Pavement only- Portland to Olympic Peninsula, Washington West to East, Canada, Kissing Idaho

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by GottaSeeItAll, May 16, 2019.

  1. GottaSeeItAll

    GottaSeeItAll Been here awhile

    Mar 23, 2016
    Portland, OR
    I originally started a thread in the PNW forum soliciting advice for this 5 day trip. The ride is over now.

    I started updating that thread with a ride report, and figured I'd post it here too for anyone who's interested. I always like reading about other people's adventures when I'm stuck at work, so why not contribute mine as well? I've copied and pasted some stuff, deleting the extraneous planning info that isn't totally relevant to the ride reports.

    Again, the trip is already over, so don't spend too much time trying to help me out with routes/lodging. But I definitely want to hear if you have opinions about the route I took, things I missed, where to ride/stay/see/eat next time.


    I'm taking my first moto trip of the year. I should preface this with I'm only riding paved roads, as I'm traveling on a SuperDuke 1290R. I've made several 2-4 day trips on it in the past with great success. This will be the longest ride I've done on this bike, tentatively clocking 1500 miles over 5 days.

    Day 1: Portland up to the Olympic peninsula, stopping in/around Port Angeles. I'd like to ride up Hurricane Ridge Rd. I understand there's a campgrounds around there called Heart o' the Hills which is open and is first come first served.

    Day 2: Port Angeles to Winthrop.

    Hopefully I'll break down camp as opposed to rolling out of a hotel, and head east to Port Townsend, hop a ferry to Fidalgo island, ride Deception Pass, and then make my way to Burlington to hit 20 East through North Cascade NP to Winthrop.

    Day 3: Winthrop to Colville

    At first I thought maybe I'd just ride 20 all the way there, but that would be kind of a short day, and then I started looking at some other highlighted rides on the Butler Map and planning detours. Plan now is to ride 20 east to Republic, then shoot south on 21, hit Manila Creek Rd WEST, then south on 155 to 174 to Wilbur, then turn NORTH and ride up 25 along the river to get back on 20 East and head just past Colville and stay at the Beaver Lodge. This day is the most up in the air for me.

    Day 4: Canada loop.

    I've never ridden motorcycle outside the USA, so why not? I just kind of slapped this route together. I did double check that the ferry from Balfour to Kootenay Bay is running. I don't know where in Idaho I'm staying. I've also never ridden in Idaho, so it seems like a good opportunity to check two items off the list. I'm not totally dedicated to staying in Idaho. Heading back towards Spokane would probably be fine too.

    Day 5: Coeur D'alene to Portland.

    Its kind of a long trip, so I'll likely slab it. If I had more time and energy, I'd love to head south and get myself on 129/OR 3 and the Spiral Hwy, and end up in Enterprise OR, but I'm not sure I'll have the time, weather or energy.
  2. GottaSeeItAll

    GottaSeeItAll Been here awhile

    Mar 23, 2016
    Portland, OR
    Day 1: Portland to Port Angeles.

    I got everything laid out, inventoried and packed the night before the trip. The 1290 isn't made for this, but its not NOT made for this, right?



    I made a a bit of a detour because after the first 3 hours I was freezing, feeling wiped and suffering the day 1 doubts, as has happened to me before. I made it from Portland to Astoria on 30, which is a pretty boring ride, to be honest. I would usually hit Scappoose-vernonia hwy to 202 for an Astoria run, but since this was a long day, I figured just avoiding the interstate was respectable enough. I also had brand new Metzlers put on yesterday, so figured a long boring slog would be a decent way to scrub them in. About 30 miles out of Portland I realized I'd forgotten to pack a sweatshirt.

    From Astoria I hit 101 North all the way to Aberdeen, with the original plan being to take the western route on 101 through Oil City, Queets and Forks, and then shoot north to hit 113 to Pysht and then over to PA. In Aberdeen I stopped for lunch and was cold and already tired and just not feeling it, so I whipped out Google and found out it was almost equidistant to do that route vs heading east on 12 to 108 to 101 and approaching PA from the east, and about 20 degrees warmer. It was wild, 5 minutes after departing the seafood place in Aberdeen and heading east it was getting warm and sunny.

    For some reason 50F along the coast was a lot colder than the 50F riding in Portland that I do all the time in the same gear, and it was wiping me out. The unrelenting gray skies and cold Pacific wind were besting me. The last 70 miles or so were nice as the sun started to peak out and temperatures raised above 60F, and traffic thinned out. Rolling in to PA I started seeing the sawtooth, snowcapped mountains that make this area so beautiful. I snagged a campsite around 1600 and went back in to town for supplies and dinner.

    I had a beer or two in town and grabbed some supplies to make camp home for the night (beer and firewood). The first five miles of Hurricane Ridge Rd up to the campsite were just fantastic riding. I realized that this was the first actual fun riding road I had been on, 300+ miles into the trip. The rest had all been monotony, staring at the back of an SUV, passing when I could. Riding up through the Hood Canal was beautiful, without a doubt, but traffic was so thick I could hardly steal a glance over my right shoulder at the water before the line of cars in front of me were abruptly coming to a stop. The scenery was getting pretty great too. I took this photo after setting up camp, on my way back into town for supplies.


    I grabbed some lumber and trucked it home. This scene never fails to get some looks and fist pumps out of the local traffic


    But you can't argue with success. It looks crazy, but it hasn't failed me yet.


