2,581 miles, 8 days, on an XChallenge...

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by GSgal, Sep 16, 2007.

  1. GSgal

    GSgal Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2004
    Oddometer:
    789
    Location:
    NW Montana
    Day 1: Kalispell to Republic, WA - 338 miles

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    New Touratech radiator guard... check.


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    Can you tour on this bike?


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    This ride dedicated to my friend Dorothy... see post here:
    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=256084


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    A late start meant not many stops today. One important stop here, to add air to the rear air shock to adjust for the load. It took some experimentation to get it right. It made the bike... tall... :huh


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    It got cold as the sun sank in the mountains. A warm motel was welcome.
    #1
  2. GSgal

    GSgal Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2004
    Oddometer:
    789
    Location:
    NW Montana
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    North Cascades highway


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    Sauk River


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    Stopped in at Ride West in Seattle. They asked me to come back outside so they could take a photo of me with the bike. They hadn't yet seen an XChallenge set up for adventure touring. Even the general manager came out and shook my hand. I therefore requested a discount on the new gloves I bought...

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    It was getting late as I reached the Columbia river, headed west from Longview.


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    Skamokawa, site of the PNWetFest. Rubber Cow and Deacon welcomed me at the end of my 12 hour day of riding.


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    Thanks, Rubber Cow, for bringing an extra sleeping bag and pad so I could join in! :thumb

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    #2
  3. Dessert Storm

    Dessert Storm Dances With Drunks

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2005
    Oddometer:
    1,127
    Location:
    On the cut
    :lurk
    #3
  4. GSgal

    GSgal Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2004
    Oddometer:
    789
    Location:
    NW Montana
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    Morning on the Columbia River


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    Wake up, fellas! Yes, I know it's cold... :vardy


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    Chef Jorge at work.


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    :dg


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    At the other end of the table (glad I missed this part of the party... :wink: )


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    Jorge leads us back east.


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    He manages to take this pic of me with his SLR, as we ride.


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    Bye, Greg! Bye Jorge! Thanks for inviting me! :wave


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    Along Highway 14, north of the Columbia.


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    Met up with Ken (Luckybum), who's about as good a riding buddy as one can have. Our plan is to spend the next week looking for dirt roads and back roads hidden in the pages of DeLorme's atlases.


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    Mt. St. Helens from the east... a good place to start.


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    We all have to let off a little steam now and then.


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    We landed on the moon... or so it felt. Windy Ridge viewpoint, near Mt. St. Helens.


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    Time to test the Sidi Crossfires as hiking boots. (They're not bad.)


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    Spirit Lake.


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    The road to Windy Ridge is tight and twisty and... excellent! :ricky


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    I think I caught Ken suffering from XChallenge envy...


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    Recovery of a mountain... lots of fresh, new trees.

    Correction of today's title: the day finished in Randle, WA.
    #4
  5. Zecatfish

    Zecatfish XTique Rider

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2006
    Oddometer:
    7,928
    Location:
    Arkansas USA
    nice start.....
    What would make the BMW/Rotax better than a KLR 650 for this trip?:ear
    #5
  6. GSgal

    GSgal Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2004
    Oddometer:
    789
    Location:
    NW Montana
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    Morning in Randle. We had a nice chat with the ST rider from WA.


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    Heading west on Hwy. 12. It's lush and green.


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    And a few other colors...


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    Pe Ell, WA.


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    My friend Deanna, whom I'd not seen for at least 12 years. She was the wife of one of my most respected college professsors. She lost him to esophageal cancer, and now lives with Parkinson's herself. We happened to pass through her home town of Raymond, and a quick phone call landed us at her house for a brief visit. So good to see her! :wave


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    Lunch at Ilwaco, Long Beach, WA. Fish and chips (natch). :D


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    Headed for the Astoria bridge.


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    Returning home to Oregon always makes me happy. :raabia


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    We find some twisties on Hwy. 202 to Jewell, and Ken stops to phone home. His wife Donna hasn't been feeling well, but insisted that he go ahead with his plans to ride this trip. You're the best, Donna! :thumb


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    From Elsie to Mohlur, we were delighted to find the road was... unpaved. :clap


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    Finally the XChallenge is more in its element...


