The weather was fantastic for riding, no matter how you cut it. The fact that it was February 4th was irrelevant. It was great to be on two wheels. Period. I gassed up in Sandy and headed toward Eagle Creek on 211, then cut west through the Carver curves. I crossed the Clackamas River and made my way south through the countryside toward Redland. I was taking many roads and routes unfamiliar to me on this trip so I was relying on my Garmin Zumo 450 GPS. When I got to Redland I misread the directions I was given by the GPS and had to backtrack about a half mile before getting on the correct road.

Once I got to Canby I took Highway 99E toward Aurora, cut under I-5 near Donald, and continued west into wine country. The sun was shining and the temps were climbing into the upper 40’s and lower 50’s. I had to deal with a few slow locals but for the most part traffic was agreeable. During the day a few people pulled out in front of me but only to the point of aggravation, no real threat to my safety. I hit route 219 and headed north into Newberg.

By this point I was getting hungry and in need of a bathroom break and thought by the time I got to Yamhill I’d stop. The small town didn’t disappoint. I stopped at Zippy’s Pizza in Yamhill and at first had the joint to myself. A cup of coffee, some steak and bean soup, and a BLT made for an excellent lunch. The staff were friendly as well. Marking the halfway point of my trip, I mounted up and headed south on highway 47 toward Lafayette.

I was getting the hang of my GPS and the directions were easy to follow. I rode through Dayton and Unionvale, finally coming into the northwest side of Salem. And then the fun began. There don’t seem to be any decent routes east/west across Salem and I ended up riding smack through the middle of town. I passed next to the Capitol Building and noticed that my GPS was trying to take me to whatever it considered the city center before it would guide me to my next destination.

I pulled over and deleted Salem from the route. Silverton was my next destination, and since I knew the route from that point forward that was the only remaining directions I needed. Once reprogrammed, I followed the GPS past the state fair grounds over 25 mph city streets and eventually made my way to Silverton Road heading east.

At this point my left wrist was beginning to hurt from all the shifting I had to do in Salem. On a normal riding day, regardless of miles traveled, my wrist doesn’t hurt. All the stop and go riding through the Salem metro area probably trippled the number of times I had to pull the clutch lever and the pain began to show because of it.

I stopped at the small municipal park in Silverton and took a bio break. The rest of the route home was familiar, north to Molalla, then around through Colton to Estacada and home. The day was nearly 180 miles and took five and a half hours. I felt more tired than I normally do on a 250 mile ride, specifically because of the city riding. I learned that it’s best to avoid big metro areas, and when I have to ride through them, set waypoints on the outside of town, otherwise the GPS will guide me right to city center. That’s no fun on a motorcycle.