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Leaving NAFO


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#1 yamafitter

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Posted 11 March 2012 - 05:52 AM

RaYzerman & I are in the early stages of planning a ride that will take us to Shasta Lake, California (the home of Russell Seats) after NAFO.
We spent some time earlier this week checking some maps and playing with Mapsource and have put together an initial plan but need some input from the locals as to improvements.

Day 1 - Castlegar to Auburn, WA

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We start out from Castlegar on Hwy 3 and then take 3b to Rossland and continue south southing the border and following the Columbia River along Hwy 25. At the bottom end of Roovevelt Lake we turn west on Hwy 20 and follow it all the way across the North Cascades National Park before turning south towards Auburn. Distance 735 km (456 miles).

Day 2 - Auburn to Oregon City

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The Day 2 plan is to head south from Auburn on Hwy 410 down through the east side of Mt Rainer National Park. We then turn onto Stevens Canyon Rd at the south end of the park and run over to Elbe where we turn south on Hwy 7 and then work our way down to NF 25 & NF 99 to ride into Windy Ridge on Mt. St. Helens. I did this ride in 2010 and it is on Ray's Bucket List and we consider it a must do.

Once we exit the south end of the park I would like to head over to Mt Hood and take Ray up to the Timberline Lodge (site of the exterior shots from Jack's movie 'The Shining') before ending up in the hometown of GP Suspensions. Distance 677 km (420 miles)

Day 3 - Oregon City to McKinleyville, California

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The route for the day is highlighted in yellow and is pretty simple, take Hwy 18 out of Oregon City and then run down the coast. Distance 689 km (428 miles).

Day 4 - Mckinleyville to Shasta Lake

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Some of these roads I am not at all sure about. The plan is to take Hwy 299 to the Bigfoot Scenic Hwy (Hwy 96) up as far as Somes Bar. We then plan on taking a shortcut on Salmon River Rd to Cecilville Rd and then south on CA-3. We paln to go south on CA-3 down to Rush Creek Rd and then down to Hwy 299. We will then follow Hwy 299 west back to CA-3 and turn south and go down to Wildwood Rd and then down to Hwy 36 which will take us over very near Shasta Lake. Distance 523 km (324 miles)

This plan contains minimal slab by design. Comments and suggestions for improvement to this planned route would be appreciated. If anyone would like to join along for any portion of this ride you are more then welcome. I will post the rest of our plan later if anyone is interested (basically over to Yellowstone Park, Beartooth Pass, up to Glacier National Park to run the Road to the Sun and then back to Calgary)
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#2 beemerdons

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Posted 11 March 2012 - 05:59 AM

REAL MEN RIDE TO ALASKA! jes' sayin' and nuff' said!

#3 yamafitter

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Posted 11 March 2012 - 06:03 AM

REAL MEN RIDE TO ALASKA! jes' sayin' and nuff' said!

If I want to be cold I can just stay home ..... JACKASS!!
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#4 beemerdons

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Posted 11 March 2012 - 06:12 AM


REAL MEN RIDE TO ALASKA! jes' sayin' and nuff' said!

If I want to be cold I can just stay home ..... JACKASS!!


Point well taken Bill, since it is 80F today here in Phoenix I'd forgotten all aboot Canadian Cold eh!

http://weather.aol.c...lle/id/caxx0041 A high of 51F in Bowmanville today, Hombre that just plain SUCKS!

#5 barb

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Posted 11 March 2012 - 06:28 AM

You should ride to the real Alaska..........just sayin

#6 beemerdons

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Posted 11 March 2012 - 06:31 AM

You should ride to the real Alaska..........just sayin


No Way Barb Honey, it is real cold up there; Hyder is A-OK with The Stanley Boys and "AlaskaFJR", if Pierre is still riding along with us! I'll find out at NAFO Facebook!

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#7 kamal

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Posted 11 March 2012 - 07:57 AM

Anyway, your route plan looks great. You won't regret WA State Hwy 20.
I plan to be heading up the Road-to-the-Sun ahead of you as part of a big loop home.
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#8 Fontanaman

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Posted 11 March 2012 - 09:36 AM

I am a local and I be happy to provide route advice. I have lived in the Seattle area for 56 years and have been riding the pavement since I was 16.

The comment about incorporating the Going to the Sun Highway in Glacier Park Montana is great. The road is jaw dropping. You can easily just spend a day along the short section from West Glacier to Saint Mary Lake.

Here is an alternative route from Castlegar to Auburn. This route, though longer, includes the incomparable Hwy 6 in BC. One should not leave BC without riding this route. Of course once you get to Pemberton you missed the North Cascades Highway. To avoid that do this route from Castlegar to Osoyoos BC.

Is there any need to go to Auburn Washington? Perhaps you can staying with AuburnFJR? You are welcome to stay with me in Renton Washington about 20 minutes from Auburn.

