Just finished typing this up and posting the pictures. I have not even re-read it to fix any spelling and grammar issues so be nice! This ended up taking much more time than I thought but I am glad I wrote it all down.
For those of you curious of the details. I rode 5378kms over 12 days (9 of them riding). Total cost of the trip was around $750. Much cheaper than I thought.
Day 1 – Osoyoos, BC to Hood River, OR 602kms
I wake up WITHOUT a hangover which is great. Charles, Adam and I say goodbye to evenyone at SBS and head south. It was 10am and it was already getting hot. Great. In the border lineup Charles is drinking Orange Juice. I recommend to him that it might be a good idea to get rid of it before we get to the border guard… haha. We pass through without a problem and went southeast to Coulee Dam. Had lunch at the first anytown,USA restaurant. Adam had shrimp in the middle of desert, he was brave… Going through coulee dam, soap lake, and ellensburg was VERY scenic. At Ellensburg we were ready for twisties so we took the single lane hwy along Yakima river and ripped it up. What a GREAT highway for a quick burn to get the blood flowing. We quickly learned that a Lotus, white bike, and yellow bike are a pretty big heat score but sheer luck kept us away from any sort of trouble. As we drove towards Toppenish we could see the smoke from a forest fire in the area. We avoid the fire and took a left turn at Goldendale, WA. Highway 142 was AWESOME. For a long portion it was just a single lane race track. We were the only ones on it. Back on the main highway to Hood River we raced a train along the road and found a brand new Comfort INN to stay in for just over $100. You wouldn’t believe how soft the towels are! One face cloth is mine now! muahahha! the cycle begins…. We found a shitty looking chinese restaurant for food n beer and it was better than good. Perfect. Great start to the trip!
Day 2 – Hood River, OR to Bend, OR 400kms
After some morning planning we went down to the bikes to load them up. Adam was heading into Portland to pick up his buddy. We would meet him in Bend. Charles and I rolled out of there and went south. We took a slight detour along Copper Spur Road with was well worth it. Some quick tight twisties to wake us up. Provided a good vantage point of Mt. Hood. Geeze the mountains are big here! My Oregon map has all sorts of roads highlighted and damnit I want to hit them all up. Too bad they take so long to get through. Travelling along NF-58 and W Cascades Scenic Byway. Now this road is barely on the map and I can understand why. It barely exists. It’s a one lane road with no markings, signs, or life. Throughout this pavement trail are downed trees, overgrown greenery, abandoned boats (Tried towing the boat with the VFR but no go) ,and giant pavement dips. Spraypainted on the road are the occasional warning but thats it. People also use spraypaint to indicate where they live. I found out that the boogeyman lives here. The road eventually opened up into a small two lane racetrack with a rushing stream alongside of it. Of course the road has to end and we are put on an alpine highway alongside Mt. Hood. Several great views of the mountain and shiny Chevron gas station in the middle of it. I was happy it was there… Gas stations are hard to come by. The range of Charles VTR is quite short as well, so things could get interesting! We stopped for Lunch in Detroit. Now I am pretty social so I like to chat to whomever is working behind the counter. I ask about the Lake that Detroit is “famous” for and no one knows anything. The best they could do was point me to a old, faded picture of a portion of the lake. So far everyone I have talked to about their town, knows jack shit about it. After spending so much time enjoying the scenery and the great roads, we are behind so we tighted the route and head south to Belnap Spings. Once we arrive we are dissappointed to find out that the road is closed. DOH! backtracking up the road we just head directly to Bend. It was a short day but a full one. Adam and Drat scouted out a hotel and a good place for dinner. We settled and and were ready to head out when Chuck rolled in direct from Vancouver. Chuck was pretty tired from his I5 haul so he headed in early. The rest of us went to dinner at the Astro Lounge which was out of this world! 😛
Day 3 – Bend, OR to Yreka, CA
