Thursday, August 2, 2012

Heading West from iMBC2012 & thoughts:

After a fun filled weekend riding and being with our blogging friends, the weekend passed all too fast and soon it was time for everyone to go their separate ways. Most were heading home, while I was still on a touring vacation to points unknown.

When I started this journey I decided to just travel the fastest way to Baker City. I am riding alone and it just didn't make sense to take more time consuming backroads only to waste time when I had already driven them before. I left Vancouver around 6:15am and rode over 500 miles to arrive in Baker City, Oregon around 5pm . I only made two quick gas stops & two fast food stops. I like my large gas tank

There were a few firsts for me. The first time I am taking the fast route via major highways. I set my bike up for freeway travel. I installed highway pegs. I used a GEL pad which really helped with leg circulation and heat condensation within the male apparatus system. ie: I was not sweaty in the sensitive areas. I had purchased camping equipment; tent, self inflating sleeping pad, sleeping bag, MSR internationale stove and wanted to try it out and see how I liked it. Another reason for arriving one day early was that I knew Karen was camping and I needed the guidance of an experienced teacher. (co-incidently she is a teacher) I also received some input from Richard The campsite in Baker City was great. The temperatures were pleasant and I had a good experience camping for the first time. I even used my MSR stove to make coffee the next morning. So far I like camping, so long as I have a place with a shower and flush toilets - not those pit things

This was also the first time that I decided to venture on my own after our meeting and I wanted to see what it was like to have to make all my decisions for myself. I find that with no one else with me I tend NOT to eat anything and also I tend not to stop much. I rode the Aufderheide and didn't take any photos, nor was there anywhere to stop so I just kept riding.

This was also the first time that I did not book accommodations along the way so I was homeless wherever I ended up. I was keeping a sharp eye for campsites but only found RV sites where you hookup your own unit. There were no facilities for tents. I don't have a system but before I left home I installed some apps on my iphone; like priceline, hotwire and kayak. I also have apps for Holiday inn, Best Western & choice hotels. When I arrived in Eugene, OR I didn't know where to go so I did what most people would do, find a place with WiFi so McDonalds it was. I buy a beverage to pay for the WiFi and sit down with my phone to see what is available. I narrow down my options quickly and make a plan

At 65mph my bike gets good fuel mileage, but at 72 mph it starts to dwindle. I used 136.5 litres of fuel to travel 3,022. kilometers, so this works out to around 52.4 mi/US gallon. My bike worked flawlessly even in the 100°F heat of Hell's Canyon.

I had a few people ask about my foot. I was okay on the trip but a few days ago on Tuesday morning I woke up and could hardly walk. It was swollen again and I don't know why. It just happened for no reason. I endured it for a day before I took a celebrex and the next morning the swelling had reduced to about half. I took a photo but you really can't tell anything was wrong.

Also a few days ago I stubbed my toe, that's one of the things about being barefoot and walking like a duck


doesn't look too bad but I split the skin and it wouldn't stop bleeding


eventually it stopped and I got it cleaned up. For a while it really hurt. I couldn't wear shoes to work but luckily I had a pair of Keens

I hope everyone had a great time in Joseph/Enterprise and especially to our long distance riders; Richard, Erik & Karen . It was sad on Sunday after we had our group dinner as I knew we would be parting ways. I hope we can be together again sometime in the future.

Monday I woke up early as I decided to head WEST towards Bend, OR and I thought it made more sense to tag along with Troubadour & Trobairitz

I knew they would be leaving early so I thought it would be okay if I got at their Hotel before 6:30am. If their bikes were there I would just wait outside. If they were gone then I would hit the road and try to catch up. I know now that I would never have been able to catch up by the spirited way that Troubadour rides

judge for yourself and hang on like I did . . . (BTW: it was great to be following you know who all day long)


  1. Bob, you never do anything in half-measures. I pity your feet. It's true that you take them to interesting places. It's also true that you get them out there to meet people far and wide. But the fun and fame sure come at a steep price. Bloody feet! A first, I'm sure. CSI comes to the Wet Coast. I'll have to start averting my eyes while your blog loads. That's the way I watch CSI, NCIS, Grey's Anatomy, and now Riding the Wet Coast.

    1. David:

      I must be getting OLD. Parts are wearing out. I'm trying to meet everyone I can and perhaps zig zag across the country soon before I can't ride anymore. You need to acquire a more cross country touring machine and join me on my journey. I've never had health problems before, I don't handle immobility very well

  2. A couple of those passing attempts would have raised my adrenaline a bit. Wonderful video!


    1. Jimbo/cpa3485:

      ME too, I just close my eyes, crank the throttle and hope that Troubadour knows what he is doing. I have gotten used to seeing the "sign". When he pulls up behind the "slow" vehicle I know he is prepping for a pass. That's when I "gun it" to catch up. I usually hang back 6 seconds to allow more "room"

  3. I'll take pit toilets (or even a descreet bush) and camping in good weather, over camping with all the amenities in the rain. Done both. I'm now a fair weather camper.

