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1,695 Miles: Redmond to Portland – Twisty Fun!

August 5, 2010

Saturday arrived much too quickly, and the end of my stay in Redmond. I really hadn’t spent much time at the BMW Rally, so it’s hard for me to comment on whether it was worth attending or not. Sure, the Rider Performance University (a.k.a. the BMW-sponsored MSF course) was awesome, but I didn’t get much time at the rally proper, checking out vendors, other seminars (some of which had names like “Getting to First Base”), entertainment, and the potential for paying too much for fast food on-site.

Rally booth

Greg chats with a long-time rider at the BMW Rally.

I did sit with Greg at his booth for a few hours. Greg thought having me there helped to attract some attention. Perhaps because I had no trouble catching the eye of passers-by and chatting them up. While I’m not a particularly social creature, eschewing most gatherings where I know few people and feel constantly put on the spot, I believe in Greg’s motorcycle touring company and have no trouble talking about it with strangers.

As much as I was enjoying the morning, I was under a deadline to meetup with PDX Sportriders in the burg of Detroit, OR. Organizer Jim (minister of doughnut technologies) estimated I had 70 miles of travel. I had completely forgotten what a fluster-cuck the town of Sisters has become; traffic literally crawled through the town as tourists swarmed across the streets, paying no mind to those of us in and on vehicles. Even though I picked up my pace considerably, once I got to the multiple-lane highway, I was nonetheless quite late by the Sportriders’ standards. More on that in a minute…

I rode up to The Cedars Restaurant, negotiating trucks pulling boats, truck drivers not paying attention, car drivers not paying attention… I was so glad to find a parking spot and pull in! I knew I was in the right place when I spied a bright yellow 650GS and a dark blue, sweet-looking Bandit 1250… both of which I knew belonged to a couple of Sportriders. I was welcomed in the parking lot by Jim himself, with whom I had been corresponding for three years or so but had never met in person. Into the restaurant we went, and I was immediately told by one of the other guys (Bill, was that you?)—even before introductions—that I was late! And lateness is not tolerated by the Sportriders! Eek! I knew I was in company with some serious riders and that I had to wolf down my reuben sandwich if I wanted company riding to Portland.

In Detroit

Fueling up in Detroit

Food et, we all went to gas up the bikes, get our riding order and instructions from the Minister himself, and off we went. I had been under the impression, when ride plans were being formulated, that my tour along FR 46 from Detroit to Estacada would be a nice and mellow sightseeing ride. Little did I know that my hosts for the day are a group of kick-ass riders—and seriously into riding fast through the twisties. “Fasten your seatbelt, Dorothy, ‘cause Kansas is about to go bye-bye.” Fortunately, my confidence was running high, due to the previous day’s Advanced Rider Course. I was quickly caught up in hooligan high-jinks: it was a high adrenaline ride, with awesome cornering, and I have to admit to breaking a few rules along the way…

Seasonal wildflowers blurred in my vision as we rode: blue flax, yarrow, and sweet peas created a palette of color amidst the brown of the hillsides. The smell of pine was energizing, and the river cooled the air, creating a pleasant temperature for the ride.

Here are a few photos from the day’s ride, and a few of the sights* I missed due to our brisk pace. Okay, I know I was under a time crunch to get to Portland, but I don’t think that’s why we were speeding along…

the road

Incredibly smooth pavement and often-gentle curves

Clackamas River

Clackamas River


I think it's pretty clear what this is…

PDX Sportriders

New riding friends (l to r): Jim, Albert, Don, Bill

I couldn’t have asked for a more considerate escort than Jim, Don, Albert and Bill. Not only are these guys fantastic to ride with, they are courteous and friendly, and they welcomed me to their riding group (of which I am an honorary member, having grown up in Portland but now living in northern California) with their unique charm.

Next post: Hopelessly confused in Portland and… getting blown about in the Gorge on another adventure with PDX Sportriders…

*Courtesy of J Redbird

2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 5, 2010 6:28 pm

    Nice picture of the curvy road.

    I really enjoyed BMWMOA Rally though I wish I could’ve taken the advanced riding class. Lots of great talks and new friends, including those I only knew from the forums and email lists.

    • August 5, 2010 9:08 pm

      I’ll tell the photographer that you like his photo…

      I also got to meet a few people with whom I had only previously corresponded. That was one of the highlights of the Rally for me. I cannot recommend the ARC enough; if you have one in your area, sign up.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Richard.

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