UberNoob 1st Big Ride North West Coast USA, 3200 miles, 12 days, 1 broken ankle

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by slugsmasher, Nov 13, 2011.

  1. SgtMike

    SgtMike facebook.com/mikeraces

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,136
    Location:
    Bainbridge Island Base Camp
    Looking forward to moving west next summer, these pics look like my riding will be fun! We'll be near Port Angeles, maybe we can ride sometime!

    Cheers, see you then!
    #41
  2. guitarhack

    guitarhack Long timer

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,801
    Location:
    Charleston, SC
    Nice job, UberNoob. :clap

    But now you've gone and done it... One more place that I want to go, and can't get to any time soon. :baldy
    #42
  3. BrewMoto

    BrewMoto Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2011
    Oddometer:
    41
    Location:
    PNW
    I wear the same climbing shoes. ha ha. they're great for my narrow feet!

    What a spectacular trip. I'm from Eastern WA, and I MUST try that route. I drove up 101 a while back, but a bike would make it amazing.

    I think it's safe to say you're not a n00b anymore! Congrats!
    #43
  4. Ratman

    Ratman Lucky Rider

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2005
    Oddometer:
    1,242
    Location:
    Baja is good
    Great report, Slugsmasher, (changed name, I guess). your pictures a spectacular. What's your secret/equipment?
    #44
  5. Armydad

    Armydad Prov. 3:5-6

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    78
    Location:
    Putnam Co. NY
    A+
    Couldn't have said it better.
    My son rides, i hope to do this with him one day, as soon as he gets of that stink'n Honda 600 pocket rocket and gets a proper bike ! :nod
    #45
  6. mjs3800

    mjs3800 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2006
    Oddometer:
    55
    Location:
    CA
    Really enjoyed your report. Thanks for posting.
    #46
  7. slugsmasher

    slugsmasher Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 20, 2011
    Oddometer:
    254
    Location:
    Whidbey Island, WA
    Thanks for all the comments. I couldn't have picked a better first big trip to share with my dad and explore/expand my own limits while soloing the west coast. There isn't a better place on eartth than the USA to love and enjoy for us travellers and active bodies.

    Ratman, I have no special equipment. Just a couple old digital cameras and an ultrapod 2. I have an old Canon "IXY" from 2005 I bought in Hiroshima that I think is equivalent to a Canon SD400 Elph series camera. It works really well and is easy to spot meter on stuff. The drawback is it is old and only 5 megapixels.
    http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canonsd400/
    I also have an Olympus Stylus Tough 3000 which I don't like as much. It works well when you can get it to lock exposure on the correct subject item which is not an easy task sometimes. It is not as easy to set up shots as the Canon.
    http://www.olympusamerica.com/cpg_section/product.asp?product=1483&page=overview
    Seems like the newer digital cameras try to think too much for the user which isn't always a good thing. I'm an old Nikon SLR guy so more manual operations the better. Either way thanks for the comments on my photos.
    #47
  8. slugsmasher

    slugsmasher Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 20, 2011
    Oddometer:
    254
    Location:
    Whidbey Island, WA
    Couple more days of trip reporting. Continuing from page 3..

    [​IMG]

    110912 Day 11

    Up at 0515 and ate light, packed early. Got moving by 0700 or so to beat the heat. Headed up I5 shortly to Gold Hill turn off. Followed signs to Crater Lake. Blasted up mostly straight road through a couple small farm towns to hwy 97 north. A few turns around a big lake and then straight flat out through the woods. Was going 75 mph regularly along with a couple local vehicles ahead. Didn’t have to pass them since going that fast seemed like the norm. I had visions of deer jumping out so eyeball scan was in full gear. Woods are thick but not so thick that you could not see ahead a fair distance. Just kind of wierd to have a totally straight road in the forest I guess.

