Day 1 – Eastern Oregon Loop

I departed Seattle this morning on a motorcycle adventure to Baker City as part of a three-day solo ride through eastern Oregon and the Gifford Pinchot National Forest.

Today’s distance: 370 miles

Travel time: 8.5+ hours with stops

Temperatures ranged from mid-50 to low-90, depending on the geography and elevation. It was raining, or more like drizzling, in Seattle when I left just after 6:30am.

By the time I stopped in Cle Elum, maybe 90 minutes later, for a latte, the drizzle stopped.

The rest of the day was cloudy but warm and a bit humid.

As is my habit, I like to cut through Yakima Canyon (Hwy 821), which roughly parallels I-82 south from Ellensburg.

Although the posted speed is only 45mph, the road is snake-like and the scenery is better. Even at low speeds, this is far more enjoyable than the interstate.

Soon though, I was in Yakima and back on the interstate.

With the rain and haze, it was just not a good day for vista photos. 🙁

I shortened my route today. I had a more ambitious plan but as the day worn on and the temperature rose above 90, I just wanted to beeline it to the pool! LOL

As I entered the Blue Mountains just after taking the above photo, the temperatures dropped dramatically, down to 73 at the lowest I noticed. It was 84 in Baker City at its peak. You gotta love it.

I don’t think the photos really shows how green the hills still are for this time of year. And there were so many interesting smells today from the grasses, fields, and fruit orchards.

When you’re on a bike, even wrapped up in gear, your exposure to the immediate environment is intense. I can sense the sprinklers in the field by the relative chill in the air at one point today. It’s so cool.

Today’s goal was to get to Baker City. Tomorrow, I’ll be heading west from Baker City along some of my favorite eastern Oregon roads from past rides, specifically my 2017 Eastern Oregon Loop and my 2015 Trip to Fossil.

Evening update

I did meet two bikers and their pillions (passengers) who’ve arrived for the Hells Canyon Motorcycle Rally.

One couple was from California, another from Saskatchewan. I asked what they enjoy about rallys. They replied that it’s the only time they see each other.

Both couples had been to Sturgis, the largest motorcycle rally in the world. However, only one had been back to Sturgis, while the other muttered “once was enough for us.”

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