Northwest Adventure Riders fall ride (aka the ride of the Adventure Faithful)

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by robdogg, Sep 30, 2007.

  1. robdogg

    robdogg turnip truck driver

    Jan 29, 2004
    wren-tonne, WA
    We've been doing this fall ride the past couple of years up in to the Cascades east of Seattle looking for radical colors,
    nice roads, a hearty meal, and a few off road challenges or two. This year we got all that and more.

    The route I had planned out was admittedly a bit ambitious. It was a 230 miler with about 20% of paved roads, 15% trail
    and/or 4x4 roads, and the rest fairly tame, but remote and lovely unpaved forest road. We had been watching
    the weather reports and they were forecasting mostly clouds and cool temps, but the rain was not scheduled to arrive
    till the evening which was good enough for the seven of us that showed up. I had told folks that this was not a ride
    for first timers and that it would be a long day, and that the route was not set in stone.. partly because I had not ridden
    every single mile of it (I had ridden most though) and also I feel one always has to leave room for when the exploration
    bug comes up.. as it did on this one. I also hate going on group rides where the ride leader doesn't prepare ya for
    what's in store. We actually had a couple of fairly new riders; but that was fine with me, as I enjoy this hobby so
    much, that I love it when folks show up with guarded enthusiasm but with a plan to stretch themselves a bit.

    Heading east from North Bend, we traveled along the Interstate for a few miles and as usual we got off and rode
    Tinkham Rd and Denny Creek just get warmed up a bit.. I was actually planning to bypass these roads and just haul
    up to Snoqualmie Pass but it was a bit cool, and riding at slower speeds (some of us anyway) through the woods on
    gravel kept us from turning to popsicles before hitting the really fun stuff.

    We soon got to the pass, and on to the first fun ride of the day... NOTE: my little still camera takes pretty crappy
    shots (at least compared to my Nikon D70) so please excuse the blurred and overexposed images to follow..
    hopefully some of the other riders will post some better ones

    Stopping for a briefing of the upcoming section; which includes a pretty gnarly hill so I just wanted to prepare folks..
    (we had John on the Transalp, Jerry on his KLR 650, Red Ralph on his KLR 650, Paul on his KLR 250, Brent on his
    650L, Gabriele on his KTM 950 SE, and me on my 950 Adventure)

    I was first up the big hill so I could walk back down and assist others through the rough section if need be. Red Ralph
    was close behind me the whole way.. Red stayed up at the top on camera duty, and then Paul came scooting up next.

    Paul, riding the smallest bike had no problem scaling the big hill.. those big rocks are challenging on any size bike though

    John was next but he stalled it and it took a few of us to give John a hand with the big Transalp.. Those bikes don't
    seem that big; compared to say my 950 or a BMW GS, but they are bigger and heavier then they look.

    John said it was the toughest hill he ever attempted.. but he did well.

    A gallery gathered at the top to view the carnage

    Gabriele chucking huge rocks out the rear of the 950

    From this point, we rode the rest of FR 115 down to FR 54, and then had a roadside pow-wow about whether we wanted to
    go on to our next destination directly, or try and find a way across the Yakima River between FR 54 and Cabin Creek Rd.
    There are a bunch of fun roads down in this area which is a major powerline corridor between the East and the West sides of
    the state. The problem is the Yakima River flows through.. and while you can get around it to the North by jumping on the
    Interstate, or head south, then east via forest roads - we saw no adventure in either of those options, so we decided to
    try and see if we could ford the river. We were actually able to ride right down to the river and after scouting the spot
    we knew we could get through a couple of the smaller channels but the main channel was about 3-4 feet deep and moving
    pretty fast. Seeing as the weather was pretty chilly, and it was likely at least one of us would be taking a dip if we
    attempted to cross it, none of us wanted to take a chance.. hypothermia is no fun.

    So we did the quickie route up and over the Interstate, and when we got around to the east side of the river, we found exactly
    where the road came through and other then the four foot deep crossing through fast running water, it would have been
    a cinch. I'll definitely be up for doing the crossing next summer when the water is lower and the weather is hotter.

    I took no more pictures until we reached our lunch spot..

    the town of Roslyn. Yep, the place where Northern Exposure was filmed

    After a hearty lunch of jalapeƱo Swiss cheese burgers, about half the group decided they needed to get back.. it was after
    all around 3:00 and we were a good two hours ride via highway from home.. and the forecast was calling for rain on the west
    side.. but four of us decided to stick it out. I had not ridden too much in the mountains above Cle Elum and the Teanaway
    area, so Gabriele was our guide from this point. When talking over this route, Gab gave us a couple of options.. one that
    was pretty safe for the bigger bikes, and an optional ride that included what he called ATV trails and go see this huge
    "rock" that Gabriele kept telling us about. Since the remaining riders were pretty experienced, we decided to ride the
    optional route.. I mean, we all had knobby tires and they're just ATV trails right?

