Monday, June 29, 2015

Motorcyle Monday: 3 Days of Motorcycle Rides Beginning in the Yakima Valley

A view of Mt. Hood from Maryhill Museum

Columbia River Gorge, vineyards, and Mt. Hood

Last weekend we celebrated our 30th anniversary with three local motorcycle rides. It was good practice to find out how long we could stay on the bike and how we would feel after a few days of travel.

Columbia River Gorge overview

What we found out:

~ early morning rides are our favorite (unless it is early spring or late fall when the weather tends to be too brisk)

~ wild animals surprise you when least expected, especially in the early morning or late afternoon

~ an hour is about as long as my backside can go without becoming totally numb, and therefore putting me at risk of falling off, as I think I am holding on, but I can't really feel the seat to tell if I am actually gripping the seat

~ my favorite part of the rides are the rest breaks

~ snack time is necessary when out riding

~ scenery is a requirement; it's a good thing the northwest is overflowing with beautiful sights

~ bugs hurt when they hit you as the bike is traveling at anything over 50 mph

~ I keep my face shield down to avoid bees in my helmet; Kevin learned this the hard way

~ sunblock is a necessity

~ helmet hair is not so great, but what can you do?

~ it's great fun meeting other motorcycle fans

~ the fresh air (both fragrant and smelly) takes experiencing the outdoors to a new level; involving the sense of smell enhances nature

~ it's hard to take photos with my helmet on, but possible

~ once we've had a good night's sleep, we are ready to hop on the bike and head out again

Ride 1 - Maryhill Museum and the Columbia River Gorge

We left from home early in the morning after enjoying a breakfast out. I had packed lunch and snacks and picked up a free pass from the library for the Maryhill Museum south of Goldendale. Maryhill Museum overlooks the Columbia River Gorge. The grounds and displays are wonderful. We stopped here first, had a snack, and toured the museum. After the museum, we hit the Maryhill Winery where a patio concert was in progress. We sat and enjoyed Columbia River Gorge views as we ate our lunch. It was so nice in the shade. The music was a great treat. On the way home, we stopped at the Centerville Cemetery to search for some of Kevin's relatives. We found one Brown. It was hot and windy but very peaceful (being out in the middle of nowhere, things tend to be quiet). The ride home over Satus Pass brought plenty of wild horses and birds of prey sightings.

"You've got to be kidding me!" was the response I got when, a) I made Kevin play chess at Maryhill Museum, and b) we tried to remember the rules for chess.

Centerville Cemetery with Mt. Adams in the background

Riding through the Yakima River Canyon

Ride 2 - Coffee in Ellensburg via the Yakima River Canyon

Our day 2 ride was a last minute idea. We were up early and out the door, headed to Ellensburg for coffee. Yes, a long way for coffee, but a great reason to go for a ride. We saw many types of wildlife while touring through the Yakima River Canyon. It was beautiful and slightly cool. Traffic was light, which was a side benefit for going so early. Mountain goats, deer, birds, eagles, and even several pelicans were spotted as we rode. It's never a mistake to tour the canyon on a bike. Just watch for deer trying to cross the road to get to the river.

Old homestead along Highway 24

Ride 3 - Anniversary Lunch in Kennewick via Hanford and Highway 24

The ride to Kennewick for an anniversary lunch was the hottest and windiest ride. We drove east on Highway 24, which heads to Hanford. After many miles of ranches and farms, the views changed to grasslands and sagebrush. The closer we got to Hanford, the more we felt heat and wind. When we turned south towards Kennewick, we really had to hang on, as wind gusts came and went. But still, it was fun to enter the Tri-Cities area from a different direction. After lunch, we headed home on I-82 as far as Granger, then jumped on the old Yakima Valley Highway, which is a beautiful ride through orchards, farms, ranches, and small communities. We had a construction-induced detour over Konnowac Pass, but we love that ride just as much as Yakima Valley Highway.

Rusted out vehicles in the grass

All in all, three days of getting out on the motorcycle with my honey was refreshing. Who cares about helmet hair anyway, right?

A photo taken in the wind and while I was wearing my helmet. Not too shabby.

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