Early in the morning I was craving a good cup of espresso so I ‘squided it’ into downtown Bend at a place I saw last night. The place looked decent so I order my Americano. The barista was more than happy to make it and was quite proud of it when she handed it to me. Just by the look of it I knew there was little hope for this place. I managed to make it through half of the swill before I found an article in the paper talking about Thump Coffee. It sounded much better. I put the address into my GPS and it was 1/2 mile away. perfect, thank you GPS. As soon as I arrived and walked in I quickly knew that they know there coffee. I sat down and it was perfect. Good start to the day! Back at the hotel I packed my things and brought them out to the bike. I had a new way of securing my luggage to my bike so as I was putting it on I was having trouble with the bungie cords. I had to really stretch them to make them work. As I was afixing the last strap I had to reach in to hook it on. Just as I get there WHAP! The end of the cord hit me full force on the bridge of my nose. For thirty seconds I had my hands on my face wondering what the hell just happened. I stood up and checked for blood. None. I checked again and lots of blood. Chuck was quick with the bandaid but I was going to need more than that. I ran up to the room it looked OK, but it was tough to stop it from bleeding. In the end I had to wear a bandaid for the rest of the day. I was lucky I did not get the bungie cord in the eye…
On the road! Today we are going to visit Crater Lake and cross over into California, the zen of motorcycling. We opted out of the boring 97 and took the Cascade Lake Hwy. The hwy must have been recently paved because it was a perfect the entire way! Not much in the way of tight curves but averaging 80-90mph was very easy. 120mph would have been ideal… As we reached the end of the highway, it was starting to get hazy, it appears that the smoke from the California fires has moved north. Upon reaching the various viewpoints of Crater Lake, the view was not nearly as spectacular. You could barely see the other side of the crater and all the colours were just washed out. It was still great to see it, but frustrating as well. Making our way out of the park we could never escape the haze. We stopped in Klamath falls for food. We had not spent much time on twisty roads today so we were searching a great road. Thankfully hwy 66 was at our doorstep. It started out easy and then the last third was heaven. All the corners were cambered, the pavement was perfect. You couldn’t ask for anything more. The only problem was two full sized RVs towing full sized SUVs were trying to navigate through these tight roads. To make matters worse they were cutting corners so it was nearly impossible to get by them. Finally I had my chance and the lead RV tried to run me off the road cutting a corner. I still made it by and was happy to leave it behind. The rest of the time no one was in front of me. Upon reaching the I5 we were not a group anymore. We all had a common destination so I just headed there. This was my first part of the I5 on this trip and going from single lane roads to a three lane freeway is not pleasent. It’s very stressful and concrete hwy is brutal on a motorcycle. After several stops and text messages we found the place we were all staying. The forest fire smoke was even worse here. It as giving the sun an eerie glow. By the time we were ready for dinner, nothing was available. Carls Jr. would have to do. Charles opted to buy Chuck and myself dinner. For a whopping $11.87 we ate like kings and laughed about todays events.
Day 4 – Yreka, CA to Garberville, CA
Charles and Adam had their own plans, so Chuck and I went our own way. We headed right to Hwy 96. There were some fires along the road but it was still open. Could be interesting once we get halfway through it. The road started out at 60mph and perfect long sweeping corners. It remained this way until we stopped in Happy Camp. A real small town with a cardlock gas station and a statue of Big Foot. We were treated with another extended stretch of perfect pavement. This is where the forest fire smoke was getting thick. We could not see any firest from the road but visibility was only about 1/2 mile. There were also several fire fighter stations. I should also mention that we saw about 20-30 cars since we started on highway 96. About 30miles from Willow Creek the road turned into the best stretch of road yet. It was tight, cambered, perfect. One of the top roads of this trip for sure. When we reached Willow Creek we needed food. We just went through 150 miles motorcycling heaven. Adam sent us a message and we decided to meet in Del Loma along hwy 299. We went east along 299 when the forest fires were even worse. You could actually see trees that had been struck by lightning as well has the entire side of one mountain was smoking. All along the hwy there were fire fighters stationed to watch for any sparks to cross over the highway. It was pretty intense. At Del Loma Chuck and I pulled over. I had a chance to talk to some of the fire fighters waiting and they were pretty tired and knew they had a very long haul ahead of them. Just then Adam and Drat showed up, we chatted and kept going. Just as Chuck and I moved on we ran into Charles. He was not impressed with the smoke at all and was having trouble breathing. I found this ironic since he is a smoker! Charles was going to start making his way to the Oregon Coast to relax. Chuck and I pushed on for more physically demanding roads! We went south along Hwy 3 and we reached motorcycle nirvana again! I’m going to be tired tonight! Then if that wasn’t enough we were now heading west along hwy 36! We had to take another break at Mad River. Chuck was almost out