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MOTORCYCLE TOUR LOG - 2001

A-48, Arches National Park, the perfect campsite.

The Fine Art of Motorcycle Touring



   MOTORCYCLE TOUR LOG - 2001


Motorcycle Stories and Other Assorted Tales

by C. C. Crow


2001 Tiny Solo Tour

10-2 TUE
It's Irene and Fred's 25th wedding anniversary and we are invited down to Portland to celebrate. I haven't seen Fred for a while so I figure I should go down. All summer I have been working on my web site cccrow.com. No bike trip. Not even a weekend camping trip. Well, I did make it up to Mike and Jane's for a few days but really that's it. I wasted the whole summer. Rooti's used up all his vacation time (per usual). I thought about going to the Narrow Gauge convention is Salt Lake City but I'm broke (things have been real slow) and then Sept. 11th. Probably a good thing I didn't go.

So, the weather has been real fine, in the mid-70s and the forecast is real good for the rest of the week so I begin to hatch a plan. Why not go camping? Maybe leave Sunday night but for some reason I don't, nor Monday. I don't know why. I just don't. Have to talk myself into it I guess. I debate whether to take the Land Cruiser or the bike. I can just throw everything into the LC. Or save 2/3 on gas with the motorcycle. Yeah, but what if it rains? I keep busy with train club stuff, web site stuff, lazy stuff.

Finally I decide I need to go. I must go. So the bike? Poor thing has 100,000 miles on it! It seems more and more down on power. I checked the compression this summer. I forget what it was, 120? A little lower than it should be but not as bad as I thought it would be. Maybe it is the timing? Maybe the rings? Maybe it is just everything. It's twenty years in service old. Or maybe it's just me. 47 years old- wow, that's old. Man, what happened? That's like seriously old. I mean real old. My back hurts, my eyes are going, I can't remember things. That's why I write things down in the journal. That's why I should have written the names of everything I can't remember on the photographs! Yeah, that's... well, err, such and such I think in Alaska, or is that the Yukon? I used to know.

But back to this trip. So, the bike or the Land Cruncher? Come on, it's going to be like 80 degrees. Sounds like bike weather to me. Gotta take the bike. Send Mom and Dad down in the car. I can even give them some of my stuff to take down. They are off by 10 o'clock. I take a shower and finish packing up. I leave at 11:30. I decide to take I-405 to avoid the temptation to stop so soon at PECOS BQ Pit. What? Am I crazy? South, I take the Valley Freeway after almost getting smashed by a truck. It works until Puyallup when you have to shift over from the freeway and stop light west to Tacoma. It's not that bad but definitely not a shortcut, but I like being off the Interstate. I stop at the west yard and take photographs of the trains. A little switches comes by for a pose.

Back on the highway I follow another bike to Olympia. Then stop at a rest area. Then on again, and off the highway at Castle Rock. I follow the side road and find a high spot for some photographs. Then check out the burnt-out trestle. It is burnt-out all right! I find a movie house and diner in KELSO just like I had planned for the train club. I'd better get moving. There's some Portland traffic before I get to Gladstone at 4:30. We have a terrific dinner at de Vinci's, everyone is there. I sit next to my cousin Ger.

10-3 WED
It's tough camping indoors. The floor is hard. After a shower and breakfast I go downstairs and run the trains. They haven't been run since I was there last. Mom and Dad are going to take Irene out to lunch. First it is Thai- then at the last minute it changes to Multnoma Falls. Dad is not happy. He never is especially when you take Panang out of his hands. Looks like I'm not going to stop by The Whistle Stop train store like I had planned. Not the bank either. Or the other side of the river. I follow Dad up the Interstate. We don't even take the little side road. But after a long wait the meal is very good. What can you do?

Finally, at 2:30 I'm headed up the Columbia Gorge. It is a beautiful day. Someone has left obstacles in the highway. There's a chair, a stool, another chair. There's stuff all over the place. Even a broken table. They won't be very happy. I stop at Bonneville Dam to check out the fish ladder. Pretty cool, lots of big fishies. I pay fifty cents to cross the rickety bridge at Cascade Locks to the Washington side. Stop for a Snapple, then again at the overlook. I begin to wonder about my route. Up the Gorge, right? I stop everywhere, check out the sites. There's a dusty hole beside a school bus, a barking dog locked up inside. No way. At the next, the sun is setting and it begins to get serious. This one, at a boat launch is another dusty mess. If I had to-- I go on and check out out in the middle of nowhere site which is almost okay except for the red ants. If they were black I might have stayed. So it is on to CROW BUTTE State Park CG. I pick site 36. They want $19 but I only pay $13. I don't want a full hook-up nor do I want to subsidize those who do. What about those dust holes I was just in? This isn't right. I should have documented this. I cook soup and watch the full moon rise.