    The new tires are now scrubbed in, I plan to take care of that chicken strip tomorrow up and back on hurricane ridge, and then some more on 20.

    Day 1: ~ 310 miles.
    N-Id-Jim and Shaggie like this.
  3. GottaSeeItAll

    GottaSeeItAll Been here awhile

    Mar 23, 2016
    Portland, OR
    Day 2: Port Angeles to Winthrop

    I got back to camp on night 1 and got the fire going. I drank two beers and realized I didn't have the legs to stay up much later. I cashed it in around 10, and woke up at 1 am to a screaming infant at the adjacent campsite. And again at 3:30. I think it sucked for all of us.

    In the morning I woke up COLD. I will never forget a warm layer for campsite again. I broke down camp and did a basic maintenance check of my bike. The previous day I couldn't shake this feeling that the bike just didn't FEEL right. Sloppy in the corners, lack of power for gear and RPM, and just generally felt like shit. At first I thought it was just the new rubber scrubbing in, but I couldn't shake it, so I checked the tires, and the rear was running 32psi, 8 light, and the front 32, 6 light. Then I saw this sloppy chain.


    Gross.. No wonder she felt like shit.

    I undid all my luggage rigging to get the toolkit out and adjusted the chain. I really wanted to ride Hurricane Ridge up to the top, but not on low tires, so I figured this was a good time to test the plug kit/compressor that I carry. I was pleasantly surprised. It plugged right into my SAE plug and did the job in about 2 minutes per tire.


    Like I said, I couldn't burn all the wood or drink all the beer, so I left a care package for the next campers.

    After a long first day and and awful nights sleep I was feeling about half baked. After the bit of bike maintenance put me behind schedule, I wondered if I could make it to Winthrop. I wondered if this trip was a dumb idea, or if I was being stupid thinking I could ride up through Washington this early in the summer. Uneasiness and doubt had crept in.

    I decided a rip up Hurricane Ridge was the medicine I needed, since I'd already paid the park entrance, and wouldn't be back any time soon. It was the right prescription.


    I enjoyed what could only be called a slice of moto-heaven. Beautiful road, winding uphill to better and better panoramic views of the peninsula and clouds covering what I'm told is Canada. Fantastic ride, and I think my slog up the coastal 101 was worth it, if only for 17 fleeting miles of fantastic riding. A couple of deer in the road just after the tunnels made me slow my pace a bit. If only we could teach the deer not to pay in the road, and close the road for motos only it would truly be motorcycle heaven.

    I've only taken 3 selfies in my life, the other 2 were shittier versions of this one.


    The landscape was surreal.

    Spirits raised, I went back down the hill with a target of Port Townsend Ferry to Whidbey island and then north to Deception Pass.

    I was disappointed to find that the temps below had dropped significantly on my way up the hill. On the way back down I rode through thick patches of fog and temperature pockets that would drop a quick 10 degrees at random. I kept thinking about the deer I saw on the way up and wondering where they are. Hazards on I slowed to about 25mph as visibility was about 20 feet in some stretches.

    By the time I made it back into PA proper I knew I was in for another long haul back the way I had come in gray misting piss rain. Traffic was stop and go the entire way to the Port Townsend Ferry. The boat ride offered a brief respite from the cold. It had taken 2hrs to travel what was essentially 33 miles from PA to PT. I ate a hotdog on the boat and dreaded the remaining coastal miles. I called a hotel in Winthrop because I knew I needed a bed tonight. Spirits were low, and sometimes it's hard to shake that.

    Traffic continued thick as mud all the way up 20 through Whidbey Island. I knew that the N Cascades national park was my holy Grail and that riding, traffic and weather would improve the closer I got. Deception Pass was a brief highlight of my coastal ride today. I think everyone on the island brought their mom to the Shrimp shack for mother's day though. I wanted to stop for a photo, but all the lots were full, and I felt like I just needed to get out of there.

    By the time I hit Burlington I was feeling fried. Little sleep, cold weather, long rides, traffic out the ass the whole way, scarce engaging twisty roads, traveling solo... I promised myself to ride 20 through the mountains before making any decisions about stopping the trip short, and promised myself a break when I got somewhere warm.

    It all turned around in Concrete.


    I think they should rebrand their town "Welcome to Concrete, Gateway to Motorcycle Heaven" From here out, not a vehicle in front of me (several used pullouts, thanks guys!) for 75 glorious miles through the North Cascades National Park. 20 heading through the park was absolutely one of the most fantastic rides I've ever been on. 75 miles of non-stop twisty well maintained mountain roads. Early May has to be a great time to ride this stretch. I got lucky to ride it on a warmish day, but look at the still completely snow-packed mountain tops. Super cool ride, and there were times where it looked more like Switzerland than Washington. I feel like this stretch of 20 is where the trip completely turned around. From here on out I knew it was going to be a great trip, and that I hadn't made a mistake.


    I took precious few photos because I was having such a good time riding (fucking finally!) With renewed spirits I rolled into the Rio Vista in Winthrop.

    I checked in and took off all my gear and called Mom. It is mother's day after all, and she has no idea I'm on a solo trip, unless my wife told her, which I learned she had.

    I think I should mention, for background sake if nothing else, that I think part of my general sense of uneasiness and gloom about this trip is due to the untimely death of my sister just a few months ago. She was only 35 and was hit as a pedestrian near her home. Her death was as tragic as it was sudden, and left me contemplating my decision to ride at all and to ride the way that I do and in the places that I do. This is the first long distance ride I've taken since her death, and its made for a hard reckoning of my risk tolerance versus my family's recent loss. I had lots of hard stuff to think about while droning along all those long miles on days 1 and 2.

