I had a great ride over the weekend! The original plan was to camp near Rainier, OR on friday night then ride down to Country Fair at Eugene. I was then going to head back to camp and come back home on Sunday. Plans changed, however.
I left Friday afternoon, and it was exciting for me because this was my first motorcycle trip like this. I went south on U.S. 101 out of Sequim. It is a beautiful ride winding along the waters of the Hood Canal, through the trees and hills and small towns. It was definitely hot, however, and got to be even hotter when we got near Olympia and had to pick up I-5 south. Now I was not too keen on riding on the interstate, but getting to ride 70 mph helped keep us a little cooler. We stopped for food at what ended up being a really good place to eat in Centralia that I will have to update here when I find the name of it.
I got into Hudson-Parcher Park around 8:30 or so and got camp set up. I had a great ride down and was looking forward to Saturday’s ride to Eugene and Country Fair. I ended up staying up too late and woke up much later than I had wanted to. I scrapped going to Country Fair and opted for an alternate plan – a ride over to Astoria and down along the Oregon coast…one of the things on my life list.
It was a beautiful, sunny, warm day when we got on the road. I was disappointed about missing out going to Eugene, but the new plan was exciting too. Astoria is a beautiful place, and I will be heading back there to walk around and see more of the town. As I got closer to the coast it had gotten cloudy and much cooler, so on went the chaps and jackets to stay warmer and dry in case I got into a shower or fog. The road was busy with cars being the weekend, but the ride was very nice with all the twists, trees, a tunnel or two, and neat little towns. We rode down to Tillamook, got some pretty decent Chinese food, and then turned to head back toward our camp since it was getting late.
The journey back took me into Portland. I mean INTO Portland. We finally got out of there after a detour and some directions from a helpful local. We got back to camp and sat and talked around another campfire until the wee hours.
I got up Sunday morning and packed up. A stop at Starbucks for caffeine and a baked good was definitely in order. I then took off toward Mt. St. Helens – it was Magna meets magma. It is a nice 104 mile roundtrip ride back to Johnston Ridge Visitor Center. The sky looked a bit threatening, and I did end up getting into some showers. That sucked because that means you cannot launch into the curves and have as much fun! The mountain was visible more that day than the first time I was there, and looks just as mad and big as the first time. I watched a video and looked around the Visitor Center and headed out. On the way I stopped at a restaurant we passed on the way in. They had a big sign about their chicken and dumplings and cobbler so I knew what I was having. It was pretty good, but honestly…my Grandma Flaherty made the best cobbler (and apple pie and fried peach pies) I have ever eaten. I have never had a really good cobbler anyplace.
I got back on the highway after fueling up and headed on north. Traffic started to really suck, and kept on for quite a ways. We got back onto 101 finally and were blasting down the highway when all of a sudden the bike quit running. The bike lost power, the instrument panel was flashing, and it was slowing down fast and would not go any farther. Luckily, we were right in front of a gas station so I only had to push about 15 feet to get into the lot. Not being a bike mechanic I was at a loss as to what to look for so I went for an obvious problem I knew of in the ignition. I worked on it but it would not start because the battery was dead so the people inside hooked me up – the girl at Subway loaned me her cables to jump it, and the guy selling gas gave me his car keys to jump it. I had no idea if this would work or not, but you do not know unless you try. I hit the starter and nothing, but then reconnected the cables and pressed the button once more and it roared to life! Damn good thing since there is NO kick starter on it, but I was already trying to figure that one out in advance. We were back on the road in about 45 minutes!
I found out later that it was rainy and muddy at Country Fair, so it all actually worked out for the best!
The rest of the trip back was uneventful and pleasant, winding back along 101…the highway I had left on two days earlier. I had a great time and the bike was fantastic on the highway (barring the one problem). I had packed enough stuff on it for the trip, and with just a few small changes and tweaks I will have it down perfect. I am really having a lot of fun on and off the bike!