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Eastern WA and the Selkirk Loop into BC


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On Monday I completed my first motorcycle touring trip, four days 1,218 miles. Five of us went. My constant companions were my friend Patrick with his K1200S, his dad who has a gorgeous yellow Goldwing. Our buddy Tim and his brother Rob loaded their bikes in Tim's pickup and brought them out to Spokane and rode the loop up into BC with us from there.


On Day 1 we left Seattle and took I-5 to Hwy 20. On Hwy20 morning of day 1 well before the pass, my bike is still so clean! Hwy 20 is Destination Highway 1 for Washington (I think) there's no wonder why, tons of amazing curves and stunning views the whole way.



We lunched in Winthrop, WA and the headed way out in eastern Washington on the afternnon Day 1. At Okanogan we ran up to Omak then out 155 to Grand Coulee. From the desert near Omak we ran out 155 on the Coleville Indian Reservation we ran through desert up into forest, up into almost bare rock then back down to desert again, all in the space of 30 miles!



At Grand Coulee Dam, I got a bunch of Dam pictures but this one has the bike in it so its the best ;)



From Grand Coulee we took 174 and some other road I'm forgetting the number of down to Hwy2 then Hwy2 into Spokane. Our first campsite was Riverside State Park.


At Riverside State Park in Spokane the morning of day 2. They have a cool old school suspension bridge over the Spokane River. It's a really neat park and very close to downtown Spokane, hard to believe you are so close to the city.



From Spokane we left for Idaho and had breakfast in Sandpoint at the Hoot Owl Cafe, exactly the kind of place you love to find when you travel, and yeah the food was great.



Afternoon of Day 2 on 95 heading for the border.



The group split up for a while at the intersection of 1 and 95. We would meet in Creston for lunch.



The picture doesn't do the view justice, on 95 to BC on Day 2. The road up to the border was this huge sweeping four lane road with giant shoulders. After the border it was a pretty plain two lane road.



In BC on Day 2, north of Creston running along Kootenay Lake. Amazing country.



Kootenay Lake just keeps going and going, this picture does do the scenery justice for once. The road we were on, 3 from Creston up to Crawford is Destination Highway 1 for BC, yeah we rode both #1's for WA & BC in two days! thumbsup.gif



On the ferry across Kootenay Bay early on the morning of Day 3.



Breakfast on the ferry, now that's good eatin' eh? The ferry runs faster on its summer schedule so we had to eat quickly.



The morning of Day 3 on 31 from Balfour north to Kaslo. The roads were incredible. 31A from Kaslo to New Denver was particulary amazing and freshly repaved.



Taking a break from the awesome BC roads near Castlegar, my primary riding companion and his BMW K1200S. The RT was entirely capable of keeping up with the K bike. In the twisties a couple times I followed Patrick's lead, he's been riding a heck of alot longer than me and took really good lines on most of the curves, the RT had no trouble emulating the K in the curves at all. The best parts were when we were running 90-100mph on the big sweepes and he was all tucked in on the K and I'm just sitting back there upright behind that big windshield on the RT.



On Day 3 just over the border back into the US into Eastern Washington. While we were gone someone stole the road! We rode 10-20 miles on gravel, not much fun at all with street bikes and street tires. Before this trip I'd never ridden my bike on gravel really at all, by the end I had the hang of it. I only thought I was going to drop the bike in one wicked spot that was a pile of loose gravel just before a bridge, ugly.



The morning of Day 4 tearing across the vast expanses of farm land west of Spokane heading back towards Seattle-land.



Along the way we stopped at the Dry Falls. A huge hole in the ground left over from an ancient waterfall from the end of the last ice age. Who knew stuff like this even existed! Washington is an amazing state.



The lake north of Wenatchee, WA on Day 4. It was so hot it seemed cooler to keep the helmet and coat on when we stopped.



Playing tourist in Leavenworth, WA. Parked at the fudge shop with a never ending loop of yodeling/accordian music going.



It's just like Bavaria! OK not really but its fun to play and the mountains around there are very Alps like. Patrick was born in Germany and I asked him to order lunch in German but he didn't, actually he didn't do any of the wheelies I asked him for either, gee these super-sport guys arn't as much fun as I thought they'd be grin.gif




And now for the serious stuff.