    A stroll out and about through Winthrop introduced me to the local high school football coach. He and his charming wife are in their 70s. He's trying to figure out how to recruit kids here to be interested in football. Last year the team had only 20 players. This year they'll be playing 8vs8 with other schools who have difficulty fielding a team. They helped me plot a route, and alternate routes through various mountain passes with local information about mudslides and construction.

    The local beer makers offerings were great at the Old School House Brewery. They filled my sweatshirt deficiency

    One thing I love about traveling on motorcycle is the people that I meet.

    After hanging around the Old School House Brewery I realized I was really hungry in a small town, and it was getting late. The bartender told me the kitchen was closed and that I couldn't order food, which was a bummer, but it was my own fault...No worries.

    On hearing that a kitchen worker who happened to be standing next to me demanded that I split his shift meal with him. I refused 3 times, feeling guilty, until he went back into the kitchen himself and portioned it out for me.

    The guy had never met me, had worked all day, and decided to split the meal that he gets for working there with me, a stranger for no reason other than he knew I was hungry. Why? I don't know, but I thank him, and if you ever go to the Old School House Brewery, the Buffalo chicken sandwich is delicious!

    Also, don't stick your head in here. I'd love to hear the story of how that warning came to be.

    Day 2: ~230 miles

    Attached Files:

    N-Id-Jim, weldpro and Shaggie like this.
  4. groaner

    groaner Long timer

    Feb 22, 2016
    Wow. You are a tough dude. Plus doing a good and honest job recording your adventure.
    Sounds like you kept s good attitude through it all.
    My ide if camping out is the Sheritin etc.

    Hey that dynoplud pump works great.
    Just fixed a nail hole. Yeah I know.
    Thanks for the report
    GottaSeeItAll likes this.
  5. GottaSeeItAll

    GottaSeeItAll Been here awhile

    Mar 23, 2016
    Portland, OR
    Day 3: Winthrop to Kettle Falls

    I had a great night in Winthrop. Touristy as it may be, the food, cold beer, warm bed and great conversation were what I needed. Better yet, leaving well rested out of Winthrop had me in prime shape for what would be excellent riding, from kick stand up at the Rio Vista to rolling into lodging that night. Just fantastic roads and scenery. Day 3 was everything that day 1 wasn't.

    The view from the hotel room in Winthrop wasn't bad either.

    The name of the game departing Wintrhop was deer avoidance. Several people in this thread, on Reddit, at my departure point in Portland, and in person along the way warned me about deer in this area. As you enter Winthrop from the west you see a sign with a rolling year to date deer hit. I think it was at 67, but I'm not sure.

    Out of Winthrop I took 20 east through Twisp to Okanagon and on to Omak. Originally I planned to go further north to Tonasket and ride from there to Republic, but I changed my mind. I decided to pursue a more southern route and easier day.

    The ride to Omak was beautiful. Twisty sweeping corners giving way to expansive vistas of uninhabited ranching land. Cell phone photos of these vast landscapes never do them justice.

    Thanks to some guidance from ADV user MotoBob I hit the Columbia River Rd to the Colville Indian Agency. Holy shit what a fantastic recommendation! Close to the beginning of the route I gained what I estimate to be 1000 feet over a mile or three. From the top of the canyon I was treated to unreal views of Omak Lake, a fantastic shade of turquoise, peppered with islands inside it. This is reservation land, and I imagine I saw that landscape just as people did 100 years ago, seemingly untouched and pristine. No photos, I was having too much fun riding. Sorry.

    From there I hit a really nice road lit up on my map named Peter Dan Rd which took me from the Northwest side of Coulee Dam to the Northeast side. Another fantastic ride, which photos never do justice. My phone pinged at the top of a canyon where I stopped for a photo. MotoBob was down for a ride and lunch.


    I hopped the free Keller Ferry and made my way to Wilbur to get gas and head towards MotoBob's house in Lincoln. I was the only one on the ferry.

    When I got to Wilbur for gas, and back in cell reception I heard from Bob that he was heading my way. He met me at the local store. He says it's hard to have a random dude from the internet over for sandwiches if you don't have bread and lunch meat. He rolled up on a kitted out Africa Twin, a bike I'd love to add to my garage.


    Bob lead me back to his place via a short detour down to the Lincoln Boat ramp. Holy shit, what a nice ride!! A couple short and straight miles from Wilbur to Creston lead into some fantastic switchbacks and high desert canyon riding. We turned around at the boat ramp and headed to Bob's for lunch. His wife Dianne and puppy Quincy were both gracious hosts. Great conversation and fantastic views under the shaded back deck... You have carved out a nice life for yourself there man... A relatively undiscovered part of the country, living with fantastic lake and mountain views surrounded in every direction with great riding... As I said, you picked a nice spot!

    And what's more, how fucking cool is it for a stranger to host some random dude on a Moto trip for lunch and guided tour of his area? I already said that one of the best things about these trips is the people that I meet, and Bob, thanks for proving my point again. Hospitality beyond measure and great company, for no reason other than he knew some dude was on a trip near where he lives. Thanks man. It makes me think... I should be on here offering my help to other people on trips, instead of just coming on here to solicit advice or get help when I break shit on my bike.

