Home After 5,592 miles / 9,000 kilometers

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Canada 2015. Days 27 & 28 (Aug 25 & 26, 2015). It took us two days to go back home from Marina, CA. This is a trip that one would normally do in one day on a car but we wanted to take time to enjoy the California shore and we did not want to cross Los Angeles during the rush hour traffic of the late afternoon. So, on the 27th day of our trip we rode to Ojai, CA, a touristic town nested in the Topatopa Mountains of Ventura County, north west of LA. We left Marina after breakfast at around 9:30 pm. A few miles south of Monterrey, CA, CA-1 begins to runs along the shoreline although usually high above the sea level. Our first stop was to watch a group of at least three whales that were swimming (and perhaps feeding) in the kelp forest close to the shore. The whales would take short dives and then emerge spouting water. Sometimes we could see large portions of their bodies out of the water. We managed to take a few shots of the plumes of water shooting out from one whale’s blowhole. The next stop was at Sea Otter to enjoy the view of the beach below and of the Rocky Creek Bridge. We continued riding south and stopping frequently to take pictures and to enjoy the breathtaking views of the shoreline. After passing Big Sur the traffic was lighter and the ride more enjoyable. I have done this stretch of CA-1 many times on a car but it is so much better on a motorcycle; there is no comparison. The next major break was to visit the elephant seals near San Simeon. The bulls were quite content lying on the sand. No major fights erupted while we were there. From San Simeon we rode to Morro Bay to visit the impressive Morro Rock—a 581-foot-high mountain of volcanic rock rising from the water. You cannot visit the rock without wondering about the decision of placing an ugly power plant across the bay from it. The plant started operations in the 1950s and it was officially shut down in 2014. Dynegy, the Houston-based company that owes the plant, put it on the market for a while but then took it off claiming that the offers for the plant were too low. I can’t wait to see that disgusting thing demolished but that might never happen.

From Morro Bay we took CA- and US-101 south. Right before Santa Maria we left the freeway and took CA-166 towards New Cuyama. The road runs along the Twitchell Reservoir (which is normally empty except after significant amounts of rainfall during the winter) and the Cuyama River (also dry) on a canyon between the Caliente Range of San Luis Obispo County and the Sierra Madre Mountains of Santa Barbara County. At the end of the canyon CA-166 opens up into the Cuyama Valley passing cattle ranches and large irrigated fields planted with vegetables that grow well in sandy soils, like carrots. The name “Cuyama” comes from the Chumash word kuyam, meaning “clam”. We did not see any but apparently fossilized clams are very common in that area. A few miles after New Cuyama we turned south onto CA-33, known in that area as the Maricopa Highway. From Ventucopa, CA, to Ojai the road is a lot of fun to ride as it crosses the Pine Mountain Ridge (part of Transverse Ranges of Southern California).  We took a 5-mile detour onto Pine Mountain Ridge Road (a single lane paved road) which takes you to two campgrounds (Pine Mountain and Reyes) located at 7,000 feet in a dense pine forest. There are two additional campgrounds (Raspberry and Chorro Grande) that can be accessed from that road but one must hike to get there. These campgrounds offer breathtaking vistas of the areas around. To the north are the dry, rugged Cuyama Badlands; on other side are the tree-covered mountains of the Los Padres National Forest and the ocean beyond. We sat for a while under the tall pines of the Pine Mountain Campground admiring the amazing infrastructure that “yanquilandia” offers for outdoors activities. Campgrounds, trails, visitor centers, view points, National, State, and County Parks, National Seashores, State Beaches. The US National Forest alone lists 2,383 developed campgrounds. The National Trails Database lists 1,256 National Recreation Trails (NRT) in all 50 states. Many more trails are yet to be granted the status as an NRT so there is a lot of hiking trails to choose from in this country. The US is a great place to play outdoors. We arrived at Ojai in the late afternoon and checked in at the Blue Iguana Inn. After unpacking the bikes and getting out of the ridding gear, we went for dinner at Agave Maria’s Restaurant & Cantina. Adrián had fish tacos and I had fajitas. We enjoyed Stone IPAs and a lot of water. It was a long day of riding.

