Days 0/1/2/3/4/5 – Tri-state Portland to Washington to California MotoCamping Ride on a 2020 BMW 1250 GS

“I’m not counting miles. I’m counting memories.” – R. Perez

Initially I planned on writing and sharing a story for every one of my six riding days but, somehow life and the ride got in the way of the writing. And thank goodness it did for that is how I know I truly must’ve been in the zone on this truly “epic ” ride. By the zone I’m referring to feelings of human emotion kicking in, all at once. From high anxiety to utter euphoria.

I saddled up in Portland and then pointed my steed northbound out into the Pacific Northwest parts of today’s Americana. I was on my own one man self made tour of a tri- state ride with visits to relatives and friends interspersed.

So today I thought I’d put days zero through six into one short sweet story. My D-0 is the day I flew up from LA to Portland to pick up for Motoquest (a touring company) a brand new 2020 BMW 1250 GS and deliver it back down to Long Beach, California.

To my friends on Facebook I shared moments and lots of great scenery pictures. Like how often can you find an inn n Out right next door to a Krispy Kreme?

I felt like a cowboy! Almost, but not quite like in the olden days of cowboys and Indians; is my world now safer? We are living 2020 in a Covid 19 world. Think anarchy and chaos, think rioting and protests in Portland and Seattle. I tried to see some if not all of it on my ride but, never saw any of it.

In Portland I wanted to do a drive by downtown but, my GARMIN had other plans and then I routed myself to Tacoma on the five freeway. Where are all the motorcycles I thought? Surely I cannot be the only one on the road. True. Very little motorcycle traffic encountered the entire trip.

While in Tacoma I stopped briefly to say hi to my second son Mike. Then lunch at Pikes Market then a visit to Seattle to see my oldest son and his family. Two new grand baby girls born during this covid lockdown. Today and tomorrow I met both for the first time.

And then I headed to W Seattle to visit Garland an old friend who gave me a tour of his historic neighborhood.

Day two was a fantastic day bonding with my grandson Elliott who can easily tell you about the planets in our solar system, and in the correct order, plus all the particulars such as the number of rings or moons.

Mike and I made a Costco run to purchase much needed underwear and socks that minimalist me failed to pack. While at Costco we purchase the necessary fixings for a good old Labor Day barbecue. Macaroons and a Mario and Luigi remote control cars were also purchased for Elliott.

When I left Tacoma And I shot straight up the five freeway with a stop for lunch at Pikes market Place. I actually enjoyed it more with the lesser crowds. Lots of tourists but, not really over crowded. I went by the salmon fishmongers stand and their famous throwing salmon fish routine at customers who order fish. The fish stand opened in 1907 and if you don’t know about Seattle market it’s one of the United States oldest continuously operating farmers markets.

No sign of protesters here either. I sat outside on a table that according to the waiter; in 113 years no one before covid has been able to.

Apparently because of Covid 19 restaurants all over are now allowing street table seating. By waving my phone over a barcode on the table I was able to order and pay for octopus tacos and a Mexican drink.

In my mechanized world by the mere twist of the throttle I can accelerate, decelerate, ascend and just as suddenly descend a road.

The feelings of centrifugal forces while leaning into and back out of a curve is just something that if I dug deep down and tried to truly explain it to a non rider I would fail.

What an awesome feeling me sitting on a motorcycle staring out towards the rising sun just up from the start of the most crookedest street in the world Lombard Street.

After watching the sun come up I then rode down Lombard Street. My thoughts were of what it would be like to go back in time when this Street was first conceived.

Alcatraz the island prison in the background

Prior to my Day 0 I did some preliminary planning such the type of riding I wanted to do like for example. Did you know that 364 miles of near ocean riding experience exists in Oregon? Mile zero is at the Astoria bridge to the far north and 363 miles later you’re at the California border.

Along the way I got the chance to discover some of the oldest towns plus some of the largest expansive coastal dunes in all of North America.

There seem to be fishing towns everywhere so seafood is plentiful. The town of Florence (where I spent the night) and Reedsport provide access to the Oregon dunes. While there I ate at Moe’s. I ordered a chowder topped with bay shrimp a cold draft beer and for dessert a blueberry cobbler top with vanilla ice cream.

My day zero. Patti fed me a delicious home cooked meal before my send off to Ontario Airport. Only one couple with a baby in a stroller ahead, and no one behind me at airport security. Once boarded I notice that everyone is evenly spaced and wearing their masks, on a two hour Alaska flight bound for Portland.

Priceless

Choices. We make choices from the moment we open our eyes. And sometimes those choices turn out to be not the best of choices. Take for example my MotoCamping desire to ride down the coast and camp along the way. Good choice, fair execution however, try flying without checking in luggage. Then add the backpack, riding helmet, jacket, pants, motorcycle boots.

Parts of the ride home was hot

The planning: A great motorcycling experience doesn’t just happen. Great rides rarely come from skimming a guidebook or highlighting a new map.

Great rides require great planning! First, a rider has to be motivated enough to tackle such an experience. Then, he has to plot the route, allocate $$ for the passion and finally, just make it happen!

The news in the rest of the country called for high record heat at home and Hurricane Laura in coastal areas of Louisiana with the prospect of weeks without power or water.

So what to wear? For this ride I was a motorcycle minimalist. So obviously I took very little in the way of clothing. One item that became very valuable to me was thermal underwear. The low time riding temperature dropped down to 46° shortly after leaving Reedsport Oregon. That’s about midway down the Oregon coast with Eugene Oregon to the East.

Thank you heated motorcycle riding handgrips.

And now I’ll share some of the other weird type of things that occurred on this trip. Take for example you riding your motorcycle down the road on highway 101 when you encounter a long row of cars.

You easily make quick work of the car traffic by lane splitting at times and then suddenly see something almost indescribable.

At the lead of this twelve or so car caravan is a female driver under the age of twenty one; driving using only her left leg. She obviously has to have the car on cruise control and with her left hand she is holding her mobile phone and carrying on a conversation. Totally oblivious at the line of cars she is holding back by her driving on the fast lane.

I gave her the glance of Lucifer and if I could’ve shot a laser ray with my eyes her way I would’ve.

In no uncertain way with my hands in the air did I not show her my total disapproval.

SOME STATS:

Low temperature 46 degrees

High temperatures 115 degrees

Best road travelled. Redwood Highway 101

Best smelling road – just after crossing into the Redwood Highway the smell of the salt air, the trees, truly a moment to stop and smell the roses.

END OF PART 1

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