    The ride out of Bob's place on Miles-creston is even more fantastic than the ride in. This was probably my favorite stretch of the day. Waved forward to run in front I was treated treated to perfect road conditions and sweeping corners. This is the type of road that you get into a groove on, slalloming from corner to corner, feeling like you hit each one perfect, music if you ride with it, is on point, just all things perfection. The penultimate moto moments.

    Bob was kind enough to ride North with me to Fort Spokane where he turned around. I continued for another really nice 25 miles or so on Rte 25 until I came to my second ferry of the day to take me back across the Columbia to Inchelium.

    Inchelium Hwy runs north-south and is lit up on my map as a great ride. As soon as I got off the ferry I knew this road wouldn't be as nicely maintained as rte 25. Sand and broken pavement all over the place, which kind of sucks on a sport bike. I exited the ferry behind a fast moving Chevy Impala (I think Motos go to the front??). I had a couple opportunities to pass, but decided to lay low since I was on a new road with spotty conditions. I let him get about 100 yards ahead of me, when he started braking aggressively. I did the same, because I figured there was a reason he was slowing down, and no sooner than I hit my brakes a I watched a full grown deer stutter step and tap dance on the road, and hop right over the hood of his car, maybe 3" from the hood. Spooky shit, and I'm glad he scouted it before I did.

    I decided to stay in Kettle Falls. Lodging options are limited, so I decided to try my luck at an Indy B&B. The owner prices it "one dollar above the Western Inn, because we serve breakfast." I had told him in Winthrop that I'd try to arrive between 1630 and 1700, and landed there at 1658.

    He was there to meet me, and told me about his days riding a Ducati, and how he's "too old for that shit now", and now he has a Vstar 650, and "fuck the cable company because they won't run high speed internet out here", and he's going to Tuscon for work (I didn't ask) but he's going with four women , "so how bad could it be?" He's kind of a kooky eccentric guy, but what the hell, he was fun to bullshit with. I was the only guest in the BnB, which meant I had this massive place to myself. A deck looking at a lake, and a garage for the bike... What's not to like?

    Day 3: ~245 miles
    weldpro, RiderGary and Shaggie like this.
  6. Cycle_Path

    Cycle_Path Been here awhile

    Jan 1, 2012
    Very cool. I live 5 minutes from the "Ich" or the ferry for Ichelelum. I keep telling my wife we need to build some little cabins overlooking the valley/water and offer them as a type of vrbo on here for people taking your route. Over the years I have seen more and more and more MC's discovering this route. Its very scenic and still relatively unknown. If you got of the Ferry and went south you would have found some really amazing scenery. Winters out here suck though. lol
    N-Id-Jim likes this.
  7. GottaSeeItAll

    GottaSeeItAll Been here awhile

    Mar 23, 2016
    Portland, OR
    Seriously! If you just made em with a covered spot for the bikes, and easy to access on two wheels, I'm sure you'd get business. Cool idea!
    eaglescan and Cycle_Path like this.
  8. grommets

    grommets Don't get hurt Supporter

    Nov 2, 2012
    Hangin' with Toto
    Don't have time to read it all now but will be back soon. Looks like a great trip. SDR makes an awesome touring machine.
    GottaSeeItAll likes this.
  9. GottaSeeItAll

    GottaSeeItAll Been here awhile

    Mar 23, 2016
    Portland, OR
    Day 4: Kettle Falls, Canada, kissing Idaho, Spokane.

    Day 3 had me settling in to the trip nicely, and Day 4 started out much the same. After a decent night's sleep I went through the routine of last minute map checking, re-packing all the things I used the night before, and getting all my stuff secured back to the bike, with things that I might need during the day in an accessible spot. By day 4 this was a fairly simple and mindless task. You learn a little bit each day on trips like these, and draw from the experience of previous trips as well. I put my passport in my front pocket, and my flask of whiskey in an easy spot to get to incase it was an issue at the border. I fully expected to have to dump it, but wasn't going to waste good Sazerac Rye if I didn't have to.


    Again, like Day 3, I was fortunate to start the day off with fantastic riding. In fact, I don't believe one can leave Kettle Falls in any direction without being on a great motorcycle road. The general idea for Day 4 was to shoot north, do a short loop in Canada, then head back south. I was torn between going into Coeur d'Alene vs Spokane, but ultimately chose Spokane as a better starting off point for my final leg back to Portland, and to avoid some nastier weather up north in the Canada loop.

    25 North out of Kettle Falls was a beautiful, twisty road all the way to the town of Northport, WA. Excellent road conditions, with sweeping corners that skirt the Columbia River. Last year I started using a Garmin InReach on trips like this so that my wife would know roughly where I'm at if I never make my destination. Each morning I start my trip tracking and send her the link. I pulled over on 25 and decided to send the link to Bob as well, in case he got bored and wanted to see how the trip was going it. I would've shared it on here if I could have figured out how to do that.

    I detoured off of 25 at NorthPort onto a tight, twisty little road named NorthPort - Boundary Rd to the border crossing in Waneta. I've only crossed the Canadian border two other times, both with a fishing guide service doing the driving, and both several years ago.

