Day 19 and 20 – Troutdale, OR to Moses Lake, WA and Nelson, BC then Home
Day 19 – Troutdale to Moses Lake
Distance: 320 miles (514 kilometers)
Low temp: 11 celcius (morning until Mt St Helens)
High temp: 28 celcius (end of day near Moses Lake)
Time on bike: 8:30-7:30pm
Really good ride today as I work my way back home. A few guys from the meet were going in generally the same direction so we rode together for most of the day. Two from close to Seattle and one from Vancouver that was going to visit family in the interior of BC.
We were a bit late getting started but quickly zipped up I-84 to the Bridge of the Gods toll bridge to cross over the Columbia river. Not sure what is ‘god-like’ about the bridge, it simply crosses over a river and you pay a god-like fee of 50 cents.
On to Stevenson and shortly after a stop at Carson for breakfast. We stopped at a little place called ‘Venus cafe’. Another god connection here, haha. It was scrumptious and the service provided was great. An older lady that had wise cracks for everything and was really quite pleasant. Another person genuinely surprised to get a decent tip.
We took a smaller highway or forestry road to Randle and Packwood that goes around the park and base of Mt St Helens. This road is the real deal of motorcycle roads. It is narrow, marginal pavement, challenging and very scenic. We chose to not go all the way up Windy Ridge as we’d all been there several times.
On to Mt Rainier and the road to Paradise. The ol’ park pass came in handy again since the gate charge is $15.00. It’s also a scenic road and was very busy as was the visitors centre qt the top of the highway. Got some really great pics of the mountain. It really is another oddity as it juts up from nowhere over 14,000 feet. Lovely glaciers and quite a scenic ride down the mountain. I was lucky last time I was here as it was late in the day and there wasn’t a soul around. Quite different from today as it reminded me a lot of Banff and Lake Louise crowds.
After making it through the pass we shook hands and two groups of two each went separate ways. One fellow road with me all the way to Moses Lake. He’ll be going out on his own tomorrow to find a camera then to see family in Castlegar.
The last 150 miles were all interstate as we lost track of time earlier in the day. So in spite of traveling few miles it was quite a long day.
Day 20 – To Nelson, BC and home
Distance: 608 kilometres
Low temp.: 17 degrees
High temp.: 24 degrees
Time on bike: 8:00-4:30
I broke up the last distance into two days to try and keep it more manageable and avoid a marathon ride.
I used the Destinations Highways book and chose a few roads in northeastern Washington that I hadn’t taken before.
A quick zip up the highway to the Grand Coulee dam and then across from Nespelem to Inchelium. Really good riding roads. Zero traffic (only saw about four cars the whole way). Some really great twisty sections and generally good pavement. It takes you over two passes from 1500 feet to over 3000 and 4000 feet. Not particularly scenic but really nice to ride out in the mountains without anyone else around.
Stopped by police in Kettle Falls. No, it’s not what you think. Someone had recently driven down the highway and set two fires. It is popcorn dry in this area and it went up like gangbusters. The fire crews were there within minutes and they shut down the highway north to the border. Finally after a short delay I was given the ‘blessing’ by a state highway patrol officer. ‘Be careful and watch out for those rubberneckers. People will be gawking down there, so ride safe’. He even gave me a pat on the shoulder – pretty nice.
Yet again, no issues at the border. I let them know all I am bringing back was about $1000 dollars in repairs to my bike. He stamped my receipts to make them official and sent me on my way.
I was quite early in the day so I decided to do one of the northern loops to Nelson. It’s a great road that goes from New Denver to Kaslo and down to Nelson. Really quiet today and very little traffic. Perfect pavement on this road and a very scenic ride that I love to take pretty much every time I’m here.
I arrived shortly after four and checked in to my fave hotel – the New Grand. A little diner, getting cleaned up and a bit of typing. This journey is nearly done. The final day is the last twisty and fun ride of the year each year. I’ll be zipping over to the ferry and down the fun to ride highway 3 and about five hours later I should arrive back in Calgary. So ends another summertime journey. In spite of the bad luck with repairs I saw a lot and covered more ground per day than in any previous vacation. There will be lots of places to explore that were briefly uncovered by this journey.