Saturday, September 27, 2014

Fall Motorcycle Trip to Roslyn and Beyond

enamored with fall
colors galore with crisp air
cold winter is near

~ a Haiku for autumn

Yours truly, triple layered and wearing adorable gloves ~ my view from the motorcycle, through the camera lens

I admit it. I am in love with fall. So much so that, every year, as soon as the calendar tells me I can say it's autumn, I start pushing the season. I'm just so anxious for sparkling cool nights, brilliant colors, crunchy leaves, and naked trees, that I can't wait.

Today we went on a motorcycle trip to hunt for fall. I enlist my husband to go on this ride at almost the same time every year. Too early. But we still go.

Look who joined us for breakfast? Nana, I wanna go!

We started out with breakfast. Food is one of the most important necessities when riding motorcycles. If you are planning a trip, be sure to schedule plenty of coffee and treat breaks, potty breaks, meal breaks, picture breaks, and exploration breaks. Or your buttsie will go numb. It will anyway, but the breaks make the lack of feeling tolerable.

For instance, today I became aware that I could not feel my backside. Which really impacts how well I can hold on to the skinny little passenger cushion with my glutes and thighs. Numbness=zero grip. So I slowly braced my hands on the back rest and lifted myself up a few inches.

Oh, the relief and disappearance of pain. I held that pose for a few seconds, then eased back down. Just that much of a backside break let me endure until we arrived at the next break (see above). But then, a warm flooding sensation spread across my cheeks. Did I just pee? Or was that the blood rearranging itself back to where it belonged?

Who doesn't love the cost of filling a motorcycle tank?

After breakfast, our first stop was the gas machine. Our second stop was the cash machine. Both are very important when hitting the road. Prepare for plenty of both.

The first scenic portion of our ride was traveling north through the Yakima Canyon. Yes, it was a bit chilly early on a September morning. Layers are the way to go. We saw plenty of hunters scouting the hills with binoculars, fishermen in boats and waders plying the water with casts of silver line, and families snuggled around campfires while enjoying a last camping trip.

Yakima River in the Yakima Canyon - look at that blue sky!

Our goal was to spend the road north on backroads. No freeways allowed. It's a good goal. Especially early in the morning (see below for information about our change of mind later as butt numbness became hard to correct).

Bathroom stop: McD's in Ellensburg. The new one is very nice.

We drove through Ellensburg and took the back way to Cle Elum. Highway 10 is a beautiful drive. Fall colors? Barely. There were a few hints of yellow. Most of the non-green colors were brown or black. Forest fires have taken their toll on the northwest.

Miniscule hint of fall color in the vine maples

Our morning coffee break with coffee and a morning muffin was delightful at the Pioneer Coffee Shop in Cle Elum. It was cool enough to sit outside in the sun and chat while we watched fellow patrons stroll in and out with drinks and treats. A bathroom stop was included with our break.

The Quantrell-Mobile continued through Cle Elum along backroads to Roslyn. We headed north through Roslyn and Ronald.

Pine trees and sun rays

Fall colors were barely beginning to show. A few vine maple leaves here and there were tinted red; some yellow was gently making its presence known on the deciduous trees. That was it. My annual too early again hunt for fall color was a success for its lack of color.

But our ride was not a wasted trip. No siree Bob. (If your name is not Bob, please substitute your own name.)

One-lane bridge at Salmon la Sac - honey, come back!

We continued north to Salmon la Sac, where the rubber meets the road! "Honey, if there is a 'Welcome to Salmon la Sac' sign, slow down so I can take a picture," I shouted into his helmet.

Salmon la Sac is not a town.

Or a city. Or even . . . well, anything. Oh, I mean, there is a lovely picnic area, one-lane bridge, a beautiful river, a closed-for-the-season campground, and many dirt roads to trail heads and lakes. But for a motorcycle, the end of the pavement was the end for us.

There was no sign.

Moi and the beautiful river. See the bottom left hand corner? That's my helmet head.

On the return trip, we feasted on blue cheese and grilled onion burgers at The Brick in Roslyn, of the Northern Exposure fame.

The Brick

A tip for future stops is to avoid the Saturday lunch crowd. We landed smack dab in the middle of a packed house, snagged the last table, and had a 35 minute wait for our meal. But big screens were blasting the University of Washington against Stanford game. Wait time was well spent.

Blue cheese and grilled onions (plus red onions and tomato) on a burger? You bet.

After refueling in Cle Elum, our sore bums helped us decide to speed things up and use I-90. The only side trip we took was to get off I-90 at Thorp, take the looping back road to Ellensburg, and then hop right back on I-90.

Three humps on I-80 and we were home.

Can you smell it?

My favorite take-away from this ride? The scents of pine trees and fall. If I could only bottle it or take a picture of the forest fragrance. The lunch onions odor in my helmet on the way home? How about no.

I give this ride 4 out of 5 stars, due to lack of fall color.

I guess we will have to try again in two weeks.

Two more weeks of waiting should do it. Sometimes photos taken from the back of a moving motorcycle are blurry. No way around it.

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