    I pulled up to the tiny crossing, the only vehicle there and rolled to a stop light, with a sign that read something to the effect of: "You are crossing into Canada. You are subject to Canadian law, search and seizure, etc etc.... Stop at the light, and proceed when green." I sat for about 30 seconds, and then the light turned green. I didn't see any people, and thought "Really? That's it? That was easier than I thought it would be." and rolled forward about 20 feet, right past the guard station without stopping. The BP guard caught my eye as I rolled past, waving his arms and yelling. I honestly only made it about a bike-length past his window when I killed the engine and tip-toed the bike backwards to the window. First impressions are everything, and I didn't make a good one. He was fucking pissed.

    "What the fuck do you think you're doing?"
    "Uh. Sorry."
    "Try that shit going south into the states and they'll shoot your ass."
    "Yeah, sorry, I thought maybe there was somewhere down there I was supposed to---"
    "There's something right here where you're supposed to stop. You didn't see me?"
    "Sorry, I've never done this before."
    "Yeah obviously. What were you thinking? Why would you keep driving?"

    In my head I was saying "Dude I just told you what I was thinking. I fucked up, sorry. Obviously I stopped when I saw you or we wouldn't be having this conversation" But I just decided to say:

    "Yeah, sorry, I'm a dumbass."

    I mean truthfully, as soon as I saw him I killed the engine and walked the bike backwards. I obviously wasn't trying to run. I know I committed a faux-pa, and maybe he thought I didn't respect Canada's laws or border, but the conversation seemed overly adversarial. I felt like I was about one awkward movement or glance away from being detained and strip searched. I really didn't want to be stuck at the border for hours, but more than that, I really didn't want to unpack all my shit, and start pulling fairings off the bike.

    The officer peppered me with, no exaggeration, 30+ questions. Some obviously designed to trip up a liar, with answers that should support previous questions/answers.

    "Where are you going? Why Canada? Where do you plan to cross back? Where did you leave from? How did you not see me (again?!)? Where did you stay last night? How did you get there? Thats not that far, why did it take all day? Where are you staying tonight? Whats in your bag? What about that zipper? When did you leave home? Where is home? Where did you grow up? What do you do for work? When do you have to be back to work? Have you ever been to Canada before? Why are you traveling alone? Do you have any food? Do you have any cash? Do you have any weapons? Do you have Cannabis? Do you have any alcohol?"

    I answered all his questions to the best of my ability. Honestly, when he asked me about where I stayed the previous night and the night before I regaled him with stories about the roads that I've taken and towns I've passed through, and the round-about way I've been traveling. I kind of saw his eyes glaze over as I was giving him a thorough re-telling of my trip, (probably much like many of yours) but I think that drove the point home to him that my story was legit, and I was nothing more than a dumb motorist who fucked up a border crossing.

    Seemingly satisfied with my answers, he kind of softened up a bit, gave me some advice about where to cross back over, and I was off. He didn't even make me dump the whiskey.

    I stopped for a quick photo, got all my gear back on straight, and slapped the bike into Euro mode, and thought I better get the fuck out of here before he changes his mind. It was honestly kind of amusing how badly I fucked that up.


    I didn't make it far before I got stopped by a train. Had I not stopped at the border, I'm not sure his old shitty pickup truck could have chased me down, but the train definitely would have given him time to catch up to me, and probably made the situation a lot worse. The train provided for what I thought was a cool photo op. As soon as the last train car was in sight, the train stopped on the road. For about 25 minutes.


    My loop in Canada was only about an hour long. Originally I planned to go further north in the loop, to Kooetany/Balfour but the weather looked cold and rainy up there, and the weather in northern Washington/Idaho looked the same later in the day. You guys were right, speed limits in Canada are crazy slow. I traveled from the border to Fruitvale, to Salmo, then back South the Nelway where I crossed back into the U.S. At Metlamie Falls.


    Rolling to the US Border I vowed to do this one better. Again, I was the only vehicle there. I stopped at the sign, and the BP Agent (already out of her window) motioned me forward to the first inspection bay. I killed the motor and coasted to a stop where she asked me. Nice, off to a good start.

    She stood in front of me, hand on her pistol ready to draw. "Remove your helmet now."

    Jesus Christ, the Canadian guy wasn't kidding. I did what she asked, and started to take off my gloves. She asked me for my ID, which was was in my pocket. With a helmet and gloves off, and no good place to set them I kind of needed to stand up so all my shit didn't fall on the ground before I got my ID out. I asked her if I could get off the bike so that I could put my stuff on the seat. "Point to where your identification is." So I did, and she allowed me to slowly get off the bike. "Stand in front of the motorcycle." I did, and gave her my passport, and she took it to her booth. Her partner came out while she was running my info. "Sit on the motorcycle with your helmet on." So I did. A few minutes later she came out, asked me a couple questions, and sent me about my way. Rye intact.

    From the border I went south on 35 to the town of Metaline Falls, took a detour around Sullivan Lake, and continued south on a small country road named La Clerc Rd. Many of the small country roads in this part of the state were still covered in sand from the previous winter. At one point on La Clerc Rd, heading into the Kalispell Reservation the road was wet. It hadn't rained yet, and it was only my lane that was wet. I couldn't figure it out why only half the road got rained on, until I rolled up on the road washing crew, making their way south washing all the sand off the road. I decided to have lunch in Priest River, Idaho. I've never ridden Idaho, and it would be a shame to not check it off the list, being so close to the border.