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    No, Ken, I won't mention that your bag was falling off. Bungees are great; they're all you'll ever need. :nod


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    #6
  7. MikeO

    MikeO Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2002
    Oddometer:
    18,856
    Location:
    Scarning, Norfolk today...
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    #7
  8. Bimble

    Bimble In giro in moto

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2004
    Oddometer:
    8,351
    Location:
    Apple Valley, MN
    I love that photo of the marina.

    :lurk
    #8
  9. GSgal

    GSgal Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2004
    Oddometer:
    789
    Location:
    NW Montana
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    We awoke to typical Oregon coastal weather...


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    Ken had 4 donuts and coffee. I just had grapefruit juice. :nod


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    Unfortunately, Ken's wife Donna wasn't feeling well this morning. Ken needed to go home. I was sad to see him go, but grateful for the two days of riding we'd had (and glad to add that Donna is now doing much better). Ken geared up for the cold, damp ride...


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    ...and headed back to Bend.


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    I continued south down the Oregon coast, enjoying the occasional glimpse of blue sky.


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    Surfers don't mind the morning fog.


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    Heceta Head lighthouse.


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    I stopped in to see the old Gardiner paper mill where I'd worked summers during college. It was... gone. There used to be a huge mill behind those office buildings. I later learned its tearing down had been completed just a couple of weeks before I passed through.


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    Passing through my home town of Reedsport, I paused for a self portrait.


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    It was September 11th.


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    Just down the road from my old home. When I lived here at age 16, I tried to buy my first motorcycle. My mom told me I'd have to move out of the house.


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    I have my motorcycle now. :D


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    Through Winchester Bay to visit the old Coast Guard station.


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    The Oregon dunes, where I used to train for high school cross-country races.


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    The Coos River as it enters North Bend.


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    North Bend's McCullough bridge.

    It was a great evening, enjoying a reunion with several work friends from my days in Coos Bay and North Bend. :wave
    #9
  10. GB

    GB . Administrator Super Moderator Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2002
    Oddometer:
    69,949
    Wow!! Who doesn't have XChallenge envy?!! Great bike, great pics.. and great ride.. :thumb Someone's going to make a killing on supplying luggage mounts for this bike! :nod

    Thanks for posting :super Keep it comin' :lurk
    #10
  11. GSgal

    GSgal Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2004
    Oddometer:
    789
    Location:
    NW Montana
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    BMW of Western Oregon, Eugene. I'm there for the XChallenge's 3K oil change. Three officers from the Eugene and Bend Police Departments were there for service on their police bikes. I got to spend 3 hours catching up on emails and phone calls while I waited. Lin, who used to work at Touratech and now works for BMWOR, approached me while I looked at their riding gear. "Are you Sylvia?" We'd spoken by phone but never met. I said yes. "I saw those long legs and I knew it had to be you!" she replied. Turns out my long inseam is helpful for more than just straddling the XChallenge.


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    The old McKenzie Highway, en route to Sisters/Bend.


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    Does my bike look good in lava?


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    Unidentified flying object.


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    Dinner with the Bend gang - my second family.


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    Bert con burrito grande.
    #11
  12. blackbirdzach

    blackbirdzach Daily Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Oddometer:
    3,430
    Location:
    15 mintues West of Atlanta
    You're not kidding! What a bike! :raabia
    #12
  13. GSgal

    GSgal Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2004
    Oddometer:
    789
    Location:
    NW Montana
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    The XChallenge enjoyed spending a night in Bert and Helen's garage. I told them I'd have to leave the tennis racquet and wallyball behind, though. Ken and Bert decided to measure the seat height on my XChallenge, as Ken said it was the tallest bike he'd ever seen. It was... 39 inches. :eek1


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    I spent a leisurely morning in Bend, enjoying breakfast with 3 couples who have been my best riding friends from Oregon. I also snooped around Bert's garage workshop, where his 12GS is getting some love after Bert and Helen's 16,000 mile USA trip celebrating their retirement... :clap :clap :clap


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    A good place for breakfast.


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    The restaurant strictly adheres to OSHA rules on the premises.


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    I said my good-byes and rode out toward Prineville.


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    People who've never been to Oregon think it's all green and lush and wet. Welcome to eastern Oregon!


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    The roads aren't bad, either... :ricky


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    Although the traffic is light, two things can slow you down: RVs and road construction.


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    Smoke from wildfires began to appear as I rode east on Hwy 26.


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    Stopping at an overlook where bikes get their own spaces. :thumb


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    This interesting steed belonged to a couple from the Florida Keys.


