RR: 3 day trip to The Dalles, OR
April 15, 2011 at 4:08 am #4373
I have a goal this year of getting more weekend trips in than I have in the past so back in the depths of winter I started planning my first trip, a 3 day weekend hike over into Idaho. I thought at first only my close riding buddies would sign up but it proved to be a popular idea and I soon had 15 bodies signed up. I capped it at that number as that was already much more than I was comfortable leading. Weeks of meticulous planning went into this where every detail was covered, but then at the last minute a weather front moved in and covered the Cascade Mtns (which we needed to cross) with snow. The Idaho area didn’t look much better as a lot of the roads we would be riding were around 3000ft and snow wasn’t that far away. So at the last minute the carefully laid plans were tossed aside, I strapped my tent onto the bike and headed down to the Oregon/Washington border. I thought most folks would bail but everyone still came along and were happy to wing it. I did have a half baked route that I converted into a GPS file at the last minute as I’m not one to leave things completely to chance. This is an area that I’ve been meaning to hit for some time so I didn’t want to miss some great roads.
The morning of departure found us in pouring rain which made for a miserable start. The first 120 miles were on the interstate so it was a cold, wet, bedraggled group that crawled into that first gas stop. Have to admit a lot of us were wondering wtf were we doing? That was the last interstate for a few days though as after that we headed off into the unknown. I had been on none of these roads before so I had no idea what to expect. Some of my route was based off opinions of others and some ride reports, but a lot of it was simply drawn from looking at Google Maps in terrain mode and finding roads that looked interesting. Anyone who has ever used Google Maps to navigate will know that if a man once walked his cow along a field Google will put it down as a road, so it was with some trepidation I started leading 14 others on this route.
Amazingly though it turned out to be much better than I dared dream it could be. The whole weekend turned out be one amazing road after another, from moss covered trees in Pacific Northwest rainforests to semi-arid landscapes to rolling green fields. All crisscrossed with ribbons of asphalt that were a motorcyclists dream. The next 3 days were the best days riding I’ve had so far, it was that good.
But apart from enjoying the riding I had to look after everyone behind me. I gave pretty simple instructions, don’t crowd the person in front and keep an eye on the person behind. If you lose sight of them pull over and wait for them. If someone was truly lost that would filter up to me at the front and then I would go look for them. Pretty simple instructions but folks still managed to f*** it up. Managed to lose two people at a gas stop. I pull over when I realize we are missing some folks and the guy at the end pipes up, “yeah we lost them back at the gas station”. WTF dude! They ended up making their own way to our overnight destination so it worked out but that could have been a problem. I also didn’t realize how people would act like 3 year olds and expect me to provide everything for them. Someone came up to me and asked “People are wondering when the next bathroom stop will be” (there’s a tree over there). Stopped at a strip mall for lunch and a guy who travels all over the world representing Microsoft asks me which of the two eating places we are going to. Whichever one you want I answer. No but which one he asks again. Jeezus H Christ. Do I need to tell you what to order as well?
Apart from feeling like a teacher with a bunch of children on a school trip it went really well. Everyone got on well, much drinking went on and sucking of helium from balloons stolen from car dealerships. Good times.
The video only captures a small part of how good this trip was. If you ever get a chance to ride along the Columbia River between OR and WA take it, you won’t regret it.April 15, 2011 at 4:24 am #29499
Damn that looks like some great riding!April 15, 2011 at 11:26 am #29500
Getting pretty good with the video production there Eon, your friend on the FJ nearly lost it there at 00:47 …gotta keep a closer eye on those sheep;)April 15, 2011 at 7:59 pm #29503
Thanks. When you’re putting the video together it’s hard to know if it’s going to be a good one or not. If I still like to watch it 2 months later then I know I did okay. This one is a keeper I think.
Yeah, I saw he almost lost it. Claims it was due to bald tires though why he went on a 3 day ride with bald tires I don’t know. We were only about 150 miles into the ride at that point and I was taking it easy as we were going down a steep hill surrounded by moss covered trees (ie. slippery road conditions).April 16, 2011 at 11:19 am #29504
Jeff in KentuckyParticipant
Some edgier music would make it more interesting for me:April 20, 2011 at 3:24 am #29508
I think the chosen music fits the video…not like all the rest of the videos out there…as for the FJ, it looked like he hit a patch of sand or dirt on the road…scared himself…and maybe grabbed a bit of front brake…??
I really need to head into the mountains for a ride or two this year…much nicer scenery…
Later.April 21, 2011 at 3:21 pm #29512
Music is obviously subject to personal tastes. If you don’t like my choice then it will have a big impact on how you view the video. The music is taken from GlobeTrekker/LonelyPlanet and for me invokes a sense of wonder and travel, which made it perfect for this video.
The road conditions at that point were slightly tricky and it looks like the road surface changed just as he slipped. I don’t think he scared himself as he is a bit of a fearless rider (not saying that’s a good thing). I think his bald tire with changing grip level caused him to slip. Important thing is he stayed up. Falling off at the beginning of the ride would kind of ruined the weekendApril 21, 2011 at 4:21 pm #29515
You’ve done a multi-day already…you must have done the B&B or hotel thing at that time of year…on the coast it would have been pretty damp and cool for camping, or did you guys tough it out?
I have a couple of trips planned for this summer in and through the mountains of BC, Canada…but they won’t be happening until atleast June…I can’t wait…
Later.April 21, 2011 at 9:28 pm #29516
Initially we had cabins booked over in Idaho. These were bare bones rustic cabins (ie. a hut) but they were supposedly heated. When we had to abandon Idaho because of snow I did throw my tent on the bike as I hit the road with no reservations. Not everyone had tents though and accomodation wasn’t hard to find so we roughed it in a Motel 6. Personally I would have preferred to camp. Would have been fine sleeping I’m sure but hanging out before then might have been cold.
You are going to love BC. I need to head up that way on my bike once the mountains start to thaw out. Unfortunately in June I’m scheduled to be riding from NC back to WA, but if timing works out I would take a weekend trip up there to meet up with you.April 21, 2011 at 11:16 pm #29519
Sounds like a nice trip. I assume that you stayed on the Washington side of the river until you hit The Dalles, or at least Hood River? On the Oregon side you end up doing some exit hopping on the freeway. It’s a great place to ride, hopefully I can hit more of the Washington side this year.April 22, 2011 at 12:52 am #29521
Yup. Actually found some pretty nice roads on the WA side. Grist Mill was a surprisingly cool place to visit (one of the pics). Stayed in OR side on the way back as I wanted to hit Vista House but that was more interstate than I liked. Might jump over to 14 if I do it again (which I might do in about 4 weeks). The hills to the NW of Portland were surprisingly good. Started off on Skyline Drive and kept going till we left the mansions behind. Then dropped of and climbed back up the ridge a couple of times. Was much better than I dared hope for. You have some great roads right on your doorstep.April 22, 2011 at 5:07 am #29523
But that would be cool…I’m hoping to do atleast two three day trips with two nights of camping in BC……I’m not sure where the route would take us, but I know one of the guys that I am planning the trip with wants to do the road from Kaslo to New Denver…south end of the West Kootenays…anyway, I’ll post up here as to what our route will be to see if anyone is interested in an international meet up…
It can never hurt to have a beer at a camp fire with online friends… ;-p
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