Miles Total: 514
Miles Today: 64

Up at 6a again today and had the same old breakfast before packing up to leave. I charged my InReach last night and noticed that the mount was loose when I put it back on the bike. So I opened up my fancy red tool tube, grabbed my tools and fixed it up. Unfortunately, this would not be the only time it was opened today…

There was a bit of mist on the lake this morning…grabbed a quick pic before we took off.


We continued on dirt for a bit, passing through some active logging areas. There were a couple of spots where machinery had to pull over to let us by. Everyone was very nice about it.

Our first stop of the day was in the town of Northport. They had a very nice park along the Columbia river. They restrooms were well maintained and heated! There was nice grassy picnic area and a boat launch. We actually had cell phone service, so I gave my wife a quick call.


After I hung up, a train came by…Later on, we caught up to this train again and I got some pretty cool 360 videos going along side.


After the park, we grabbed some gas and started off toward Boundary Dam. Just after we passed the train, off in the distance, something big moved across the road in front of us. I’m 95% sure it was a bear – I tried to get some 360 video, but when I reviewed it on my phone I couldn’t make it out. Perhaps when I get home on a big monitor I’ll be able to tell. Not 5 minutes after that, there was a big grouse standing on the side of the road.

Eventually, we moved from pavement on to gravel again. The terrain was pretty straightforward and not very difficult at all. I was leading the way and came through a hairpin turn that was a little bit loose. I called back to my Dad on the intercom to see if he made it ok, just as he said he crashed. He wasn’t going very fast and was not hurt at all. I found a good spot to turn around and go help him lift the bike up. I had to take a picture before I helped lift…


Well it turns out this was a blessing in disguise. After getting the bike up and resting for a bit, we tried to continue on our way. Immediately my dad started freaking out – his handlebars wouldn’t turn in one direction.  The issue – a couple of fasteners on his steering stabilizer had vibrated loose (it was a miracle he didn’t lose the fasteners). The crash had finally pushed it to the point of failure.

If you look at the picture below, the red piece moves with the handlebars, the black rods behind had shifted up to prevent things from rotating. If you look at the close one, you can actually see that the top is scuffed up. If this had happened at the wrong time, really bad things would result.


Now the problem became tightening those fasteners. Normally they are tightened before the stabilizer is installed on the bike. There was no clearance to get a tool in on either side. After quite a bit of finagling, he got one side tightened up – the other side was just impossible, and was basically not threaded at all. There was so little clearance, the the fastener couldn’t even come out. So, we added a zip tie for insurance, and started toward the Boundary Dam campground. We figured at that point, I could run for tools to do a better fix, or call for extraction if needed.

Here is a pic of him on the side of the trail fighting with the fastener.


We went very slow through the rest of the dirt section, which gave us an opportunity to chat about our options. We didn’t have the tools to do a proper fix (or did we…) for the stabilizer. The obvious solution – you can actually remove the red piece in the picture above, which essentially returns things to the stock configuration of the bike (my Dad added the stabilizer after his crash on the Dempster a few years ago).

We arrived at the campground and nailed down a spot in case we needed to spend the night. Then it was time to start taking apart the bike. Below, you can see the handlebars off and the stabilizer out.


With the handlebars off, he tried to get access to the fastener that was still loose. After a long battle, he gave up and put everything back together. To fix the problem, you need to remove the large nut in the steering column – go back and look at the close-up picture of the dampener. The issue was that we didn’t have a tool big enough to take it off. Then it hit me – that nut looks like the same size as the axle nut on my bike, and I have a wrench to take the tires off with me. Sure enough, we gave it a try and it worked.

He really, really, really, really wants that stabilizer installed on the bike. He has had issues with head shake on the freeway when trucks pass by, and the dampener solves the problem. We decided to head into Sandpoint tomorrow and get a hotel room. We’ll take Sunday as a “rest” day, go to a store and get some loctite, and reinstall the stabilizer. It should also give us the opportunity to watch the Seahawks game.

It is about 100 miles to Sandpoint from our current location (at least following the path we are taking, we will complete the Northwest Passage). At this point it is getting to be later in the day, so we decide to camp here for the night.

I haven’t had a shower in 4 days, and my current clothes needed to be washed. So I decided it was a good time to jump in the lake and go swimming. On the way down, I noticed this sign.


I’m not sure if I should be happy that there hasn’t been a cougar sighting in a couple of weeks, or worried because they have a semi-permanent sign to update the sightings.

