Here's the new Pro Taper bar installed on the WR.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Here's the new Pro Taper bar installed on the WR.
Friday, July 3, 2009
Dale, Marty, Chuck and I
On the way home I could tell Dale had really enjoyed himself. I brought up the idea that he should get a bike of his own so we could ride together more often. He agreed but wasn't sure he could afford it just yet. I knew that the odds were against him getting one but I still thought it would be cool.
Fast-forward a week or two:
Dale calls me up and says he's looking for a bike to buy. After a bit of searching, he finds a 2005 Suzuki DRZ400 and brings it home. It looks like a great bike for him and I'm looking forward to riding with him.
More to come...
We made it over Chinook Pass and found our way to a campground where we could unload and start our ride. It turns out that at the campground where we parked, there were a few people there that Chuck and Kelly knew. While we were unloading we convinced Curt, (one of the guys Chuck and Kelly knew from the campsite), to join us on our ride. This turned out to be a good thing as Curt has apparently been camping and riding in this area since he was 10 years old. Considering he's older than I am, this amounts to a significant amount of time.
Within the first 10 minutes of our ride, we came upon a small group of riders going the other direction. After passing them, Chuck pulled me aside and told me that he recognized Dr. Dan's bike. (As a chiropractor, Dan is the closest thing our group of riding friends has to a "real" doctor, so we call him "Dr Dan" to make him feel good. (Think "Alan Harper"))
I had to admit that I was not paying attention to the other group and so I really never did notice that Dan's and my path crossed during this weekend of riding, which if you think about it, is pretty amazing.
Soon we were riding single track and that would be the way it was the rest of the day.
While we weren't racing, it does make things go a bit more smoothly if the faster guys are up front and the slower guys are in the back. That way the slow guys aren't inadvertantly holding up the faster guys. It was apparent within just a few minutes that I was in fact the slowest rider of the 4 of us. I gladly took up the rear of the pack for the rest of the entire ride. I wasn't interested in trying to keep up with the likes of Curt, who is an excellent rider. Not only was it not possible, but it wasn't wise to try and go as fast as I could on these narrow trails.
Our staging area. This dog LOVED to drag around that stick.
A quick rest stop.
Curt led us up along Manastash Ridge toward Mt Clifty. I had no idea how difficult it was going to be but it sounded like the destination was worth any challenge that presented itself along the way.
This is the trail the warning was for.
Curt, Chuck and Kelly taking a break.
After a fairly steep hill climb with many switchbacks, we emerged out into the open and the view was spectacular. We parked the bikes and spent about 30-45 minutes just taking in the scenery and taking a few photos.
There was a canister that allowed you to leave your thoughts on a piece of paper if you desired.
You don't want to stumble.
I was able to get Kelly to take this picture instead of finding a skilled wild animal to do it.
On the trail heading back to camp.
Dan and I had wanted to ride a 2-3 day ride where we camped from the bikes and didn't have any external support. We both liked the idea of riding unsupported and just relying on what we could carry on the bikes. On Friday, June 12th, we left Dan's house in Enumclaw at about 6pm and headed out for the Naches area. I hadn't really ridden the WR on many highways and definitely not for any extended period of time to this point but that was about to change. We rode over Chinook Pass and as cold as it got, I was extremely thankful that Dan offered me a riding jacket before we left.
(Side note about this jacket: In spite of what Dan might say if you were to speak with him, the jacket was a MEN'S riding jacket. Just because it was Dan's wife's jacket does NOT mean I was wearing a "girl's jacket".) Regardless of the jacket's designation, I was very grateful to be wearing it while riding Hwy 410!
Once we made it over to the east side, it started warming up a bit which was nice. But it was getting late and we needed to find a place to set up camp soon or we'd be having to set up in the dark. Dan had a particular place in mind and we headed up the gravel road to get up the hill as far as we could before nightfall. During our ascent, we encountered a herd of elk with probably 3 or 4 bulls that would were good sized. I'm no hunter, but Dan is and he indicated that they were "nice". It definitely was impressive to see them up close.
