights and some light traffic. Eventually though it opened up. I can't say this enough.....THIS WAS BY FAR THE BEST RIDING EITHER OF US HAS EVER HAD. The weather, the road, the scenery....everything. This is one of those times where I felt like like the luckiest guy in the world to be right there, right then. It's not lost on me what a privilege it is to be able to do a trip like the one we are doing, seeing the places we're able to see and doing it on the machines we're able to do it on. I do consider myself lucky and felt especially lucky on THIS day. The ticket I had gotten earlier was now a distant memory.

    Beginning of the ride. Stop for a shake:

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    #63
  4. GP1152

    GP1152 Been here awhile

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    scenery along HWY-20:

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    Riding into Winthrop (looks like it did 100 years ago, but with new businesses). Check out the gas station with old-school pumps:

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    #64
  5. GP1152

    GP1152 Been here awhile

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    As if the ride itself wasn't enough, we got to our accommodations for the night in Winthrop, the Chewuch Inn. Take a look at the pictures. Our cabin, which from the exterior looks simple enough, but inside you'll find a 50" plasma TV and all the amenities of a regular hotel room (and this cabin in particular, a HOSE!!):

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    after settling in we went to dinner at the arrowleaf, just down the road. As has been the case for pretty much every meal we've had, it was great. This one was definitely at the top of the list and to top things off, we had a chocolate dessert that alone would have made the trip there worth while. Like I told Stephanie that night, if I ha died in my sleep after a day like that, I'd have no problem with it!! It was that good a day.

    The next morning Stephanie gets her free breakfast....so she's happy:
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    #65
  6. GP1152

    GP1152 Been here awhile

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    That next day we pushed off for Spokane, WA. Long story short on this day....roads at the beginning were good, but the last portion of the ride was straight and flat. This was the first time on the entire trip that I was pretty much dying to get off the bike. Some good scenery from the get-go:

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    #66
  7. GP1152

    GP1152 Been here awhile

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    In Spokane we stayed at the Davenport Hotel. Really nice hotel, with a safari theme of sorts. as you'll see in the picture of the room though, I think we got the jungle room (check out that leopard print!!):

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    Since we got in late again, it was pretty much dinner time. So out towards the riverfront and sushi we went.
    Walk along riverfront:
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    Sushi for dinner:
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    #67
  8. Ben Carufel

    Ben Carufel Boxer Addict

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    Still loving the RR. Worth staying up every night 'till 1AM for.
    #68
  9. GP1152

    GP1152 Been here awhile

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    Offered the valet $20 if we could be in this spot up front (would have cost me $15 in the lot). He took it:

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    that night I was absolutely exhausted. It had been pretty hot and the ride had taken a toll on me. When we got back to the hotel I crashed and fell asleep in my clothes. Next up....Joseph, Oregon.
    #69
  10. GP1152

    GP1152 Been here awhile

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    lol, that's funny. I know I'm a lucky guy and don't take anything for granted, trust me ;)
    #70
  11. GP1152

    GP1152 Been here awhile

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    Thanks Ben. Just trying to keep up. I'm still a few days behind.
    #71
  12. Mike In Spokane

    Mike In Spokane Adventurer

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    Did you get by Leavenworth WA on your trip. Bavarian Town outside wenatchee, Just an 1.5 hrs north of when you were in Brewster WA.
    #72
  13. Yoyodyne

    Yoyodyne Adventurer

    Joined:
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    South Florida
    Superb RR. Sharing it with the wife each update.

    (Thanks again for the help a few days back re: posting pictures to ADV from DropBox--I think I've got it working now, thanks to you...)

    Q: What riding suit are you using? (I've an AeroStitch, but it's a bit too much for me now that I've dropped 40 lbs, and moved to S. FL, where it's a bit toasty.)

    Ride safe,
    --Yoyodyne
    #73
  14. GP1152

    GP1152 Been here awhile

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    Mike, we never made it down that far. We go stopping a pretty good bit along the way and wouldn't have had time.
    #74
  15. GP1152

    GP1152 Been here awhile

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    Glad you're both enjoying our story and glad the Dropbox thing worked out. oh and congrats on the 40lbs!!

    I've had a few people message me about the gear so I'll post a list of gear shortly.
    #75
  16. GP1152

    GP1152 Been here awhile

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    I've gotten a few messages asking about our gear so here is a list of what we're using:

    ME:
    Jacket: Dainese Avro D-Dry jacket
    Pants: AGV Sport Telluride H2O Vented Pants. (they've been awesome, but run REALLY small. They must be fitted for an Ethiopian long distance runner because I'm a 30" waist and the large fits me well, although I had to adjust the straps all the way in. But it's the only way because there's no way in hell the medium would fit me.
    Boots: Dainese Torque Pro Out Boots
    Helmet: Shoei RF-1100 Chroma
    Gloves: Rev'it SLR gloves & REV'IT! Summit H2O Gloves
    Backpacks: Kriega R-20
    Tailbag: Kriega US-20
    Tankbags: Bags-Connection "Engage" EVO quick-lock tankbag

    Stephanie:
    Pants: Dainese
    Jacket: Rev'it women's jacket.
    Helmet: Shoei RF-1000 helmet
    Gloves: REV'IT! Summit H2O Gloves & Rev'it SLR women's gloves
    #76
  17. GP1152

    GP1152 Been here awhile

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    A few observations:

    - its always interesting to see these small towns that we go through. Sometimes we see these houses in the middle of nowhere and I wonder where these people work....Where do they buy groceries? Where do they go if they want to see a movie even? Really goes to show you that no matter what, people get by and make do with whatever they've got to work with.

    - we've ridden through some amazing and desolate places that really give one a feeling of what the "West" is REALLY like. Can't help but imagine what it was like in the days of the horse and wagon, when there were NO roads.

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    #77
  18. Blader54

    Blader54 Long timer

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    This must be The Stig's motorcycling cousin! :D
    #78
  19. GP1152

    GP1152 Been here awhile

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    Some say....his urine is 92 octane
    #79
  20. conchscooter

    conchscooter Long timer

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    It looks like whisky from here, which, being the Stig's cousin isn't surprising.

    It's rather nice to read about Ducati touring for a change instead of all this groveling about in muddy fields and gravel pits like the run-of-the-mill inmates.
    #80