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    They insisted that I needed a photo of me at the overlook. Did I mention it was windy?


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    Picture gorge.


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    Back on the road again. I had a lot of miles to make, as Ken has plotted out a scenic route of backroads through Sumpter, Granite, the Blue Mountains, and on to LaGrande.


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    Range cattle were everywhere, including on the roads. I also saw wild turkey and killer deer.

    I was running out of daylight by the time I reached Enterprise, in the Wallowas, at 19:15. I skipped dinner in favor of a granola bar and some almonds in a care package Helen had sent me off with, and collapsed into bed early.
    #13
  14. Spicy McHaggis

    Spicy McHaggis Darth Peach's cracker...

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2006
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    Location:
    Cannonsburg, Michigan
    :lurk
    #14
  15. afoganso

    afoganso Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2005
    Oddometer:
    98
    Great photo, great report!
    Congrats!
    #15
  16. GSgal

    GSgal Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2004
    Oddometer:
    789
    Location:
    NW Montana
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    There was frost on the bike in the morning, so I had a hearty breakfast and waited for the sun to rise. I then set out on more of Ken's route - he'd photocopied pages from his atlas and marked out a twisty, scenic route towards Coeur d'Alene, ID.


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    Along the Rattlesnake, into southern Washington.


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    See that road carved into the hillside? Yup, we're goin' there!


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    Into Clarkston, WA. Snake River.


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    Ken warned me of a few places along his plotted route where what seemed to be the main road would suddenly dump you onto gravel. I found one.


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    Oh, well. Might as well explore.


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    I was still entertaining ideas of sleeping in my own bed tonight, so I headed back to the main road after a few miles of exploring, and took a tour through Washington's wheat country.


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    Can you tell I'd become attached to this bike by now?


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    After lunch in Colfax, I rode the Palouse byway.


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    Oh beautiful, for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain...



    I skirted Coeur d'Alene by taking backroads via St. Maries, around Killarney Lake, and through Rose Lake. It was getting late. I hopped on I-90 and headed for the Montana border. Maybe I could still make it home tonight.


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    Then I came upon this. Traffic was stopped and I shut off the XChallenge's engine and accepted that it was getting cold and dark and deer-thirty. It wouldn't be safe to ride the last bit to Kalispell.


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    I was too tired to figure out how this semi ended up downhill and pointed in the opposite direction from which he'd been traveling. Fortunately, it appeared there had been no serious injuries.

    I packed it in at St. Regis and slept like a rock.
    #16
  17. SenorFeliz

    SenorFeliz hangin' out

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2006
    Oddometer:
    410
    Location:
    lake Simple, Ontario
    OMG! what an awesome ride and excellent ride report. thanks so much for sharing.:lurk
    #17
  18. GSgal

    GSgal Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2004
    Oddometer:
    789
    Location:
    NW Montana
    This wasn't really like a day of riding - just a quick morning's addendum to the 8 previous days of real riding.

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    Clark Fork River.


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    Big Arm, Flathead Lake.


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    Approaching Kalispell, view toward the Rocky Mountains. You can't see the Rocky Mountains? Unfortunately, the fires that were burning when I left 8 days ago were still here for my return.


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    I rode home to Kalispell, already dreaming of the next adventure...

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    #18
  19. GotMud?

    GotMud? Oh Crap!

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2007
    Oddometer:
    67
    Location:
    Kern County, CA
    Fantastic Ride! Thanks for sharing!:clap
    #19
  20. GSgal

    GSgal Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2004
    Oddometer:
    789
    Location:
    NW Montana
    The KLR would have been an excellent bike for this trip. Last year, Ken and I did a great trip on KLRs exploring backroads and forest roads of Washingon. I enjoyed the KLR on pavement, but struggled off-road as the ergonomics when standing on the KLR are all wrong for me. When the XChallenge came out, I sold my KLR and bought the XC. It's perhaps the most fun bike I've ever had, and fits me very well. It has better suspension, more power, and gets better gas mileage than the KLR. Plus, it has brakes... :lol2 I'm far more confident off-road with it. This trip was planned as a largely off-road trip, though circumstances changed that plan.

    That being said, a KLR is more suited to long-distance travel and hauling luggage. The XChallenge is much more dirt oriented. Both are good bikes, just a little different.
    #20
    CoatsEast likes this.