10-4 THUR
It's cool in the morning but the sun soon warms it up. I have tea with gas-saturated cereal. Have to do something about that- but what? Gas elsewhere or food? They fit just right the way they are. I take a fifty cent shower then slowly pack up. I notice the "Rattlesnake Area" sign. I'm sure the rattlesnakes pay attention to this and stay on their side. Good thing I didn't cowboy camp like I was thinking about. I pass the time thinking up rattlesnake fishing guide- leather wadders, mouse lures, etc.

It's windy as I head out. A yellow hazes, wheat dust, is kicked up. I take the road across Columbia Crest and stop at the view point above Prosser, then down into town. Cruise around, gas up, pay $$$ for film. I stop in the next town for Mexican lunch. The street is full of cars so I figure it must be good. I walk in and I'm the only one there. Oops. So I get two pork tacos which are okay. When I leave I notice that there's another restaurant next door- but still, I wouldn't be on it. There's probably a bar nearby.

I stop in Toppenish and check out the depot. I shouldn't but go over to take a photo of the freight house. Sure enough I get noticed and begin to talk with Doug. He tells me all sorts of things and invites me on the tour. We spend a couple of hours talking. They among other things are restoring an old Northern Pacific steam locomotive, No. 1364, a S-4 class 4-6-0. It's very cool. As is the depot. I could be talked into building a model.

Finally I break myself away. I look around Zillah for the famous teakettle gas station but I don't find it. It's getting late. I have to push on into Yakima and still find am ATM/Wells Fargo. I have to fight the sun in my eyes looking for the dumb thing. I've had it, I switching to the Gramma's (Washington Mutual). I'm very disappointed with the Valley Market. There's no good selection of meat. I jump back on the highway and go over the Red Apple in Selah, find a steak, potato, two beers, an apple and cookies for $10. And recall when leaving there's a Wells Fargo right there.

I head up the Lower Yakima River Canyon and find a campsite at ROSA BLM CG. Actually, I have my choice. It's a dirt bowl but nice enough. I set up my tent quick before dark. There's a campfire ban so I cheat a bit and start some briquettes I scrounge up. It's a nice night. There's one screaming train at 3 a.m.

10-5 FRI
Chilly morning, wait for sun- long time in Yakima Canyon. Slowly pack up and have breakfast apple and expresso tea (almost no water left). Sun finally hits when I'm about ready to go. Check out other campsites, same dust holes but okay. Hey, this canyon is perfect, it has everything- cheap camping with picnic tables, well, okay, no water, fishing, some of the best in Washington I'm told, and trains. What more do you want? Oh, how about a great bike road? A short one but fun. I stop to look at some fishermen. After a few minutes they haven't done anything so I begin to go, then of course the catch one. Humm. There are more fishermen along the way but I go into Ellensburg. I wonder what the heck I am doing? I hate it when I don't have a plan. This is probably the best fishing around so I decide to go back. I stop just inside the canyon, a little past the RR bridge where there are a couple of cars up the way. I figure I'm far enough however find them closer to me than their cars, so I move further up. Put my gear on, chose the standard tan caddis. Within a few casts I begin to get some hits. Oops, he rips the fly away, breaks the line. Humm, should have replaced that leader two years ago. I move up a ways and finally, after another few moves upstream I finally snag one. He's a whopper, a whole six inches! A beauty. Oh well, at least it is a fish.

At the shore someone is yelling, asking me if that's my motorcycle, the one with it's light on. Yeah, that sounds like mine. No big deal. The battery's fresh enough and I wasn't going to be out much longer. But this guy won't let me rest from his good deed. He tells me his name is Ernie Eaton. Ernie tells me his story. Poor guy, was in a coma for months, a car accident in the military. He shows me how he writes everything down, repeats it. Likes his motorcycle. Never took off his helmet. Finally, I tell him I have to go back and fish some more. I don't, but I have to... I do a little more fishing and give up. It's time to go.