    I settled down at restaurant/tap room in New Priest, ID and ordered a Nashville Hot Chicken sandwich. Originally hailing from Nashville, TN, I thought it was funny to see my hometown repped way out in small town Idaho. Not a bad meal, and I made lodging arrangements for Spokane


    From here, I was only about an hour out of Spokane if I went directly, but I didn't want to be done riding that soon. I checked out my map and found a couple meandering roads that I could take back and forth to entertain me while I worked my way southwest to Spokane. Scotia Rd out of Penrith, Washington to Camden Rd, to Milan Elk Rd, to the real star of the area, Blanchard Rd. Blanchard was a seriously fun, twisty, recently re-paved road that twists and turns its way through farm lands back to the Idaho border. This road reminded me of Skyline Rd here in Portland, one of my favorite local rides, except in better shape and less populated. I rode it all the way into and Idaho, and then turned around and ripped it back the other way, and hit a straight shot on 2 into Spokane, odometer clicking over 1,000 miles in the trip somewhere along the way.


    I've never been to Spokane before. I really don't know anything at all about the city or the neighborhoods in it. I plugged the AirBNB address into my GPS and made my way through the city. I entered the city from what looked like its industrial area. I rolled through a couple rough looking neighborhoods, and as the GPS miles to destination started counting down I kept hoping I'd see the neighborhoods start getting a little nicer. Pretty soon I was less than a mile from destination, surrounded by shopping cart pushers and vape-shops. I turned down the street where I was staying and did a quick roll by --- Broken down cars on front lawns, a couple of non-functioning refrigerators on one lawn, dirty adults pacing up and down the sidewalks without shirts, and tons of people gawking at me rolling by on a loud bike loaded with gear. It looked tweaked out. I kept riding past the house, and turned onto a different street where I found a parking lot to stop in. I pulled out my phone, double checking that I was, in fact in the right place, and got hit up for change.

    My main reservation about staying here was security of the bike. The last thing I needed was to wake up to some tweaked out dude tinkering with my brake calipers. I shot the owner a message asking about parking, and he told me I could bring the bike behind the fence and keep it in the back yard, in front of the guest house where I'd be staying. I toyed with the idea of finding somewhere else to stay, but ultimately my money was gone, and I didn't know where else would be better, and I was running out of juice on the phone, so I said fuck it. Its and adventure, just see how it goes. I arrived and was greeted by the owners father, a 70+ year old hispanic man with an incredibly kind face. He lives in the main house in front of the guest rental. He opened the gate for me, and asked me several times in broken english if there was anything I needed or anything he could get me. I didn't get to know the guy very well at all, but I imagine he immigrated to the US from somewhere south of the border and has worked hard to amass a modest life for himself in one of Spokane's lowest income areas. He seemed kind and genuine.

    Also, turns out I'm a little bitch. The place was super nice, and the bike was safe. For only $75/night, its a pretty good deal.



    I parked the bike, ditched the gear and headed out to Spokane for food/entertainment. I went to a local brewery named Iron Goat Brewing. I sat at the bar and overheard the bartender talking to another customer, saying something about "Yeah we should do a bike trip" So I asked him "motorcycle trip or bicycle trip?" He told me motorcycle, and I told him I was on a trip right now. We got to talking, and he told me about the trip he did a couple years ago when he was between jobs. Something like 24 days, 19 states, 11,000 miles, on a Bonneville, sleeping in a tent every night, except for the one night that his tent flooded and he slept on a concrete slab in the picnic area and got devoured my mosquitoes. Holy shit, I was feeling good about my trip, but this dude is a madman! I told him ADVRider would love his story, and hope he does a retrospective ride report some day.

    We started talking about riding stories, the stuff he saw on his trip, the stuff I saw on mine, showing each other photos of the bikes and places. It was a super cool conversation, and I love meeting people like this. These long rides just seem to have a way of plugging you into the places you're supposed to be and connecting you with the people you should meet. I asked him about the area I was staying and he said that he would be a little bit concerned also. It turns out he has a guitar building shop in that neighborhood, not far from where I was staying. He gave me his number and told me to text him later that night if I was sketched about the bike and he would let me lock it in his shop over night. I didn't end up feeling like I needed to do that, but it was yet another generous offer from a stranger to me, just because he knew I was on a bike trip. Rad dude, great conversation, wonderful beer, I recommend anyone check out Iron Goat if you find yourself in Spokane, Washington.

    Day 4: ~ 260 miles.
    Hovieone, N-Id-Jim, weldpro and 4 others like this.
  10. grommets

    grommets Don't get hurt Supporter

    Nov 2, 2012
    Hangin' with Toto
    Great ride, great report. Reminds me of many of the trips I've taken. Super Duke with a loud Remus pipe, stuff loaded on the back, long miles, doubts about my sanity, rain, fog, deer, good people, kitchen help giving last minute food, great highways . . . That's my kind of adventure.

    I have a trip to Alaska planned for July. Denver to Haines, or Inuvik, depending on time and weather. Will probably be hitting some of the same roads you were on either going north or coming back. On last year's Alaska ride, on the way home I did the length of BC 3 from Osoyoos to Porthill, then down into Libby, MT. That was one beautiful ride. The Super Duke is made for that kind of riding - fast twisties in the mountains.
    GottaSeeItAll likes this.
  11. groaner

    groaner Long timer

    Feb 22, 2016
    Big adventure! When you get back home., see if you can get a map and highlight your trip so we, I can get a better idea of your travels. Thanks,, have fun.
  12. GottaSeeItAll

    GottaSeeItAll Been here awhile

    Mar 23, 2016
    Portland, OR
    Day 5: Spokane to Portland.

    Does it have to be over?

