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Upper Western National Park ride, the end.


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Continental breakfast at 6:00, and back on the road. I much prefer to camp, but motels do save time. The gas gauge seems to be dropping much faster than usual, but since I’m sitting on 85mph the miles click by in a hurry. I hang a right just before Missoula onto the 200, then a left on highway 83, indicated as scenic on the AAA map (I’m also using the Garmin 2610). Indeed it is. There are several lakes right along the road. I stop at one of the picnic areas for lunch. This time of year is probably payback for the long brutal winters. There are lots of 35mph warning signs in the curvy areas, but the posted speed limit remains 70mph, cool. But, you better slow down to 45mph at the towns! Lots of LEO. I arrive at Glacier mid/late afternoon. The Highway to the Sun is still closed by snow! AAHHH. The road is open to the end of Lake McDonald. Here is a shot of the lake taken near the visitor center/tourist shop part of the park. (There was no color enhancement of the picture.)




I have enough time after dinner to read through some of the literature from Teton, Yellowstone, and Glacier. It’s light even later here up (next to the Canadian border). I wake up when it’s already fairly light, a good night’s sleep. My travel clock is still set to Pacific time so it’s an hour behind local time. Still why does it say 3:35??? Egads, there isn’t a whole lot of night up here. I get a little more shut-eye and take off for Oregon. My route is half way down the west side of Flathead Lake,




right on hwy 28 (47 miles) and another right on hwy 200 (100 miles). Montana is pretty wide open.




The Clark Fork River runs along Hwy 200. Much bigger than what I’m used to in CA.




I stop at one of the picnic areas for a break. There is a couple a few years older than I taking a four month tour in their RV stopped there as well. They are fishing off the platform next to the water. I talk with them for a few minutes, during which time he pulls in a fish, impressive. A 1200 RT and a new GT pull in not long after I stop. They are from Victoria, BC and meeting up with four riders from New Mexico. Unfortunately two of the four had bike issues; the final drive on the 1200GS on one of the NM bikes had just gone out, and the 850GS crapped out a few hours later, both were on flatbed tow trucks heading for the nearest (misnomer) BMW dealer. The lady from the RV came over and offered to take a picture of me and my friends. I explain to her that we are not riding together, I had just met them. Oh, she said, you all seem like you’ve known each other for a long time. That’s kind of how it is.


As I get closer to Idaho the river gets permanent dwellings along it’s banks.




Finally it dumps into Lake Pend Oreille.




A true houseboat.




Where I had lunch.




At Sandpoint, ID I turn south on hwy 95 and ride through Couer D’Alene (much bigger city than I expected, small high-rise buildings even). About 30 miles south of Couer D’Alene I stop for gas and to put on the raingear. There are squalls over the Palouse Mtn. (My son goes to school up here in Pullman, at WA State so it’s fun to visit his home away from home.)






I ride on a lot of wet pavement, but only catch a few showers.


At Lewiston/Clarkston (ID/WA) the Snake River is navigable for large ships.




Before Walla Walla on hwy 12 I stop to change from the tinted visor to the clear as it’s now dusk. Wheatfield and lots of sky.




I camp in Pendleton, Oregon for the night.


Since the weather has been rather eventful, I tune in the weather radio in the morning to help me decide which part of Oregon I should ride. Hmmm, eastern Oregon and southern Idaho have flashflood warnings, high winds, heavy rain, hail, thunderstorms. That’s a little more than I care to challenge. I don’t fully understand the boundaries given for the watch areas, but I’m heading for Bend, OR, and down to Crater Lake, west, not east. Highway 395 south winds up and through some pretty neat forests, between 4000 and 5000 feet. I recognize the name of the mountain from the weather report, I’m right on the western edge of the excitement. I do ride through some rain, but it’s more just wet roads. I stop when I can see a squall ahead, they don’t last long. Right on hwy 26 and through the John Day Fossil Beds Nat’l Monument. Pretty interesting geology.




Note the bend in the earth’s layers.




I stop for a couple of hours in Bend, OR to visit some friends, and then head south for Crater Lake. There are showers off and on the whole way. I’m back in the edge of the clouds as I approach the lake.



The elevation is above 7600’ at the highest point around the lake. The road around the east side of the lake is closed, still under several feet of snow.




I spend a few minutes at the viewpoint, the clouds just begin to lift. A gentleman who is also taking pictures says he’s been coming here every year for fifteen years, and this is the first time he’s seen it fogged in.




The clouds do pull back for several minutes.










Then the clouds return. The other bike belongs to Chris, from Seattle. He’s headed down the eastern side of CA. It’s forty two degrees and windy. I don’t take the helmet or gloves off when walking around and taking pictures.




I head southeast out of the park through the light rain on hwy 62. Once again I stop to change out the face shield. Here is the storm clouding Crater Lake.




And the highway ahead.

On the left.




On the right. Yes, roads are wet, but I never actually get rained on.




These cows just had to walk over and see what I was eating.




I ride on down to Weed, CA and once again stay in a motel, the SisQInn, 10:30 PM. Nice place, especially for $48. The pleasant lady at the counter suggested that I bring the bike under the covered entrance to be out of the rain.


I ride the bike over to the gas station in the morning before it’s all packed up, what a difference the weight makes; it’s so much easier to maneuver at slow or walking speeds.

The clouds pull back from Mount Shasta not long after I start riding.




I ride I5 down to Red Bluff where I exit right onto Highway 36, 136 miles of riding bliss through the hills and mountains of northern CA. Even the riders from Victoria, BC spoke reverently of the road, though they had only heard of it. My destination tonight is my folk’s house in the San Francisco Bay area. None of these 136 miles take me any closer, but this trip is about the ride, and avoiding the crowded interstate. Hwy 101 through the redwoods sure beats I5 and the central valley. Crossing the Golden Gate Bridge on a bike is always a thrill. I get to my parents’ just in time for a beer and dinner. Very nice to see them. The next day I ride back to Santa Ynez, home at 4:00, almost 14 days to the minute from when I left. Total trip, just over 5000 GPS miles. The weather, while almost horrible, was instead fantastic; I wouldn’t have changed it for a moment even if I could have. The bike was perfect. Fuel mileage goes way up in the higher elevations, and the speeds go down. I twice went 325 miles, and once 335 miles on a tank. The oil level went from the top of the circle to the middle. Tires didn’t loose any air. The warmest temperature of the whole trip was 92 degrees at 7:30 in the morning in Death Valley. Ironically I only needed the heated vest once, and I never did put on the Gortex liners for my riding pants. All the people I met along the way were wonderful. Ride on.


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I was in Yellowstone three years ago Sept. There were a lot of wildfires that year which had the air pretty hazy. This trip I got very lucky with the sky, clear air, and lighting, which make all the difference with the pictures. The camera is a Nikon Coolpix 5600, about four years old, no vibration reduction. It goes from wide angle to normal view. All the shots were simply point and shoot on the landscape mode. I dropped it on the pavement in Oregon while trying to put it back in my jacket pocket with gloves on, keeps on ticking.

Bruce, I have a brother is Coos Bay so I do get to Oregon occasionally.

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Thanks for sharing your ride tale and pictures. You really made some spectacular photos. Really makes me wish I had been there.

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