On day 28 after a lovely breakfast at Blue Iguana we rode for two hours on the well-maintained but still awful freeways of Metropolitan Los Angeles to get back home. We completed 5,592 miles (9,000 kilometers) on our motorcycles and rode through some amazing places. We have built so many memories; we have met so many interesting people on their own journeys. A fortuitous encounter with Craig from Calgary in a hostal in Argentina was the trigger for this adventure. Our minds are already thinking about the next one.

ps: In the days after our arrival to Claremont, our dear nephew Nicolas purchased a beautiful KLR 650. We are very proud of him and hope he can endure the huge amount of shit he will get from his friends for acquiring such a low performance motorcycle.

Screen Shot 2015-08-27 at 11.13.49 PM

Through the Golden Gates

Tags

, , , ,

Canada 2015. Days 26 (Aug 24, 2015). We left Point Reyes in the morning at around 10 am. We got gas in town and then took CA-1 south (CA-1 is known as the Shoreline Highway in this neck of the woods). We wanted to spend some time riding in Marin County before crossing the Golden Gate Bridge. A layman’s reading of the maps of this area led me to suspect that this segment of CA-1 is pretty much following San Andreas Fault from Port Reyes Station all the way to the Bolinas Lagoon. Even with that thought in mind, the ride was quite nice in the cool morning. At the Bolinas Lagoon CA-1 runs very close to the water (there is even some flooding warning signs on the road). At Stinson Beach we turned left onto Panoramic Highway, a beautiful ride despite the fact that locals—who presumably know all the turns—drive through it very fast and with very little patience for the slow driving visitors who are trying to enjoy the gorgeous scenery. We rode on Panoramic Highway to the intersection with Muir Woods Road. We took Muir Woods Road all the way back to CA-1 but in the way there we stop to go for a walk among the lovely redwoods that grow along Redwood Creek at the Muir Woods National Monument. This is a lovely place to enjoy the beauty of the giants. Sadly the creek is almost dry because of the drought. I wanted to show Adrián some banana slugs but we could not find any. We took CA-1 to US-101 and headed south towards San Francisco. We turned off the freeway onto Conzelman Road at the last exit before the bridge. We followed the road all the way to the Point Bonita Lighthouse stopping frequently to take photos of the Golden Gate Bridge. From the lighthouse we went to Rodeo Cove and then took Bunker Road all the way to the freeway (US-101 and CA-1 overlap here). We crossed the Golden Gate Bridge looking up and admiring its structure. It is a quite impressive 2 km-long suspension bridge and has become one of the most recognized symbols of San Francisco. Building the bridge was apparently a pain in the neck. After crossing the bridge we continued on CA-1 in the direction of Pacifica, CA. We tried to avoid cities as much as possible and San Francisco was not exception. From Pacifica we rode to Montara, CA, and then to Half Moon Bay. We wanted to find a place to eat and we finally stop near Pescadero State Beach. We sat at a picnic table with a lovely view of the ocean. The main dish was beef jerky with crackers. For dessert we had dried apricots and almonds. We stop again in Santa Cruz and then continued south towards Marina, CA. There was a lot of rush hour traffic between Santa Cruz and Watsonville. We know this area relatively well because we have stayed in Watsonville several times before when we came to MotoGP races at Laguna Seca, near Monterrey. We arrived in Marina at 5 pm and checked in at the Holliday Inn Express and Suites Marina. Our room was right across the fitness room so Adrián felt compelled to exercise for a while. For dinner we went to the Kula Ranch Island Steakhouse but we do not recommend it. The food was mediocre and expensive and the beer selection very poor—to the point that we had water with our meal.

Screen Shot 2015-08-27 at 12.13.30 PM

Screen Shot 2015-08-27 at 12.12.53 PM

Point Reyes

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Canada 2015. Days 24 & 25 (Aug 22 & 23, 2015). On this trip we visited two friends, Craig in Calgary and Jane in Point Reyes Station. We were surprised to find coincidences between them that we did not expect. Jane is Australian and Craig is Canadian so they are both subjects of her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. They both live in beautiful houses in the countryside away from the nearest big city. And more surprisingly, they both have a book about cabins (written by the same authors) on the living room table. I had taken a picture of the cover of Craig’s book because I wanted to buy it. I was so surprised when I picked up virtually the same book from Jane’s coffee table!

