Sunday, May 10, 2009

If it was easy, everyone would do it!

I'm back safe and sound after yet another great ride. Although this one was much better in some respects, but much harder in others, than my last ride.

First, the bike. I sold my Goldwing last Thursday. I always wanted to try one, and it was a great old bike, but it just wasn't for me. Not yet anyway. The guy the bought it was from Salmo and said the same thing. He tried a Goldwing when he was in his 50's and it just wasn't his cup of tea. Now that he's in his 60's he's going to try again. Hmmm... maybe there's a Goldwing in my future........

Anyway, I made the last trip on my trusty VStrom. It's a GREAT bike but it doesn't have anywhere near the wind protection of a Goldwing, even an older one, so in some stretches I froze.

I left home last Wednesday and rode to Vancouver to attend a conference on Thursday. I rode over the Hope-Princeton because there was fresh snow on the Coquehalla. Usually, the no. 3 is much better, and it was, but no such luck on avoiding snow. I had snow coming down for at least 40 minutes through Manning Park. It didn't stick to the roads but it was absolutely freezing!

Memo to self: Install heated grips and buy MUCH better boots if you're going to keep up this kind of riding!

Kevan came over to Vancouver on Thursday evening. He met up with a group of adventure riders he'd "met" on the HUBB and after my conference and dinner I joined them for beer at the Keg on Granville Island. There were four guys but my absolute hero was a gentleman from the UK. He's somewhere well past 60 and he's riding his adventure motorcycle across Canada and up to Alaska before heading down to South America. And this after previous trips across Europe and Africa. See, there's hope for the rest of us after all. Except after meeting guys like this I feel soooo inadequate!
Riding - Day 1 - 413 klm

On Friday morning Kevan and I, with heads that were more than a little fuzzy, hit the road at the crack of 8:45. And here I have to give KUDOS and a big thanks to my Sweety. I forgot my passport at home but she was able to courier it overnight to me at the hotel so we were still able to head south as planned.

It was a non-eventful and relatively easy trip out of Vancouver and across the border to the US ( thankfully, with a passport) and down I-5 until we exited onto a smaller parallel secondary road which took us over the bridge to Whidby Island, through Oak Harbour and on to the Port
Townsend Ferry. The morning started out gray and overcast but by the time we were into the US it cleared up and we had sunny skies but it was pretty cool all day. From Port Townsend we stayed on 101 and rode across the top of the Olympic Peninsula to Port Angeles and on to Forks. Forks is a small logging town that reminded me of a larger version of Oroville. It's a small friendly place and its claim to fame is it's the setting for the "Twilight" series of books.We had a gut bomb Mexican dinner, tried the local tavern ( scary! - we left without finishing our beer) and played a few hands of cards before calling it an early evening.
Riding - Day 2 - 363 klm

Yesterday was one of my best riding days yet - ever! We rolled out of Forks at 6:45 and the first two hours were incredible. The road heads south along the west coast of the peninsula and it's like riding along the beach of Long Beach on the Island - for two solid hours. The views are breathtaking! The road alternatively hugs the shoreline or climbs to reveal sweeping vistas from wind torn bluffs overlooking breakers that started their journey's in Japan. And the weather was great. We started in heavy fog, that persisted in sections for all two hours, but in most places as it burned off it revealed rays of sunshine filtering through heavy first growth forest that warmed our backs, and our riding souls, as we rode on deserted roads all to ourselves heading south.

We stopped in Aberdeen for a Micky Dee's breakfast and had a great chat with a retired 60+ year old guy riding a fantastic brand new BMW GS. I was sooooo jealous. By now it was full-on beautiful sunshine - still cool but nice for riding. We followed 12 east to Shelton and then took the 101 north all along the west shore of the Hood Canal. It was slow going because of heavy week-end traffic but it was a great ride. It was just like riding the Old Island Hwy except it hugged the shore and you had views of the water the whole way. It eventually spit us out back at Port Townsend to catch the Ferry and the Washington State Ferry God's were shining down on us because we were the last two vehicles loaded onto the 12:45 Ferry back to Whidby Island.

We were back to the Mainland sooner than we originally thought so there was no point spending another night on the road. We stopped for gas and a sandwich and took a good half hour to stretch our legs, and at 2:30 we parted company in Oak Harbour and headed home. At Burlington Kevan turned north to catch the Ferry back to the island and I kept going east on 20 to head over the North Cascade Hwy to Twisp and then home. I had sunshine at my back for most of the way. There were storm clouds over my shoulder at one point, and a few spits of rain, but I lucked out and beat it. At the top it was heavy overcast and REALLY cold, but only bitterly so for a half hour and once I started dropping back down it wasn't too bad. I pushed through until Omak, where I stopped for gas and a burger and then I headed north on familiar roads. The border crossing was smooth as silk and I eventually pulled into my driveway at 9:00, which makes it just over 14 hours.

I told Kevan that my particular riding "style" is to ride. I don't do a lot of sight seeing along the way. Instead of 6 hours days with stops to see the sights etc I prefer a twelve hour day - usually riding in a "spirited" manner - and then a day off. It's not every one's cup of tea but to each their own, eh? But 14 hours? That's pushing it. Except.............. I had a grin from ear to ear when I arrived home. I was tired, sore and road weary...but - I loved it!
Riding - Day 3 - 884 klm
Total Ride - 1,660 klm.

DnT for a great dinner on Wed evening
Sweety for allowing me to indulge my new found passion and for not saying nasty things when I needed my passport couriered out
BUFF for being a great buddy and riding partner. I couldn't ask for a better best friend!
Cheers everyone

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