    I woke up from a fantastic night's sleep, in maybe the most comfortable bed I've ever been in, and rushed to the window to check the bike. She was fine, untouched and waiting to be loaded up and railed all the way back to Portland. I made quick work of the pack-up and got all the gear on the bike, wheeled it out of the fenced in gate.

    As I came through the back gate the owner's father was catching his carpool to work. He asked me, again in broken english, how my stay was, if I needed anything and where I was heading. With answers and smiles all around he wished me a safe trip back to Portland, and so I was off.

    A route provided by ADVRider N-ID-Jim had me hitting I-90 for a brief stint through Ritzville, to land me on some scenic and fun twisty roads that let me work my way towards home, without stretching the day into a 10+ hour affair. Thanks a lot! Perfect route!!!

    I merged onto I-90 in Spokane heading west. As I got up to speed and around the thin morning commute traffic, I wondered how many more days could I do this. At that moment it felt infinite. With a healthy bike, healthy body, and decent night's sleep, I feel like I could saddle up and ride all day, every day forever.

    A quick 60 miles of straight flat I-90 brought me to Ritzville, WA, where I hopped off the interstate to catch 395 South for a brief 25 miles. The scenery was changing from high desert eastern Washington to a more great plains looking central Washington. Vast stretches of long, flat farmland with dramatic looking hills far off on the horizon. The wind was picking up and temps dropping a bit too.

    I took 395 to my next waypoint, Othello WA to hit 26, to 24, to the Hanford Reach. and onward.

    I was referencing a map the night before each trip, and doing the best I could to remember the route, but also plugging into Google Maps on my phone to keep me on track. The problem with route planning in Google maps is that if you just put Spokane to Portland it will give you the quickest, most boring route. So to keep to the route I actually wanted to ride, I had to set several stops/waypoints through towns that would make Google keep me on the small backroads I wanted to ride. Othello, WA was one such waypoint. The funny thing about just putting "Othello, WA" into Google is that it will send you to what it believes is the city center.

    So each time I rolled through a little town, I would sometimes have to take a quick turn down Main St or whatever to hit the city center and then Google would fire the next waypoint. If I didn't do that I would have to pull over, take off the gloves, re-enter a new route, which was a huge pain in the ass. It was just easier to detour a mile or two to hit the city center and satisfy the GPS and make it fire off the next waypoint. Except in Othello.

    I did the usual pull off onto Main St or 1st Street, or whatever, and followed the directions. A quick detour had me right at the city center, and I slowly rolled by expecting my GPS to recognize it and fire the next spot, but it didn't. So I did a second loop, and it still wouldn't.

    It really wanted me to pull into this lot where it recognized the city center. It was a tire shop or car shop lot or something. So I did. I rolled into the lot and turned a bit to be out of the way in case anyone else came in. I had the bike oriented towards a curb with a chain fence, and a stack of tires on the other side when the shop's big dog found me. A big 60 or 70lb junkyard dog lumbered towards me, barking and snarling. He looked poised to fuck me up, and the bike wasn't oriented in a way that I could escape. I prayed to god of Remus Exhaust Systems and rev-bombed the 1290 to 10KRPM.

    The rev-bomb startled the beast, and he kind of cowered and took a quick step back. It was enough time for me to re-orient the bike and take off. He chased me out of the lot, nipping at my left heel. I zipped out of the lot onto main street, hitting 50MPH pretty quick, and looked behind to see the dog had given up chase just at the threshold of the road. Never again:!1ss9LtAkubKaE69RMbEsLk5A!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

    I zipped along 26, to 24, which had me traveling through the Hanford Reach National Wildlife Preservation area. Route 24 is a long straight high desert looking road, enclosed on one side by the Saddle Mountains, and the other by the Umtanum Ridge. It made for a very desolate and dramatic looking landscape. I tried taking a panoramic picture, but it didn't turn out great. You get the idea...


    My next way point fired up, Hanford Reach National Monument, birthplace of Nuclear Fission, and now completely precarious radioactive waste storage site.

    To quote wikipedia: Hanaford Site was "established in 1943 as part of the Manhattan Project in Hanford, south-central Washington, the site was home to the B Reactor, the first full-scale plutonium production reactor in the world.[1] Plutonium manufactured at the site was used in the first nuclear bomb, tested at the Trinity site, and in Fat Man, the bomb detonated over Nagasaki, Japan."

    Essentially, the U.S. government displaced native peoples and built a plutonium production site to engineer atomic bombs. The area was decommissioned after the cold war, leaving behind 53 million gallons of high-level radioactive waste, precariously stored in underground tanks/tunnels on the site. To quote Wikipedia again, "Hanford is currently the most contaminated nuclear site in the United States and is the focus of the nation's largest environmental cleanup." In 2017 there was a big scare when one of the site's underground storage tunnels collapsed: Hanford sits about 150 miles upriver of Portland.

    I read a book about nuclear weapons a couple years back named Command and Control by Eric Schlosser. Its about how and why they were engineered, the number of times we have nearly blown ourselves up, the number of times plutonium has been misplaced or lost, the number of times bombs have been accidentally dropped on US soil, but failed to explode... Its creepy shit, but absolutely worth a read. The book talked extensively about Hanford and the B Reactor, and the waste left behind with no real plan for long-term storage. It was cool to find myself at a place I had read so much about.

