Pages: [1]   Go Down
Print

Topic: Holiday in the Hills  (Read 4966 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
Mrs. DantesDame
Super Moderator
*

Reputation 77
Offline Offline

Years Contributed: '07, '08, '09, '10
Years Supported: '11
Motorcycles: '14 BMW F800 GSA
GPS: Switzerland
Miles Typed: 15125

My Photo Gallery



WWW
« on: May 29, 2007, 01:48:40 am »



The holidays in Seattle mean one thing: crowds. No matter where I would go I knew that I'd find lots of people. So I figured that I'd minimize my exposure to them by heading for dirt roads and just keep on going until I ran out of road or time. I feel fortunate that I can find roads like these, and scenery like this, in just a few minutes from the heart of the city.
============================================================================

May 28, 2007
Total Miles: 131 miles
Seattle, WA to North Bend, WA

While I wanted to ďget out of townĒ sometime over the holiday weekend, I certainly didnít want to deal with crowds. And I also wanted to check out a new set of tires that I had on the KLR Ė really nice new knobbies that would get me through mud and dirt like a professional! So I made plans to go for a short ride to North Bend, WA and explore the Middle Fork Snoqualmie road. I hadnít been out here on a bike since I bought my first KLR in October of í03, and that had been my very first outing on dirt roads. It would be interesting to re-visit these roads with a few miles of experience under my belt and see what, if anything, changed.

The first order of business was to stop in Issaquah, a mere 15 minutes east of Seattle on I-90. Issaquah, while home to Krispy Kreme and I-90 Motosports, also boasts the presence of Boehmís Chocolate, simply the best chocolate available west of the Mississippi. I was going to stop on the way home but feared that they might close between now and then, so I made the detour on the way out. I bought about a pound and a half of pure, rich milk chocolate, secured it inside the Barbie Box and then hopped back onto the highway to continue east.


The source of chocolate


Successful capture of chocolate supplies

Something that catches my eye every time I head east out of Issaquah is an old concrete bridge next to the highway. Itís almost invisible, with trees and bushes growing on the traveling surface and moss on itís railings. It is part of the original road that used to traverse the mountains before the Interstate was built. I like to imagine where this road went as it snaked itís way through the mountains, traffic crawling along slowly without benefit of three lanes of divided travel. Iíve read of abandoned towns that used to be serviced by this road and think that some day Iíd like to find out where they were. This time I stopped and took some photos of the bridge.


Ancient bridge from pre-interstate days


It's been a long time since this bridge has been used

At North Bend I exited and made my way to the Middle Fork Snoqualmie Rd, tucked back behind the town at the east end. Itís a short little paved run that twists its way past some private homes before abruptly crossing the river itís named for. Here I found the hoards of weekend warriors that I had been expecting, their various chariots parked along side the road, in pull-outs and on the road itself. I wended my way through them, ever mindful of dogs and kids, until I got to the other side of the bridge and to the dirt. Forest service road. Then I opened up the throttle on the KLR, blasting down the wide-open road. Parked cars periodically littered the sides and I had the occasion to pass some late-comers as they made their way down the road with me. But then I felt something up against my back. I wondered if the lid of the Barbie Box had become unlatched and I reached around to check on it. Surprise! The entire box was loose, sitting on the seat with me and behind held down by nothing. Drat! I pulled over and was both thankful and surprised that it hadnít just launched off the back of the bike at some point. I used my trusty cargo net to secure the box back onto the bike, pleased that I had made it a habit to carry the net with me at all times ďjust in caseĒ. This is when I started to notice the mosquitoes. Dozens of hungry little buggers hovered around my open face shield, making me shudder just thinking about them impaling me with their little proboscis. I hate mosquitoes. I shut the visor and got back on the bike as quickly as possible, wondering how those schmucks on the river or hiking the trails dealt with such an annoying aspect of the outdoors.


Heading down the Middle Fork Snoqualmie Rd


Thar be mosquitos about!!!


More open dirt road


The river under overcast skies


Middle Fork Snoqualmie Rd


Fuzzy trees

Once on the road the mosquitoes couldnít keep up with me and I was left with my own thoughts regarding the road condition (good!), the scenery (great!) and the weather (getting better and better!). After about 10 miles of open roads I came to a junction. I had been up both branches before, but couldnít recall which one had been better. Having all day in front of me, I chose the left one, thinking Iíd take the other one on the way back.


Opening clouds to allow more views


Dat's ma bike

This was the road to the Snoqualmie Lake trailhead. What I didnít know was that the next bridge was gated (I think we had ridden around the gate the last time I was here). There were dozens of cars and trucks lining the side of the road. Half of Seattle had come out to the mountains for an easy day-hike. I verified that the gate was closed and thought it prudent not to ride around it in front of all these hikers. I did a not-so-graceful U-turn and retreated past the parked cars back to the junction. The road at this point immediately climbs up a hill and narrows considerably. The entire length of this stretch of road is only about 15 miles, but the terrain was as varied as the scenery. An easy stretch greeted me with a wide one-lane road nestled among green trees and even greener ferns. This is the kind of open forest that I enjoy, although seeing the massive stumps from old growth logging almost a century ago left a tinge of regret for what this forest could have really looked like.