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    Rogue River along HWY 62 Oregon

    Stopped at Union and went to Beckie’s Cafe for brunch. Little did I know the place was super slow. I waited half an hour for two pancakes and scrambled eggs. When the food did come out the pancakes were huge, at least 10 inches in diameter. I could barely eat half of it. Nice atmosphere but way too long for typical American simple food.

    Outside while donning gear saw an assload of at least 25 or more Harley people getting ready to head out across the street coming out of a big parking lot. I didn’t want to get stuck behind that group and made haste getting out of there. Helmet, gloves, oh shit brub brubs starting, leg up, oh shit more brub brubs, key, switch, oh shit they’re moving, kickstand, start, oh shit they are all brub brubbing, 1st gear, LOOK LOOK, throttle, GO GO GO!!! Barely got on the road before being assimilated into the cruise fest. I passed by them all by the side of the road and could hear them brub brubbing loudly just as they were getting ready to move, they had to hold and wait for me to go by. I just gave a head nod in my florescent space suit and blasted through the gears, I then had a big smile and the road all to myself. Crisis averted, lucky.

    Heading towards Crater Lake were some fun curves on good pavement. Noticed a lot of smoke haze so obviously fires near by. Got to park south entrance and paid 5 bucks. Into park stopped at visitors center and looked around.

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    Crater Lake Visitor's Center

    Decided to to the clockwise direction around the crater. Road up to rim from visitors center was very tight climbing up switchbacks in 2nd gear. Not many people out so good times to be had. Stopped at first rim viewing area, very scenic and super blue water below is amazing. Photos do not do it justice. Haze dulled the colors for optimum long distance photos but still spectacular area.

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    Crater Lake and Wizard Island

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    Hazy horizon from nearby forest fires

    Continued way around and stopped at several viewpoints along the way. Very serene and peaceful area. Lot of exposure in many road spots making the ride more interesting. Took a long break at a lookout and hiked the hillside looking at some of the old sub alpine trees. Altitude around 7000-8000 feet so trees are barely hanging on. Some trees are very old and have strange burls on them which made interesting photos.

    [​IMG]

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    I call this guy Burl Ives

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    Hobbling for views

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    The infamous Phantom Ship island

    Continuing the road was mostly blasting straights to sharp corners. Made a complete lap and stopped at visitors center again. Got a newer map of Oregon and then headed back up the rim road to hwy 138. Got to section heading east on 138 that was completely straight for several miles. It dropped down a grade so you could see the endless road way ahead for quite a while. Thin forest all around with mostly a lot of nothingness. Extended the pegs out on my crash bars and rode it out Harley or maybe it’s brub brub style.

    On 97 north it was hot and desolate. Lot of straight out blasting through scrub trees and dusty long flats. Got to town of Crescent and got gas and some air conditioning. Loaded the Cascade Lakes road route into GPS and headed that way. Road followed contours of Deschutes river next to lava beds and several lakes. Mostly flat out for the first several miles with interesting scenery. The temps were also noticeably cooler which was nice.

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    Deschutes River, good beer starts with this water

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    Cascade Lakes road, looks like bark beetles have infested this area

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    Cascade Lakes road smooth and quiet

    On one section close to the river, happened upon two Harley dudes stopped in the road and flagged me to slow down. There was a tree fall debris pile they were trying to clean up. I stopped and helped them get all the branches and stuff off the road. Would have been bad for a moto at speed. We talked a little about were we were from and where we were going.

    After what mostly became non interesting road in the woods, finally got closer to Mt Bachelor and some good cornering through lava rock formations and big views to the mountains all around. Big open grasslands with the river running through it was especially scenic, nice section.

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    View to Mt Bachelor

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    Deschutes River and mountain friends

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    Last stretch of Cascade Lakes road before heading down to Bend

    Coming down off the Bachelor ski area to Bend also meant getting back into the heat. I originally intended to stop in Bend but it was too convoluted so I just made my way back to 97 and headed north.
    Stopped in Redmond along the way at the Radio Shack and got a connector for my broken 12V charger adapter. Couldn’t charge my cell phone for a day or two and it was dead. Put the phone on charge and continued to Terribonne. Stopped there for a snack at the Terribonne Grill and called Wifey to let her know I was still among the living.

