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It's been a busy summer, but I've managed to sneak away for a few days here and there to spend some quality time with the 2016 Pikes Peak Multi that I picked up last December. I've been experimenting with different windscreen options, added the RapidBike module, louder horn, and been evaluating it as I explore roads new and familiar in the Pacific Northwest. Here are a couple of examples:

July was extremely hot in Boise, and I wanted to go cool off along the Oregon coast, and revisit some incredible roads I did over there last year. My plan was to drive over in my truck to Bend, OR (about 5 hours or so) on an early Thursday morning, then unload the bike and start my journey there. I checked with a few friends, but no one was able to come along, mostly due to my usual short notice in spontaneously planning these trips!

I didn’t take as many photos this year, mostly because I’d taken hundreds of them last year, and I had almost nothing but bright blue skies and harsh sunlight the whole trip. Beautiful and pleasant, but a few clouds are definitely better for photos!

Thursday afternoon’s route was fairly direct from Bend to the coast.



The weather got cooler and cooler as I got closer to the ocean, which was wonderful! Some fun twisty roads along the way, too – a nice warmup to the amazing roads I’d be shredding the next few days. As I drove south along highway 101, I had to stop for a quick selfie.



I spent the night in Florence, OR, which was really a nice place to stay. My little hotel was right on the Siuslaw River, where it meets the ocean. I had some good seafood for dinner, and slept well thinking about the 400 mile route I’d cover on Friday.

Friday morning before I left Florence, I went out on the back patio of my hotel room, and saw this amazing view of the fog lifting over the Art Deco bridge in Florence:



I rode south, and took a slight detour inland to Coquille, so I could ride the really fun road between Coquille and Bandon I’d discovered last year. It was early and the weather was cool, and the fast and flowing corners were a great way to wake up and start the route!



At Port Orford, I remembered a beautiful view from up on a hill over the ocean, so decided to grab a pic of the new bike there.



It was an absolutely beautiful morning, and I felt so blessed to be able to take in such spectacular views along the route, while enjoying motorcycling on amazing roads. I remembered taking some nice photos last year at a really majestic spot just a bit south of Gold Beach. However, when I got there, it was shrouded in fog!





Hard to believe it was the same location where I got this shot last year:



Oh well!

I headed south into California, up through some massive redwoods to the northeast and back into Oregon, and then dropped back down on a super-twisty mountain road into California near Yreka. The tires were getting quite a workout today!
 

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As I went further east, the weather changed from the cold (!) 50 degrees with fog I was experiencing at the coast, to almost 100 degrees. It was hot! I stopped for a few photos at a picturesque desert canyon near Yreka. But stopping and posing the bike was getting really hot, so I headed toward my evening destination of Ashland, OR.









Saturday I’d head north toward Eugene, with hundreds of miles of moto-greatness along the way.



Just outside of Ashland I found a really awesome road I’d not yet tried. The Green Springs Highway (Oregon 66). WOW! Dramatic, steep, tight, twisty fun! Another great wake-up ride! I was glad to have the opportunity to ride it up-and-back, as it was super fun (and empty!).

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. It absolutely blows my mind how many unbelievable motorcycle roads there are in Oregon. It’s astounding. We’ve all been on touring trips where there were incredible sections, but a good bit of boring, straight, uninteresting terrain in between. But I just did nearly 1200 miles over a few days, and almost all of it was utterly fantastic. I feel so fortunate to live so close to such a moto-mecca!

Hwy 138 east of Roseburg (N. Umpqua Highway) is super fun. Along the river, fast and flowing, empty and gorgeous. Reminds me a good bit of Lolo Pass, but not as long and with less traffic.

I had lunch in Roseburg, then continued on to some all-time favorites. Tyee Road is a hoot, and although it wasn’t on my planned route, I had some extra time so I decided to take a detour up the hill on Upper Smith River Road. Holy crap that is a great one! Lots of first and second gear hairpins, steep and fun. And the view toward the top is WOW!



I’m glad I don’t have to pick an all-time favorite moto-road, but if I did, a possible winner would be the Siuslaw River Road near Lorane, OR. I don’t have the words to describe how utterly brilliant this road is. Just the perfect mix of fast, slow, flowing, tight, dark tunnels of forest, brilliant sunshine, it has EVERYTHING. And soooooooooo much fun to ride! It’s so rare that I love a road so much that I double back and do it again and again, but this one I must! And I saw maybe two or three other vehicles in the hour or so I spent there. Completely awesome. Motorcycling heaven.



