Spring is about half over and we have taken several rides so I'd better get busy
and write them up. As Kathy has a new job (earning money to pay for next year's
big trip) she keeps busy Friday through Monday. That means any weekend rides are
by myself. This means that pictures while riding are going to be fewer and farther
between. But with her 3-day "weekends" on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday we will
be out and about.
The Blarney Run - March 28
The first ride was a small Saturday ride on March 28 called "The Blarney Run", themed,
of course, on St. Patrick's Day. This is a small gathering to support a local food
bank. We had about two dozen bikes there.
We had a fun ride through the local rural roads on a cool and cloudy, but dry day.
I got back just as the last of the food was being put away and missed the complete
pile of goodies. O ver 800 lbs of food was collected.
Then we all ate some "Irish" stew and discussed the ride, the weather, the food bank
and generally solved the problems of the world!
About April 1st we received our Grand Tour checkpoint books from the Rose City Motorcycle
Club. We have until September 30th to go to as many of the 19 checkpoints as possible. Fifteen
of the checkpoints are in, or very near to, Oregon. The other four are far away. This
year the four are in southern California, southern Nevada and eastern Utah. We are
not planning to get any of those four this year as it is impossible to reach any
of them and return to Vancouver, WA in the three day weekends that Kathy has available. I'm
showing the Oregon checkpoints in the order listed in the tour book. (The green
and red points are just the program's way of showing what it thinks is the start
and finish of a route.)
As we get the checkpoints stamped in our books I will insert them in this story. It
will take all summer to do that. Then at the end of October we will go to the dinner
and see if we have won any prizes.
GWRRA WA-X Chapter Meeting Planned Run - April 9th
After our breakfast meetings on the first Saturday of the month the club plans to
have a ride. I am informed that as I suggested the chosen route I get to lead on
May 2nd. The route I suggested is through the hills of NW Oregon on 2-lane roads
that curve and twist,
Then across the Columbia River on the Cathlamet Ferry. Friends Sam and Trish have
come along just for the ride. Sam is leading on his GoldWing and Trish is bringing
up the rear on her GoldWing trike.
The first Grand Tour checkpoint is on Cathlamet. We stop and get our books stamped.
After landing on the Washington shore we turned east and headed back home. The total
ride is a little over 4 hours and about 150 miles.
Then when the meeting arrived our chapter has been invited by another club to ride
with them to a veteran's hospital. I did not go along as I had chores at home that
had come along and was glad of the opportunity to complete them rather than lead
OR 250 - April 12
The Rose City Motorcycle Club, an all-brand club, puts on several poker runs as well
as the Grand Tour. This one is called The Oregon 250. It is a 250 mile, one day
ride. The weather was good and there were lots of bikes.
It always starts at Beaverton Motorcycles, the local dealer for Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha
It led downstream along the Washington side of the Columbia River. Along the route
there are checkpoints where one gets the next set of instructions. The first one
is at the store in Cathlamet, which is also a checkpoint for the Grand Tour. Kathy
and I already have it. Then we went on to the bridge across from Astoria, near the
mouth of the river and crossed back into Oregon. I was riding with Mark and we stopped
for lunch in Astoria before heading back towards Portland on the smaller county roads.
The roads led through the same hills and curves as my planned meeting ride. But
we are running in the opposite direction and taking more roads as we have to accumulate
250 miles on this ride.
At the end we are back at Beaverton MC where John, on the platform at the left, hands
out the prizes and awards. He and his wife Char are the leaders of the RCMC. They
have been doing this for many years and the club will sorely miss them if they ever
give it up. They have done an excellent job of producing many interesting rides
over the years.
And my usual luck held, I didn't get any award. I did get a door prize. but that
is not difficult. They have so many that just about everyone entered gets something.
ARC (Advanced Rider Course) - April 18
I like to keep my skill level up to a high. I feel that I'm much less likely to have
problems on the road if I am up to date on the techniques and skills necessary to
pilot a large motorcycle long distances.
Kathy and I bought our first GoldWing in 1981 and have about 400,000 miles (640.000
km) on them since then. We had one serious wreck when we wrecked the White Dragon
in Italy. We don't want to do that again.
The class is all day and starts with about three hours of classroom and then out
to the course. It is not a fast or race course. It is a local parking lot with
some very difficult maneuvers laid out for us to try.
As watch one of the instructors demonstrates the current maneuver and then it becomes
our turn. We line up and when directed try to duplicate the instructors riding skill.
You might recognize that bike. It is Mark from the OR 250 that is in the third picture
above. He is a certified instructor for the ARC and did an excellent job on his
new 2015 GoldWing. The class is open to all bikes and we did have one Harley. It
was sponsored by a chapter of the GoldWing Riders Association so we kind of filled
the available slots before anyone else heard about it.
It was a fun day in the sun and helped me with some bad habits I had developed in
slow speed turns and stopping.
WA-I Grist Mill Run - April 19
On the next day our chapter of the GWRRA had been invited to join with Chapter I
form Olympia, WA to have lunch and ride to the Cedar Creek Grist Mill. This is over
a hundred mile ride just to get here for them, and thirty miles for us.
After meeting for lunch in the town of Woodland we lined up and headed east along
the Lewis River to the grist mill.
The mill is alongside a covered bridge on Cedar Creek, a tributary of the Lewis River
in northern Clark County. It was built in the late 1800's and has been lovingly
restored by a support group of volunteers. It still grinds grain using the same
water system power that was originally installed. The grain is available for purchase
and we all availed ourselves of this opportunity.
Finally after much talking, many pictures and tales told it was time for Chapter
I to head home. They still had about 30 miles to get to the freeway and then about
80 miles to home. After seeing them off we headed out also.
The Right Turn Ride - April 25
GWRRA Chapter G of Salem, OR has a ride every year that is fun. There are only right
turns in the entire run. No left turns at all. It starts at the Honda dealership
in Salem and goes crazy from there. If the route really needs to go to the left
it will make three rights to do it. On county roads that can take up a few miles. In
a town it is just going around the block.
There are checkpoints along the way where one gets the next set of directions.
At registration one was given a small card that is about two inches by 4 inches and
has four rows of 13 little squares on it. At each checkpoint you get to use a paper
punch to put a hole in any square.
When the run is completed you hand that in and they lay it on a master card and see
what shows through the holes you punched. Five holes and you have a poker hand. We
ate pizza and sat around while the last stragglers came in and things got added up. There
were door prizes to go around. I got a bottle of spray bike cleaner. The guy to
my right got a GoldWing oil filter, but he rides a Yamaha, so we traded. I did not
win any award again.
On the way home I stop in the town of Donald and get checkpoint number 2.
He also found scratches in the fairing and saddle bags, easily fixable. And the
mounts for the left side crash guard are broken. Not bad considering what happened.