of gas since he was hitting his rev limiter so much. There was also a group of fellow British Columbia riders. We chatted and started to talk about routes for the way back. Apparently, we were looking for the exact same road. We figured it must be around Bridgeville. Let’s give it a try. We exited hwy 36 in hopes of EVEN better road but were totally and completely wrong. The pavement was alright but it had several gravel patches. It’s not good but I can deal with it. About halfway through the road it turns right to Gravel. Damn. We think it is just a small stretch of it but five miles in we are still on it. We are averaging about 10-13mph and it’s tough. My GPS keeps telling me there is a new road up ahead so we have the hope of exiting off this horrible road. Nope, turn after turn it’s shite gravel road. We are 20 miles into this “experience” when I just stop to take a break. I kinda laugh at the irony and consider pitching my GPS off into the hills. Chuck is having no fun either but we press on. After close to 30 miles of hell we reach pavement. I jump off the bike and hug the road. PAVEMENT! Just as I do this a fire truck goes by and several emergency vehicles. We take it easy into Garberville and I am amazed how fast 30mph feels. Riding on pavement again seems like a gift. There is no way we are going to make it into Fort Bragg as we are just too tired, exhausted, and mentally drained. We find a Best Western in this quaint town and park the bikes. Our bikes are filthy! Just as we think the motorcycle gods hate us we find that there is a hose not 50 feet away from our bikes AND there is a bottle of general cleaner spray in our room as well. A quick wash and our bikes look good as new again. We get into our room and we are just happy to be here. After a shower and fresh clothes, we feel good as new again. There was a small italian place nearby which would be perfect. Inside Secilito’s is the most amount of sinage and memorbilia I have ever seen. Not a sqaure inch of this place is not covered. Ambiance I guess… We order some alright pasta and relax. I notice they are making pizzas and they do everything from scratch. I like making pizza at home so I am curious on how to make the perfectly round, consistent dough. It was quite the process and I can’t wait to try it at home. On our way out the door we run into the group of riders we met in Mad River. They were stuck on the same shitty gravel road we were but they seemed to find pavement earlier than we had. One of their buddies ended up lowsiding and breaking his collarbone on the way down. Chuck and I checked out the bike later and it was not too bad but the rider’s trip is over. You never want to crash on the big trip. What a long, interesting, and great day. Despite the gravel I had one of the best days of riding ever.
Day 5 – Garberville, CA to Laguna Seca Raceway
It was an earlier start to the day today. Alot of distance and roads to cover! Before reaching the Leggitt/Fort Bragg road, I stopped to check out one of the many drive through trees. You have to get caught in some of the tourist traps along the way! It was good to be back on the Leggitt/Fort Bragg but it wasn’t quite warm enough to really tear it up. There was more gravel than I remembered as well. None the less I had a huge smile on my face the entire time. When we reached the coast it was REALLY cold. Another group of BC riders were at the end of the road and we chatted for awhile. They had no idea of all the great roads around here so I spent some time with them outlining the must do roads. Four miles south was the next great road and wow was it ever! Even better than the Leggitt/Fort Bragg road! No gravel and a better mix of curves. I definitely used all side of my tire on that road. Some of the sections didn’t even have a center line so you really had to be tight. This road is another candidate for one of the best roads of the trip. Back on the 101 we headed south until we could no longer take it. Break time in Ukiah. After filling up I decide to inspect my tire. To my disappointment I am missing a large chunk of rubber right out of the center of my tire. Great… The tire is still holding the proper PSI but I need to get this checked out. As luck would have it there was a Honda/Kawi dealer one block away. I ask about patching it but they won’t do it. Damn, I go to another place and they won’t do it either. Back to the Honda/Kawi dealer I bite the bullet and price out a new rear. My front is almost done as well so I decide to get new tires all around. They don’t have any Pirelli’s except Race DOTs so I settle on a Michelen PP CT2 up front and a Michelen PP on the back. The tires and install were $440 and they would not rush me out the door I had to wait around for 2.5 hours to get it done. I would mention the dealer if they treated me better but I really felt like saw me in a bind and could care less. I don’t care about the price but it would been nice to get in and out of there in less time. Chuck patiently waiting through all this until we were ready to go. I wanted to scrub in the new tires on hwy 