 

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Spent the final night in Springfield, near Eugene, before heading back to Bend on Sunday morning.



It was a bit chilly for the first couple of hours as I made my way through the deep, dark, remote forest between Westfir and Cougar Reservoir. Around 48 degrees! Thank goodness for heated grips, because even with them my fingers were frozen. Still, I knew it’d be in the 90’s at home, so the cold didn’t bother me too much.



Another new route I’d have the opportunity to try this time, which I hadn’t before, was the Old McKenzie Highway, which runs over a high pass toward Sisters, OR. I can’t wait to do this one again! The first part of it was just NUTS! I’ve been on some tight and narrow corners before, but these were unreal. I was literally laughing inside my helmet as I climbed the mountain, testing the edge of the tires again and again. Hairpin city! Look at this:



The map doesn’t do it justice, because it doesn’t show the elevation changes, the scenery, and the fun. WOW! Four stars for this one, for sure.

Up at the top, there are beautiful views of the Sisters mountains through some surreal looking lava fields.



I made it back to Bend around 11 AM, and loaded up the bike in the truck and headed toward home. Thankfully, the (used) rear tire I’d mounted just before I left had just enough to get me through the trip!





Just an absolutely perfect four-day getaway. I couldn’t be more grateful. I sure wish friends could have come along to share in the fun – but hopefully next time!
 

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When you're riding do you ever double back to get a good photo or do you instantly spot them and are able to slow down in time? I had photography as a hobby for a short time but I do still like taking decent pics with my phone. Sometimes it isn't obvious right away that a great shot was just missed and in my desire to keep going I rarely turn around to get a shot.
 

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On the coastal trip above, I figured I'd hit mostly really hot weather, so I used the little carbon fiber windscreen to get more air flow. It actually wound up being pretty cold much of the trip, and my ears were ringing from all the wind noise. However, although the Ermax windscreen was an improvement over the OEM touring screen, being 6' 2" I still was getting some buffeting that was really annoying. So, I decided to try a Puig clamp-on deflector on the next long trip, up to North Cascades National Park in northern Washington.

I’ve said many times how very blessed I feel to live in the Pacific Northwest, as we have such a ridiculous abundance of outstanding places to ride. The near-perfect combination of beautiful scenery, super fun and twisty roads, endless variety, and hardly any traffic. Yes, it rains and snows sometimes, and we do have a real winter when riding is nearly impossible, but other than that – perfection!

The more I ride in the region, the more challenging it becomes to find new roads to check out. It usually means traveling just a little further to get to the new spots. That’s what I decided to do in late August. I’d heard great things about the North Cascades National Park in northern Washington. I’d even read more than once that it’s considered one of the best motorcycle routes in the entire USA. So, I put together a plan to make a quick weekend ride up that way.



Friday afternoon after work I drove my pickup (with the Ducati in the bed) to Yakima (about 5 1/2 hours), and spent the night there. Early Saturday AM I headed north. Most people heading north from Yakima toward Ellensburg would take Hwy 82. But I learned a long time ago to avoid freeways like the plague while on my rides, and instead to find more interesting (and hopefully twisty and picturesque) alternatives. I looked on the map, and behold a parallel route called “Canyon Road” which looked like it might have good potential.



It sure did! Wow, what a fun road. Canyon Road was the perfect name, because it snaked along a river through the canyon, offering fun riding and great views, for around 25 miles. Hardly any cars on it, which made it even better. I took a couple of shots in the early morning light.





I continued on up Hwy 97, which was a beautiful ride through the forest. After passing through Wenatchee, instead of riding north on Hwy 2 or 97, I took another twisty diversion – this time up the steep and fun (and deserted) Badger Mountain Road. FUN! Speed limit was 50, but it seemed more like an 85 or 90 road to me. Just saying.

Views of Wenatchee toward the top were pretty cool too.





The ride north on Hwy 97 was nice, along the Columbia River. I’d taken photos there on a trip a couple of years ago, so I didn’t bother with them this time. The light wasn’t as good this morning for it, either. I was getting pretty hungry for lunch when I got to the cute little town of Twisp, so I stopped at a bakery there called “Cinnamon Twisp.” Probably the best Turkey Club sandwich I’ve ever had. Seriously, that good. And a really great chocolate chip cookie and iced tea to go with it. Perfect!

When I got to Winthrop, I was astounded at how many motorcycles I saw in the cute little town on the eastern end of the Cascades. That place was hopping! Mostly Harleys, but lots of other bikes too.