On day 24 we rode from Fort Bragg to Jane’s house near Point Reyes Station. For breakfast we went to a Starbucks so we could use the WIFI. We ordered two cappuccinos and sat there for more than one hour. Many people came and went while we were there but one person caught our attention. A guy who was riding a very good-looking KLR (the pre 2008 model) with a cool bright yellow paint job. He was coming from his hometown, Santa Cruz, and going to a friend’s wedding in Arcata. Unfortunately, we forgot his name so for now we are calling him Jeff. If you ever read this Jeff, please let us know your real name so we can change it here. We talked about the general awesomeness of the KLR and about how hard are the Michelin Anakee IIIs (the new tires he has on his KLR and I have on my F800GS). We left Fort Bragg at about 11 am following CA-1 south. It was cloudy and relatively cold. At the Navarro River estuary we missed the turn to stay on CA-1 and took CA-128 instead. I realized of the mistake when all of the sudden we were ridding in a redwood forest and the clouds were gone. We kept going to visit the vineyards around Navarro in Mendocino County. At Boonville, CA, we took Mountain View Road to go back to the coast. This is yet another rugged mountain road that goes up and down like a roller coaster in the forest. There are lots of beautiful Pacific madrone trees (Arbutus menziesii) along this road. The red exfoliating bark of the madrone reminded us of the “Arrayán” or Chilean myrtle (Luma apiculata) of the Valdivian temperate rain forest of Patagonia. By the time we reached the coast we were back under clouds and the temperature went down significantly. We followed CA-1 south crossing several little towns. A few miles before Jenner, CA-1 goes down into the Russian Gulch Creek in a series of long twists. We crossed the Russian River at Jenner, and then stop near Portuguese Beach close to Bodega Bay to photograph the numerous guano-covered stacks. From Bodega Bay, CA-1 goes inland and then comes back to the shore at the narrow Tomales Bay. Point Reyes Station sits at the southern end of the bay but not near the water. We arrived at Jane’s house at around 4 pm. That night we went out for oysters at a restaurant called Saltwater in Inverness. The oysters were good but we were overcharged.

The following morning we went for a hike with Jane and her Londoner friend Rowena. From the Bear Valley Visitor Center we took the Bear Valley Trail to a large meadow—a distance of 1.6 miles according to Google maps. It was a lovely walk through a Douglas Fir forest. Many large California Bay Laurel trees that grow along the trail give out a scent that can be smelled while hiking. In the way back to the visitor center we found a “Motos al Sinfin” card carefully placed on top of a flip-flop by the trail. One can only wonder who could have lost such a precious item (the card, not the flip-flop). We suspect yet another subject of Queen Elizabeth II. In the afternoon we drove to the Point Reyes Lighthouse. The road into the Point Reyes National Seashore is a bit bumpy but offers great vistas. We arrived to the lighthouse right before closing. As we were going down the 308 steps to reach the lighthouse, we briefly saw a whale spouting water into the air. There was a shearwater migration happening at the time. We saw thousands of birds flying south around the point. There was a never ending stream of birds that kept moving along the point for as long as we were there. I had never seen something like that; it was awesome! That night we went for dinner at Osteria Stellina in Point Reyes Station. We had a mussel appetizer and then Adrián had pasta with clams and Jane and I shared a white fish dish. We had a bottle of Prosecco two help digest the food.