    Fun seeing the old cars.
    Were those the ones you had seen in town earlier?

    At about 2:06 you're in John Day. We had ice cream at that Dairy Queen and dinner at the restaurant across the street (I knew this look familiar!).

    I love seeing this scenery again. Love, love, love going through picture gorge. That is one of my favorite places. I have to go back sometime when I have time to stop at the fossil beds and painted hills.

    Take care of those footsies! It really sucks to have foot troubles. That's the sort of thing that really puts a damper on enjoying travel, or even just getting around day by day. It's tough when you have these annoying ailments that come and go, but never go away.

    1. Bluekat:

      Those were the same cars we saw in Baker City and we didn't realize they were all going the same direction as we were, but they are slow and easy to pass. I was going to put more labels in the video, esp when going through John Day but I was in a hurry and forgot, until it was rendered and I didn't feel like doing it again. I also glanced at Dreamers Lodge very close to the DQ on the North side.

      I knew you liked that pictue gorge. We (You, Ron & Myself) stopped on the gravel part last year, I snapped a photo of you two. I actually took video of the whole gorge, but I may have cut it short for this video to keep it shorter. The turnoff to Spray was just near the end. I remember that great road . . .

      I've never had foot problems before and it is killing me to walk like an old guy. It is sort of recurring but don't know what is causing the problem

    2. The thing is, last year when we rode through I was taking pics on the fly, but hadn't noticed the camera had turned off. When I checked later...No Pics! That really toasted my cookies.

      Mystery medical problems are the worst. You can't fix it if you don't know what is the cause. I hope you're able to get it figured out and heal up!

  4. Thanks for the video Bob. We appreciate the time it takes to put them together.

    You sure had a lot of first on the trip but I think you handled them all well. It was weird after we left in Redmond not to have anyone behind me. I was so used to watching for you after 9 hours that I still kept looking. Hope we weren't too spirited for you. I just follow my fearless leader.

    Hope your feet feel better soon. Your little piggy and your ankle.

    1. Trobairitz:

      I am more of a social person than a loner. I don't mind riding alone to meet people. One or two days on the road is okay to and from like in past years. I feel that travelling should be shared with someone. It hurts to experience the sights and sounds of a new place without another set of eyes to view with you. It also dampens the enthusiasm to ride long distances just to cover mileage, so I tend to relax more and smell the roses, not that this is bad. I am trying to learn how to relax. I am better as a tour guide to show others the sights of our area.

      I was getting sadder as we neared Redmond as I would then truly be alone and have to fend for myself. I had no one to follow as I ventured south towards Bend towards REI and to find a home for the night.

      I just wished you would get a windshield, for safetys sake

    2. Maybe I'm more of a loner. I really enjoy meeting people but I also really enjoy riding alone. I had the opposite experience of having to force myself to stop. I always wanted to see what was around the next bend.

    3. Richard:

      I can go either way. If I have a plan and be somewhere then I would make few stops. If I am aimless I will stop often for photo opps and just enjoy the day as I like to take photos. Last week I experience what you are describing. I rode approx 2 hours on the Aufderheide and didn't even snap a photo, nor did I stop so I must have been in "Richard" mode

  5. I enjoyed the video reminding me of the wonderful Oregon roads. I like the way you are pieced together shorter clips from the journey.

    1. Richard:

      the plan is to keep the videos short. I only took short sequences from longer clips to keep the scenes interesting and constantly changing to keep your attention. There is nothing more boring than a long video of "the straight road" . My upcoming video of Hwy 242 should prove interesting. It was much more challenging than the NF39 from Oxbow to Joseph. Many switchbacks upon switchbacks on a narrow road. It may be longer since I want to show you all/most of it.

  6. Bob, I'll be watching the videos when I can get a faster connection. I'll give serious consideration to getting a Gopro.

    It was great to meet all you guys. I'm so glad I went west! Bob, you're a hoot!

    1. Erik:

      I think having a GoProHD type of camera is safer than the one-handed snap a photo method. Plus you get action and the sounds of your engine, the leaning into the curves . . . it is like you are sitting on my left handlebar.

      My housing broke today. The "clip" is a bad design and I am careful to always close the rear door carefully and not just snap it into place, BUT I need another housing Today as I am going on another ride tomorrow, otherwise NO video for me.

