Right, so it was time for one last good trip before season end.
Myself and Cammy were the only ones going. Schedule, and commitments had others stay home, or at work. The tenere’s were the ride of choice, as some gravel was expected, and the FJ luggage carrying capacity currently consist of a tank bag, and what ever I could bungee to the rear seat.
The plan was as follows:
Thursday: Calgary to Superior MT. 703km
Friday: superior to Richland OR 669 km
Saturday: Superior to Cougar, take a picture, and on to Randle, 786km
sunday: Randle to Creston, 809km
Monday: Creston to Calgary 465km
The actual route of our trip below:
Like all good plans, the above went to shit pretty much right away.
Work did not let me leave till about noon-ish on thursday. I then had to double back home, as I forgot my cross brace for my givi bags…doooh.
The plan was to come across Indian Graves just south of Longview. We did just that, but the washboard heading up the pass was horrendous, worse than usual. I noticed my front fairing was moving around quite a bit..more than usual. Even on smooth pavement, when riding over a bump, everything moved. We rode the west side of lake Koocanusa. Nice paved road, except for half way down, some jackass, decided it would be a good idea to leave gravel all over the road. A bit of a pain, but doable with care. We pulled over for some pics. I gave Cam’s bike a bit of a shake to see if his fairing did the same thing..nope! Something is not quite right with my bike.
No matter, we persevered, and stopped short of the target, in Libby. While Cammy checked us into the bullwinkle suite, I had a look at my fairing. I removed the rigid 6″ light, main light, and lo and behold, my fairing stay was broken in three places. Out came the tie wraps. I tie wrapped the stay where the breaks were, and removed the heavy light off the stay.
All snips will show Gravel (G) in red, and Pavement (P) in Black. X marks the shitty spot. We rode this section many times, but it was in rough shape this go around. Once you get to Hwy 40, the road is in much better shape. All gravel from Hwy 22 to Hwy 3
The next morning we had a nourishing mcdinks breakfast (oatmeal, coffee, and apple pie), and went to the local hardware store to purchase some gorilla glue, and the worlds smallest side cutters to add to my existing tool kit. We glue the broken parts together, let it all set, and re-tied it with the tie wraps. Job, done. Let’s go!
It was going to be a long day. We needed to get to Supreme MT, the day previous. Friday, we had to ride from Libby Mt to Richland Oregon.
The ride to Supreme was uneventful, paved all the way.
The 135 is worthy of mention from Paradise to St. Regis. Brand new pavement, along a river. Magic. The I90 is not worthy of mention at all. Stopped in Supreme for some gas, snacks, and a quite literal colorful conversation with the cashier at the gas station, and we were off into the woods.
The 250 comes out of Supreme, and is through and through a gravel road. For the most part, it’s in great shape, running along a river. It’s narrow and twisty, with light traffic. We climbed up to the pass, took a few pictures, and had to stop to repair my flat tire, that I was rewarded with at the summit. Some strange long piece of metal, found its way into my rear tire, right after I pulled away from my picturesque spot. No matter, the metal piece was pulled out, snooty plug installed (last one!!!), tire filled, and we were back on our way. West of the pass, the road is paved for about 20km, at which point the gravel resumes. At this point, the gravel became worse. Looser, with soft sections, that got the pucker factor up to 8/10. No matter, we plowed on. We stopped at the North Fork Clearwater River bridge, to look at some seriously large and tasty fish. If memory serves, this is where the pavement started. And man oh man was it worth it. Seriously. Not a soul in sight, and a perfect road going through the forest, all the way to Pierce. For this bit alone the 250 is worth it. If you look at the map, it looks like someone had a seizure laying this road out. Epic.
Top right hand side of snip is the 135. Tasty The 250 starts off well, peaks at the pass, and is paved west of that for a short while (10-20km). The rest is gravel up to the bridge. After the bridge the 250 is paved, and amazing. Recomended
The ride into Orofino was decent. Next time, we can head south on the 11, into Greer, looks like another winner.
Pulled into Lewiston. Hot as hell. My display was showing over 100F. We got gas, and got the hell out of dodge.
The 129 South out of Asotin is epic. Short section climbing out of the river valley. Nice. It gets even better further south, just before the Grand Ronde River. The 129/OR-3 south of the river, lets the fun carry on. The rest of the ride into Enterprise and Joseph, is uneventful.
We carried on SE of Joseph, on the NF-39 (Just off the 350, ending at the 89).
Wow…another paved winner. The 86 gets you to Richland.
Word of warning: The town shuts down at 7pm. The motel that’s next to the grocer/liquor/hardware store, shuts at 7pm. No beer = No evening.
We carried on to Baker City. Again, the 86 does not disappoint, but after a hellishly long day, riding in the dark, it’s not all that joyous.
Another day, another breakfast at mcdinks. After breakfast, I removed a bat from underneath my fairing. The poor little bastard met his match the night previous. Tenere vs Bat…Tenere wins everytime. Ride out of Baker city is very nice along the John Day Hwy. We ducked off on the 18. Great paved road, but only half way to Long Creek. The rest of it was in decent shape for gravel
Top right hand corner, and the 129 south out of Lewiston. Epic. South East of Joseph on the NF-39, another winner. The 18, North of John Day Hwy, great paved road, but only half way.
The remainder to Biggs is all paved, and straight forward.
We hopped over the river, and made our way up to Goldendale. The 142 Heading west is interesting. At one point it becomes a single lane road. Great riding back down towards Hood River. We were dumb enough to use the metal toll bridge into Hood River. Not only is it windy as hell..it’s not the most pleasant to ride on a bike. On a plus note, the burger was damn tasty at the Brewery, so that’s a plus. Then the damn bridge back over the river. No matter, goodness awaited us, not too far west. The 141, which then turns into the NF-23 is amazing. Great pavement on the southern part of the road. Watch for some serious frost heaves, as you head further north on the NF-23. Hwy 12 turned into another pleasant surprise. What wasn’t so pleasant was the inability to get a hotel room in Yakima, or further north in Ellensburg. We finally lucked out at the Rainbow Inn (insert joke here!) Last room, with Chinese food served in the same parking lot. Surprisingly good pad thai.
hwy 142 is excellent. So is the 141/NF-23. Hwy 12 is well kept and quick. We had to pass on the 821 (ridden it a few years ago, and it’s good too) due to the hotel issue in Yakima
Sunday…start of the day was damn windy. No matter, out of Ellensburg, North/NE nothing to report up to Coulee Dam. That’s when the road gets good. See below for notes. Pavement all the way.
Nespeleen to hwy 21 is very good. Hwy 21 to Inchelium (hwy 3) is amazing. Hwy 20 is not too bad either, especially east of Coleville. There’s a great bit of road just before the border, north of Metaline falls. Don’t forget the cheap beer 🙂
Monday was a get home day. Hwy 3 all the way, then north on 22, with the worse weather I’ve seen this season. +2 and rain. I had my heated gear, and oxford muffs on. Not bad. Great trip.
Bike: The tenere is a beast. Never lets me down. Knocking on 70k in 4 yrs. Magic. The new full arrow system sounds like god’s plumbing i.e. Very good. My usual tire choice has held up well. Another Mitas E-07 rear gone at 8-8.5km, for some reason, the front will be gone early at 10-12km
Gear: No change really. Klim holding up well, keeping the wet out.