Screen Shot 2015-08-26 at 2.41.25 PM

Screen Shot 2015-08-27 at 7.59.47 AM

Screen Shot 2015-08-27 at 8.05.30 AM

The Coast of Giants

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Canada 2015. Days 22 & 23 (Aug 20 & 21, 2015). The coasts of Southern Oregon and Northern California share important features. The coastline is a mixed of sea cliffs and long beaches. In Oregon, the beaches are frequently inhabited by sea stacks—steep columns of rock that look like giant sentinels guarding the coast. A different kind of giant inhabits the humid woods near the coast, the amazing redwood Sequoia sempervirens. In our ride down the Oregon and California shoreline we met both giants up close. We left the Eel Creek Campground after breakfast (we had kettle corn again but with white sugar this time) and rode south on US-101. We visited the area of Horsfall Beach on the dunes sandwiched between Coos Bay and the Pacific and then crossed the beautiful McCullough Memorial Bridge onto North Bend, OR. In North Bend we stop at a hardware store—the Oregon Pacific Company—that we had discovered a few years back in our trip with Lucas and Lucía. We browsed the tools and gadgets for a while and then continued south. We took a break at the cute little town of Bandon, OR, and visited the log-infested beach at Bandon South Jetty County Park. We were surprised to see people fishing on boats at the mouth of the Coquille River. It was cold and you could barely see the end of the jetties because of the fog. South of Bandon we took a detour to the Cape Blanco lighthouse and the beautiful Hughes House (built in 1898). The Hughes were immigrants from Ireland who settled very close to Cape Blanco circa 1860. They purchased a thousand acres of land and established a cattle farm. The State of Oregon purchased the house from the Hughes descendants in 1971. It was very windy at Cape Blanco and the clouds were following us south so we did not spend much time there. We stop briefly at Port Orford (the westernmost city in the contiguous United States) and took a picture of the interesting Battle Rock. We stop several times to enjoy the scenery (i.e. rest our hurting butts) until we finally crossed the Oregon-California border. After getting gas in Smith River, CA, we took CA-197 towards the Jedediah Smith Redwood State Park. We were planning to take Howland Hill Road, a narrow road that crosses the heart of the park among amazing redwood groves. Unfortunately the road was closed because there was a fire nearby (not sure where) so we took US-199 instead and rode among the giants. The feeling of riding a motorcycle around these towers that are 80 to 100 meters tall is just incredible. Photographing the giants with insufficient light was not easy but we tried. We spent an hour walking in some of the groves that are accessible from US-199 and then rode to the beautiful Mill Creek Campground where we had reserved a site to spend the night. There are plenty of relatively young redwoods in the campground and also many dead stumps of huge trees that were logged in the 1920’s. There are also beautiful red alders and maples among the redwoods. After setting up the tent, we walked through the campground and made dinner.

On day 23 we rode south to Fort Bragg, CA. There was fog along the shore, which added a bit of mystery to the ride. US-101 crosses patches of redwoods here and there. With fog the giant trees looked even more fantastic!  In Eureka, CA, we stop at an office of the AAA (automobile club) to get some maps of California. South of Eureka we left the freeway to visit the cute town of Ferndale, CA, which has many well-preserved Victorian houses. From there we took a curvy, narrow, and bumpy road to Petrolia, CA. The road rolls up and down hills through an alpine forest. Near Capetown (an old stagecoach stop) the road goes though an open area of grasslands—with expansive views of the mountains around—and then runs along the coastline. The shore felt very remote, far far way from everything. Not very many people seem to leave the freeway and venture in this direction. Except for three people kite surfing and a couple taking pictures, most of the traffic seemed to be local. The feeling of isolation was awesome. From Petrolia we continued onto Honeydew, CA, where we stop for Gatorade and ice cream. There was a lot of smoke in the air from fires nearby. We continued onto Briceland on another curvy, slow mountain road with patches of gravel. From there we took the Briceland-Thorn Rd. towards the freeway. I was riding first warning Adrián about problems (e.g. rough patches) on the road. At a given point on a curve Adrián tried to avoid a bump, lost control of the bike, and ended up in the ditch. All I heard was something like “Shit. I fell. I am OK. I am OK”. A woman on a pickup truck who saw the fall stop immediately. She was walking towards Adrian as I was coming back on my bike. She told us that a similar thing happened to her recently on her dirt bike back home in North Carolina. With the help of a guy who stop, we picked up the KLR and Adrián rode it out of the sandy ditch. The bike had minor scratches and Adrián was fine. We talked for a while about what happened and then got the bike into the ditch again to take a picture. I was so relieved to see that Adrián was OK. We continued riding and joined US-101 at Garberville, CA. The freeway becomes a two-way road at several points when it goes through redwood groves. Near Leggett, we took CA-1 (aka the Pacific Coast Highway, or PCH, or the Cabrillo Highway), which would take us down all the way to Los Angeles. PCH is an amazing road. From the interception with US-101 near Leggett, PCH goes down to the Pacific curving back and forth like a never-ending snake through gorgeous redwood forests. We had to stop to get warmer clothing because it got very cold as we were coming down towards the ocean. By the time we reached the Pacific the sun was still high above the horizon behind a pink veil of fog and smoke. At Fort Bragg we got a room at the Surf and Sand Lodge, which was expensive and with a non-functional internet connection. They claim to have a very good system but it does not work. But at least the room had a Jacuzzi so Adrián took a long laundry/bath. For dinner we went to Point Noyo Restaurant and Bar. I forgot what we ate but it was good.

Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 5.41.36 PM

Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 5.49.30 PM

West to the Pacific

Tags

, , , , , , , , ,

Canada 2015. Day 21 (Aug 19, 2015). Limberlost was beautiful in the morning. There are only 12 sites in the campground so it is very quiet. We made coffee and popcorn and slowly got the bikes ready. We left the campground at around 9 am. I had planned a route from the Cascades to the Oregon Coast on roads that were new to us. I was particularly excited about riding Forest Service Road 19 or Aufderheide Drive, which is the southernmost portion of the West Cascades Scenic Byway. The road is named after Robert Aufderheide, who was the Willamette National Forest supervisor from 1954 to 1959. We took the NF-19 from OR-126, a few miles west of McKenzie Bridge. The road goes straight south towards the dam of Cougar Reservoir. We crossed over the dam to take some photos of this impressive structure filled with basalt rock from the cliffs in both sides. The 452-foot dam is the tallest rock-filled structure in Oregon. The level of the lake seemed very low to us even though it is supposed to be kept high during the summer months to allow for recreational activities. We continued south bordering the west side of the reservoir. At the end of the lake, NF-19 follows the South Fork of the McKenzie River for a while amongst beautiful tall Douglas firs and maples. This is one of the prettiest roads we have ridden on this trip. There was very little traffic and the woods were gorgeous. Unfortunately there was still quite a bit of smoke in the air. We briefly stop at the Box Canyon guard station where there is a replicate of a log cabin built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1933. Box Canyon represents the highest point on the road. From there the road goes down to cross and follow the North Fork of the Middle Fork of the Willamette River all the way to Westfir, OR. At Westfir we rode over the 180-foot Office Bridge, the longest covered bridge in Oregon.

From Westfir we took Route 58 towards Eugene, OR. We wanted to avoid Interstate-5 so we turned south on Cloverdale Road in the direction of Creswell, OR, where we stop for gas. From Creswell we took Camas Swale Rd., Hamm Rd. and Territorial Highway to Lorane, OR. This was another pretty ride alternating between farms and woods. We continued south to Drain, OR, where we took OR-38, the Umpqua Highway, towards Reedsport. At Elkton, OR, we stop for a bite at Tomaselli’s Pastry Mill & Cafe. Adrián and I shared a delicious sandwich of salmon with a yummy wasabi-mayo dressing. From Elkton, Route 38 begins to follow the Umpqua River all the way to the Pacific Ocean. As the Umpqua gets closer to the Ocean, it grows in size, resembling a long skinny blue-green lake. Once we reached the Oregon Coast we rode south on US-101 and begun to look for a place to camp. This is the region of the huge Oregon Dunes, a favorite spot for people who love to ride ATVs (All Terrain Vehicles) and motorcycles on the sand. A few miles before North Bend we stumbled upon Eel Creek Campground where we found a campsite to spend the night. There was already firewood in the site so we had a nice fire that night. Unfortunately, the guy on the RV on the site next door to us run a loud Ryobi generator until 9:30 pm. I don’t understand why the National Forest Campgrounds allow generators to be run from 6 am to 10 pm. It seems excessive. Dinner time should be free of generator noise pollution. The quiet time for people (10 pm to 6 am) should be different from the time for generator use. For dinner we had a potato cheddar soup and kettle corn made with brown sugar. Once the stupid generator shut up we could here the ocean far away. When Adrián went to sleep, I stayed by the fire for a little longer. It was cloudy and cold.

