Rally in the Gorge 2012

The Rally in the Gorge–Day 5

Day 5 was a pack things up and leave day.  Our original plan was to do the first day of the WABDR on the way home.  We had to change plans because my Dad had a makeshift foot peg, and we didn’t think that it would hold up if he stood on it for extended periods of time (which we would do if we were off road).  So, we elected to head back home.

One of the street routes for the rally was to Windy Ridge near Mt St Helens.  Since this was right on our way home, we decided to go check it out, and we weren’t disappointed.IMG_1428

Looking at the map, we were going north on FS 25 – the road on the right hand side.  The windy ridge cutoff is near the top of the map.  It is a cool road to cruise down on a motorcycle – lots of corners and lots of views.  Along this ride we saw Mt Adams, Mt Hood, Mt St Helens, and Mt Rainier.


windy ridge panorama 1

At windy point, there is a short (uphill) hike that you can take for some more spectacular views.

On the way back to FS 25, a big elk ran across the road in front of us.  Didn’t get the camera out in time to get a picture.  I may have captured it on my helmet cam – I haven’t reviewed any of the videos yet.



As we were cruising through Packwood, there was a sign out for beef BBQ.  It was lunch time, so we decided to give it a shot.  It was some great food, and all of the money went to support the local fire department.

Overall, the rally was a ton of fun.  It was good practice for both road and off road riding.  The rides that we went on were all top-notch.  I would have liked to have done more of the seminars and clinics, but I was too busy out riding.  This is definitely something I would do again in the future.

The Rally in the Gorge–Day 4

Today was forecast to be a hot one, and the weatherman was right.  It was hot! hot! hot!  The scheduled ride today was a 116 mile dualsport ride out to Maryhill Loops Road, which we was open to ride for the event (the road is closed to the public).  This was to be followed by a long ride back to Stevenson.  This was going to make for a very long ride on a hot day.

However, when I logged into facebook this morning, I saw that my brother was going to the Washougal MX Track for an open track day.  Turns out this is only about a 1/2 hr ride from where we are camping.  So, we decided to head to the track and watch him do some laps.

So, we are cruising down the highway toward Washougal when my Dad gets on the headset and asks me to pull over when I get a chance because his foot peg feels funny.  I pull over and he pull up next to me and asks if I can see anything wrong.  Well, it turns out his foot peg fell off.  We decided to continue on to Washougal because Mark would have a full toolkit with him and we’d figure out something to fix it – there was enough of the bracket to rest his foot on for a short distance.


Well, getting to the track wasn’t straightforward.  Once we got into town, we found a POI in the GPS for the track.  Well the road it routed us down had a bridge out, so we had to loop around and take a different route.  Eventually we did make it. 

Just as we arrived Mark was heading out for a round on the track.  So we ran out and took a few pictures.  They came out pretty good for using a point and shoot…






We still needed to fix the missing foot peg on my Dad’s bike.  So, he stole one of the highway pegs and bolted it in place of his foot peg.  Well it doesn’t exactly fit, but does give him something to rest his foot on.  It does not seem good enough to stand on for extended periods of time, so we will be riding home on pavement only.

We said goodbye to Mark and Kim and made out way back to the fairgrounds.  The wind was nasty and blew us around quite a bit – glad there were no bridges today.  The makeshift foot peg seemed to hold up ok, so getting home shouldn’t be an issue.  Still not sure if we are going to be home tomorrow or Monday – we’ll see what time we get out of here tomorrow and how distracted we get on the way home!

The Rally in the Gorge–Day 3

Didn’t go to any clinics this morning…instead I spent money!  I still have the stock seat on the KLR and my butt keeps complaining about it, so I bought an AirHawk seat pad.  It is a neat little pad that straps onto your seat and inflate to the desired pressure.  Hopefully it will make things a little better for me when doing long distance riding.

After installing the new seat, we set off of the fun run for the rally.  It was like a poker run, except at each station, you drew a card with a number and a person.  The number was how many years that particular person has worked at the rally.  Highest score wins.