    Heading out after the break on 97 was lonely and hot. Put my earbuds in and listened to music on the ride. Not something I do regularly but for the long dead straights it is nice to mentally let loose a little bit.
    Hit the 26 at Madras and into the basaltic gorge area along the now big Deschutes river section. Road would have been fun but the wind was howling something fierce through there and I was heading into the sun. Rather uncomfortable plus all the traffic was going 75-80 and I wasn’t feeling too speedy with all the wind buffeting. Just kept it going and got through it.

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    HWY 26 view of basaltic formations north of Madras OR

    Back to the woods to hwy 35 was ok with big sweepers and very wide fast road. On hwy 35 up next to Mt Hood was nice with a few peekaboo views to the mountain. Good turns on crappy pavement which the Strom likes.

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    Mt Hood at dusk from HWY 35 north

    It was starting to get late and the sun was low so I needed to find a camp spot. Looking at the map there were several along the way it appeared. I found Sherman Camp (all the camps are named after Robinhood places for some reason - duh) to be totally empty and pulled in there. Found an excellent spot right next to the Hood River. In fact I found everything to be awesome because I was the only guy there. Set up tent and went about collecting wood. Had to go across highway to find some good deadfall since most around camp was picked. Got going on fire but initially got butt kicking trying to use tourist map printed on magazine paper. Didn’t burn too well, ended up using notebook pages to get fire going.

    [​IMG]
    Sherman Camp near Mt Hood

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    Fire good

    Spend rest of evening playing uke and eating dinner of soup and sourdough by the fire. Moon was full and bright which illuminated everything nicely. The river was especially beautiful in the bright moonlight. Nice cap to a big mile day.

    Leg Data:
    Miles 375
    Time.moving 6:57
    Avg mph 54.0

    TTL ascent 22,454
    Max El 7863
    #48
  9. 2handedSpey

    2handedSpey bunned

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2011
    Oddometer:
    237
    Location:
    Portland
    My personal favorite areas to fish / camp. Great posts. :)
    #49
  10. redog1

    redog1 KTM 690R

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,886
    Location:
    Magalia, CA./ Butte & Siskiyou C.
    Great first road trip, I've ridden alot of the areas you were at from the San Andreas area to the Mattole road. Great riding, That Mattole road, if you have the slightest case of vertigo, take caution. It is TWISTY:evil
    Great RR.
    Ride on!:ricky
    #50
  11. slugsmasher

    slugsmasher Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 20, 2011
    Oddometer:
    254
    Location:
    Whidbey Island, WA
    I thought I would finish this before the year was out...almost. Doesn't matter, looking forward to the next big trip and thanks to all who followed thus far. Here is the last day of my big noob ride.

    [​IMG]

    110913 Day 12

    Up at 0630. Foraged for some wood once again and made a small fire to get going. Something about fire and warming up in the early morning that motivates you for the day. Ate a light breakfast of an Odwalla bar and some coffee. Sat by the fire and updated my journal and studied maps. Plan was to hit Mt. St Helens and then maybe camp out near Packwood. I had plenty of time to do whatever. Packed and rolling by 0800. Weather was looking nice and clear for the day once again. The air had a nice morning briskness to it while riding through the woods.

    Rolled by little town of Parkdale and noticed sign for Mt Hood Railroad so took a look see. Had a small depot in town but no equipment to see. Moved on using hwy 281 to get to town of Hood River. Took a lap around town but it was pretty dead. Saw a red V-Strom and a few other ADV bikes parked around in town. Heading to bridge crossing of the Columbia River got gas at station near entrance. Had to go through construction to get there and that sucked, lot of convoluted local detours and equipment all over the place. A total clusterama. After gas got disoriented by the AFU construction signs pointing to the bridge entrance and ended up making a loop back in to the construction zone hell. Had to wait for quite a while and was getting pissed, I just wanted to get the hell out of there.

