When I was a kid, I met two astronauts. Well, they weren’t astronauts exactly. They were older gentlemen that rode big BMWs, and with their high-tech gear and helmets and their space-age looking bikes, to me they might as well have been astronauts. They were hunting buddies of my Dad’s, Everett “Ev” Jones and Glen Bisel. One Saturday afternoon they stopped by our house on their big silver bikes after coming home from a quick ride to eastern Oregon, and I thought they were rock stars.
Or astronauts. Or something.
From that point on I became fascinated with the idea of being a two-wheeled astronaut when I grew up. The thought of going on solo adventures like them filled my imagination for years to come. As noted in previous posts, I eventually realized my dream of riding motorcycles when I got my endorsement and first bike, a 250cc 1986 Honda Rebel, in the fall of 2006. Since then I’ve ridden 12,000 miles on my current bike, a 2007 Suzuki V-Strom 650, over several Western U.S. states, including my home state of Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, and California.
I’ve already been on one multi-day trip this season, a quick 5-day jaunt down to the redwoods of northern California in mid-April. That was just a warm-up. Picking the key destination of my ‘big trip’ this season wasn’t too difficult: Glacier National Park in northwest Montana.
After seeing pictures and reading about other motorcyclist’s journeys there, it has damn near become an obsession of mine. I can hardly wait to get started. I’ve picked out an 8-day itinerary that will take me through eastern Oregon, across the Snake River into Idaho, up over Lolo Pass into Montana, a loop through Glacier National Park via the famous ‘Going to the Sun Road’ then back around the south side of the park, back across northern Idaho, across central Washington all the way to the Pacific coast, then back home to Sandy.
The specific route I have planned dodges 4-way freeways and highways (“The Slab”) as much as possible, taking secondary two-lane byways more often than not. Key landmarks include Hells Canyon, Lolo Pass, Glacier Park, Grand Coolee Dam, and the Pacific Coast for a rough total of 2,033 miles.
Although I don’t like to give specifics of trips ahead of time for security reasons, this trip will occur in the July-August time frame in order to ride under the best chance of fair weather.
There are some things I need to do to prepare my bike for the trip. I’ll probably still have enough tread on my Metzler Tourance tires, but need to get a new chain and sprockets. I’m also due to have my throttle bodies synced. Some new farkles for this trip include an NEP CC4 throttle lock to give my right hand a rest and an Oregon Scientific ‘action cam’ video camera.