Saturday, August 28, 2010

Mount St. Helen's Landscapes

I'm not quite ready to start my ride report for this years road trip, however, I'm working on some of the photos (and I took better notes this year, so I'm unlikely to forget things like I did for the last ride report ;) ).

I may post short sets of related photos independently of the (eventual) ride report.

Hope some enjoy them :)

The first set is from Jerry and my 2nd trip up Windy Ridge, Jerry was ... umm .. 'indisposed' ... yes, that's a nice way to phrase it, so I had plenty of time to shoot the surrounding landscapes. Note that after this day he refused to drink the raspberry ale, noting it did not agree with his sensitive constitution and caused *ahem* 'delays' ;)

Enough back story, onto the pictures.

I love the vivid colour rendering on the D300, but at the same time, I just feel some of these landscapes work well in black & white.

Have a great weekend.


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Drunk Horse Tour - Day 8

The day it all goes 'pear-shaped' (Mom, you should skip this one :) ).

Having had a decent nights rest in Yakima (including dinner & some beers at Outback) I headed out.

The plan was to start to slowly work my way North, stopping wherever I feel to explore offroad.

Of course first, back through the Yakima Canyon. I really do enjoy it.

I kept scanning the hills to see if I might spot the sheep. But no such luck. Still, I had to stop again for another photo op, this time with KLR.

I swung through Ellensburg and continued North on 97. I kept my eye on the GPS to see what trails might lead somewhere. As I crested Blewett pass I spotted a friendly looking forest road on the right and swung in.

The road was in good shape and I was setting a nice comfortable pace when BAM. A large crunching noise and the bike was silent. Two of my bungee cords had ripped off a part of the old saddle bag and wrapped themselves around my chain.

The back tire was off centre (I still don't know what caused this) and cord and hooks were all wrapped in the drivetrain.

You can see the offending loop and bungees here:

Having fished all the carp I could find out of the chain, sprocket and spokes I tried to start the bike again. No joy.

I pointed it downhill and tried to jump start it, that when I noticed the chain being way to tight due to the wheel having gone off centre.

Of course, the KLR tools are right behind the seat, so of with the luggage.

Some solid boots to the rear wheel once everything was loosened up and the wheel was back in position.

At this point I was starting to do some rough math to see how long it would take me to walk back to the highway. I figured it'd be an hour or so. Not too bad when you think about it (I had sneakers after all :) ). But I tell you, the whole thing was not a comfortable experience.

Well I tried to start the bike again and she fired up ... but didn't run well. Some lights were flickering on & off on the dash, the neutral light seemed to have a mind of it's own ... shit.

Well I hopped on and rode back to the highway. Still with flickering lights. Still with a running bike.

Decision time. Back over the Cascades & the shortest path to Vancouver? Or over to Wenatchee and try to find a bike shop to fix the KLR and continue the trip?

As most of the road was downhill to the intersection of Hwy 97 & Hwy 2 I thought I'd see how things go.

The bike kept running, I headed West over the Cascades and towards Vancouver. I started calculating how far I'd need to get to have Michelle come and pick me up if the bike died. I kept riding and was trying to get as far as possible before stopping and turning the bike off to get gas.

But, she kept hanging in there, even after topping up. And the neutral light kept flickering, but the other lights behaved.

Finally I reached I-5 and stopped at a rest stop to have some snacks, I really needed a bit of food. I also texted Michelle and let here know I had bike problems but was still running and I was trying to make it home.

Not smiling at this point. I think the face does a good job to describe how I felt.

Well, long story short. I made it home.

Not many other pictures. Except for a couple from the shop.

The day after returning, I took the bike to EMS and this is what Ted and I found when we pulled the front sprocket cover:

Sorry for the poor quality, cellphone camera.

Well if you go back, you'll see that I'd only found three hooks in the photo above. Well the fourth had wedged itself by the crank case, partially cut and shortened some of the control wires.

Quick enough fix. Here is the offending bit of metal removed.

