Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Ride report: The Drunk-horse tour of Idaho, Oregon and Washington - Prep & Day 1

The Prep:

For a while this year it looked like I wouldn't be able to go on a trip.

First, the whole 'buying a place' thing got in the way (one of the reasons why there have been no blog updates).

Then, some other stuff happened that no-one really cares about, so I'll try not to bore you with it.

Finally, Jerry's getting married and can't get away, Tony's too busy selling real estate to ride and my Dad is coming to town when I was going to ride at the end of August.

So on Tuesday, Aug 4th, I booked two weeks off starting the next Monday and decided I better go on a bit of a trip. I had no idea where and started looking at ride reports on adventure rider to see what looked appealing. Finally I settled on Idaho. And ordered a GPS with express shipping to get it to me by Friday afternoon

One of the reasons was pretty simple, Tony and I had a good time there last year when we went and rode from Idaho into Montana via forest service (i.e. gravel) roads.

The bike was pretty much ready to go, all it needed was a new chain which wasn't a big deal. I'd had the sub-frame bolts upgraded, the rear tire was new, valves had been checked, oil changed... well you get the idea.

Packing proved a bit challenging as it I packed the day after Jerry's stag and wasn't at my best. I decided to pack a tent as I thought camping would be fun while out on the bike. Of course, I was too hung over to actually load the bike to see how things fit and I was in way too much of a rush to leave to actually take the stuff for a ride. After all, how hard could it be? Right?!

Day 1:

After the dry spell and heat wave of late July I woke up on Aug 10th to rain. Yup. In August.

So after having a coffee and some breakfast I headed down with all my gear. And there was lots of it.

The saddle bags were packed with camera gear, rain gear & first aid. One dry bag contained my cloths. Another 53 litre dry bag contained tools, shop manual, tent, thermal rest, a book, spare tubes, hatchet & shovel, sandals, sneakers ... well it was quite full. And then there were two XXL zip lock bags, each large enough to fit a decent sized ... well I'm not sure what, but they were damn big. 2 feet by 2 feet or something. One held my sleeping bag, the other another themarest for camping (I like to be comfortable, K?!)

And there was no way all that would fit on the bike. So I'm out in the rain, swearing, still sweating because I was getting a bit stressed and not able to take everything. I finally run back up and toss the 2nd XXL ziplock with the extra thermarest back into my condo and get on the bike.

A smart man would have taken a few photos knowing he was going to write a ride report. I took no photos.

As I was about to get going the rain stopped, though the clouds were still very dark (you need to take my word for it, after all I just explained that I took no photos). A smart man would have still put on the rain gear. I made sure it was nicely packed in the right saddle bag.

No problems at the border due to Nexus allowing me to bypass the 30 - 60 minute lineup.

And off I went.

Normally I like to go across the Cascades highway, but with the weather I decided a straight shot south followed by a crossing at Stevens Pass then onto Yakima for the night.

Well sure enough it rained on I-5. And by the time I pulled over I was damn cold and wet. Even the extra hot latte at Starbucks (support corporate America!) I wasn't feeling that great. But I got the rain gear on and was a bit more comfortable after.

Finally, after crossing over the pass I stopped and got out of my rain gear (now only wet on the inside as it turns into a bit of a sauna). And I even managed to remember to take a photo.

This is what the bike looks like loaded:

There will be more photos (many, many more) later showing the bike and it's load ;)

After this a pretty uneventful day. The Yakima Canyon was beautiful as always.

Although there's no dual sporting to be had anywhere:

I got into Yakima and finally found a room at the Best Western, had dinner at a truck stop and wondered how some people stay employed.

End of Day 1.

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