253 and 128 but he needed to get into San Francisco. I didn’t want to do this road alone but I did anyway. The first ten corners felt ultra slippery but each one after that was better and better. HAlfway through my this racetrack of a highway I was railing around corners like I was at Mission Raceway. I was passed by a R1 early on and found him stopped on the road up ahead. I quick chat I learned that he needed a new tire and went to the Yamaha Dealer. They had him in and out of there inside of 45 minutes. Damn! I finished up hwy 128 and back on the 101. Traffic came to a crawl in Santa Rosa which is when I could do some LEGAL lane splitting. I as started to split, cars would move out of the way! I felt like moses. Not all cars get out of the way but you still move quite quickly through rush hour. Traffic was heavy all the way to San Fran but I stayed with a small group from Washington to navigate the busy highway. At the golden gate bridge I had to stop and the obligatory Golden Gate Bridge picture. It’s an impressive bridge anytime you see it. At the best look out point I ran into same group of riders I did this morning. They were really happy with hwy 128. Back at the bikes the wind has really picked up, I was worried that I was going to blow off the bridge. Thankfully I didn’t and the toll booth didn’t charge me the $5 to cross. I stopped for gas and called a buddy in town to meet up for dinner. We went to a great Thai restaurant which will probably be my best meal of the trip. Since we both rode in I noticed his license plate right away. It says “carssck”. I asked why would he put car sick on the license plate but he assured me it wasn’t. It actually say cars suck! haha, nice. He had to convince the state of California to give him the plate but he kept telling them it said Car Sick. Now it’s 730pm and I am close to 100miles away from the Laguna Seca Raceway. I have to make a stop along the way to get camping supplies. This is going to be interesting. I make it to Watsonville in record time. Along the way I blew through a full on radar trap going way over the limit and the CHP doesn’t even blink. Good ol CHP! I stop at the Target to pick up an Air Matress, Shoes, and clothes for the weekend. It takes way to long to buy it all strap it to my bike. My bike now feels too heavy and I have 30miles to do in the dark. I get to setup my tent in the dark now. I get to the track at 10pm and find that the cornerworking campsite is packed. I find a prickly, sandy spot at the back and set the tent up via my headlights. I constantly checked my voltmeter to ensure I didn’t drain the battery. By the time I get everything in the tent I realise that I am going to have to blow up the air mattress without a pump. By 11pm I was settled in and already disliking camping. The 10 degree, windy weather was not helping either. It better be stinkin’ hot tomorrow.
Day 6-8 MotoGP @ Laguna Seca Raceway
I woke up at 600am and I was totally uncomfortable, cold and wondering why I was here. I emerged from tent to be greeted with wet fog and seven degrees. Whatever, move on to the cornerworkers meeting to see what is happening for the weekend. I see some familiar faces and sign in. I check to see what my position is and what corner I am working in. I find my name and see the corner I am in, I check it again… I am in the SAME corner as last year. This is the same corner last year where I didn’t do anything at all. I was pretty disappointed about this but moved past it. There is so much more than just the races this weekend. The practices start right at 900am and Casey Stoner is already breaking Lap records from last year. Even the AMA bikes were running insanely fast. New this year was the Red Bull 125cc class. Kids aged 12-17 are given a KTM 125cc race bike. They are all given the same bike so it is completely up to them to be the best. Now that is racing and these kids are talented. Lunch came around and I was starving. Our corner came together and we chatted about this weekend and past GP’s. There were alot of familiar faces from Mission working this corner so that was great but the other half of the people in our corner had no cornerworking (or little) experience at all. Well considering corner 10 is quiet, this should be fine. The day was pretty busy but nothing too exciting happened. By the time it was over I just wanted to get back to my tent and find some food. Traffic was insane so thankfully I did not have to go far. I looked back at the day I thought to myself I should be out riding somewhere! The cold weather, shitty camping, and turn 10 was getting to me. This is probably the last thing I needed at the time but I received word from Adam that he had to return to Portland by Wednesday morning. Arg! I either could go back with him & Drat up the 101 or go on my own. Situations always change so there is not much I could do. After I thought about, it didn’t matter. The only thing I would really wanted to see is Yosemite. This wasn’t the first time I had the opportunity to see Yosemite disapear in front of me. Oh well. Tomorrow will be better.