Rather than going to Renton or Auburn and hitting the freeways in Seattle do this route from Rockport instead. Highly recommended, especially Washington State Hwy 112 and 105!

The route through Mount Saint Helens area (Forest Service Road 25) will be closed until at least July 4th. It is a great route but you will likely have to do something else. The Gifford Pinchot National Forest web site has status on Forest Service Road 25. Scroll down a bit to find the road status list, along with Hwy 99 aka Windy Ridge above Spirit Lake. Most excellent twisty road by the way. We can check the road status at NAFO.

Mt Rainier will be open or most of it. Here is a nice route taking in Mt. Rainier, Mt. Hood to the Oregon Coast. The northern half of the Oregon coast is a over commercialized train wreck full of fracking RVs and endless little towns with 35 mph speed limits. Really don't go during weekend - better yet don't go at all. The southern half of the Oregon coast is marvelous. It is far enough away from population centers to be a wonderful place to visit.

It rains out here a lot. You have selected some nice roads but they aren't much fun when the things you came to see are obscured by clouds. How much time do you have? If it rains I would stay east of the Cascade Mountains taking in Grand Coulee dam and ride into Eastern Oregon - here is a route. North Eastern Oregon has some of the best damn motorcycle road in the Northwest. Also visit the Oregon Motorcyclist a great list of good Oregon motorcycle roads. Here is the best route in Eastern Oregon. This puts you near the Painted Hills in Mitchell Oregon. If you are camping you can stay in Mitchell Oregon for free at the City Park. Nice place.

I urge keeping your options open to having a Western Washington/Oregon route if the sun shines or a Eastern Washington/Oregon route if it weather on the west side is wet. It is often dry in east of the Cascade Mountains when it rains in the west. The dry season does not begin here until July 8th and extends through September.

See you at NAFO.




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Edited by Fontanaman, 11 March 2012 - 09:40 AM.


#9 FarWestFastEddie

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Posted 11 March 2012 - 11:11 AM

That return ride looks like a real winner, however, McKinleyville (Tulsa Del Mar) sucks, only a few new motels at the airport park and no dining worth a damn to be found there, go the extra 11 miles into Eureka, Lots of new clean motels, and tons of restaurants, besides, fantastic fresh seafood. the route 299-96-3-299 is a good ride, 299 west of Redding is alot more fun westbound, 12 miles of switchbacks as you climb Buckhorn Mt, but is also fun east bound. Hope this info helps.
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#10 yamafitter

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Posted 11 March 2012 - 11:47 AM

Thanks for all the useful information. Once I've had a chance to check all the links and info I'm sure I will have more questions.
I am hoping that the lack of snow this year in the West will help open Windy Ridge a little earlier than normal. One option we have is to reverse our entire trip which would put us in the Mt. St. Helens area near the July 4th weekend. We have 10 days after NAFO and are trying to limit each day to around 450 miles to allow for lunch stops & photo ops. We could even fit in an extra layover day if necessary since I don't have any extremely pressing need to get back to Ontario (Canada) until middle of July to get ready for my motorcycle trip to the Alps with BeemerDon, SacMike and the rest of the gang. Ray is also retired but the girlfriend has him on a short leash. :glare:
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#11 Bungie

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Posted 11 March 2012 - 02:31 PM

Hwy 20 is EPIC.

Stop in Winthrop and grab a beer/food at 3 Finger Jacks (or something like that). Keep an eye out for a hot cowgirl name Deanne.

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#12 Fontanaman

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 07:47 AM

Today it is March 17th and at 250' above sea level it is snow at my house this morning. Last week there was 110" of snowfall at the Mt. Baker ski area at about 4000 above sea level. The higher passes in Washington are 4000 to 5500 feet in elevation. Forest Service road 25 east of Mt. St. Helens tops out at 5500' above sea level. Snow pack in the Cascades is 20% to 50% above normal. I really doubt FS 25 will open until mid July. Last year we experienced similar weather. FS 25 did not open until the third week in July.

It is time to plan a different route. Sorry cause it is a great ride.

Pacific Northwest weather is rotten for riding this year.

#13 yamafitter

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 06:57 PM

Today it is March 17th and at 250' above sea level it is snow at my house this morning. Last week there was 110" of snowfall at the Mt. Baker ski area at about 4000 above sea level. The higher passes in Washington are 4000 to 5500 feet in elevation. Forest Service road 25 east of Mt. St. Helens tops out at 5500' above sea level. Snow pack in the Cascades is 20% to 50% above normal. I really doubt FS 25 will open until mid July. Last year we experienced similar weather. FS 25 did not open until the third week in July.

It is time to plan a different route. Sorry cause it is a great ride.

Pacific Northwest weather is rotten for riding this year.

