Fall is the best time for adventures in the PNW, in my opinion, at least. Every year around this time, I get together with a group of friends for a moto trip. Our plan this fall was to ride sections of the Washington Backcountry Discovery Route. As is often the case, our plans changed. Here’s where it gets interesting. . .
My first issue became apparent at a refuel stop near the end of my drive to Walla Walla from Seattle. My bike was in the back of the van. When I opened the rear doors to put supplies in, there was oil collecting under the back. Inspecting the mess, I searched around to uncover the source and discovered that my rear shock was blown. Quick thinking, I Googled the nearest KTM dealer, which happened to be in the Tri Cities. So, I turned around, retracing 60 miles to get the bike fixed.The guys at Ridenow Powersports were great, and after a couple of days they had me back on the road. I headed back out to meet up with the rest of the crew.
I caught up with them near the Umatilla Forest and the Blue Mountains. Snow had already fallen in the mountains, so we set up the van as a support vehicle and homebase. The second morning, we woke up to discover that so much snow had accumulated overnight that the majority of the trails we’d planned to ride and explore were either inaccessible or closed. Plan change no. 2. Despite the bad weather, we decided to camp in the area and explored what we could. Cold, snowy moto camping is great — in small doses. And whiskey can only keep you warm for so long. We’d had enough on our final night, and headed into the “big city” of Pendleton, where we went out for an awesome steak dinner at Cimmiyotti’s, not planned but definitely a highlight!
The final day, back in Oregon, we were able to get on the dirt a bit. The temps warmed up and we found some good riding. Despite the mechanical issues and weather problems, we still had a great trip, a great reminder that it’s not always about the destination, but rather the journey.