If you knew everything that was going to happen ahead of time- it wouldn’t be an adventure, right? That was certainly true of our day on Sunday, day 3 of the Central Washington Adventure ride. In this post, I’ll continue where I left off in the last post, just as we were finishing lunch and heading towards the Palisades. We weren’t exactly sure how we would get home, but we did know that we had multiple options before us to get there.
As we headed out, we were really enjoying the awesome weather- a stark contrast with the overcast skies and wind we faced the day before!
It felt great to get back on the road and get up to speed. We were headed West, approximately. Hmmmm…. where’s road 24? Let’s go North and see if the numbers go up or down – it’s up: we’re in business. A left on 24 took us towards our destination and before long on that road we came up and over a hill and revealed an awesome site: more rocky cliffs!
Now that was where we should have camped last night Rob and I thought to each other… There was even a fire ring ready to go. Oh well, some times you have to take what you get, and it’s almost a nice feeling to say to yourself “OK I’ve got to come back and camp RIGHT HERE” – unfinished business, and a reason to come this way again.
This rocky canyon area went on for miles, and it felt like the kind of “rare jewel” where I could spend a lot of time- just amazing. We finally reached a point where we had to decide whether to follow the highways back to Wenatchee or to go up into the hills North to see if we could extend the trip a bit. We decided to head up into the hills- a decision that would pay dividends.
We rode the steep and rocky hill up towards Slack Canyon road- the ideal venue for adventure ride camping. No too long into this leg of the trip we found the ultimate campsite: right next to huge rock cliffs, and with the sound of a creek coming up from the canyon floor.
I really wished we could stay for another night right there (would be a great place to stash our gear and do trail rides from) – but that wasn’t possible for my schedule, so we had to move on. Right after we left this spot we encountered a gnarly road washout, and that was a fun obstacle to tackle on our bikes. I was a bit surprised on this trip how well the TE-610 did on the trail fully loaded with gear. Top heavy yes, but manageable. It undoubtedly helped at this point in the trip to have gotten back into the mode of riding offroad- something I haven’t been doing much lately (I’ve been a motorcycle commuter for the most part lately).
Next up in our adventure that day was a series of water crossings – yet another riding mode to try out with the fully loaded bike. When approaching these creeks, my pulse quickened as I contemplated what would happen if I ditched the bike (with all my blogging gear onboard) in the water. Well, let’s do this! I told myself.
Rob had already navigated this crossing, and had gotten stuck in the middle for a minute. Enough thinking, let’s get wet!
I can’t say I went straight through- it was more like “hang on and try not to ditch the bike!!!”. Following the actual water it’s a sharp left turn up the rocky grade on the other side of the creek. I let out a quick “yoooo-hooo, made it!” and at the top of the hill realized that I had navigated these obstacles in 2nd gear! I was so fixated on the water I didn’t downshift into first when stopping at the edge of the creek. Good thing I’m riding a torquey bike I thought…
Some of the crossings were a bit longer, and you just have to see what happens some times…
We had several more creek crossings which got Rob and I progressively more wet. Being wet didn’t really matter at the time because the trail was great, and the surroundings were just awesome. It was like hanging out in paradise. We followed the road through the canyon and finally ended up headed due North across wavy up and down hills, a great stretch to open up the bike, cruise at about 60mph, and let the bike wander a bit on the gravel. Good times. The only thing that wasn’t good was my wet gloves at these speeds. My hands were starting to get cold, even with grip heaters. One of my favorite things about riding in the farm lands is all of the awesome old-school AG equipment- and old farm trucks are at the top of the list!
How I wouldn’t love to get inside of one of these old gems and tour the area while managing loose steering, leaky exhaust, and gear whine. Now that’s a rustic gear-head farm experience.
What was I thinking wearing summer gloves on this ride?? Grin and bear it I thought. Before long we were headed on HWY-2 back to Waterville, with the sight of fresh snow in the distance.
This was the experience Rob and I have been dreaming about and planning for since our days in college together when we both rode Honda XL-600 Dualsports. Over the years we’ve talked a lot about camping off the bikes and riding long distances, and now we were living out this dream, and it felt really good. Next stop- a gassing up in Waterville, and then up and over Badger Mountain, down into Wenatchee, and back to Peshastin/Leavenworth. Other than bucking the strong headwinds on the West side of Badger Mountain, the ride was really nice.
Here’s a shot from the GoPro riding into Peshastin:
Back at the trucks, we had a quick knuckle-tap to celebrate a safe and successful trip:
It was great to see Doug Williams, father of my long-time friends John and Josh. His cabin/house was our staging area for this ride.
It was a great 3-day ride, but I felt like I could ride on for weeks- there was so much more to see, and I was really enjoying the seat time on the bike. These adventures would need to wait for another time, and I was excited about getting back home to be with my family.
As I headed home, my decision to drive over the pass rather than ride was validated: it was snowing pretty good, and the road was covered with snow and ice for miles on either side of the pass. I would not want to have to do that stretch on the bike in those conditions!
This ride represented a lot of firsts: first camping dualsport adventure ride, first time blogging from the road/trail, first time seeing the backwoods farm country in central Washington, and more. It was a great 350 mile ride, and I’m certainly looking forward to the next adventure as well! I’ll be posting more information about the ride, including the route overview, and video from the GoPro HERO2 cameras we used on the trip in future posts. Stay tuned!