– Ben Martens

720 Miles

The longest ride I've made in one day was around 400 miles. I didn't break my single day record this weekend, but it was the longest overall trip I've ever done and my first overnight trip.

As I mentioned previously, the ride started yesterday with Tyla and I taking a trip through Stevens Pass to Leavenworth and ending at The Gorge in George, WA. I was a bit nervous about taking her on a 220 mile ride, but she did great and was even comfortable enough to fall asleep for a bit. (Don't worry, it's not as unsafe as it sounds. Ask Laura. She does it all the time with Matt.)

On Saturday, I met BenH (from work), MattM and Dustin (one of Matt's friends) in Ellensburg. I was a bit nervous about our 270 mile day since I had zero sleep the night before. I grabbed a one hour nap while the three of them ate breakfast in Ellensburg. You know you're tired when you can pass out in laying on blacktop in an Arby's parking lot. That nap refreshed me and we took off on a gorgeous ride down Canyon Road to Yakima. The scenery on the east side of the mountains is so different from over here. I wish I had more pictures but I really felt like I was in a miniature Grand Canyon. If I dropped you there, you'd swear you were in the southwest somewhere.

When we hit Yakima, we headed west on Highway 12 which provided some amazing views of both Rainier and Mt. St. Helens at the same time. I also spotted Mt. Adams and what I believe was Mt. Shushkan. If you look at those on a map you'll realize what an incredibly clear day it was. Those mountains stretch from almost Canada down to southern Washington.

The highlight of the trip was definitely NF-25 and NF-90. They are national forestry roads and they were a complete blast to ride. I wish I had some device that measured how often my bike was upright (traveling in a straight line.) I bet we were in corners 90% of the time and those roads stretched for about 60 miles. It's highly recommended. Keep your speed in check though. Those roads are not well maintained and contain many many bumps and dips in awkward spots. When you're on those roads, it's easily two thirds motorcycle traffic.

The three other riders took a trip up and back to view Mt. St. Helens. This was about 1pm in the afternoon and I was feeling tired again. I let them take that little spur and I caught a great nap on the side of the road.

We stayed overnight in Vancouver, WA and had dinner at Red Robin (where else?) I was anti-social and went to bed early to catch up on some sleep. 11 hours later I was finally feeling refreshed and ready for the drive home.

We took much the same route home except we came up the east side of Rainier instead of going back through Yakima. Unfortunately we got a bit split up, but we all made it home safely. It was raining pretty hard by the time we got home, but if it has to rain, it's nice to have it happen when you're an hour from home.

All in all it was an incredible trip. I wish I had more pictures, but I was having so much fun driving down those roads that I didn't want to stop. A motorcycle was the perfect way to experience this trip. It made me even more sure that it's time to upgrade my bike. I even got to chat with someone at a gas station who owned the bike I want (2008 Concours 14.) We'll have to see what happens in my bank account but this might be in my future. That 720 mile trip would have been much more comfortable (and fast) on the Concours. My bike held up well though so I can't complain.

Thanks to all the guys for letting me come along and thanks to Matt for planning everything. I only have one question: where are we going next?!