- Start location: San Francisco, California
- End location: Tacoma, Washington
- Miles: 816.3
Note 3/3: this is a repost back from August 27, 2013. Enjoy!
The adventure begins.
It’s 4:30am and you’re stumbling around in the dark attempting to prevent the weight of your eyelids from pulling you back into a deep slumber. The motorcycle gear seems harder to put on. (“Did I snap those damn buttons incorrectly, again!?”). In your head you know you’re ready for what is about to come next but you aren’t quite ready to leave. You feel the sharp vibrations of your phone in your motorcycle jacket pocket; you know it’s time to go.
Soon enough, around 5:30 am PST we were on the road for Tacoma. Gregg and I planned this day to be (one of) the longest. The rationalization you ask? Portland/Seattle are relatively close compared to Alaska, we knew that we could always organize trips to those states/cities later on. We were focused on the prize: Alaska proper.
Note 3/3: I’ve moved the full detailed Google Map to the routes page.
07:50 - first stop in Orlando, CA. We filled up on gas and also rolled down the street to the Subway. We ended up buying some breakfast and a foot long sub each so we could munch on a half as we continued to make our stops.
Tip: requesting the Subway employee to wrap the halves separately made consuming them in stages more efficient. Especially when your hands are gross from your gloves and fueling up.
11:20 - stopped in Ashland, Oregon to get fuel. One of the main things I didn’t realize was that the northern part of California and the southern portion of Oregon is quite pretty (especially in and around Mt. Shasta National Park).
17:54 - stopped in Winlock, Washington for more fuel. Here’s where we made our first boo boo: as we pulled off the freeway exit a motorcycle cop happened to be coming in the other direction. I thought nothing of it and headed toward the gas station. By the time I pulled in the gas station I looked around and the cop behind Gregg on the side of the road with his lights on. (Ut oh.)
The officer proceeded to ask Gregg where we were coming and where we were going. He explained to Gregg that it’s a $140 dollar ticket in Washington to roll through a stopsign (or in our case perform a California Stop). “You wouldn’t want that ticket would you?” he asked as Gregg replied “No sir!!” He proceeded to tell Gregg to cut it out until we get to Canada. And with that admonition, he got back on his bike and rode down the road in the same direction he was originally traveling. (Whew, trafic ticket averted.)
Tip: Most of the local governments and even state governments are hungry for revenue. Be careful while riding through these states!
Anyway, we pulled in fueled up and took off for Tacoma shortly after.
19:00: last stop! Tacoma, Washington. We decided to rock the Howard Johnson for the night. (Figuring we would do about the same amount of miles the next day) We dropped off our stuff and rode down to Patty’s Burgers. It’s too bad I didn’t know about it before but Patty’s is particularly known for their “Cake Burger” which is composed of 7 hamburger patties! I ended up settling for the Reuben but maybe next time Patty…
One of the most useful pieces of gear on this trip, by far, was the hydration setup we had on our bikes. It involved 25 feed of 7/16” Outer Diameter (5/16” Inner Diameter) refrigerator tubing, a 1 gallon water jug (from Walmart), 2 x 5/8” Rok Straps, a Camelbak mouthpiece, a camelback tube clip and some zip ties to hold things together.
The best thing about this configuration was the fact that we could drink our water at any point (moving or not). It probably prevented countless stops and possible dehydration. A+ in my book.
We found that putting the water jug on top of the passenger pegs worked the best (not on the side with the helmet lock). There was plenty of places to latch the Rok straps to in that area so we knew it was a done deal. I ran the tubing under my seat and though a zip tie that was looped around one of the plastic rings on my tank bag.
Tip: I would keep the mouthpiece tucked into the tank bag and, when I needed it, pulled it out, took a sip and placed it back in the bag. This keeps the bugs, dust, etc. from gathering on your mouthpiece.
Tip: We changed the water regularly. Even with the small vent hole on the top of the jug, dust and debris somehow made their way into the container. No me gusta.
Tip: I suggest, if you do plan to go this route, don’t be afraid to ask for potable or RV water at your gas stops. This saves you from purchasing bottled water. ($$$$!)