This is not good news. It is time for you PNW types to get out there with long extension cords and hair driers and fix this.
I have been in contact with AuburnFJR and I'm not ready to bail on Windy Ridge just yet but we will have options ready if necessary. Ray & I may reverse our current plan to arrive in the Mt. St. Helen's area a week later which would line up with the planned June 30th Volcano Run. I for one am keeping my fingers crossed.
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#14 Fontanaman

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 09:15 PM

This is not good news. It is time for you PNW types to get out there with long extension cords and hair driers and fix this.
I have been in contact with AuburnFJR and I'm not ready to bail on Windy Ridge just yet but we will have options ready if necessary. Ray & I may reverse our current plan to arrive in the Mt. St. Helen's area a week later which would line up with the planned June 30th Volcano Run. I for one am keeping my fingers crossed.


In 2011 The Volcano run was scheduled for June as well. It did not happen and will not happen this year. Count on it.

Here is a table of pass opening dates from WSDOT. The weather pattern this year is very similar to last year. Chinook Pass did not open until June 23 and WSDOT expends significant resources to open it - just check out these photos. The snow walls were 15 feet high at Tipsoo Lake when I was there shortly after opening. There was snow on the north facing slopes and shaded areas well in to mid August.

The Federal Forest Service on the other hand does not spend nearly as much effort attempting to open FS 25. It is pretty much left to melt out - the Feds do a bit of plowing. Both FS 25 and Chinook Pass have roughly the same maximum elevation and I suspect the same annual snowfall.

Once again sorry to be the bearer of bad news. I am just being realistic. I don't like it either for it screws up my dual sport riding plans for this year. I like to get away from it all on my Vstrom once in a while - but then that is another story.

It will take one hell of a hair dryer to melt out all this snow.

Edited by Fontanaman, 17 March 2012 - 09:16 PM.


#15 RaYzerman19

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Posted 18 March 2012 - 11:11 AM

Thanks guys for all the very valuable info..... Bill and I will put it to good use and grind out a plan........ not adverse to reversing it, Bill... we'll do what it takes. PS - I was planning on doing Hwy 6 while at NAFO........ have been through half of this route before a few years ago, but never did Cali or the Oregon coast yet. Really looking forward to it.

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#16 Fontanaman

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Posted 18 March 2012 - 03:35 PM

Ooops

Edited by Fontanaman, 18 March 2012 - 04:27 PM.


#17 Fontanaman

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Posted 18 March 2012 - 03:58 PM

In a more positive vein I urge you ride Hwy 36 from Red Bluff to Fortuna California. Hwy 36 is far better than the Oregon Coast if your thing is great pavement with twisty highway. Hwy 36 is 140 miles of absolute twisty excellence with outstanding pavement. This ride is better than sex. Ride it from east to west to avoid sun in your eyes. Hwy 36 is unreal and will make you forget any road you missed in the State of Washington for it is better than any road in the State of Washington - period. Even the North Cascades Hwy.

From Pashnit.com the Hwy 36 140 miles of curves sign.

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My own photo of Hwy 36 near Red Bluff, sans the sign, in Zeptember 2009. I am planning on returning May this year.
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The southern part of the Oregon coast is worth riding. The northern part is a tourist trap, dotted with time killing small towns with RVs plugging the road. As you get closer to Portland Oregon the more crowed the coast gets. Do travel the southern third during a weekday if you can.

Here is an alternative to riding the northern half of the Oregon Coast. You can overnight in the Dalles, Oregon and also take in a little part of pavement history by visiting this road.

The Rowena Curves along the History and Scenic Columbia River Hwy. Photos by Fontanaman no copyright required :yahoo:

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While oogling the Rowena Curves you can see the Columbia River from the very same spot too. It looks like this:

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A pan and stitch photo.

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Hopes this helps.

Here are some photos I shot over the years while riding. Just for inspiration.

Tipsoo Lake and Mt. Rainier, near Chinook Pass Hwy 410 Washington. My back yard. Spoilt brat that I am!

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Liberty Bell Mt. North Cascades Hwy 20 Washington.

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This is somewhere (I forget where) in North Eastern Oregon - a great place to ride.
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Hwy 245 in Eastern Oregon. The second best twist fest in Eastern Oregon.

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Below - Sonora Pass Hwy 108 in California

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Tenya Lake, Yosemite National Park along Hwy 120 in California in 2003. At this moment in time the lady in the photo was was the scenery at least in my eyes!

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Oops wrong forum...... near Riggins Idaho above the Salmon River. ;)

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#18 escapefjrtist

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Posted 18 March 2012 - 06:07 PM

Hwy 245 in Eastern Oregon. The second best twist fest in Eastern Oregon.

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This^^^ is in the heart of some great NE Oregon riding! Most definitely a can't miss if you're in the area. :yahoo:

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