Checkpoint 1:

The first checkpoint on the ride was at Panarama Point County Park in Hood River, OR.  The first leg was all pavement, but there was the most difficult challenge of the trip – going over the Hood River grated bridge with knobby tires.  Of course it was about a half hour ride down to the bridge, giving me plenty of time to question why I was actually participating in this event.  It turns out, it wasn’t too bad – they were doing construction on the bridge, so traffic was stop and go all the way across.

The next issue – we got lost on the first checkpoint.  We loaded the GPX files onto our Garmins, but the route crisscrossed all over the place, which confused us and our gps units.  Eventually I pulled out my Windows Phone and figured out how to get to the park from the internet.

Once we arrived, we found that we missed the checkpoint people by about 10 minutes Sad smile.  However, there was a pretty spectacular view of Mt Hood from the park.



Checkpoint #2

This section took us to Gibson Horse Camp.  We finally got offroad on this section – nothing too hard though.  There were spectacular views of Mt Hood all along the way.  We started to figure out a better system for using their routes – they had various waypoints along the way.  We would just have the GPS go to the next waypoint and route us using the maps on the GPS, which we would cross-check with the track that we were given.  This worked much better.

Once again we missed the checkpoint.



checkpoint #3:

This checkpoint was at the Cloud Cap Inn.  This is a historic landmark on the NE face of Mt Hood at about 6000’.  There was a mix of pavement and dirt on the way to this one.  Also, our new found technique for following the GPS waypoints failed – I didn’t have all the Oregon maps loaded in Sad smile.  On the last section up to the top, the checkpoint people passed us going the other way…we chatted with them and they said we could draw when we got back to camp.

This was the best of the checkpoints out of them all.  Spectacular views of Mt Hood, Mt Adams and Mt St Helens.








Checkpoint #4

This checkpoint was at Kingsley Reservoir.  Probably a 50/50 paved to dirt ratio.  The views weren’t quite as scenic on this one, but it was still a fun ride.  The checkpoint was in a parking lot at the reservoir, but the waypoint went down a road past it…turned out that the waypoint was in the wrong spot, but it turned out to be the most technical (and fun) part of the ride.  Once we went past the waypoint, we decided to turn around and head back to the parking lot, however my Dad didn’t pick the best spot to make his turn…
We actually made it to this checkpoint on time – well, not exactly.  We were late, but the checkpoint people were still there.


Checkpoint #5

Western Antique Airplane and Automotive museum.  We left checkpoint 4 after checkpoint 5 had already closed, but since it was only 10 miles away we decided to go take a picture.  The two people that were manning checkpoint 4 didn’t have a GPS and asked if they could follow us all the way back.  Oh yeah, they were both motorcycle instructors.  So, now I’m leading the way thinking I’m being critiqued by the instructors.  No extra pressure there Smile. Sure enough the checkpoint was closed when we arrived, but we took a picture anyhow.IMG_1208

Ride back:

The ride back was along the Columbia on the Oregon side.  To get back to Stevenson, we had to go over The Bridge of the Gods – another grated bridge.  It turned out to not be so bad.  They let us draw our final card back at camp.  Final score Scott – 26, Grandpa – 28.

Overall it was a very fun day!

The Rally in the Gorge–Day 2

Gotta like sleeping right next to the railroad tracks…actually, it wasn’t too bad, but I still woke up at around 5a or so.  Sat in bed and read a book for a bit and finally got up and made some quality instant oatmeal for breakfast.

First event to attend today was a trail side tire repair clinic that the Happy Trail guys put on.  Learned some tricks to make changing tires a bit easier, like how to get the back tire off without having to adjust the chain and pushing the brake calipers apart as soon as you take the tire off (makes getting the tire back on easier).

After the clinic, we killed some time and then decided to go on one of the self-guided rides.  The ride we picked out was a loop to Sunset Falls.  The length was 83 (50ish of it was offroad) miles and the skill level was rated as easy.  Joining us on the ride was another KLR rider (Kurt). 