Riding alone has its advantages, one of them being able to stop often for photos. I took advantage of this, stopping for photos of waterfalls, plant life, road conditions and scenery. And through this the road continued its gradual climb, offering up thick mud, packed rocks and big drainage dips for me to test out the effectiveness of knobby tires. Might I just say that knobby tires are the way to go?? While I was a bit tentative at first, having the mud of Odessa on my mind, by the time I was coming back down this road I was simply flying along, pushing my way through the corners with nary a second thought given to the mud. I think Iím going to like this


Off the beaten track


Traffic gets lighter


Typical Pacific Northwest forest


More green-ness


Moss-covered tree


Moss draped over a fallen log


Raindrops on a leaf


Spring flowers with young tree


Mossy waterfall


More roads!


Big waterfall


Another waterfall


Geological beauty


I felt like this was a Myan ruin

The sun was gradually peeking out from behind the clouds and I took a break near the river, walking down to the boulder-strewn shore to see what I might find caught in the brush from the spring floods. I found nothing unusual, but I did enjoy the solitude of the riverbank, the sun on my face and the sound of the rushing water filling my ears. A cool breeze blew across the river and there were no mosquitoes to harass me. It was tempting to close my eyes for a while.

But I didnít. Instead I got back on the bike and kept on going, always up and on increasingly rougher roads. The mud liked to collect in the corners which wouldnít have been so bad, but this being a holiday weekend, there was enough activity on this road to make me leery of oncoming vehicles coming my way. I kept to my side of the road unless the sightlines were clear.

An open gate marked another decline in road conditions, this time evidently ravaged by winter rockslides and subsequent rebuilds. Large rocks had been incorporated into the road surface, often not all that well. I was standing on the pegs almost continuously now, flexing with the bumps and rock and maintaining my lines through the muddy spots. It was tough work and the sunís more forceful appearance was making me consider taking a layer or two off.

I played tag with a Subaru Outback, him letting me pass but then me stopping for a photo while he passed me. I chuckled as I rounded the next bend and saw him in front of me, a fork in the road ahead of us. He went right, I went left and I laughed when I realized that this was the end of the road and this was merely a parking area loop. I smiled and waved as we went past yet again.


Taking a break along the Snoqualmie River


Gaining elevation


Almost to the end of the road


The Green Mule keeps watch

At this point I parked the bike, took off some gear and broke out the chocolate and water. I went down to the riverís edge (I was always following the river on this road) and saw a lovely split log perfect for lying back on. The trees blocked the harsh sun; the river played a background aria for me and the chocolate made my taste buds dance. I closed my eyes and soaked it all in.


Spring flowers and rushing waters


My view from where I rested


A great napping place (bottle for scale)


Going back down

After a while I got up, packed my supplies away and donned my gear. There was nowhere else to go but down, so down I went. I passed a couple of guys on bikes around the next bend, stopping long enough to exchange pleasantries before continuing my descent.

Now that I knew the road and had built up trust in the tires, I had a blast flying along the road. There was only a couple of times I came upon a vehicle going in my direction but each time they let me pass and I left them behind quickly. I stopped for a couple of pictures that I had made note of on the way up but for the most part I simply stood on the pegs and kept the bike moving.


That's a tree worth re-routing the road for!


Close-up of moss


Peak-a-boo!


My road

The main road out felt like driving down I-5. It was an even faster return to North Bend than I had anticipated so I proceeded with my secondary plan for the day: take as many back roads to Seattle as possible. I crept along to Snoqualmie Falls, taking pictures of some of the vast array of ancient trains they have in storage there. A couple of guys on sport bikes were pulled off to one side near the Falls themselves and I stopped to see if they needed any help. One of the bikes was leaking (a lot of) oil and his dad was coming with a truck to get them. Nothing more to do there, I continued down to Fall City, where I found the Fall City Ė Issaquah Rd and meandered along its lovely twisty pavement for a few miles. I was rudely spit out in Issaquah and since I already had my trophy chocolate I decided to head straight home rather than deal with the suburban sprawl that was between here and Seattle. A fast ride across the highway brought me home around 4pm, about 5 hours after I had started out that day.


Train at Snoqualmie Falls


Train at Snoqualmie Falls
Logged

www.dantesdame.com  <--- Rides! Rides! Rides! Burnout  You don't know unless you ask. ***   Adventure: Adversity recounted at leisure.