    [​IMG]
    Bridge of DOOM across the Columbia

    Finally got to bridge entrance and it had a toll for 50 cents or something. I was initially happy about moving again but that was pretty short lived as I rode onto the brutally uncomfortable steel grating of the bridge deck. The bike felt super weird and not in a good degree of control due to the parallel running steel grating surface and the wind blowing me all over. Not a good feeling. I muttered things like oh god and holy shit in my helmet more than once traversing the thing. To make matters worse, there was more construction going on in the middle of the span and guess who got the next stop sign turn, yes my dumb ass. The woman holding the sign said she didn’t like having to stop motorcycles since they don’t seem to like the bridge deck. I told her that not only did I not like it but it was scary as shit with the wind. I held there long enough to take a couple photos. Getting the “slow” sign to get moving was welcome but not without more scary riding having to change lanes in the middle of the bridge traversing the grating. It really sucked and was the most uncomfortable I have felt on the bike yet. Gravel was nothing compared to this bridge.

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    Hey let's stop the motorcycle dude he already looks pissed, gee thanks

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    Bridge deck is not fun on a motorcycle

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    View down the Columbia, the wind is hard and constant around this area

    Surviving the bridge and getting on pavement was nice but again for only a short moment. Heading west on hwy 14 now on the Washington side, the wind was absolutely howling. I got buffeted all over my side of the road. Every time another truck would pass in the opposite direction I got even more blasting and flopping. Great fun - not. The best part is the several tunnels that have to be negotiated where the wind flows through them like a big venturi. The turbulence was crazy around the tunnels and the only thing keeping me going it seemed was the weight of the bike. I had to pull over a couple times to take a break as the ride was mentally taxing in the unpredictable wind blasts.

    [​IMG]
    Tunnels equal wind blasting from hell

    Observed some wind surfers out on the river going crazy fast in the high winds. Extreme fun takes many forms which all border on stupidity.

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    Some folks have learned to embrace the winds

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    Gratuitous train shot, SD90MACs I think

    Eventually heading up the Wind River road to Carson was a welcome break from the wind. Stopped in Carson at the general store thinking they might have a nice deli to get a sandwich from. Looked ok like a mom and pop place from the outside, inside was clean but certainly very generic without much character. Nothing interesting to eat and all they had for “deli” type items was fried and over cooked 7-11 type food. Not my style. Got a hodgepodge of packaged foodstuff and bailed out.

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    Carson General Store, disappointing food selection

    Rolling north up the Wind River basin became yet another fun and twisty exercise through the woods. Some chunky spots in the road but overall not bad. Up to the Swift Resevoir and the turn off to Cougar was a fun ride.

    [​IMG]
    View to St Helens along the Wind River hwy

    Took the FS road 25 north towards St Helens. Less maintained road and more chunky with some frost heave in several areas. Ok for the Strom and no issues, just need to pay attention to the surface changes with most holes and bumps easily avoidable. Would not be fun in my stiffly suspended Miata but was a hoot on the motorcycle. Weaving and twisting through all kinds of different corners in the woods, next to bluffs and up and down steep grades. It was a lot of fun and quite fast due to the fact that there was nobody out there and conditions were great.

    [​IMG]
    Windy River along FS Road 25

    Made it to FS road 99 to WIndy Ridge viewpoint and Mt St Helens National Monument area. Road was about 17 miles to view point. Again, practically nobody out here so was able to ride at what ever pace I felt comfortable with. Very nice screaming up the turns to what became open vistas with big views out along the barren valleys and hills that had been blasted by the St Helens eruption. Several pull out points to take photos of the interesting and spectacular scenery.