As we got on the gravel, we needed to air down our tires – we had them set to 32 PSI for the ride down on pavement.  Bringing the pressure down to 22 PSI gives quite a bit more traction offroad.



this is the first viewpoint we stopped at…we think Mt St Helens is hidden by all those clouds.  Of course nothing surpasses the beauty of 3 KLRs in one picture (well maybe 4 KLRs).


The next spot we stopped at had views of Mt Adams, Mt Hood, and another Oregon mountain (not sure the next one south).  This is Mt Hood.


Mt Adams was in the clouds.


Sunset falls was the name of the ride and here they are. Several people were diving from the top of the falls into the water.  As we returned to the parking lot, there was a ranger waiting for us to make sure we paid the parking fee…Fortunately I had my NW Forest Pass with me.  The ranger was an “old-timer” and wanted to hang out and talk…He was an interesting fellow, we did finally manage to extract ourselves from the conversation.


Even though the ride was easy, it was still fairly long and tiring, and not everyone made it back into their tents before they crashed.

After dinner, attended another seminar on being the “boss of your bike”.  It went into detail on better cornering, braking, etc.  Basically make your bike do what you want it to do.

Now it is time for bed!

The Rally in the Gorge–Day 1

Today I rode down to Stevenson with my Dad to do The Rally in the Gorge.  We are attending for the dualsport track of the rally.  There are a bunch of seminars along with several self guided rides to try out.  Should be a ton of fun.

For the ride down, we took the same route as we did on the WABDR.  Going from Renton->Ellensburg->Packwood->Stevenson.  This is a fun route, particularly the windy roads between Randle and Stevenson.



This is the rest stop just south of Packwood – my Dad is looking for the correct slope to park the bike…the KLR sidestand is notorious for being too long, and once the bike is loaded down, the problem becomes worse.


We got some great views of Mt. St. Helens along the way.



This is the “campsite”.  Basically a huge field (soon to be) full of tents.  Setting up the tent was a bit challenging in the 25 knot wind.   Once it was set up, it handled the wind just fine.

After getting camp set up, we cruised into town for a pizza dinner…good thing pizza is on my diet! (or not).  After dinner, we came back to the fairgrounds and attended a seminar that served as an introduction to the rally.  The oncoming heat wave was one of the topics discussed, which prompted me (and my dad) to buy evaporation vests (my tent is dark right now, I’ll post manufacturer details later).  Basically it is designed to be soaked in water and worn under your riding gear to keep you cool.  It was only $40, so I’ll give it shot and see how it works.

As the sun went down, the moon came up.  I tried to get some cool pictures w/my point and shoot (which I’m carrying because of size and weight).  Unfortunately I was a bit slow with the controls and didn’t quite get the shots I wanted.


This one almost worked – the moon was rising over a ridge and I wanted to get the trees silhouetted in front of it, when it was about half up.  Couldn’t figure out the manual setting on the P&S fast enough to get the picture I wanted…You can sorta see the trees at the bottom.


Reflection of the moon in the water…might try to clean this up a bit in photoshop when I get home.

Dualsport Northwest Rally in the Gorge

Look a new blog entry!  Things have been quiet on the blog since I’ve returned from Australia.  Not because I haven’t been doing anything, I’ve just been doing so much that I don’t have time to update the blog!  However, I’m about to set off on a multi-day motorcycle ride, so I figure it is time to start blogging again to let everyone follow along.

The ride really isn’t going to be anything too crazy, I’m heading down to the Dualsport Northwest Rally in the Gorge.  This event goes from August 1st through the 5th in Stevenson, WA.  I’m going with my Dad, and we’ll be staying in tents onsite at the fairgrounds.  We’ll probably do the first day of the WABDR on the way back home on the 6th, and stay an extra night somewhere along the trail.

The rally looks pretty cool.  There are a bunch of seminars that I’d like to attend, plus they’ve put together a bunch of dualsport rides for the area.  One day, we’ll get to ride the Maryhill Loops Road – need to have proof of insurance or they won’t let you on Smile.

Anyhow, I need to get the laptop packed on my bike – look for updates w/pictures over the next few days.