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July 2014

15 years and what a long, strange month it was

Summers here at moto-fun central are always busy. While the common man gets to enjoy the sunny weekends the Northwest brings about, I and others in the SR! clan often find ourselves working on the weekends to keep everything together so our events run smoothly.

Above: The father/son team from BC and our good friend Bruce Graham (right) high atop Mountain Home Road during the Sasquatch Cascacades tour.

Don't get me wrong, we get plenty of riding in as well, but that gets confused with work since much of it is pre-riding related. Is it work? Is it play? Both, and certainly a good reason for choosing the line of work I employ myself into.

The month of July begins with some education. I enrolled myself into Team Oregon's Advanced Rider Training class, a one-day course taught on the go-kart track at Pat's Acres, south of Portland. Our group of 18 riders gets to practice advanced braking techniques including not just quick stops, but making quick stops in tight corners; line selection, throttle roll-ons and roll-offs and more. The morning classroom session provides an informative look into the current causes of motorcycle crashes here in the Pacific Northwest and how to best avoid them. The regional detail is unlike what any national organization is putting forth today.

After class I head on over to Parkdale, Oregon to meet up with Bruce Scott and pre-ride new routes for our Columbia River Gorge rally. The first morning plan is to ride over to Whoop and Holler Ranch, via the Stonehenge replica, where we'll shoot a little video. We finish up at Stonehenge and are riding up to the highway, when my left lever goes limp. I now ask Bruce, "You wouldn't happen to have a clutch cable for a 1988 Honda NX 650 now would you?" Bruce shakes his head 'no' and an hour of telephone calls to various dealers around the western U.S. ensues. Eventually we locate one in Colorado and arrange to have it over-nighted to Fun Country Motorsports in The Dalles. USPS leaves the part behind in the airport, but luckily we were able to make another suffice for the short term. A day and a half of precious time lost. Plans are re-prioritized and we manage to not only get the important rally pre-riding done, but also pre-ride day five of the upcoming Sasquatch dual sport tour.

Back in Seattle it's now week three of the month. Earlier this year it was decided to take the Columbia River Gorge book and revise it into two new books. One for paved rides, one for dual sport routes. The caveat is that those attending the upcoming rally can choose between one or the other as part of their registration. Throughout the spring I'd been working on the content for the two new books with a deadline of July 20. Now it was time to bring together all the content and the maps and get them to the printer. The big push was on the need to do the cartography for no less than 20 maps in just a few days. A few long days indeed. Once that was complete, I assembled each books contents and sent it over to the eagle-eye Connie Adams for proofing.

With those two books in proofing mode, now I had to put together the guide book for the upcoming Sasquatch Dual Sport/Adventure Tour. The route had been tweaked a bit based on data I was getting back from pre-riders Bob Owen and Greg Maust, who together with Bruce Scott, Bruce Graham and myself had pretty much covered most of the route. But there was a monkey-wrench in play - fires were raging throughout the Okanogan region and that could inhibit the intended plans. Our past experience with these tours is to set the route into stone and adjust on the fly as need be. The maps included roads that could be used as workarounds and there was flexibility to write alternative routes into the GPS files.

In the meantime, I'm approached by a young man, Derek Roberts about coming on board to help out in the office. He interviewed well and all I could say was I sure wished I'd met this guy about three months earlier. Derek comes in and takes to office tasks like he's already been doing them all along. Nice. Together with Derek, I complete the tour book and send it to our local print shop who does a 24 hour turnaround on the books, spiral bind and all. Awesome.

Throughout all the insanity, standard business continues as well, including publishing a double issue of our magazine, keeping our used and hot deal bike listings current and filling store orders.

At this point we're getting ready to leave for the Sasquatch tour and I'm watching fire maps a lot. On Saturday I write several alternative routes for day two of the tour and finalize the GPS uploads everyone will get when we hit the now smoking hot Osoyoos Sunday night to begin the tour on Monday.

Monday we hit the trail and begin the tour. It is now the last week of a long five week month. It feels good to be out on the route, taking in the surface variations and touring what I believe is one of the best places to ride a motorcycle in the world. Our route takes us from Canada to Hood River and as promised it does not follow much of the WABDR, but utilizes more scenic roads and shorter sections of nastiness.

Day two was problematic because of all the fire activity. And despite not getting to ride much of the intended route that day, it was an interesting and eerie experience riding the highway between Winthrop and Leavenworth looking at all the devastation and seeing how quickly the utility poles were being replaced and being brought back online. Connie and I once knew a couple who lived outside of Twisp, so I side-tracked up to have a look at the house. No house - just ashes. So sad. Strange to think you've been in a dwelling that has now burnt to the ground.

Day three, four and five proceed as intended, the weather cooled down a tad and it was a fine way to wind up the month.

And throughout the entire month I'm reflecting on the last 15 years. This July marked the 15th anniversary of Sound RIDER! From our roots as an online magazine and resource, to our expansion into an online store, tour operator and event promoter, I feel good we're providing the full-meal-deal to the riding community.

Here's to the next 15 years!

TM/Summer 14


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