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2012 NW Moto Odyssey: Part 1

Connecting with good friends, exploring new places.

I often push on the editors of SR! to provide third party voice in their articles. There's plenty of me-me-me stories out there. I must to preface this article with that so they don't come after my with the sharpened ballpoint pen when I lob this one onto the internet. It's in first person!

We often run a look-back-at-the year type article in January. For this years I was endeared to talk about some of my personal best moments in 2012, which interestingly enough, are pretty much all associated with this magazine. For those of you who continue to wonder - "Is Sound RIDER! his full time job?" the answer is yes. So all that riding I do is usually based around work. And work is often play in this business.

I also need to jot this stuff down because I'm losing my mind as I get older and need to remind myself of the good times.

2012 started off with a trip to the Vancouver Motorcycle Show. If you've never been I highly recommend you go sometime. Either on the bike or in the cage if the weather will not permit the trip on two wheels. Some years I throw on the Gerbings and ride. This year Connie and I drove up in the car and we opted to stay overnight. More on that in a minute.

The Vancouver show is a bit more intimate and you get the feeling of community more so than the Seattle event. There are many more vendors, clubs and organizations and that booth space always sells out, unlike Seattle. And sometimes you get to see new models that are not in the US yet, or may never be. Such was the case this year. Honda brought in the brand new NC700X and NC700S models. I had been in the market for a small adventure bike and the NC700X was just what the doctor ordered. After sitting on it, scoping it out and comparing it to the NC700S (which has yet to come to the US) I slipped away to a quite spot in the TradeEx Center, called Bob at Hinshaw's Motorcycle Store in Auburn and set up my deposit over the phone.

Staying overnight in Abottsford where the show is held provided us the opportunity to have dinner together with Rich & Landra of Rich's Custom Seats. We love these guys and always have a nice time with them when we get together. Everyone's schedule gets insane by spring and we learned a long time ago to make these dinners happen in winter because it's not possible in spring and summer. There are always other guests along, usually acquaintances of Rich who we get to meet and learn all about. As is often the case, we closed the restaurant down that night.

Later that month I took off in the car on a book selling tour through Western Oregon to promote my new book, Motorcycling Through Western Oregon. Along the way I got a chance to meet with Arun at Motocorsa, Janice at Cascade Moto Classics and amazingly I overcame the iron doors at Powell's Books and was able to get some sample copies to the independent book buyer there who loaded up on all the SR! titles. As I was out and about visiting area dealers I booked stays at several McMenamins hotels. The result of such exploration will be revealed in this year's Road Trip 2013 Tour which will roll through five McMenamins hotels this coming June. You don't want to miss this.

In March Connie and I returned to Western Oregon for week of relaxation in Sun River. I had worked with Scott and Madeleine of Western Oregon BMW to bookend a series of slideshows on either side of the trip. Some work and mostly play.

The first Saturday in April we goaded several dozen riders up to the Wild Horse Wind Farm outside Ellensburg. We seriously figured we'd get zero riders since the road was covered in a thin layer of snow and the wind was blowing at about 40mph when we got there at 8 am. But alas, the wind died down, the sun came out and by noon the lot was full of bikes. Joel from Cycle Barn was good enough to bring some Zero Motorcycles and attendees got a chance to try riding an electric motorcycle, most for the first time.

In June we set out on our annual Road Trip. This time we covered the back roads of Washington State. Our group of 12 were logging about 300 miles a day visiting the Grand Coulee area, exploring the strata of Walla Walla, romping into the Columbia River Gorge and eventually spending our last night at Paradise on Mt. Rainier. The part that really struck me was when we came across the Gorge on my back roads route. The colors were vivid, the weather was exceptional and the wind was nowhere to be found. A perfect gallop! I probably spend 2-4 weeks a year riding in the Gorge and I never tire of the place!

In July I returned to the Gorge with Bruce Scott to work on routing for our upcoming rally. Fire season was getting into full swing pumping copious amounts of smoke into the region from fires burning in Oregon and Central Washington. Not quite the vivid colors I had enjoyed just a few weeks before.

Back to the Gorge in August. This time for the rally. Often it's the members of CMA who man checkpoints on our Friday Fun Run, but this time we were short of helpers for the dual sport sections. Several instructors from Puget Sound Safety jumped in and off we rode, depositing one or two members at a time at the designated check points. The highlight was the ride up and down Cloud Cap on Mt. Hood. Seems no matter who long we've been doing this rally, I still ride somewhere new every year. The road to cloud cap is only open about two months of the year. As it lies on the north side of Mt. Hood, it's impassable the other 10 months due to snow. Stunning northward views of St. Helens, Rainier and Adams. I must go back!

Hey - you know what? My editor advises me I'm out of space so come back next month for part 2!

TM/Winter 13


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