Screen Shot 2015-08-23 at 3.07.39 PM

Qué Camino Divino! (Burning Oregon)

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Canada 2015. Days 19 & 20 (Aug 17 & 18, 2015). Adrián and I talked almost constantly while we are riding. It is usually about the landscape or the pains of riding a motorcycle for so many hours a day. In this trip the phrase that we have uttered the most—without any doubt—has been “Que camino divino!” (What a beautiful road!) Day after day we have encountered amazing roads. Roads that are fun and safe to ride; roads that go through very beautiful places. We planned the trip trying to avoid freeways and large cities as much as possible. That helps a lot. But both Canada and the US have an abundance of roads that one could ride for years without getting bored. We have heard and said the phrase “Qué Camino Divino!” so many times now, that we have lately switched to the sarcastic “Otro camino feo” (Another ugly road). Unfortunately we cannot take pictures of these wonderful roads as we are riding. The photos that we do share here don’t really capture the beauty of those roads. When Lucas, Lucía, Adrián and I came to the Cascades a few years ago, we took route 25 around Mt. Saint Helen. I remember thinking at the time that 25 would be a great road to do on a motorcycle one day. Today was that day. The road was as beautiful as I remembered it but there are many patches that are rough and bumpy. This is a road to ride carefully. We left La Wis Wis after breakfast and rode to Randle where we stop for gas. On Randle we took route 25 south. A few miles from Randle we visited the lovely Iron Creek Campground, where we had stayed with my kids before. Adrián and I rode by our site, 12 A, which looked as good as it did back then. We turned off route 25  into NF-99 to visit the north face of Mt. Saint Helens. On May 18, 1980, a lateral eruption destroyed the north side of the volcano and also the woods and their inhabitants (including people) for miles around. The vast explosion was followed by major mudslides that run down the valleys around the mountain. I remember the amazing pictures of the explosion in National Geographic. I could not read English back then but I did not need too. The pictures did the talking and the devastation was incredible. After all these years vegetation has come back to the area but the signs of the eruption are still obvious. On Spirit Lake at the foot of Saint Helens, hundreds of logs from the killed trees are still floating today.

From NF-99 we could clearly see Mount Rainier and what to us look like a long line of white clouds in the horizon. We did not know it at the time but we were looking at a major plume of smoke from fires in Western Washington State. After visiting Saint Helens, we continued south on 25 and then took Routes 51 and 30 towards Carson. At around the Trapper Creek Wilderness area, we begun to smell and see smoke. By the time we got to the Columbia River (the one we had crossed in two ferries back in British Columbia) we could see smoke on the mountains in every direction. We crossed the majestic Columbia on the Bridge of the Gods (named after a major landslide that temporarily dammed the Columbia circa 1450). We briefly stop at the Cascade Locks to see the salmon fishing scene—which was not as impressive as the last time we were here—and then rode directly to the Hood River Inn in Hood River, OR. We had a lovely dinner on the outside patio of the hotel overlooking the Columbia. Adrian had spaghetti with salmon and I had gnocchi of lobster. We both enjoyed very nice IPAs brewed locally.

