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.

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