Another night in the tent and it seemed colder and more uncomfortable. Who honestly enjoys camping anyways! Here I am back on corner 10 going through all the days events. Again Casey Stoner is breaking lap records and the AMA bikes are not even 4 seconds behind the MotoGP bike times. AMA bikes are relatively stock except for suspension upgrades, chains, tires, etc. Nothing major can be done to AMA bikes and yet they pull laptimes just behind GP bikes. So thats what $1,000,000 in motocycling technology gets you. 2-4 seconds faster on Laguna Seca Raceway. Kinda interesting when you think about it! At lunch I decide to use my “access anywhere” pass to check out the pits. Damn, nothing is happening here. I make my way over to the the massive Ducati Island to see their setup. It is pretty impressive. There was some really nice fully restored Ducati bikes which were worth seeing. Lavazza coffee had a setup on Ducati island and they were offering espresso to anyone who asked. They were also featuring a Ducati red espresso machine signed by some Ducati racer. This would be the ultimate in home poser material for any Ducati owner (Scott, Patrick I KNOW you have one. DONT LIE!). Back at my corner I decided to go further down turn 10 and flag. Nick (nickridiculous) took my place and I spent the afternoon there. Well I should have stayed! A motoGP bike went down right where I was but I couldn’t run out because I was flagging. Irony! The minute I leave my station something happens. So I just waved my yellow flag with ethusiasm. Finally some action in our corner. The next race was for the 125cc class. What a great race, these kids know how to race and put on a show. One of them crashed further up in Turn 10. The bike was unrideable so the rider had to walk back. Two cornerworkers couldn’t move the bike so they just picked it up. As the rider walked by my station, he didn’t look much different than my 8 year old nephew. He acted like he was 20 years old. All these kids are way to mature for their age. No lego building or Thomas the Tank engine here. The day finished and we all went back to camp. There was a free BBQ waiting for us which was nice. I also met a few new faces. This is probably the best things about cornerworking, most of the people in the camp are willing to give the shirt off their back to help you out. One person in particular kept tellimg me about how great Yosemite NAtl park is. Lenord had me convinced that I had to go on the rest of my trip alone to check it out. It would be well worth it, he also added that he could stay at his place in Chico when I rode through. Well I wasn’t considering going but how could I miss out on this. I was also talking to two other riders (who I knew from Mission) about riding back with them. Two good options. After dinner I went back to my tent to change and get ready to check out Cannery Row. I noticed a few ants in my tent but no big deal. As I moved stuff around I noticed more ants. Then I moved my motorcycling gear and it was a full on invasion. I made sure not to have ANY food in my tent but the ants were attracted to all the dead bugs on my gear. I pull everything out of my tent, shake it off. Now my tent is empty and its full of ants. I pick it up and shake it so all the ants are in the corner. I set the tent down and give them a healthy spray of Pledge. That slowed them down. I was able to clean them out this way and put everything back into my tent except for my gear. I gave that to another cornerworker to store away from the ants. That was done. Two of us headed down to Cannery Row to check out the bikes but when we got there it was a bit of a let down. There was not as much going on and less bikes. What made the trip worthwhile was a Honda NSR 250 made totally street legal. I don’t know how the owner did it but he did. There were a few other interesting bikes but not really worth the pictures.
Race Day! I curse the weather and head out to my corner again. The three of us working at our station are getting ansy. The bad weather and consistent hurry up and wait game has us laughing at every little joke we can think up. It sure makes the time pass and day more enjoyable. With the amount of fog, The racetrack is only seeing about 6-8 hours of sun in what are some of the longest days of the year. Before we breaked for lunch, we were all told that all cornerworkers are no longer allowed in the pits as some cornerworkers were a little too nosey and some elitest motoGP types were irked by this. This was really unfortunate since its the best part of the whole job! By the time the motoGP starts the sun is out and everything is good to go. Even into the first lap I get the feeling that this is going to be a great race and it was. It was impressive to see Rossi keep Stoner in check in the entire race. Then when Stoner tried to pass on turn 11 and ended up lowsiding the whole track did a collective “ohhhhhhhhhh” I saw Stoner lose control of the bike but didn’t see him go into the gravel. Incredibly impressive when he crashed, picked up the bike, and STILL remained in second place. Rossi seemed destined to win. When the checkered flag went down all cornerworkers went out to the edge of the track to wave all the flags. I was first out and Chaz Davies was still finsihing the