4 days and 4 nights on the ferry and now I'm stalled in city traffic between Bellingham and Seattle. Northern BC and the Yukon has spoiled me with open roads and no traffic. I can't handle the traffic jams and after a couple of hours running around sorting out a few bit's and pieces, phones, banking etc it drives me nuts and heading out to the Cascade mountains can't come soon enough.
I make the small town of Winthrop just on dark, it took longer than anticipated. I forgot that the distance signs were in miles not kilometers now that I was back in the US! The GPS proves to be a great tool yet again as I ride straight to the North Cascade Hostel, The owners Paul and Audrey are just about to head off to do a season work in Antarctica, they spend a lot of time in New Zealand and just happen to know a few people from Golden Bay, small world.
I 'm hoping to ride down the Cascade Mountains on what is known as the Back Country Discovery Route. It's a combination of forestry roads and tracks that stretch from the Canadian border all the way down to Oregon. Armed with a new knobbly rear tyre, GPS tracks, paper maps and a bunch of food I head off not really sure what lay ahead, the route is generally pretty easy even on big bikes but the recent snow could make for some challenging conditions.
So for the next 3 days I ride high up on ridge tops at 6000 feet, dropping down to towns on the way. The riding is great, there's snow, and although it's slick it's patchy and I'm able to traverse most of the route, except for the last day. I'm only a quarter of the way through the day and I'm in some snow. It's fun riding and I'm making OK progress. But I'm feeling a little edgy, It's hard to say what elevations and snow lay ahead, on my own I decide to turn around and head down to the main road. It's a decision that bugs me as I retrace the route out... I'd probably ridden the worst of it.....maybe not....I feel a little beaten but try to tell myself to just enjoy the awesome riding that I've already done.
|Interesting name for a town!|
|high pass on Highway 20, the sun was setting and temps dropping, needless to say I took the corners carefully!|
|With the Backcountry Discovery route on GPS simply follow the highlighted track through the mountains, lots of fun.|
|The snow wasn't deep but it was icy and slick|
|Traversing ridge tops at 6000 feet|
|For me the Mad river was appropriately named, suffering from my second migraine in two days you could say I was feeling a little pissed off as I crossed the Mad river|
|The only bikers that I met on the WBDR, a couple of DR's|
|With over 100km still to go and deeper snow ahead this day I turn around.|
After completing the WBDR I shot into Portland to meet up with Vido again. The plan was to ride through Oregon together. The first day back together turns into an eventful day, lots of forestry roads and then just before dark a road is out due to a new bridge being constructed, we bash around in the scrub for a while looking for a bypass but as darkness falls we decide to back track out onto the main highway into Bend. It was a long day, once in town it's straight to a pub for a beer and a meal, Vido uses his usual line when ordering " what's your biggest meal". Just as we tuck into our sleeping bags at a city park a nice police lady turns up and orders us on, we head for a city campground, it's full, we ride down the road and just sleep in a pull out just out of view of the traffic. For some stupid reason I put my water bladder in the same dry bag as my sleeping bag and of coarse it's leaked and my down sleeping bag is soaked, I don't bother taking my riding gear off. In the morning our bags are white with frost.
Bend has some great trail riding up in the high desert, with our bags off the bikes me and Vido spend two days racing around on the big Dual sports. We find a great breakfast spot that we return to for several days and we somehow become celebrities, not sure if it was because of our motorbiking adventures or our ability to eat lots of food. From Bend it was over to Eugene on yet more miles and miles of forestry roads, some snow and locked gates on the way for good measure. In Eugene I went and visited the Procycle shop who specialize in products for my bike the Suzuki DR650. It was great, got to talk about a whole bunch of stuff about the bike and improvements I'm thinking of doing.
The ride from Eugene takes us south and through more massive forestry areas. It's late in the day and we find a old fire lookout up high on a ridge top. It's such a awesome spot we decide to camp for the night. The forestry here in Oregon truly is huge, it's been fantastic to be able to ride through it all, unlike New Zealand where most of it is locked up.
|Ride with GPS putting us in places that we shouldn't be ...again.|
|Autumn is a beautiful time in Oregon|
|There WAS a bridge across this creek. It looked impassable but after some bush bashing and careful line selection we were across|
|Home of DR aftermarket parts, and anyone who owns a DR knows that you need a lot of aftermarket parts!|
|Not a bad place to spend a night under the full moon|