Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Two Great Weekend Motorcycle Rides in Washington State

My view when biking...

Ballast does not have much energy expenditure.

Yes. That's me. I am ballast. Or so I am told according to my husband after his recent solo ride in extremely windy conditions. He wanted me along to help steady the bike.

That makes me ballast. Even out the load. Keep it on the road. Nice, huh?

A very much photographed barn north of Ellensburg, on the way to Leavenworth, taken while moving on the bike

This ballast loves hitting the road.
It is getting into my blood. Beautiful fall weather? Let's suit up and bike. No rain. We need to ride. Until ice/snow/sleet slick up the highways, or the temps are too freezing cold, we will ride.

Last weekend we did a two day ride. We came home to roost at night. It was great.

Day 1

First, we shivered through a freezing cold drive through the Yakima Canyon. That led to a warm-up stop at Starbucks in Ellensburg. We prefer the campus store, which lacks the interstate crowds.

Barn and horse in Plain, WA

This was a very cold day of riding, all the way north to (and through) Plain, Washington. Plain is north of Leavenworth, which was packed to the gills with folks celebrating Oktoberfest. We were glad to not have to stop and try and find parking in Leavenworth. Our initial plan was to eat in Leavenworth, but we simply adjusted and continued north.

Our lunch stop

Plain is a tiny town in the middle of a beautiful valley. We stopped for lunch at the Old Mill Cafe, just missing closing time. They are open for breakfast and lunch only. We continued north along the road, which looped back and connected to Highway 2. Highway 2 was pretty busy, filled with fall-colors-hunters, like us, and people traveling to Leavenworth for Oktoberfest. But once we cleared Leavenworth, traffic was fine.

The only time I was warm was as we hit the off ramp in Yakima to get to our house. The hot flash pushed me over the edge, and had me peeling off my coat. Other than that one moment in time, layers were loved and appreciated. Regardless of looming clouds and very cold temps, it was a beautiful day of riding. Not a ton of colors, probably due to very dry summer conditions. But worth every bum-numbing mile.

We were successful in finding some fall color.

Day 2

Seeing clear skies, we rushed to gear up and head out after church. This day, we headed south. We took the old road south of Toppenish to Mabton, seeing lots of fall fields shorn of summer crops. The air was a bit hazy, but cleared up after we went up the hillside on our way to Bickleton.

The road to Bickleton was sparsely populated, which is perfect for motorcyclists. We were chilled, but not as much as on the previous day. Bluebird houses were on display, as well as some fall colors. The air was refreshing to smell and sagebrush, oaks, grassland, and pines gave a variety of views.

After gassing up at Goldendale, we headed home over Satus Pass. It was only chilly at the top. The rest of the ride was beautiful, though seeing the dry conditions and overgrazed land was concerning. Wild horses dotted hillsides and valleys. Spring babies mingled with mamas. The sheer number of horses made me wonder how many will make it through winter conditions with so little available food.

But enough depressing considerations. I do love watching wild horses!

Bickleton bluebird house

Though not as long as Saturday's ride, the Sunday afternoon traipse was perfectly complimented by a dinner out with my man.

Which is the purpose of a motorcycle ride, am I not correct? A ride with my man, topped by a meal that I did not prepare, serve, or clean up after.

It's going to be a long, ride-less winter.

But until the roads freeze, we ride.

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