race. He went by me about 3 feet away fully on the throttle. I took a step back and had second thoughts about being out here. Then Rossi and others came around and Rossi practically does a 12’oclock wheely right by me. Damn I wish I had my camera to take a video. The race is over I decide to head into the pits depite the earlier warnings. I waited all weekend for this. When I arrived the three GP bikes were cordoned off and Rossi, Stoner, and Vermeulen were being congratulated by there team. They then went up to the podium to for all the festivities. Another few feat closer and I would have been hit with some of the champagne being sprayed. I stuck around for as long as I could as there was the AMA superbike race coming up. Being in the pits for the post race celebration made this weekend all worthwhile. The AMA race was pretty quiet and not as interesting as they usually are. After that there was some cleanup and we were done. Back at the camp there was no way I was going to camp the last night so I packed up my stuff slowly and waited for traffic to subside. In the end I decided to ride back with Joe and Colin. They were heading north and were open to my route alternatives. I really didn’t want to ride by myself and the route I had planned seemed pretty good. When I left Laguna to a Motel 6 there was a conveniently placed In n Out burger nearby. I love this place. It’s the best fast food burger you can get. After dinner I coordinated with Joe and Colin and went to my room. It was so nice to have a roof over my head and to be warm. I was cold the entire weekend. Bizarre weather. I went to bed early only to be woken up by what sounded like a helicopter on the otherside of the wall. It was immpossible to sleep and impossible to understand what was happening next door. I just started laughing, I could call the front desk and raise hell but whats the point. I will be leaving at 600am tommorow anyways. It eventually stopped. Back to riding tomorrow, the real reason I am on this trip!
I encouraged Nick to just jump on the GP bike and take off. It was totally possible… but we determined that his hat would blow off so it wasn’t a good idea. So tempting… Makes you wonder what would happen.
Day 9 – Laguna Seca Raceway to Garberville, CA
By 645am Joe, Colin, and myself were on the road. We are going to take highway 9 to Alice’s restaurant and highway 35 into San Fran. About halfway up hwy 9 we hit the fog and tempature dropped to 6 degrees. Not again! The fog was so heavy that the road was wet and the condensation was covering my visor like it was raining. As we reached the top of the mountain we were heading up, it was sunny. It was shortlived as we started heading back down the mountain. By the time we reached Alice’s restaurant I had never been so cold on a motorcycle. We stopped for breakfast to warm up and then continued to San Francisco. We made it through the fog but still no sun. We did not reach sun until about 1200pm. What’s wrong with California! I started wondering about this whole Global Warming issue. It can’t be right! Just as the sun was coming out we took the Stewart Point Skagg Springs Road over to the coast. Another great road with racetrack like engineering. I left my riding buddies behind since the road was so perfect, I just did not want to hold back. The road then turned to something better suited to touring bikes (which Colin and Joe had) but I still had alot of fun. This road is another do not miss. At the coast we headed north and this is when I knew I was riding with two hooligans! Joe was using every inch of his tire on his BMW GS1200 and so was Colin on his Triumph Tiger. These guys can ride! In Fort Bragg we had lunch and then took hwy 20 back to the 101. Motorcycling heaven was again found. This road was even better than the previous one. I swear California road engineers are all a bunch of racers. By the time I finished this road I checked my tire and it looked like I rode a few laps at Mission Raceway. Colin and Joe arrived soon after me and were spooked by some traffic and deer they almost ran into. Back on the 101 north we made it as far as Gaberville to stop for the night. We stayed at the Sherwood Inn and there was a fellow VFR rider. He had a mint condition 87 VFR in white. He was very proud of his bike and as he should be. My bike looked like it had just been through hell. We chatting about VFRs for awhile. BAck at the room the three of us went to the store to buy some food and drinks. We went back to the hotel to plan the next day and have a few drinks. Once we figured out a route I decided to head back to the Italian place I went to on my way down. They recognized me there and I asked if I could learn how to make the perfect pizza dough. Sure enough I am back there pounding the dough, shaping it, tossing it. So easy when you know the proper way to do things. I ended up making a HUGE extra largte pizza with all the toppings. I put it into the over and 10 minutes later out came the perfect pizza pie! That’s amore! I sat down to eat it and chatted with everyone at the restaurant. Least these people actually know about the town they live in and are happy to be here. To make things even better they didn’t even charge me for the pizza. I left a big tip and went back to the room.
