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10 October riding destinations in the Pacific Northwest

Summer 2012. It was a good, long, dry one. But all those fires didn't help and made for some blaz-A riding days. October may be a great month to make up for some of that if you can swing a few days here and there.

Of course with fall settling in, so are colder temps. We suggest a Gerbings heated jacket as your primary liner, a pair of Gerbings heated gloves as your primary hand covering. As for camping - that may be a bit less fun than it was - say in September, but if you're insistent consider a few nights in the tent mixed together with a few nights at a motel or resort to shake the chill off.

The rain is going to come in any day now - right? So we've picked 10 great places to tour out to here in the Pacific Northwest in consideration. Five are along the coast, and if the yucky marine rain pattern is in, we've got five to the east of the Cascades as a backup.

1. Vancouver Island, BC - Starting with Victoria, Vancouver Island makes a grand touring destination. You could pull together anything from a 2 to 5 night stay over and tour out to places like Port Renfrew, Tofino and Gold River. And imagine what the Butchart Gardens look like in early fall!

2. Olympic Peninsula Culinary Tour, WA - You like good food - right? Take a few days to tour the Olympic Peninsula and feast on its bounty of great food places along the way. Check out the details at Seattle DINING! Caution: Some places close up for winter about this time so be sure to call ahead.

3. San Juan Islands, WA - The tourist season is officially over. Saddle up the bike and explore one island a day figuring a day to get to the first one and a day to get home. Use a Benchmark atlas to find your way around.

4. Kings Valley, OR - If ever there were a place we'd want to return to year after year, the Kings Valley between McMinnville and Philomath is the cat's meow. Grab a copy of our guide to Motorcycling Through Western Oregon and seek out these awesome roads.

5. The Oregon Coast, OR - Any monkey with a paper map can figure this one out, only now the RV population is greatly reduced. Be sure to add in a few interesting side trips off the beaten path, like Applegate Valley or the Vortex House of Mystery.

6. Road 31A - Kaslo to New Denver, BC - This road goes down in the books as one of the most stunning in Canada. It's such as great road it's even awesome in the rain. But it's not gonna rain while you're there! Getting to and from will be your adventure.

7. The Cascade Loop, WA - It's your last chance to ride Highway 20 before they close it up between Mazama and Ross Dam. But do you know the entire route when done in full includes a ride down Whidbey Island. Get the official map at: http://www.cascadeloop.com/.

8. The Palouse, WA - Brisk sunny mornings, deep blue waterways, the last wheat cut of the year, a corn maize or two. There's nothing like a few sunny days in the Palouse to wrap up a grand year of riding. Be sure to make the trek up to Step Toe Butte, enjoy the fresh seal coat along the Starbuck Highway, and if you do your homework you can cross several of the dams on the Snake River that have been closed since 9/11.

9. Cour d' Alene, ID - Grab a room in town and do some exploratory day rides up to Sand Point, down to St. Maries and all points in between.

10. John Day Fossil Beds Tour - In the fall, the walls of the monument glow during the hours around sunrise and sunset. During the day the roads here are some of the best riding in the Northwest. Shaniko, Fossil, Condon, Heppner. These names cause any rider who's been to them to start salivating just upon hearing their names. Grab a copy of our Motorcycling through Central and Eastern and Oregon guide and go tear it up!

SR!/Fall 12


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