      Resolution is bitrate to Video as Megapixels is to .jpegs. I try to compromise by setting the bitrate low, perhaps around 5 Mbps, short videos I keep at 7 or 8 Mbps otherwise the HD is pixelated. I used to do full 1080p30 but it was buffering too much and stopping, so now I only render to 720p30 . You could always watch it at 360p or 480p to conserve resources.

      I realize that some people are too serious. Life is too short so I take the light-hearted approach. I also learned a long time ago that it is good to always make fun of yourself. I don't mind . . . it's only a facade and an image to project so others can remember that goof from Vancouve who rides a Vstrom sometimes, and sometimes wear shoes.

      If D Brent Miller is reading I think we got off to a wrong start. I treated him as if I had known him a long time and I think I understand where he is coming from. I was a bit forward and I respect his privacy. I misunderstood what he was saying when he said meeting me was high on his list. I did ask if I could post some photos but in the end decided not to post anything until he returned home. I am glad to have had the chance to meet such a high profile Journalist and Photographer and all of you should visit his site and read his most excellent articles.

      sorry to get off track but this has been on my mind for a week or so. You mentioned being a Hoot. I like to have fun and I like to meet people, actually all 15 of you out there. I used to keep things private but then I realized that I would just be a normal person protecting my privacy. I used to be a shy person, now I seem to be extraverted. I have no problems meeting people. I actually met a few riders during my travels and I think when you are riding far from home you tend to bond more easily with common interests. Hopefully we will have more attendees at iMBC2014

    2. Yes, Bob, I am reading. I have subscribed to your blog for quite some time. I arrived home yesterday--19 days on the road, 5,979 miles (close enough to call it 6k). I am organizing my writing, and was blown away by the Oregon Trail--the main reason for my travels to the West Coast. BTW, it's about 2,200 miles long from Kansas City, MO, to Portland, OR.

      Regarding some of your post, I actually prefer to travel solo. I have found that random conversations occur more easily with the locals. They rarely approach a group or even two riders to see where they are going. But a solo traveler on a motorcycle: "Hi! Where you from? Where you going?" That's all it takes to start a conversation. Secondly, riding solo, I get to ride my own ride. It's trying to ride like someone else, or trying to keep up, that usually gets a rider into trouble.

      I am glad we got to meet. I wish I could have met more bloggers that I follow while in the PNW. Maybe next time.


    3. Brent:

      Glad to see you made it home safely, that's the most important thing. My trip was not about riding, but rather meeting people. I only went about 2,000 miles in 8 days but two were non-riding days. When I was by myself I had no trouble talking to other motorcyclists and hearing their stories. I only ride solo to get where I am going and usually I meet up with others while there. My few days alone was just a test for me to see how I liked it and I must say that the dynamics are different. I take a slower pace as I don't have to be anywhere, and I also stop longer to relax. I like the idea that I can stop, or not stop whatever I feel like doing, unlike when in a group where the majority would dictate.

      If you were a few days earlier you could have met the rest of our group in Joseph, OR

  7. Bob - never get too serious, life is too short to be serious. I've found there is no better way to meet people than to ride in on a motorcycle, glad we all rode in to meet. You light up my life!

    1. Karen:

      I think we are all glad to have met you too. You had a long journey to get to Oregon and it took guts to ride into Curvistan but you did just fine. I also had a great teacher and a great neighbour in Baker City. One day was too short. I wished we could have stayed longer.

  8. Wow that was quite the ride! I don't think I could have kept up and would have been the pokey joe dragging behind. I would have slowed the group down because my gas tank is not overly large & I need frequent stops for gas. I have yet to log a long distance travel trip but am not certain I really want to camp.

    How is your ankle? My left one is puffed up from my foray into the dirt the other day, when I wiped out the peg smashed into my ankle and it's a little swollen, unfortunately it's the ankle I sprained back in the spring. Look after your foot and I hope it fels better.

    1. Dar:

      You would have done just fine. Troubadour sets the pace for the slowest in the group, it's just that we didn't have you there to set the slower pace and we had lots of miles to cover. We normally stop for gas every 200 kms anyway, and we use this as a rest break to stretch our legs.

      Hope your ankle gets better. If you are going to do more "dirt" perhaps you should get motocross boots

  9. Bob

    Nothing personal here, but please con't use podiaristic avatars!

    N the squeemish one from Gold medal territory

    1. Nikos:

      I don't envy you with all the tourists and security over there. I do appreciate your opinions even though I may not be guided by them

    2. Bob

      Mrs N has a swelling foot now and I am given hour by hour accounts of "progress"!

  10. What a beautiful ride.

    I agree with you about flush toilets and showers. I'll be damned if I'll feel my way through a cold dark night to a kybo.

    1. John:

      I decided to try camping on this trip and as long as I have flush toilets and showers I would be okay with it. It's a learning process for me and I know I need a better sleeping bag