Stop at Glenn's favorite Taco Bell, where his gas pump went out last time we were fishing. We should come back and spend a few days fishing- I head on to Blewett Pass, have to stop at the Meadows Lodge and clean my contacts. Much appreciated. I was dangerous. Take the old highway up and coast down the other side. It's a beautiful day. I swing through orchards, they are all picked. I stop at the Leavenworth ranger station to check on the weather. Sunny there, it's always sunny, rain Sunday, so much for that theory, and they don't know and don't care what the forecast is for Seattle. Sorry I asked.

I go up the Chumstick and stop at the PLAIN store, check the newspaper that says partly cloudy. That's not bad, I'm staying. I go shopping for a balanced meal, canned salmon, corn chips, salad in a bag and what the heck, three beers, it's Friday night. I get a Siberian sandwich too, though it makes it home. I stop at Lake Wenatchee NF CG for water. Almost talk myself into the $11.00 but just can't do it. I try. There were some nice sites. No, I'm going up the hill, to freeze my ass off.

There's still time to fight the sun home. No man, I'm not doing that. I'm camping one more night. At the summit I take the old highway, stop for some bad photos and a beer. Don't drink and drive. Cross the washed out hiking bridge to the other side. Catch a train coming out of the tunnel. I could camp here but no, it's too junky. Back onto the highway and off again quick, to Cathedral of the Trees campsite. All mine. Quick set up the site, then run up Martin Creek to find some firewood. Find a nice one, yard it on down. Bumpy, no helmet law. Set up camp and suck beers down, eat dinner by campfire light. Fun.

10-6 SAT
Everything was great- until I heard those first rain drops. Nothing real bad but a steady pitter-patter of sure wetness. Though it wasn't cold I had been trying to wait for it to warm up but now I knew it wasn't going to happen. Better get moving. Break camp before it gets too bad. A fire is too much trouble. Some one will have a nice little fire waiting for them next summer. I work my rain gear on as I pack up.

It's just wet and cold enough I don't want to bother stopping at Skykomish for breakfast like I had planned. I carefully work my way down the hill. Lots of traffic the other way. Saturday rush. It goes nuts when I reach Monroe. Poor little Monroe just can't handle all the traffic. Finally I give up and decide not to take the direct route home (would I ever make it?) and take the highway south to Woodenville. Again, good thing I'm not going the other way, it was impossible, backed up for miles, all the way up the hill. By now it's stopped raining, there are even spots of blue. I stop at the Chevron in Mukilteo to gas up. I'm back home by 10:30.

862 miles, 21.1 gallons of gas, 40.85 mpg.

It was a nice little trip. Good to get out. I should do more of these whenever I get the chance. A couple per year, at least, if not a real tour.

Washington is a cool State. Diverse, rich. From the Columbia River, to the deserts, vast wheat lands, the rich central valleys. Especially nice this time of year with the rich colors, the fresh harvest. And of course the great mountains. I was refreshed. I needed the airing out.


  Next Log - 2002  




   MOTORCYCLE TOUR LOG - INDEX

  1980   Datsun Roadster Trip - Sorry, no log

  1981   Solo On My New Bike - Sorry, no log

  1982   We Need More Time! - Sorry, not loaded yet

  1983   Stray Cat Tour - Quit Your Job and Go All Summer

  1984   Lost Tour - Colorado, Havasu, Lake Powell

  1985   Girl-i-tus Tour -

  1986   Alb Q Q Loop -

  1987   Freeze Fry Trip -

  1988   The Grand Tour -

  1989   ALASKA - The Ultimate Tour -

  1990   A Month, A Week and A Few Days -

  1991   The Forgotten Trip - No Motorcycles!

  1992   NO TOUR - Sorry, not loaded

  1993   NO TOUR - Sorry, not loaded

  1994   Who's In Charge? Tour -

  1995   Not Sure Where Tour - No real plan

  1996   Back To Alaska - Sorry, not loaded

  1996   Jasper Car Camping - Sorry, not loaded

  1996   Broken Cut Foot Tour -

  1997   What Trip? - Sorry, not loaded

  1998   TOUR - Sorry, not loaded

  1999   TOUR - Sorry, not loaded

  2000   Nailed In Montuna - Sorry, not loaded

  2001   A Tiny Solo Trip - Sorry, not loaded





    A MONTH, A WEEK
    and A FEW DAYS

    Motorcycle Stories


    ODD TALES
    and STRANGE STORIES

    Truth blended with Fiction


    T O U R   L O G S    



    P H O T O   G A L L E R Y    



    I N   T H E   G A R A G E    

    Miscellany







    TOP    

  C. C. CROW     P. O. BOX 1427      MUKILTEO, WA   98275   USA