Thursday, September 3, 2015

Rally in the Gorge 2015

Thanks to Sound Rider! for an awesome rally last weekend!

This was my first Rally at the Gorge event, but definitely not my last.

We left right after work on Friday - putting on my gear in the office before leaving, and causing a few raised eyebrows in the office. My gear is comfy adventure-riding stock so it doesn't match the mental image that a lot of folks have of a lady biker. First off, I don't strip down to a bikini, secondly, real good quality gear is (in my experience) made for men and is cut more for practicality than for fashion. My d30 jacket isn't a looker, but it is way more comfortable / adaptable / long-ride-wearable than my hard shell Joe Rocket Atomic jacket. Even my helmet has a masculine / unisex feel. It has built-in shade visor, modular style, and good venting...but it is still a plain-jane buy.

             
Which one would you rather wear for a long bike trip?

Long story short - My gear is comfy, safe, and flexible to different riding conditions - but it isn't pretty. When I'm all geared up it looks more like I'm heading out to some 1980's ski slopes rather than to a motorcycle.

 

Riding for hours, camping on the dirt...what are you wearing?

Anyways, it was a LONG trip down to Oregon to get to the campground. Thank you D for making it fun and thank you to my gear for making it comfortable!

Once there, we set up camp and relaxed (I admit, I was exhausted) and passed out.


I went in to register the next morning and caught a bit of the Safe Helmet Removal class with Rick Wallace. Then we rode to town and grabbed an amazing breakfast over at Bette's in Hood River. I don't know if it was just that riding make everything taste great or what, but Bette's serves BIG and very tasty breakfasts. Get the cinnamon roll. Warning - everything is covered in butter :-)

After rolling out of breakfast, we strolled Hood River, OR for a bit. I stopped in Hood River Jewelers when D met some other adventure riders and started talking farkles. Hood River has a vacation town feel...and more jewelers per block than Starbucks in Seattle.

We digested for a bit and then got back on the bike for a ride to the Maryhill Loops Road. The ride over was beautiful - rolling hills, sharp drops, wild terrain. The spell broke occasionally with reminders of the wildfires. Large black, burnt areas, a charred up tractor, a burnt down house, dotted the landscape as we rode away from Hood River and got closer to Maryhill.

I went up the hill and then watched and took photos for D as he rode up and down the super-fun twists of Maryhill.





Other places we visited: Stonehenge Memorial, Lewis and Clark Hwy, Portland's Women's Forum, Bridal Veil, Multnomah Falls...




On Sunday it started to rain. We went in for the pancake breakfast hosted by the rally (thanks!) and watched a bit of the Target Zero motorcycle safety presentation done by Mike Turcott. The rain hadn't stopped when we were done with breakfast, it came in spurts, waiting just long enough for us to think it was over and then pouring for 10 minutes straight as we listened in the tent and deflated our sleeping mats. 

Finally, we just gave ourselves over to the idea that we'd be riding in the rain and quickly geared up, strapped the tent and other supplies to the bike, and headed out for the long ride back. Poor D bore the brunt of the wind and rain and I cupped my hands inside my jacket having forgotten to bring my winter pair gloves. 

We stopped for hot cocoa and jerky along NE 23 and enjoyed the view despite the rain as we skirted traffic by going through the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. 

It was a wonderful ride - lots of great views and fun turns. The weather meant we rode a bit slower to be safe with the pine needles all over, but I was able to take more of the scenery in. I even saw a few bald eagles!

Things to bring for next year (or any long motorcycle trip)

  • comfy earplugs
  • chapstick (why did I ever take you out of my pocket?!)
  • air activated pocket heaters (or heated gear if you want to get fancy)
  • neck turtle
  • air cushion (butt comfort is bike comfort)
  • hot cocoa packets

What are things that you bring to make your long road trips better?

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