    Between the accident at Chernobyl, the Damascus incident, precarious Hanford, and a host of other near-misses, its amazing we as a species haven't completely destroyed ourselves with this stuff.

    Beautiful country, though.


    At this point most of the flat straight roads were done. The rest of the trip would be mostly nice 2 lane twisting backroads. I hit 24 through the Reach, and connected to 241. 241 was a super fun twisty road that would take me up into the Rattlesnake Hills, and deliver me to the town of Sunnyside, just outside the Yakima reservation land.

    From Sunnyside I hit another one of the trip's best roads - The Mabton-Bickelton Hwy to the GoldenDale Hwy. Non-stop switchbacks and corners, bouncing along, up and down the Horse Heaven Hills brought me into Klickitat County which is home to several great roads. At the tops of the hills I could see what I think were my first glimpses of Oregon, but I'm not sure. N-ID-Jim wasn't lying, these were some of the best miles of the trip. The most dramatic scenery was about halfway between Cleveland, WA and Goldendale, WA. I desperately wanted to pull over for a photo, but there was absolutely no shoulder, and steep grade. So here's a shitty low-res Googlemaps street view link.!1srY8q3L-0bP2pW4h4aY2GyQ!2e0!7i3328!8i1664!7i3328!8i1664

    Next time I head out to ride in Klickitat, this will definitely be included.

    I continued through Goldendale and hit 97 briefly to deliver me to WA-14. From high on the hill on 97 I could see the Columbia River and Oregon for sure.


    14 is one of my favorite day trip rides from Portland. Its a scenic 2 lane road that travels right along the Columbia River, separating Washington from Oregon, and on through the extraordinary Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. From where I hit 14 I was about 100 miles out of Portland.

    From the start of the day I knew that I was going to get rained on. The question was simply, how soon and how hard? I hit rain as soon as I got to 14, which meant the last 100 miles would be wet.

    However, it was really nothing too bad. The roads were wet, but no standing water. My gear was wet, but not my skin. No problem at all. This is where those Metzler's really do well. No sliding, no chattering in the rear wheel, even with some spirited cornering. It actually worked out nicely-- My jacket and pants had been absolutely filthy with exploded bugs, road grime, dust/dirt etc over the past 4 days. When I rolled into my house 100 miles later my gear was actually pretty clean!

    IMG_20190515_151018.jpg IMG_20190515_154915.jpg

    100 miles later had me rolling in to Portland. Excited to be at my destination, but kind of sad the trip was over. I went the motorcycle-cafe in my neighborhood for a celebration beer. I had actually departed from there on day 1 with a coffee.


    By the time I finished my beer it started raining hard. I got back on the bike and trucked it the less than a mile trip home. In that 0.9 miles, I got cut off TWICE! Not a single incident or bad driver the whole trip, until I was less than 1 mile from home. Amazing! No worries, though, I made it home and coasted into the garage. A fantastic trip had come to an end!


    Day 5: Spokane to Portland ~360 miles,

    End of Trip Numbers:

    Days: 5
    Mileage: 1,419.7
    Riding Time 27h 15min
    Average Speed: 52MPH
    Top Speed: 118MPH indicated (I-90)
    States: 3
    Countries: 2
    National Parks: 2
    Boat rides: 3
    Beers: Redacted
    Losses: 1 Hat

    All in all, a fantastic trip. I've been home a few days now, and I'm ready to go again. Google won't let me put the whole route in, it gets too complicated, but this is the gist of it. The only part that isn't right is Spokane to Portland, which I described above.

    Thanks for reading!
    Hovieone, N-Id-Jim, Bors and 5 others like this.
  13. BruceWA

    BruceWA Been here awhile

    Jan 4, 2005
    Wenatchee, WA
    What an excellent ride report. Having ridden much the same stuff you thoughts and observations are right on. Will be looking for more from you.
    GottaSeeItAll likes this.
  14. enumclaw

    enumclaw I just....don't know

    Dec 3, 2008
    Outer fringes of the Puget Sound Region
    Nice report. I have ridden much of the same roads as well. Your descriptions are well done. I am surprised, though, that you had the experience you did crossing back in at Metaline Falls. I have been through there a few times in the last couple of years, and have mentioned to many people how friendly and reasonable the border guard has always been.

    Thanks for taking the time to write it up.
    Idaho Pakeha and GottaSeeItAll like this.
  15. Idaho Pakeha

    Idaho Pakeha formerly known as Claimjumper (2003-2016)

    Sep 22, 2016
    Boise, ID
    Great ride report! gave me some good ideas about my upcoming trip. I am planning on doing a similar route in a few weeks (mid-Sept) starting in Boise, we will see how that goes....
    GottaSeeItAll likes this.
  16. GottaSeeItAll

    GottaSeeItAll Been here awhile

    Mar 23, 2016
    Portland, OR
    Hey, there.. Thanks! Good luck on your trip. I look forward to reading about it!
  17. weldpro

    weldpro Been here awhile

    Dec 19, 2009
    Susanville, California
    Great ride report! Sorry about the loss of your sister. I know that feeling of reflecting well but I'm certain she'd want you out there having fun!!!
    dammitdave and GottaSeeItAll like this.
  18. N-Id-Jim

    N-Id-Jim Long timer

    May 14, 2009
    where elephants roam
    Awsome report Dude !! Sorry you got sketched out in Spok-compton, but glad you had lotsa fun, especially on the Goldendale route.. !

    If you get back this way again pm me for a ride.

    GottaSeeItAll likes this.