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
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
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!