    But first, some s'planing.

    To me, an ATV trail is one that is

    A. wide enough that an ATV can (and does) get through
    B. doesn't have crazy steep hills, the reason being an ATV is pretty easy to loop on steep hill climbs
    C. doesn't have large root or rock "steps" as the short wheel base quads tend to high center easily

    and while many quad trails are quite torn up, they all tend to be fairly easy - even on the big 950

    These trails however had some very steep sections, a few hair raising narrow side hill traverses, and to top it off,
    the soil was fine talcum like dirt that made getting a purchase on a 500lb bike a bit dicey.

    Jerry puckering up from what he has just seen around the corner.. a sharp right turn to an extremely steep, very loose down
    hill with no run out room at the bottom

    Catching our breath.. at this point I'm thinking I would love to come back and ride these trails on my 450

    Another steep, very silty loose trail section.. it starts out plenty wide and shallow, but gets narrow down there with a sharp right
    turn and then narrows even further to just a foot or so between the hillside, and a very steep drop downslope to the left.

    Astounding beauty along the way!

    And finally, we all made it through to our destination.. with no worse the wear

    This was an amazing huge chunk of granite; with a fairly flat top that was probably the size of 3-4 football fields. While
    the ride coming down was quite the work out, the beauty and uniqueness of this place really made it worth it.

    It's hard to describe how big this rock was, but here's a 360 degree quick video

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    Some more photos of us playing around on the "rock"







    After riding down off the rock, we had a couple of steep loose sections to go before hitting road again.

    I think Jerry was pretty relieved; I know I was.. in the background is the trail we just rode down.

    We all made it fine over some pretty tricky stuff.. and Jerry after riding through all that - drops his bike while
    attempting a simple u-turn on a realatively smooth road..

    Way to go Jerry 8^) (I think we're all getting a bit tired at this point though)

    It's about five and now really starting to get dark to the West, which happens to be our way home, so I impress upon Gabriele
    that we need to find the quickest route home. We knew the trail we took coming down to the rock would be one way.. shoot, it
    was hard enough coming down those hills, no way I was prepared to take the big twin back out the same way again. So we began
    to try and find our way back.. but the first road we wanted to take dead ended, so we looped south a bit to the West Fork
    Teanaway River road.

    A nice fall day on the Teanaway river

    Now to put the A in Adventure...

    It was at this point that we had an encounter with some local hunters. I was in the lead riding down the road when I spotted
    two guys with rifles (one had a shotgun) coming towards us. As soon as I saw them walking along the road, I slowed way
    down.. making sure to make eye contact before proceeding.. While I've never hunted, I have lots of friends that have and
    I've encountered lots and lots of hunters when riding in the woods; and while many of them tend to be a bit tense because of
    our presence, most seem to tolerate us. However the one that was in front of me looked pretty agitated and he was making
    hand signals - I couldn't tell whether he was telling me to stop, turn around, or what.. but I could tell he was yelling
    something although what, I couldn't quite make out so I approached rather slowly, ready to punch up all 98 of the big KTM's
    horsepower if need be. As soon as I got with in ear shot I realized he was ranting at us for being on a road that was
    designated off limits to motorized vehicles.

    At first, I was quite puzzled and had the begining pangs of fear of being shot and eaten by a lunatic. But then I began
    pleading ignorance (I truely was at this point) and tried explaining that this was a forest service road and that we were all
    on street legal bikes, and roads, when opened, are perfectly legal to ride on but then I soon realized that he was right.
    We had ridden down in to an area that was in fact closed to motorized vehicles. I more or less apologized and the other guys
    were trying to chat him up with small talk (that sure is a BIG gun you have there mister) but whenever he insisted that we were
    on a closed road, I made it clear to him, that I was not going to be turning around (I'd sooner face a load of buckshot then
    riding back up those nasty hills we rode down earlier) and told him there was a road up ahead that went to the North and would
    quickly get us back on legal roads (and more importantly, out of range). Soon a car showed up coming from the opposite
    direction - as there are private land owners in the area that have keys for the gates, so we took that as our exit cue figuring
    they wouldn't shoot us with witnesses.. I must admit that I am probably exaggerating the danger a bit, but when your in one
    of those situations, things just tend to feel exaggerated upon recalling them.

    We soon found the road heading North, which would get us back on an easier track to head West towards home.

