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2012 NW Moto Odyssey: Part 3

Riding season never ends, Willie gets his first Honda

If you read part 1, you know all about my 2012 adventure up to the rally. Part 2 reveals everything that happened up to October. But my year of riding was far from over and being a jabber jaw motorcycle guy, I've still got a few paragraphs to get out, so here we go.

For some time now I've been looking for ways around our dreaded Pacific Northwest winter weather. There have been years when I park all the bikes in October and leave them idle until Spring. Other years I'll ride regardless of weather. But everyone knows riding in the rain is work, not play. We want play!!

I had two epiphanies thinking about this recently. The first was that the club rides I put on for the Northwest Scooter Enthusiasts and the Northwest Dualsport Enthusiasts need to become spontaneous and not based on a set date. Spontaneous means based on good weather. So for 2013 that's how it will be. Ride destinations will be planned, but the actual date of the ride will not be revealed until good weather comes into the forecast. These rides usually occur on Sundays, so a good Sunday in the forecast on Thursday means an email will be fired announcing a ride. Otherwise, wait until another Sunday - a sunny Sunday.

The second epiphany occurred as I thought about how fun it was for people to ride the Café to Café Grand Tour each year, hitting the targets on their own schedule anytime between April and September. Riders who are willing to forego rides on colder days need some targets, too. And thus I came up with the concept for the Cabin Fever Challenge. Ride your motorcycle to any state park cabin, yurt or teepee during the winter and you'll be rewarded with a certificate of achievement.

To check my thinking, I watched the weather in mid-November and noted several days of sunshine that would occur in a row. I then booked a cabin on the Kitsap Peninsula, packed the bike and overnighted in a state park cabin along the Hood Canal. So far so good. The next morning I took off and rode to Port Townsend, where I took a ferry to Whidbey and toured the island all late morning and early afternoon before returning to Seattle with a SUNBURN on my face!

Success - I had enjoyed some of my favorite roads with little or no traffic on any of them and no rain to boot!

Between these two ideas, I had come up with a way to enjoy riding in the Pacific Northwest on nicer days during the colder months. Suffice to say my bikes are ready to roll on a moment's notice as long as temps are in the high 30s or better.

The motorcycle show in December was a joy to do this year. We once again had a stunning array of bikes in our Northwest Motorcycle Exhibit. Having done the show and display for 12 years in a row, we've simplified our offerings and, although we brought less merchandise to the show this year, we had better sales - the economy is picking up? The packing-out part was painless and we left in record time, about 45 minutes after the show closed.

I enjoyed the crowd at this year's show. It was the real riders who came. It was people who like to ride so much that paying $15 to get in and $15 to park was worth it to them . Very friendly and well mannered. In a way it reminded me of an extension of the riders who attend our Rally in the Gorge.

Our booth was just a few feet away from the Strider Bikes booth. Small bikes for kids that aren't big or old enough to balance on a full-size bicycle. Every kid that rode one got tired out and remained mellow after that. So of course I came home and bought one for my five year old grandson and two year old granddaughter. The Honda model.

Still one ride to go!

That's right. In the last week of December I watched the weather and a few partly sunny days arrived in the forecast. I contacted my friends Jim and Ellen who like to do the spontaneous thing as well and on Sunday, December 30, we took off from Seattle to explore Camano Island and have lunch in La Conner. It was cold. About 38 degrees all day on average. The heated clothing and grips made it a lot more comfortable. Our feet were cold when we reached the restaurant in La Conner, but an hour in doors helped warm them up again before the return ride home.

Upon arrival I ran into Eric Folkestad, one of the founders of the Hells Canyon Rally. Much like dining with Rich and Landra (mentioned in part one), winter is one of the few times I get to sit down and enjoy time with Eric, so bumping into him on this day was nice. And as we parted ways from lunch we agreed to get together in January...

...and that's when the 2013 Moto Odyssey will begin I'm sure...!

TM/Winter 13


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