On day 18, we had a major breakfast courtesy of Best Western. We sat at the outside patio of the hotel. There was still a lot of smoke in the air. Adrián ordered scrambled eggs with chorizo, onions, and potatoes. I had a bagel with smoked salmon and potatoes. It took us a while to get the bikes ready after breakfast. We got gas at the service station next to the hotel and then rode to a nearby Yamaha dealer to buy chain lube. Most gas stations in the US do not carry anything for motorcycles. We took Route 35 south towards Mount Hood and could not believe the amount of smoke in the air. We could see the impressive peak of the volcano but behind a thick veil of smoke. The valley south of Hood River is quite pretty; full of apple and pear orchards. We got to Mt. Hood in no time and went up to the Timberline Lodge where two years ago we had taken a picture of us with the bikes and Mt. Hood in the background. From the parking area one can see for miles all the mountains in the area. There was smoke in every direction. It seemed as if the entire state of Oregon was burning. From Mt. Hood we rode to Detroit, OR, following roads that we had ridden before, National Forest Roads 42 (Oregon Skyline Road) and 46 (Breitenbush Road). In Detroit we stop for gas and ice cream. It was quite hot and there was a lot of smoke in the air there too. We then continued south on Route 22 and the US-20 to the town of Sisters, OR. Our final destination was the lovely Limberlost Campground where Adrián and I had spent the night twice before. My kids and I call the place the campground of the huckleberry girl because the first time we stayed there we met a lovely girl who was going around the campground picking huckleberries. From Sisters we took route 212 towards Mackenzie Bridge. This is a great road for motorcycles. A few miles from the town the road goes though a large field of lava from where one can enjoy great views of the Three Sisters volcanoes (North, Middle, and South Sister) to the south and Mt. Washington to the north. Beyond the lava fields the road begins to go down twisting for several miles under the canopy of gorgeous trees. Limberlost is hidden in the woods by the pretty Lost Creek about a mile before the interception of 212 and 216. The campground does not have water so we had to filter water from the creek to cook. After dinner we walked around admiring the beautiful trees. Only a few huckleberries were left this late in the summer.

 

Screen Shot 2015-08-22 at 6.18.13 PM

Screen Shot 2015-08-22 at 6.23.59 PM

Mount Rainier

Tags

, , , , , , , ,

Canada 2015. Days 17 & 18 (Aug 15 & 16, 2015). After breakfast in the hotel at Port Angeles we loaded the bikes and took US-101 east and then south towards Olympia, WA. It was a cloudy and cold morning but the ride was gorgeous. US-101 runs through dense woods along the eastern coast of the Olympic Peninsula facing the sea (the Hood Canal). We stop at a bay where several people were harvesting oyster at low tide. Each person carried a big bucket where they collected the harvest. We walked on the oyster beds for a while and Adrián even tried one. We got gas at Olympia and then stop at Yelm, WA, to get some supplies at an evil Walmart. We reached the Nisqually entrance of Mount Rainier National Park at around 2 pm. It was very cold and wet. We rode through the splendid trees of the park stopping at every campground hoping to find a place to camp. The sign at the park’s entrance indicated that all the campgrounds were full; a typical state-of-affairs for a summer weekend. We took a few pictures of the twisty road but the low clouds were hiding Mount Rainier from us. We had been here before and remembered the imposing presence of the big active volcano. By the time we got to Ohanapecosh, the last campground in our route, we had lost all hope of finding a place to spend the night inside the park. We rode thought Ohanapecosh to visit the campsite we had used with Lucas and Lucía a few years back and then headed south on Route 123. We had not driving much beyond the park boundary when we stumbled upon La Wis Wis, one of the hundreds of great National Forest campgrounds that can be found everywhere in the US. La Wis Wis was nearly full but we managed to find an open campsite. We pitched the tent and went to pay the 20 dollars fee to the campground host. He confirmed that we could stay in there until Monday. We were quite happy because La Wis Wis is as pretty as Ohanapecosh. We were cooking dinner when a woman in a little van stop at our site. She apparently had made a reservation for our site and was understandably very upset to find it occupied. She showed me the computer printout clearly indicating that Ms. Chen had reserved our site a long time ago. I suggested that she talk to the host. We were very worry that we would have to move all our stuff. Thankfully, the host found another spot for poor Ms. Chen.