Day 10 – Garberville, ca to Canyonville, CA
Another early day. I woke up to a fire alarm but soon realized it was a alarm clock. We were on the road by 630am and reached the coast before 900am. Again the fog and cold was getting to us. We have had enough. We take Hwy 299 East and decide to head north along the 96. Guaranteed good roads and good weather. The best thing of all was the lack of traffic all the way up to HAppy Camp there was very little cars to deal with. We only dealt with forest fire smoke which was twice as bad as when I went down. We took Grayback Rd to Cave Junction in Oregon. This was a very windy road but too much debris too really move fast along it. I was pretty tired from the cold in morning and long, challenging road of hwy 96. We stopped for some Mexican food along the way before we hit the I5. Joe was eager to get home for Wednesday night, so Colin and I stopped in Canyonville for the night. Cheapest accomodations of the trip. $55 for a decent room. Here is why. This town is owned by the Casino, they have bought up almost everything in the city to ensure they can build and expand whenever they please. The Casino bought the land and buildings from the motel owners and they pay them a salary to keep them in business. So really the $55 a night is just what is costs to run the place. Small town with a HUGE casino. Strange. I spent some more time talking with the motel managers and their two kids are world champion weight lifters. One kid is 8 years old and weighs 60lbs and he can bench press over 80lbs. The older one is 14, weighs 160lbs but can bench press 240lbs. Every town and person has their story!
Day 11 – Canyonville, CA to Kennewick, WA
This is going to be a long haul. Colin is visiting his parents in Kennewick and I have been invited to as well. We have alot of ground to cover so we start the day off with an excellent road to Tiller. Heading north we cut through the forest and were treated with more great pavement. It came down to single lane road with new pavement. I was having a great time when I saw the sign “road ends” ARGGGGGGGGGGGGG. More gravel. No gradual end either it was pavement then gravel. Back to 10-13mph speeds through the mountains. Thankfully it was only 10 miles but 10 miles too much. It took alot of time to get through so we changed our route and headed east. Stopped in Diamond Lake for breakfast and filled up with gas at $5.64/Gallon. Zoinks! Should have looked at the price before. To make up some time we just headed north on the 97 to Prineville. It was a 200kms straight road haul that just drained me. So boring. Thankfully the rest of the day will be better. We are making decent time but we have to change the route again. It’s the direct approach now but along quiet highways. Early on into our trip I see a sign for the painted hills. I have heard about these before and decide to check it out. Wow, was I glad we did. Never seen something like that before. Seemed like we left the planet with how unique these hills were. As we pressed on we must have still be on another planet (or Arizona) because the colours and rock formations were something out of Star Trek. I will let the pictures speak for themselves. Enjoying the scenery we come up a hill and are instantly transported back to earth. We are driving along endless prairies. How did this change so fast? We reached Kennewick by 645pm which was perfect. It was over a 700kms day today. Just as I went to bed at 1100pm, someone decided to mow the law. Who mows the lawn at night! I started laughing because whomever was mowing the lawn was hitting everything. 3-4 times the mower had to be stopped to dislodge something that was run over. Random!
Day 12 – Kennewick, WA to Home
We started the day with a 80 mile haul west to Yakima. My tolerance for major highways is pretty thin with all the quiet roads I have been riding on. We make to Yakima for gas and head to Mt. Rainer park. The road along hwy 12 and Rainer mountain was great. The scenery spectactular. I could believe how massive Mt. Rainier is. It puts our mountains to shame. There were so many great view points and I could not capture the size with my point and shoot camera. Just before we left Mt. Rainier park we stopped for lunch I had the best bowl of Chili I have ever had. Good coffee too. At this point I am ready for home, I would like to be there now. We decide on heading to Port Angeles and take the ferry across but learned that we can do that. It is booked solid, not even two motorcycles could fit. Since there is a toll on one of the highways everyone is avoiding the highway and heading to the ferries. We are faced with the I5 or some back roads paralelling the I5. The back roads are just as busy and never ease up before we are halfway through hwy 9. Nearing home I come around a corner to a Semi halfway into my lane, thankfully I was already in lane position 3 and avoided certain death so close to home. I see a sign on firestation saying “better to arrive late than never”. Point taken! Colin and I split off in Deming and I head to the truck crossing. I load up on too much duty free booze and go through the border with no problems. The border guard didn’t even ask. Soon after the border I am home, the bike is parked and am done. I stand in front of my bike for minute and just enjoy the incredible trip I just took. Best one yet. Looking back at how things turned out, I would change virtually nothing. I’m sure after I rest up I will be ready for my next haul.