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Evolution of a Motorcycle Touring Book

The Sound RIDER! Guide to Motorcycling in the Columbia River Gorge: 3 rd Edition

Born in 2004, the first edition of this travel guide was originally developed as a bag stuffer for the 2004 Sportbike Northwest Rally. It featured half a dozen rides, a chapter on places to visit in the area and a chapter of suggested gear to wear in the Gorge. It was 48 pages.

In 2006 the book was updated to include dualsport routes and it was again inserted into rally goers bags at Sportbike Northwest and Dualsport Northwest. With the addition of the dualsport routes the book grew to 80 pages.

But we weren't done with this guide which was still a work in progress. Up to now the maps were cobbled together using various sources; the gear chapter became very outdated when we published Packing Light/Packing Right in 2007 and we still were discovering roads in and around The Gorge. By late 2007 it was obvious the book was once again ready for a makeover.

We began by generating more than a half dozen routes bringing the final count up from the original 6 to 20. We could have gone to a full 24, but opted to hold a few back as exclusives for rally goers in the coming years. Those who took advantage of The Roads Less Travelled ride at the 2008 Rally Week in The Gorge, got a taste of one such route. Nonetheless, if you attempt to ride all 20 routes in one trip there you'll need about 10 days.

span class="para"> The next thing we did was take every map and start over using our own in house cartography. Every route was run through no less than three mapping software programs and every road was hand drawn, labeled, and and numbered by cartographers Tim Pizzino and Ryan Barnett. For the dualsport routes, gravel roads were indicated with a reversed out text/number format. At the same time every route was created in MapSource GPS format utilizing waypoints, rather than via points to 'harden' the routes and not allow the software to send you backwards when starting a loop ride. A separate USB Flash Card is now available with all the MapSource files, which can be converted to other formats using the GPSbabel.org website.

Then we chucked the entire gear chapter. Want some advice of riding and touring gear? You can get plenty of that in Packing Light Packing Right.

The book is a general guide for anyone visiting The Gorge, but it can also be a key tool to our Rally Week in The Gorge event. In 2007 we saw no less than twelve crashes with half of those resulting in hospital visits. The Gorge is not a place you ride carelessly in. It's a region that can graduate you to your next level of riding skills, or it can eat you for lunch. Considering the crash activity of 2007, a chapter was authored outlining the ten most common causes for crashes in the area and how to avoid them. It seems to have worked. When the book was provided to rally goers in 2008 we experienced only four crashes, with zero hospital visits.

In past editions we'd held off on running restaurant guides and accommodation suggestions. Restaurants have a way of coming and going, especially new ones. So we took the position that if an establishment had stood the test of time, three years in this case, we'd give it consideration. Ditto on accommodations. The book now sports ten pages of restaurant suggestions and six pages of accommodations. One place we like a lot is still too new to get in the guide, but if you're in the Mosier area, be sure to stop in at the Good River for lunch or dinner some time.

We now have more than 5,000 photographs of riders in The Gorge. The third edition was a chance to expand our usage of photos and update where necessary.

Since 2003 we've created more than 15 poker run routes through The Gorge. With the expanded edition we felt it might be good to share a little insight on how we put the runs together and some tips on making up your own.

Finally we created an index on the last page so the user can easily locate a route in the book or information about a point of interest.

The book has now grown to a healthy 128 pages and is spiral bound making it easy to slip into a tank bag. Even with the latest expansion we held the price at $19.95. We suspect this may not be the last edition of the SR! Guide to Motorcycling in the Columbia River Gorge, but it's probably reached a point where it won't need an update every two years.

Whether you're coming to the next Rally Week in the Gorge, or planning to do a little traveling on your own, the book is certain to get you off the main routes and into some scenic riding, while providing a lot of common sense suggestions to make the most of your time there.

SR!/Summer 2008

For more information and to purchase a copy of The Sound RIDER! Guide to Motorcycling in the Columbia River Gorge CLICK HERE .


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