Canyon Run 2007 – Day 1

Got a leisurely start today, rolling out about 10 am. We knocked out 100 quick miles on I-90 over Snoqualmie Pass, taking our first break at the rest area between Cle Elum and Ellensburg. The ride through the pass was beautiful. Clear and sunny but pleasantly cool. We stuck to the fast lane, keeping between 70 and 80 most of the time. The VStrom felt good but the steering was a bit light and there was a tendency for it to wallow in the turns. I figured this was probably due to the ridiculous amount of stuff on board – especially the dry bag full of clothes strapped high and back on the rear rack. When we stopped I added one step of rear preload and half a turn more damping to the rear, and that shaped things up nicely.

We stopped for lunch in Vantage, next to the Columbia River. The no-frills diner sported about 40 Harleys in the parking lot, but no apparent riders in the restaurant. Mysterious, until we realized they were all in the bar in the back. This was probably a good thing – the beer will help them ignore the pain when they take a slide in their tank tops and buttless chaps. (No judgment here!)

After lunch we turned south along the Columbia, then east at Mattawa for 35 miles of ultra-straight, hot and boring. As we ventured further east the curves began, and finally we arrived at one of our favorite roads, the asphalt roller coaster between Kahlotus and Starbuck. It’s actually better going south-to-north, because the first part climbs and twists sharply for about half a mile – fun when you’re going up, not as fun when you’re going down, trying not to sail off the edge…

We pulled off the road and I decided to go back for a few photos of the river. Unfortunately, the place we pulled off had gravel that was, in places, 8 inches deep. Willo almost made it through, but ended up plowing her front end and tipping over. Righting the bike was a challenge in the deep gravel – the wheels kept squirting out from under – but we got it up eventually and wrestled it onto firmer ground. No damage, just a few scratches on the saddlebag.

The Snake River, near Lyon's Ferry State Park

We ended up in Dayton, WA, with about 280 miles under our belt for the day. Dayton is the heart of Columbia County and part of an area known as the Palouse. This area features dramatic rolling hills covered with grain fields all in different stages of growth. Naturally the roads twist and turn as they make their way around these hills. It’s a beautiful place to ride.

More to come…

One Response to “Canyon Run 2007 – Day 1”

  1. Colin the kittysitter Says:

    Grand views, high speed canyon runs and booteating swans. So this is what motorcycle gangs are up to these days.

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