After breakfast the next morning we rode north on Route 123 to Sunrise, at the northeastern corner of Rainier. The view of the giant from Sunrise is truly spectacular. Inspired by the mountain we took a long hike. We stop for lunch (beef jerky, almonds, and dried apricots) at a lovely little lake on the trail. According to the map back at the parking lot of the visitor center at Sunrise, the loop we hiked was 6 miles long but I doubt it. It was good exercise though. After the hike we rode to Bumping Lake on routes 123 and 410. Route 410 is quite pretty. After crossing Chinook Pass (5,346 feet) to road goes down to Bumping River. The river drains the man-made reservoir called Bumping Lake. The level of the reservoir was quite low. There are quite a bit of campgrounds along the river and also by the lake. We stop to rest at one of the sites by the lake where we met Amy from Seattle and two of her friends whose name unfortunately we forgot. They were very friendly and invited us for a beer at their campsite. Amy proudly showed us her cute blue camper, which she is planning to use for a trip to Yellowstone in the fall. After talking to Amy and friends for a while we went by the lake to get some hydra; we did not find any. We rode back to the campground and made dinner (i.e. boiled two cups of water and pored it into the Mountain House pouch of Chicken with Rice). After dinner we went for a walk though the beautiful campground, which was almost empty on the Sunday evening.

 

Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 11.11.59 PM

Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 11.17.59 PM

Crossing Juán de Fuca

Tags

, , , , ,

Canada 2015. Day 16 (Aug 14, 2015). Juán de Fuca was born Ioánnis Phokás in the island of Cefalonia (Greece). He was a pilot working for the Spanish Crown when he explored the strait that separates Vancouver Island from the Olympic Peninsula. De Fuca was in search of the fabled Northwest Passage connecting the Pacific and the Atlantic Oceans. In order to cross the Juan de Fuca Strait we were in line at the ferryboat by 9 am. Motorcycles are allowed to go to a special place ahead of the cars. While waiting with the other bikes we met a British guy who lives in Canada and used to ride a KLR, a couple from Boise, ID, on a Harley, and a guy from San Francisco (Victor) on a white BMW F800GS like mine. Victor had been riding the dirt logging roads of the island with a local guy and was in his way back home. At one point we were interviewed by the US customs guys asking questions like: Do you carry any alcohol or tobacco sir? Any weapons? Are you carrying any fruits or citrus? Have you purchased any merchandise in Canada? We were then asked to go to an office where another guy looked at our passports and gave us a piece of orange cardboard with a number on it and a piece of tape to attach the number to your windshield. It was cloudy when we left Victoria and it was raining when we arrived at Port Angeles. The crossing was quite uneventful except that I found there Jim Carey, a professor colleague of mine who studies demography in insects. I could not believe my eyes when I saw Jim on the boat. He was equally surprised to see me there dressed like an astronaut with my heave jacket, pants and boots. We chat for a while and then he introduced me to his lovely wife. Small world!

As you exit the boat you are stop by another officer who ask you a few more stupid questions. I passed first with a problem; Adrian was behind me. Adrián told guy “I don’t speak English” (I could here the entire conversation through the intercoms). The officer’s response was “Well, you are speaking English now!” After that he asked Adrián a few questions (where is home? who is the president?) and then gave him a lesson about the importance of speaking English. The good thing is that Adrián had no clue about what the jerk was saying. I, on the other hand, was furious and wanted to come back and tell the guy to stop being an asshole! Stupid people with power!

We got gas at Port Angeles and then rode to the Heart of the Hills Campground in Olympic National Park a few miles away. It was foggy and raining when we got there. We waited for a while and then decided to look for a hotel. We checked in at Motel Super 8 in Port Angeles and spent the afternoon resting (blogging) in the room. In the late afternoon we went for a ride at the beautiful Hurricane Ridge Road. We had done this road by car with Lucas and Lucía a few years ago. We rode through the fog (clouds) for a while until we were on top of the clouds with clear skies. It was getting late so there was not a lot of sun and it was very cold but we continued all the way to the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center and then rode back down. We went for a fancy dinner at Cafe Garden. We shared Fried Calamari (much better than any other fried calamari I had ever had) to start. For the main dish Adrían had the Seafood Pot Pie and I have a special of Sockeye Salmon. All great, delicious food.

Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 10.48.13 PM