Member since 2003
Sport-Touring
Advertisement
*


Remove Advertisements

XLR8
Does not wear Crocs
*

Reputation 8
Offline Offline

Years Contributed: '07, '08
Motorcycles: C14
GPS: Pacific Northwest
Miles Typed: 4090

My Photo Gallery




Ignore
« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2007, 03:08:06 pm »

Gorgeous! Thank you for taking the time to share your ride.  Smile

When I lived in Seattle I wasn't into bikes. Besides I worked all the time anyway. But I bet there must be miles of roads to explore in the mountains out there.

Quote
Might I just say that knobby tires are the way to go??


Since getting my Husky 610 I haven't yet been on my FJR this season. I still really enjoy it and I am supposed to ride with Greench and others as far as Jackson Hole on their way to the National but I've been having too much fun on my dual sport - so much so that I might replace the FJR with a 990 Adventure next year.

Logged
Rigger
Uptight Free Spirit
*

Reputation 16
Offline Offline

Motorcycles: 2015 Harley Davidson Ultra Limited
GPS: North Bay Ontario
Miles Typed: 1581

My Photo Gallery


V4 Pilot




Ignore
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2007, 09:19:17 pm »

Another fantabulous trip report DD Clap Beerchug Bigok
Logged

Canada, more awesome square footage per person than any other country in the world.
Advertisement



SWriverstone
The Road Cubist
*

Reputation 6
Offline Offline

Years Contributed: '06, '08, '10
Years Supported: '11
Motorcycles: '07 Wee-Strom Past: '06 VFR800, '06 KLR650
GPS: Eugene, OR
Miles Typed: 4191

My Photo Gallery





Ignore
« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2007, 06:42:37 am »

Beautiful report Colleen!  Clap I can't wait to live out there some day...just a few more years 'til the kid is in college...

So what are your latest KLR tires? (Just curious.) I'm seriously considering forking out the $$$ for a second set of wheels so I can easily swap between one set of Avon Gripsters (street) and knobbies. Otherwise, I need to find the best knobbies that are also reasonably smooth and grippy on pavement. (Maybe the Gripsters are it? But they aren't very knobby...)

Scott
Logged

"I wanted to write a shorter letter, but didn't have time." óAbraham Lincoln
Mrs. DantesDame
Super Moderator
*

Reputation 77
Offline Offline

Years Contributed: '07, '08, '09, '10
Years Supported: '11
Motorcycles: '14 BMW F800 GSA
GPS: Switzerland
Miles Typed: 15125

My Photo Gallery



WWW
« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2007, 11:10:29 am »

Scott - you're planning on doing what I'm trying to do  Thumbsup  I have the spare rear wheel and just need to come up with the funds for the second front wheel. Meanwhile, a friend lent me his second set of wheels that are sporting some brand new Mefos. It's a good tire, both on pavement and in the mud.

I also bought a set of Dunlop 606s to try out, but they're still sitting in the garage. I think that this is the way to go, Scott. The tires are easy to change out and the Gripsters are perfect for my city commuting, while the 606s will be confidence-inspiring when I'm in the hills. Just gotta get the second front wheel so I can return this set to its owner!  Smile  (not that he's in a hurry - it's good to have friends  Bigok)
Logged

www.dantesdame.com  <--- Rides! Rides! Rides! Burnout  You don't know unless you ask. ***   Adventure: Adversity recounted at leisure.

Member since 2003
kurtw
Child of the Wind
*

Reputation 16
Offline Offline

Years Contributed: '07
Motorcycles: Tuono, KTMs
GPS: Bend, OR USA
Miles Typed: 1544

My Photo Gallery



WWW

Ignore
« Reply #5 on: May 30, 2007, 04:22:09 pm »

Looks beautiful. And thank dog the Barbie Box(tm) is safe...near tragedy averted  Thumbsup


Scott - you're planning on doing what I'm trying to do  Thumbsup  I have the spare rear wheel and just need to come up with the funds for the second front wheel. Meanwhile, a friend lent me his second set of wheels that are sporting some brand new Mefos. It's a good tire, both on pavement and in the mud.

I also bought a set of Dunlop 606s to try out, but they're still sitting in the garage. I think that this is the way to go, Scott. The tires are easy to change out and the Gripsters are perfect for my city commuting, while the 606s will be confidence-inspiring when I'm in the hills. Just gotta get the second front wheel so I can return this set to its owner!  Smile  (not that he's in a hurry - it's good to have friends  Bigok)


FYI - I've got Avon Distanzias on my 450 right now for sportsman-class supermoto. Trust me, they grip like mad on pavement and still work reasonably well on the dirt sections. They may be my new favorite 50/50-ish dualsport tire. Xsrider's brother (sorry I cant remember his...whaddya callit...oh...name) had the Mefos on his KLR at WCRM4 and they looked great. He really liked em.
Logged