Well, all ends well that gets you back home :)

I certainly had a great trip with some adventure thrown in for good measure :)

And a very timely completion of my ride report from last year. As I'm leaving for another trip, on another bike, tomorrow :)

Thanks for reading along.


Friday, August 6, 2010

The Drunk Horse Tour - Day 7

Well, I figured I better finish this ride report, as I'm about to leave on another trip. That itself hasn't proved to be easy, as my KLR got stolen a few weeks ago. Having had a fairly stressful year at work I was really looking forward to decompressing on my trip.

I'm going to miss her.


But onto Day 7. I had breakfast at the Motel in The Dalles and headed out without a clear direction.

Mount Hood seemed interesting so I headed south, away from the river. I soon found some gravel roads and started following my nose and trying not to run over any deer. They were out in force again.

Why is it, that on road trip I have to avoid the deer like a plague, but when it's hunting season you can't see a buck for all the money in the world?! :)

Every now and then I'd pop over a rise and see my target:

I think I was on Japanese Hollow Rd, but it's also possible that the name simply stuck in my head after crossing it :)

It got rural pretty quick.

After a while I couldn't see Mt Hood anymore, but I had a suspicion that I was heading in the right direction.

Mantracker's got nothin' on me ;)

There's something very relaxing about having nowhere to be, and no time to be there... especially when you throw in some nice views.

I saw a sign for another fire lookout and after my great experience at Indian Rock the day before, I went up to have a look. The road got rougher and sandy quick, with a fully loaded KLR it was a good thing I'd been on the road a few days now and had a good sense of how to get the bike to do what I needed it to do :)

This was one of the easier sections where I felt comfortable stopping and taking a quick photo.

I tried to capture the soft sand

Unfortunately there was a gate and you had to hike the last bit but without a view of the bike. I had too much unsecured gear to just walk away. So I found a little secluded offshoot to stop and have a powerbar.

Just a couple of tracks.

The views were OK too

Yup, I was having a pretty good day :D

It was sunny and warm, but not so hot as to be problematic. Compared to suffering in the rain and cold, I'll take it any day.

I tried this shot a few different ways, can you tell? ;)

Mt. Hood wasn't the only big mountain around

Eventually I joined up with the main highway that runs all the way around Mt. Hood.

Dirty bike

Happy rider

I cruised around the south side along with a whole lot of touristy traffic. Who knows, it might have even been a weekend :)

On the Western descent, I spotted a sign for Lolo pass. Well, turns out it had some gravel sections according to the AAA map. Off I went.

They didn't lie

The trails were a bit of a mess and I did have to jockey back and forth a couple of times. The fact that things looked the same coming

and going

didn't make it any easier ;)

When I got back to pavement to get my direction sorted out. The fact that the signs were completely bleached by the sun had nothing to do with my confusion

A look back

I cruised through Hood River, cute town, and then headed into Washington state. Now, I could make up lies and tell you that I remembered which way I took to get back to Yakima, but I'd be lying. I could have gone around Mt St. Helens, or I could have followed the Columbia. And I've ridden around there so much in the last 4 or 5 years that all those roads seem familiar.

I seem to remember chasing down a guy on a KTM and passing him on the way to Randal, so maybe I did go via St. Helens. I don't really recall riding up to windy ridge. But it could have happened. Odd how these things can just drift around in your head and mix in with all those other memories. :)

What's even funnier, to me at least, is that I did finally find my notebook with my trip entries, but I didn't write anything down after day 6 :D

In either case, after a good days riding I ended up back at the Best Western in Yakima. I skipped the depressing truck stop and went over to the Outback. Not sure which has the better food actually.

It was another good day on the road.



P.S.: I may have left you with the impression that I'm bikeless. That's not actually correct. I purchased a 2008 KLR yesterday night. It needs to go in for service and I'm hoping it will get a clean bill of health Tuesday and be ready for my trip. On that note, Mike, the guy I was going to meet in California, is currently stuck in Flagstaff, AZ, his Honda having experienced rectifier problems (a common issue with Hondas). At least I'm just stuck at home for a few extra days, he's on the road at a motel hoping his bike can be repaired soon. And he's had to give up on the idea of making it to Baja.