    Jerry's checking out a flock of wild turkey's that crossed the road just in front of us. I think he had a flashlight or a wrench in his
    hand and was hoping to get close enough to bag one.. but no such luck

    Some pretty country this time of year



    The rest of the ride was pretty uneventful, except for one boulder filled river crossing and a couple of short, but steep banks


    some of the biggest whoops I have ever seen.. that first one is about five feet tall and the second and third are even bigger

    till next year!
  2. oldx

    oldx Long timer

    Mar 28, 2007
    Camano Island, WA
    Good report and pictures. Thanks for posting
  3. old-school

    old-school Adventurer

    Jan 23, 2007
    Malo WA
    That was a good ride report, thanks for sharing it.

  4. GB

    GB . Administrator

    Aug 16, 2002
    What a great ride and gathering!! I see the KLR makes it all the way till the end!! Thanks for the report and pics :thumb
  5. gabrielu

    gabrielu Mo' Beta!

    Mar 21, 2007
    Hic sunt leones (Sammamish, WA)
    Hi Rob-
    nice report and thanks for making this ride happen - with the rain forecast and the gloomy day I would have stayed home and probably end up working :eek1

    Instead had a fun day, met a bunch of nice like-minded folks, and got wet only at the very end of the ride home-

    Great pictures, the one w/the Utah-like granite formation is my PC's wallpaper now - thanks also for not posting the one with my bike laying down for a nap on the FR115 hill- Glad also there is no record of the encounter with the police officer who mistook my attempt to bring under control my unruly steed- Even more glad that once used my secret weapon (took helmet off and showed my grey hair) and admitted to ktm-induced foolishness he did the right thing and let me off the hook :D-

    Re: the second half of the ride I knew you would have liked the 'big rock' and the trails that led to it. I look forward to exploring some more the many dual-track, quad and not-so-quad trails above Cle-Elum. I marked a few intersections with interesting trails leading away from the 'no-vehicale area' the hunters mentioned. Given this week rains those powdery trails will go up a notch in challenge, esp. on our portly bikes.

    Now we have an east-west route to teaneway road, my goal is to carve an all dirt (minimal gravel) route from ronald to the upper teanaway, w/out doing full blown singletrack scary-for-me stuff.

    Anyway thanks again for motivating me to get my ass out of the house, and for leading the ride.

    ktm950se :wings
  6. wachs

    wachs just passin' through

    May 24, 2005
    Tumalo, Oregon
    "I also hate going on group rides where the ride leader doesn't prepare ya for
    what's in store. We actually had a couple of fairly new riders; but that was fine with me, as I enjoy this hobby so
    much, that I love it when folks show up with guarded enthusiasm but with a plan to stretch themselves a bit."

    Hey Rob - what are your trying to say here?!?!:rofl :rofl :rofl Nice ride there, huge stone! no photos of your new hunting buddies? looked like a fun ride.
  7. robdogg

    robdogg turnip truck driver

    Jan 29, 2004
    wren-tonne, WA
    ha! now that you mention it.. but NAWW! we had a blast on your ride - it was one of the highlights of my year of riding (and Greg's ride the next day too) you briefed us well - and we still followed ya :wink: (and would do so again in a heart beat ) - I actually like a bit of the unknown.. (like the ride through the Oregon Sahara you took us on) but I was talking mostly about where on some rides the riders show up.. often times novice riders and the ride leader takes off without hardly any mention of the days route, what kind of conditions, how to ride in a group etc. It doesn't happen too often thankfully, but when it has happened to me, it made for less then a fun ride.
  8. robdogg

    robdogg turnip truck driver

    Jan 29, 2004
    wren-tonne, WA

    thanks man.. and thanks for letting me try out the SE.. gonna have to fight the urge to get one now - that would be a fun bike for the Desert 100 :clap

    and thanks for sharing those trails.. and was only razzing ya about the definition of ATV trails vs scary single track - not saying I would take my 950 A back on that stuff, but it was fulfilling to be able to get through that stuff unscathed.

    glad you mentioned the cop thing.. I kind of forgot about that.. when the trooper came up to where we pulled off the road, the first thing I thought was he was coming to ask one of us to go get your bike because he arrested you :lol3

    but as he pulled up, he had a big grin on his face and said he knows we're just out there having fun, but to take it easy when on the pavement etc.. we all had a good laugh with him - cool dude eh?
  9. cyborg

    cyborg Potius Sero Quam Numquam

    Jun 7, 2004
    Pacific NorthWet
    Great report Rob, looks like it was a great ride and sorry I couldn't make it. Glad the wether held out for you guys!
    Gabe makes that SE look small!
  10. Humunn

    Humunn Agent Provocateur

    Dec 1, 2006
    Oregon High Desert
    Hey Rob,
    Looks like a fun ride. I used to live up in that area so I recognize a couple of the pics. Nice report!

  11. Salt Lick

    Salt Lick Weissbiermann

    Mar 24, 2006
    Great story. Anyone have a GPS track?