Finally it was time to see what all the fuss was about. The ride up into the North Cascades, on Hwy 20. It didn’t take long before it start to get really awesome. And I kept seeing bikes. So many bikes. It felt like I was heading upstream on the road to Sturgis. Mostly Harleys, for sure, but lots of BMW GS’s, and a few sportbikes and others. Moto Central. Quite a few cars, but it certainly never felt crowded.



 

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Roads were mostly pretty gentle. In contrast to my usual rides, I never felt that much need to go crazy fast. It was just so beautiful and majestic, that I wanted to slow down a bit and take it all in. Crazy, I know! But look at this place!





Definitely one of the most scenic places I’ve ever ridden. It would be pretty amazing earlier in the season with more snow on the peaks too, I’m sure.







Anytime I can stand in the middle of the road to take photos, you know it’s not exactly crowded.



 

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As I took in the view toward Ross Lake, I managed to turn this one into a bit of a selfie.



The views continued to be astounding mile after mile. A very awesome place to ride.



Toward the bottom of the hill near Diablo, the road was blocked by a worker holding up a stop sign. Didn’t seem like construction, so I figured there must have been an accident. Sure enough, when they finally let us through, they had just loaded a fallen (and badly damaged) Yamaha onto a flatbed. ?

My original plan had been to loop around and spend the night at an Airbnb place in Skykomish, but my wife was not too far away at a dog show in Kirkland, so I rerouted to go have dinner and spend the night with her and the dogs instead!



On Sunday, I rode another beautifully scenic highway (Hwy 2) toward Leavenworth. I found another really fun and twisty diversion (207 and 209 near Chumstick). Awesome!

Leavenworth was a really charming Bavarian-style mountain resort village, and quite busy! From there I traveled south back toward Yakima, and got a chance to ride that amazing Canyon Road one more time. Even better this direction!



Although I’d planned to head over toward Mt Rainier to ride some roads I’d previously done, one of them was closed due to fire, and it was kind of smoky in the area anyway (not great for photos), so I decided to head home after the 650 miles or so I’d done in a day-and-a-half.

Another great northwest riding experience, for sure! Once again, very grateful to live in this part of the world.

So, how did the Puig deflector experiment turn out? Definitely an improvement! Downside is that, for me, it's almost right at eye level, so can be a little distracting when really pushing in the twisties. Definitely a help with buffeting, however, so I'll keep it on there.

Overall I'm quite pleased with the bike. Still don't feel 100% connected with it as I did the 2010, but it's getting there. Don't love the super-snatchy Sport mode throttle when around town (I always switch to Touring mode to avoid that). Suspension is really good, though I do miss my electronic switch-on-the-fly system I had on the previous "S Touring" model from 2010. Luggage is a big improvement over the previous. Seat is more comfortable over long stretches.

Looking forward to lots more fun trips on this beauty!
 

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When you're riding do you ever double back to get a good photo or do you instantly spot them and are able to slow down in time? I had photography as a hobby for a short time but I do still like taking decent pics with my phone. Sometimes it isn't obvious right away that a great shot was just missed and in my desire to keep going I rarely turn around to get a shot.
Great question! It's really both. I think the fact that I'm almost always on the lookout for great photos helps me ride at a slightly lower than the 99% pace I might otherwise be tempted to :smile2:. I do double back on occasion if it's something really spectacular. I've gotten to the point where I apply a standard of "Is this worthy of being a desktop wallpaper on my computer?", otherwise I keep moving. On a completely new route, sometimes I'll see a beautiful spot for a photo, and stop and shoot it, only to find that there is a better one just a little further up the road (which can be frustrating if I'm pressed for time). Other times, I don't shoot it, thinking there will be a better opportunity soon, only to find that I missed the one great shot.
 

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Been there done that LOL.

You found a couple cools spots in my home state I did not know about. Too bad summer is over in our part of the world. I also like you center of the road shot. I've also done that one myself a few times.

NC


Great question! It's really both. I think the fact that I'm almost always on the lookout for great photos helps me ride at a slightly lower than the 99% pace I might otherwise be tempted to :smile2:. I do double back on occasion if it's something really spectacular. I've gotten to the point where I apply a standard of "Is this worthy of being a desktop wallpaper on my computer?", otherwise I keep moving. On a completely new route, sometimes I'll see a beautiful spot for a photo, and stop and shoot it, only to find that there is a better one just a little further up the road (which can be frustrating if I'm pressed for time). Other times, I don't shoot it, thinking there will be a better opportunity soon, only to find that I missed the one great shot.
 
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