This is a journal of my motorcycle journeys great and small, ideas and dreams for roads not yet ridden, and reviews of some of the most famous motorcycle roads in the West.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Easter Celebration

A sunny Easter morning, early service, and lunch with Bro-in-law at Delta Rehab...  Why not squeeze in a ride?

Eliott Highbridge was in decent shape for the early season and the light traffic consisted mostly of bicycles.  Did a raging up-down pass on my Meadow Lake stash, then headed on in to Snohomish for dinner.  Reversing the route with Nay and Adarius in trail, got in another fast uphill and most of a downhill run on Meadow Lake.  Light traffic on High Bridge for a Sunday afternoon but it was still dinner hour...

65 miles, four passes on the Meadow Lake silk gives me a four star grin.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

First ride of 2014

I spent some time with Elliot Highbridge today, a short out and back to refresh my muscle memory. Fresh air and fuel. Very light traffic and surprisingly, clean pavement. Temp: 37F, max windchill: 17F!, 30mi.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

It Was a Dark and Soggy Commute

While I'm generally averse to commuting in cold, dark, and fog,  today was one of those days when circumstances made it advantageous to suffer through the triple combo and ride so I could exploit the HOV lane.  Note to self:  Sort out your anti-fogging solution for your visor and glasses.

Kudos to most of the cagers on the freeway today for being deliberate and apparently watching their blind spots.


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Northern California 2013

  • Day 1: Nasty fatal crash on 139 north of Susanville (Motorcyclist collided with CDF fire engine!) forced a 2+ hour detour and put us into Lake Tahoe late.  
  • Ensconced in Heavenly Valley condo but thunderstorms rule out riding.  Not sure what it is about August and me;  snowed out in Central Oregon in August, rained out on day 1 of the 2009 Oregon Coast, now this. 
  • Short & Sweet out and back on Kingsbury Grade was a hoot AND I now know what it feels like to ride into a wall of hail at 75MPH     
  • Day 2:  Epic Sierra:  US50, Ice House Road, CA193, Mosquito Ridge!  --    Brutal Fun!  US50 is an interesting road in its own right, with multiple summits, descents, and ample passing lanes.  
    • I rode Ice House up to the intersection with Wentworth Springs on very nice pavement with seemingly endless combinations of turns.  Right, left, right left, lather, rinse repeat.  Not much scenery to take in due to smoky skies but not much traffic either.  By the time I got to the intersection of US50 and  CA193, the smoke was behind me. 
    • Freshly reworked pavement on the southern half of CA193 turned this section into my favorite of the day; 2nd gear madness + no guard rails + light traffic + Crazy||Accomodating locals.  Unrelenting turns and combinations turned this via route into the prime attraction, a 25-mile-long, highway-speed go-cart track experience.
    • Now the promised land;  Mosquito Ridge Road - 600 curves in 36 miles.  On the approach to Foresthills, I spotted the source of the smoke in the area just south and east,  Sure enough, the "Incident Center" sign was set up just before the turn onto Mosquito Ridge Road and I rode around the prominently-displayed "Road Closed" sign with iniquity in my heart.  No matter,  there was no barrier and it seemed as though the real closure was up well past the French Meadow spur.  Pavement was rougher than advertised but typical of high-country  backroads. 
    • Because I was solo I held the pace down to highway speeds and enjoyed the rhythm of the road without trying to subdue it.  This route offers a constant series of ascents and descents and no straightaways.  R. mirror broke, Side stand fell apart half way through the ride.  Will need to figure that out before I can go again.  325Mi.     
  • Day 6:  Route scouting  down CA29 to Calistoga, then back up West side of Clear Lake.  Traffic was pretty heavy so I had low expectations.  Instead, I had the good fortune to encounter very courteous cagers and to arrive at the head of the line at two construction stop points, creating a huge gap between me and the traffic ahead of me.  So both trips on the entire 9 mile technical section, I was able to choose my pace on this silky stretch of near-perfect pavement with resultant high lean angles and scorched tires.  120 miles, 18 of which were unadulterated, freeway-speed go-cart tech track blitzkriegen.
  • Day 8:  Stewart Point/Skaggs Springs Loop - 285mi. 
    • CA175 heading west out of Clear Lake started out grooved, bumpy and uneven to the summit, west side smooth but steep.  I've gone 35 miles and my arthritic wrists already ache,  
    • 253 was fairly smooth, reasonably technical, but with narrow shoulders and a regular diet of switchbacks and sweeper combos. The ascent out of Ukiah has some amazing, even intimidating vistas and the descent into Boonville was pastoral and a tad shy of drama after the raging ride up and over.
    • Mountain View Road had everything except a view of the mountains. The road had the appearance on Google Maps of having two lanes, double no-passing lines, and no shoulders. It had no shoulders.  It also had nothing approaching two lanes.  The paved road averaged about 13 feet wide and every oncoming truck and drilling rig (Seriously, I don't NEED to exaggerate) was using up thee or four feet of my lane.  And steep.  Did I mention steep?  I may not have emphasized that it was also steep - signs you don't see everyday:  16% grade next four miles - narrow and no meaningful straight stretches meant, yes indeed, Technical Heaven.  I required a two-pint transfusion of adrenalin when I finally got to Highway 1.  

    First turns on Mountain View Road
    • Made my way south to Annapolis road and had an fun for awhile but turning back to the west to gas up, Skaggs Springs road got mighty rustic.Once back on the eastbound route past the Annapolis Road intersection, things improved rapidly, with epic ascents, steep canyons, and almost no traffic and steadily improving pavement as I got further East, eventually turning sweepy and grippy with epic combos and views.  The posted speed limit (35?) defies explanation although there are a few blind driveways near the wineries above Geyserville. Serious Sport Touring fun at Freeway+ speeds! 
Skaggs Springs-Stewarts Point Road

  • Day 9:  CA20=>Mendocino=>Competche-Ukiah=>CA175 - 195mi.  --    CA20 traffic, silky pavement and sweet combos,  Ukiah-Competche Wetside very sweet, no traffic, Eastslope four-goats, improving to three goats at the bottom,  CA175 ascent from the West was epic, silky, and exhilarating but I often had to deal with gravel on the insides of turns.  The east slope is grooved, traffic-clogged, and is unevenly design.    

Monday, August 19, 2013

Triple Digit North Umpqua Headache

Late afternoon blast up the North Umpqua from Lone Rock to Diamond Lake.  I wish I had had time to ride the Panther Creek spur. 66mi.  

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Fun way into Portland

OR47 is always a great ride although the pavement has deteriorated a bit since I last rode it in 2009.  Heading east on Scappose-Vernonia Highway, the ascent was great with excellent pavement and laughter-inducing combinations but the pavement turned a bit rough on the descent into the Columbia basin.

Rocky Point Road is a technical ride heaven, a fun stash not to be missed.

Logie Trail was a bust, the lane-and-a-half remaining was in terrible condition, but the non-stop turns signify what once was.  Traffic was very light - None on OR47 and I only had to pass two cars the rest of the way until I got into the exurbs.  102mi warm-up.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Usual Suspects to "Isle of Lk. Cavanaugh"

XLSR Meetup Ride with combination of club members and meetup.com folks:  Pace began fairly mild, further north went wild.  High Bridge-Ben Howard-Reiner Rd, Woods Creek to Granite Falls.  Half the group dropped off so we headed up Burn Road, cut off on Lake Cavanaugh for a scorching backroad blast, then back on SR9. 165mi.