Here I am in the lake.


Here is our campsite.



That’s about it for today!



Miles Total: 205
Miles Today: 205

We hit the road today! Had a bit of a late start, we stalled until the rain stopped. This worked out perfectly – we didn’t get rained on at all. While I was waiting for my dad to show up, I had to take a picture of the bike fully loaded and ready to go,


We got on the road a little after 10a. It didn’t take too long before we hit our first problem. My phone was not connected to the charger correctly and it kept making noises in my headset every 30 seconds. I figured that the cable was loose or something. We pulled over in a Target parking lot so I could check it out – it seems to be an issue w/the USB port I was using to charge. I switched to a spare and all was good.

We stopped in Darrington to pick up some snacks and so my dad could top off his tank. We met a couple there from Metaline Falls (which is on our route) who invited us to camp on their property if the timing is right. We got directions, hopefully I’ll remember them if we need to use them.

Next stop was the Diablo Lake overlook. I ate my munchies that I picked up in Darrington, and then walked around to take some pictures…

Diablo Lake


Bikes in the parking lot.


The next stop was at the Washington Pass overlook. Not much to see here, too many trees and we didn’t feel like getting off the bikes and hiking. Another bike picture


Did get a peek-a-boo view of this…Looking at the map, I believe that this is Early Winters Spires South.


From here we motored on to Mazama. We topped off our tanks and aired down the tires – it was time to hit some dirt! Didn’t stop to get any pictures. We were on some pretty straightforward gravel roads that didn’t really present any challenges. There were some rocks here and there, but you could easily have taken a passenger car down the entire route. The views were pretty cool in spots, with cliffs going straight up on one side and straight down on the other. Tried getting some 360 video – hopefully they’ll turn out.

We are camping at a WDFW campground just north of Winthrop. Not a ton of amenities here – just a couple of pit toilets. There is a ton of room and only a couple of other rigs here. I did almost tip over while trying to turn around in the campground – while we were exploring around, I tried to do a u-turn onto another road, and it had a bit of a rut in it. Just gave it some gas, and powered through ok.

Here is a quick pic of my hammock setup for the night


Once camp was set up, we rehydrated dinner – I think mine was pineapple chicken.  I also had some freeze dried cheese, which was kinda nasty.

Amazingly, there is cell phone coverage here, so I should be able to get this posted in a timely fashion!

Camping dry run before NWP/IDBDR

Well, it has been just over two years since my last post. It has been hard to write anything up after the epic Alaska adventure as everything since then just seems trivial. In September I’m going to embark on as new motorcycle adventure doing the Northwest Passage Route over to the Idaho Backcountry Discovery Route. I’ll save the details of the route for a future post. This particular trip is a quick overnighter to test out new camping gear and motorcycle configuration.

The planned route was to travel from the Eastside down to Enumclaw, take highway 410 over Chinook Pass, and then take highway 12 back across White Pass before heading north again. We camped near the top of white pass.

We stopped at the first scenic outlook on 410, but there was really only a peekaboo view of Mount Rainier. But it did make an excellent opportunity to get a picture of the bikes.

There was also a sign that went into detail on the Mather Memorial Parkway.

As we cruised further down the road, we came to a lookout that had a much better view of the mountain with white river in the foreground.

One of the most scenic parts of the ride today was going over Chinook Pass. Of course, I don’t have any photos to show for it. I should have some pretty cool video, but I’m writing this up at the campsite right now and don’t have a good way to access them.
After cresting Chinook Pass, we cruised along a small river for a bit before pulling into a small campground for a rest break. It was nice to give our butts a little bit of a rest. I took it as another opportunity for some bike pictures.

Also managed to get a picture of the stream next to the campground.

We ride up to the top of White Pass to check out the campground at the summit. It was ok, but not great, so we backtracked a little to the Dog Lake Campground.

we found a site that could accommodate two hammocks, and got all set up!


A picture of the lake

So, how are the experimental things working out so far? Kind of mixed…

I’m using a galaxy tab 2 to process my media and author this blog post. I’m encountering way to many issues and will likely go back to using my surface pro.

I tried using a small Sawyer squeeze filter to purify water and it was way too slow, I’ll be bringing my pump along for the actual trip.

The wolfman soft luggage seems to be working great and the bottle holsters are nice – keeps the water (and my cg lower). I do need to rethink how my stuff is organized in the panniers.

That’s about it for now…