Kurt's Smugmug
SWriverstone
The Road Cubist
*

Reputation 6
Offline Offline

Years Contributed: '06, '08, '10
Years Supported: '11
Motorcycles: '07 Wee-Strom Past: '06 VFR800, '06 KLR650
GPS: Eugene, OR
Miles Typed: 4191

My Photo Gallery





Ignore
« Reply #6 on: May 30, 2007, 04:34:06 pm »

Cool Colleen---sounds like you're about already there with the multi-wheel quick-changeroo.  Smile Thumbsup

I love the Gripsters on pavement...and they're fine for well-graded (and mostly dry) dirt and gravel...but i'd be concerned about getting them into any mud, sand, gnarly stuff, etc.

Aren't the Mefo's a pain to find? Haven't tried yet, but I heard they're not easy to buy...

I've heard good things about the Conti TKC-80's too---great offroad, and aren't they reasonably good on pavement?

Scott
Logged

"I wanted to write a shorter letter, but didn't have time." óAbraham Lincoln
VIVID1
Ducatistanna
*

Reputation 21
Offline Offline

Motorcycles: ST3, 954RR
GPS: Northern Colorado
Miles Typed: 1849

My Photo Gallery



WWW

Ignore
« Reply #7 on: May 30, 2007, 07:10:35 pm »

Great looking dirt roads out there, I want to go and ride them Thumbsup
Logged

BLOG:excessivelocity.blogspot.com
Mrs. DantesDame
Super Moderator
*

Reputation 77
Offline Offline

Years Contributed: '07, '08, '09, '10
Years Supported: '11
Motorcycles: '14 BMW F800 GSA
GPS: Switzerland
Miles Typed: 15125

My Photo Gallery



WWW
« Reply #8 on: May 30, 2007, 07:26:34 pm »


Great looking dirt roads out there, I want to go and ride them Thumbsup

I think you and Blue should come out and play for a week. We'll base camp at my house and raid the mountains for hours and miles!!! Banana
Logged

www.dantesdame.com  <--- Rides! Rides! Rides! Burnout  You don't know unless you ask. ***   Adventure: Adversity recounted at leisure.

Member since 2003
Nimh
Known Reprobate
*

Reputation 10
Offline Offline

Years Contributed: '06, '07
Motorcycles: 06 Triumph Speed Triple, 13 BMW R1200GS Adventure, 06 Suzuki DRZ400S, 06 Suzuki SV650 (hers)
GPS: Puget Sound, WA
Miles Typed: 1479

My Photo Gallery


I'm feeling it now...




Ignore
« Reply #9 on: May 30, 2007, 11:11:13 pm »


Great report as always - now I have to head up there and look around too.   Thumbsup

I had a Maxxis M6006 on the back of my KLR which was not only fairly cheap, but performed reasonably well in light mud and gravel (but nothing like a Dunlop 606), and also behaved very predictably leaned over on pavement.  If I remember correctly, they were about $50.

My wife loved the Barbie box on the back of the KLR.   Smile  Chocolate is now coming with us on the next ride.  Thanks.  Smile

Logged
VIVID1
Ducatistanna
*

Reputation 21
Offline Offline

Motorcycles: ST3, 954RR
GPS: Northern Colorado
Miles Typed: 1849

My Photo Gallery



WWW

Ignore
« Reply #10 on: May 31, 2007, 01:00:26 pm »



I think you and Blue should come out and play for a week. We'll base camp at my house and raid the mountains for hours and miles!!! Banana


I'd be there if WA wasn't so far away Sad
Logged

BLOG:excessivelocity.blogspot.com
Max Wedge
Engineering Pathologist
*

Reputation 24
Offline Offline

Years Contributed: '10
Years Supported: '11
Motorcycles: '10 R1200GS '06 YZ250F
GPS: The mitten in Region 4
Miles Typed: 2460

My Photo Gallery


Sport-Mowing.net




Ignore
« Reply #11 on: June 01, 2007, 11:50:00 pm »



I also bought a set of Dunlop 606s to try out, but they're still sitting in the garage. I think that this is the way to go, Scott. The tires are easy to change out and the Gripsters are perfect for my city commuting, while the 606s will be confidence-inspiring when I'm in the hills. Just gotta get the second front wheel so I can return this set to its owner!  Smile  (not that he's in a hurry - it's good to have friends  Bigok)


I have the 606's on my street legal KLX, great tire for anything off road, but kind of spooky on asphalt. But I only see pavement when I need gas.

Great report DD, thanks for taking the pics and bringing us all along.  Bigok
Logged
Pages: [1]   Go Up
Print
Jump to:  



ST.N

Copyright © 2001 - 2013 Sport-Touring.Net.
All rights reserved.

 
SimplePortal 2.3.1 © 2008-2009, SimplePortal