    [​IMG]
    Heading up the Windy Ridge road east of Mt St Helens

    Some areas on road with rock fall that required some caution. Lack of vegitation and steep pumice covered bluffs all around provide plenty of debris to end up on the road. Lack of vegitation also provides a great visual look ahead on the road so there was several cases where I got some really good corners in and practiced my cornering technique at speed. Excellent ride. Saw a couple other motorcyclists enjoying the area as well with one particular sport rider really hauling ass heading in the other direction. No moto dude hand waving here, just total concentration on the ride.

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    Vast barren landscape from volcano blast provides a lot of visibility of the road for sporting riding

    Stopped at a pullout and saw a nice Vanagon with a lot of bugs on the front and Colorado plates. Found the owner an older guy taking pictures and mentioned he had a nice van. I showed him my Samba.com t shirt I was wearing which validated my Vanagon enthusiasm. Talked to him for quite a while about travelling, places to go and what not. We both agreed that solo travel is a good way to go sometimes so you can go at your own pace (i.e. wife not always a requirement for travel fun).

    Continued on to end of road and Windy Ridge vistapoint. There was a long stairway up to a vista point that looked intriguing. I was intially worried about my ankle but after getting my boots off and wrapping it with an ace bandage, it felt ok walking around in my Teva sandals. Packed some food in a daypack and slogged up the staircase. Went pretty slow and made sure I had sure footing each time I used the injured side. Got to the top of a pumice gravel covered view area and took several photos. Amazing place to see and trying to imagine the devistaing actions that took place during the eruption was mind boggling.

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    Staircase up Windy Ridge, yes I ascended/descended that with broke ankle

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    View to Spirit Lake which is home to thousands of blown away trees from the St Helens eruption

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    Looking into the crater of Mt St Helens

    After descending the big staircase, geared up and headed back the way I came. Knowing the road a bit better this time I was able to push just a little bit more in the corners and got some really good riding in. The sun was out, there was no wind and no traffic, just open curvatures of road to enjoy. Lot of fun and really starting to feel comfortable on the bike riding hard through the turns with the optimum conditions.

    Back on FS road 25 heading north to Randle was much of the same blasting through the woods on crappy road with several areas of frost heave and repair patches. Paying close attention to the surface was made more difficult with the various shadows created by the trees lining the road. Was good bumpy fun and certainly made me think twice about ever bringing my Miata up there. Had to cross a spindly bridge over a landslide area at one point that was somewhat unnerving. Saw a BMW rider with full panniers and stuff riding the other direction right after I crossed the bridge. He looked to be much more confident on the crossing than I did.

    [​IMG]
    Temporary bridge crossing along FS road 25 north of Mt St Helens

    Arriving at Randle after much bumpiness and twistiness was returning to a familar area that I had travelled over several times going to autocross events. Got on the hwy 12 and headed east to Packwood. The hwy here is long, straight and fast. The only problem is the hugemongous elk that hang around. Easy to go fast but knowing what is out there tended to make me ride at a much more conservative speed. At Packwood stopped for an obligatory shot in front of the Hotel Packwood.

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    My favorite and cheapest place to stay in the homely town of Packwood

    Got some gas and headed up the Skate Creek road which crosses some foothills to the Mt Ranier NP area. Skate Creek is a fun road that takes a typical winding route along the river. Been on it before in the Miata but not nearly as fun as on the motorcycle. Many frost heave bumps and pavement patches not much of a big deal for the bike compared to trying to drive it in the car and popping your kidneys.

    Got up to SR 706 and headed east to Mt Rainier NP. Entered the park and rode up to Paradise camp to take a look see. Nice road but a lot of tourists so mostly slow going. Plan was to ride all the way through the park to hwy 410 but the road was closed somewhere after the box canyon area. Went ahead and did an out an d back anyway just to see it. Never been in this area of the park so was a good opportunity to explore what I could. Got a lot of photos along the way as the weather was still perfect and great for good photos.

    [​IMG]
    Mt Rainier from Paradise lodge

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    Purple mountain majesties...