Gear Review:


Now I understand why people are so picky about gear. The fact is that anything that isn't absolutely perfect on a short ride is going to suck on a multi-day trip.


My summer mesh gloves which are just a little tight but so cool and cool looking to ride with made the tips of my fingers hurt by the end of each day and rubbed a little raw spot on the knuckle of my thumb.


My Fieldsheer pants that have the misbehaving zipper, well the zipper broke late on the afternoon of day 1 and I rode the rest of the trip in just jeans. The first time I wasn't ATGATT and it was for about 900 miles.


I dropped my $330 camera during a rest stop late on Day 3 and broke the LCD. But no worries its only $120+shipping to get it repaired dopeslap.gif


Evaporative cooling jackets really work.


My cheap Walmart bags and straps worked perfectly, not complaints and it was nice that they were so cheap I brough an extra set, when I needed to pack the broken pants I just pulled out the extra bag to gain the extra room. I don't think if I had $80 m/c specific bags I'd have an extra one!



Bike Review:


I'd like to say the RT was flawless but it developed the rotor warp problem during the trip. Braking from high speed is now scary and I'll be headed for the dealer. Otherwise the RT was incredibly fun and ate up the miles, there was a definite I-was-born-to-do-this feeling from the bike on the whole trip. I also got incredible gas mileage, my score for the entire trip was 54mpg but on the long highway stretches it was well over 60mpg. To give perspective I topped off just before we entered BC midday on Day 2 and didn't fill up again until late afternoon on Day 3 when we were back in eastern WA. The other bikes were making 2-3 fuel stops to my one, even the Goldwing!



Rider Review:


I thought my skills would go way up after this trip but they didn't. Days 1 & 2 I kept forgetting to drink water at every stop and was slightly dehydrated, this really messed me up. On days 3 & 4 I always drank at least a little water and subsequently felt much better and had more fun. I did learn that 110mph is about as fast I care to go.



Anyway I'm back home again after 1,218 miles. The GPS said 23 hours and 59 minutes of time moving on the bike. That's alot of saddle time on the RT and I'm ready for more!


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Excellent report, beautiful photos.. you are so lucky to live around there..... ! One of my authors lives in Creston, BC, such a coincidence ! He is a lucky man too ! smile.gif


What is 'the rotor problem' ?? Never heard of it...


Kind regards,


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All some of my favorite places, and great pictures!!! I was just in the BC interior 2 weeks ago and taking the newly repaved 31A from Kaslo to New Denver was a joy. I wonder if I can get back to WA 20 on one of my weekends off before the end of the summer.


Mike Cassidy

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The R1200RT's are having some front brake rotor warping issues, a few people here on the board have had their rotors replaced more than once, under warranty of course. I'm not sure if I've heard of it happening to any '06 RT's but it may be early. Before this trip braking was just a teensy bit less smooth than it had been and I thought maybe I might suffer this problem, now that the trip is over the brakes are shaking pretty hard so I've obviously got something bad going on. Its still very rideable and braking power seems just as good, just not smooth like it should be.

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Loved the report and photos St0nkingByte, wish I had been along for that ride.


I usually get down to Winthrop at least once a year and need to go on that Cascade Highway again soon. Haven't been to Leavenworth yet, maybe next year.


I am interested in one of those evaporative cooling jackets and glad to hear they actually work. What brand do you have or where did you get it? Do you wet it then wear it under your other jacket or what?

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Winthrop and Leavenworth were both absurdely crowded. And we were there midday on a Friday and a Monday respectively. I can't imagine what they're like on the weekends.


I believe the cooling vest I have is the same as this one:




I don't have a mesh jacket I just open the vents on my textile jacket so its rather subtle for me but what it amounts to is without it I'm sweating and with it I'm not. I packed all my stuff in large ziplock bags so I just had an extra one for the vest. I'd stuff it in there, fill the bag with water and let it soak whenever I wasn't using it. You're supposed to wring it out and shake off the excess water before you put it on so you don't actually get too wet at all. I'd say less wet than you are if you're sweating and plain water is slightly more pleasant than sweat anyway. The other bonus is when you first put it on its usually very cool and feels great.

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