We found a decent spot and started unloading. I began a search for firewood while Dan set up the tents, etc... It wasn't long after we got there that it was, in fact, dark. We were using flashlights to see what we were doing and before too long, we had camp set up. I attempted to get a fire going and I realized that all I had were matches. No big deal normally, but instead of getting the "strike anywhere" matches, I got the "strike on box" kind, which are commonly referred to as the "won't light unless you use a torch to ignite them", type. Fortunately, Dan had a lighter in his bag of goodies and with a little effort, we got stuff to burn. We basically spent the next hour or so just sitting by the fire drinking adult beverages. Dan's wife, Laura had packed him some wine while I brought along a few Jim Beam minis. (No, I did not steal them from the airplane galley cart... I hadn't been on an airplane that served alcohol in about 6 months.).
Our camp site... not bad for setting up in the dark.
Once again I was able to locate a wild animal to take a photo for me, especially since Dan doesn't know how to use a camera. Seriously, he brought his camera and took exactly ZERO pictures.
One of the bluffs near our campsite.
Just a wildflower that I thought made for a good photo.
The next morning I got up early. I tend to wake up early anyway but being out where the birds are chirping and the "wolves", (ok, they were coyotes, damn it), were "yipping", I got up earlier than normal. I don't remember what time it was but the sun wasn't up yet. I climbed a hill near our campsite to get a nice view of the surrounding valley and it was very serene. I took a few photos and just sat there relaxing for about 45 minutes. I then decided that since the sun had finally come up that it was time for Dan to be up as well. I made my way down the hill and made enough noise that Dan drug his ass out of his tent.
After we had our Starbucks instant coffee, we started to pack up and get ready for the day's ride. Dan spread out the map on the ground and we started to plan our day.
Actually, Dan really did know where we were.
We made our way further up the hill to try to get to a place where Dan said the view was spectacular. Unfortunately, the trail had a few shady spots where the snow had yet to melt. We blasted through a couple of the snow banks but ulitmately it was more work than was worth it. We decided to make our way back down to Hwy 41o and grab a bite to eat at the Gold Creek Station. After a hearty breakfast, including a Bloody Mary or two, we swung our legs back over the bikes and headed up more of the forest service roads.
All loaded up and deciding if we want to plow through the snow or not.
Dan making his way through the snow drift. I seriously thought he was going to bite it and I wanted to get it on film.
At the Gold Creek Station.
Our plan was to find a good camping spot and drop off our gear so we could ride unencumbered for the day. We'd come back before dark to set up camp and all would be right with the world. It's amazing how things don't always go as planned.
The very muddy jeep trail.
The cooler in the back of this 4x4 was the source for our free lunchtime beverage.
Enjoying our beers.
One of the viewpoints.
The storm on the horizon.
A group of 4x4 enthusiasts at "Funny Rocks".
Not long after our stops at the various viewpoints overlooking Manastash Lake, we happened upon a place called "Funny Rocks". I had never heard of the place but I have to say it was pretty cool. Apparently it is a popular place for the rock climbers to go and basically drive up a rock wall with their 4-wheeled machines. It defintely was pretty cool looking. One thing that detracted from the coolness of the rocks, was the ominous looking skies above. It was getting distinctly darker and colder.
Dan enjoying dinner from a bag.
Loaded up and ready to head home.
The next morning we loaded up the bikes with our now dry items and basically rode straight back to Enumclaw non-stop. It took about an hour and a half to get to Dan's place but it was a scenic, and cold, ride over the pass.
We met in Ellensburg at the hotel he was staying at and after a quick breakfast, we left for the trails.
After unloading, we headed out to explore the dusty trails. We had both ridden there before so we had some idea of where we wanted to go.
Basically, we tooled around on all the roads and trails that took us up and down various ridges and valleys. There were many rocks, (just like last time), and I found that if I went slow, it was really rough. As I sped up, it got smoother. I got tired of being bounced around so I picked it up a bit and essentially floated on top of the rocks as I flew by. The only problem with this is the consequences of falling. Fortunately I managed to stay upright but don't think I wasn't concerned with the possible outcome of a crash.
Getting ready to hit the trails.
You can see Dick off in the distance. I left him behind when I decided to speed up over the rocks.
A cool shot.
Another good photo.
Dick chose not to wear his helmet.