    After stopping at Paradise, rode out to the box canyon for another photo op, road was fun and exposed along this section next to a deep valley. Hiked out to the view point of the river washing through the box canyon 100 feet below. Interesting natural formation for sure. Rode back out the same route and had a good time on the winding road of the park.

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    Perfect day at Mt Rainier NP

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    Nice exposure along road 123 in the Mt Rainier NP

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    View into the Box Canyon formation

    Back on the regular highway, got to Elbe and stopped for dinner. Passed several places to eat in Ashford outside the park but nothing really captured my interest as everything looked very tourist oriented and a lot of people at each place. Of course then I stop in Elbe at the train car diner thing which is over the top tourist oriented. Was hungry and needed to eat. Place was dead and I was the only one in my “car” section. Ordered a steak and the meal was mediocre at best. Overpriced for sure but I needed to fill the void. Tried to call Wifey but no phone service anywhere around the Mt Rainier area as usual.

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    Funky railcar diner in Elbe

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    50's style atmosphere was uniquely American for sure

    After eating headed up towards Eatonville and stopped there to try to use my cellphone. It worked and after talking to Wifey decided to try to push on and make it home. Was already kind of tired but also not in the mood to hotel it in this area of the state, I have trust issues leaving my bike outside especially where I kinda know the demographic.
    Kept rolling in darkness now towards Puyallup and north. Puyallup is a major pain in the ass to get through no matter what time of day it is. Today being no exception. Town simply sucks ass for driving or riding through. Stoplights and dense traffic for miles and no way to bypass. Eventually made it to the freeway after another patience testing exercise and blasted north. First real freeway riding for the entire trip so not bad. Used the express lane mostly and cruised it out. Low traffic volumes all the way to 405 and Renton. Just soldiered on and made it through in pretty good time. Made it to Mulkiteo and the ferry terminal no problem. Caught the 1000pm ferry. Took a nap on the ferry and then back on Whidbey for the ride home.
    Arriving at the house was nice having the wife and dog waiting for me but at the same time a little sad knowing that a great trip came to an end. Tired and sore, I put the bike away for a well deserved rest.

    [​IMG]
    3200 miles of bugs

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    Home at last and my dog happy to see me again

    Leg Data:
    Miles 401
    Time.moving 8:37
    Avg mph 46.5

    TTL ascent 25,675
    Max El 5398
    #51
  12. lytle1gw

    lytle1gw oldguy

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2010
    Oddometer:
    85
    Location:
    God's country-Southern Illinois
    Nice ride report and pics. Nice that the Harley dudes were cleaning the hwy so no one would get hurt, don't ya hate it when guys do stuff opposite of their sterotype.
    #52
  13. Ol Man

    Ol Man Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2010
    Oddometer:
    592
    Location:
    Apple Valley, Calif
    I really enjoyed reading your report. You have a nice writing style and took a lot of effort to document your adventure. Happy New Year.
    #53
  14. bilborides

    bilborides Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2011
    Oddometer:
    36
    Very nicely done,sitting here on the 2nd of New year thinking hmm maybe i should go to the coast.A little cool now but.Also thanks for keeping our country safe.
    #54
  15. mikegc

    mikegc Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,439
    Location:
    High Point, NC
    Rich,

    I've been reading your report since the first post. I really enjoyed everything, from the preparation phase, starting out on an adventure to meet your dad and, finally, inviting all of us along for the ride. My dad, at 93, has dementia and has lost many memories so I remind him of our good times often. He's still in there but I sort of have to hit the starter button a few times. You and your pop will smile for a long time over this ride and I'll bet you're planning another already.

    As an old infantry trooper, thank you for your service, sir. We all rest well at night because of people like you.

    Mike

    PS: You're a "noob" not more!
    #55
  16. longrides1

    longrides1 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2014
    Oddometer:
    141
    Location:
    Skagit Valley Washington USA
    Yep I can't keep up with him either :lol3, too many mouantain bike riding skills. :wink:

    That Mulitistrada sure does make that Wee Strom look good!:rofl


    Corey
    #56