Well, we're off. It was a 400-mile day for me, 376 miles from the meet up point in North Bend. Marv was already waiting there as I pulled in for gas, a minute later Steve pulled in behind me. After a quick pit stop for a breakfast sandwich and a pee break, we were eastbound.
Meet up in North Bend
I-90 is nothing to write home about, it's a means to an end and our end was going to Cle Elum, to Blewett Pass, Grand Coulee Dam then a little criss crossing though the Okanogan region into BC. After crossing Snoqualmie Pass we were greeted with a few minutes of light rain, hopefully a sign of good luck for the week. It didn't rain again until we pulled in to the hotel.
Getting off in Cle Elum we made a brief stop to adjust gear and clean bugs from face shields.
Blewett Pass was ok, traffic was light for 8am, but there was construction in a few places stopping traffic for a few minutes at a time. It looked like the were installing fencing on the rock face to protect from rock slides, and there were areas of resurfacing where the road was ground down into the grooves you see everywhere they're resurfacing. Up to Peshaston and Rt 2 eastbound, another quick stop to remove heated gear as it was warming up already. Into Wenatchee and across the Columbia River we turn north on 97 up the east side of the river. There is major resurfacing on 97N and big warming signs the road is closed ahead, but the closure is further north then the rt. 2 exit we are taking so go on. Once onto 2 east we have our first taste of some nice canyon sweepers. its only a few miles into Waterville, but it sure is nice to stretch the bike out through curves again.
We gas up and make quick pit stop in Waterville and are amused by locals checking out our bikes.
A younger guy comes up to me to ask a few questions about the Ducati who seems genuinely interested in the brand, yet another crotchety old geezer lumbers by and bellows "that's not motorcycle, it's a crotch rocket!" I didn't look, but he could have a bumper sticker on his truck that said something like, my other car is a tractor.
From Waterville we continue east and as soon as we get out of town we see miles of endless straight roads trough the lumbering hillsides of farm country. A pretty scene but a boring ride. We made the best of it using the right wrist inconspicuously.
miles if endless straight roads from Douglasto Coulee City
Traffic is still light so it's an easy ride towards Coulee City. As we're passing below Banks Lake, Marv appears from behind and pulls over. He says we need to go see Dry Falls since we're so close, so we turn around and head down the few miles to check it out. It's an impressive hole in the ground for sure.
Back on the road we continue north up the east side of Banks Lake. It's really pretty with sweeping vistas of the lake and interesting rock formations on our right.
We make into Grand Coulee and to The Dam for some customary tourist shots, I checked out the visitors center, but Marv and Steve have been here before so they wait out by the bikes. Little do they know they're missing out on a nice air conditioned oasis inside ;-) It's about noon so we decide to stop for lunch here, find a little diner nearby, across from the Indian casino and grab a bite.
Now it's off to the good roads! We continue north to Nespelum, then east on Cache Creek Rd, a quick zig-zag to Bridge Creek Rd and east to Inchelium. Just before the end of Bridege Creek Rd, I pull in for gas a local tribal station, cash only and regular gas only. Well, it beats running out gas later. Wouldn't you know that JUST as we turn north at Inchelium, we ride by a school that let out and are behind school buses. Only for a few blocks then we were clear again, but it was a reminder that people actually live here! Huh, who knew?
We continued north on County Rd 3, then head west on 20. This is a really nice section of road, long broad sweepers, good road surface, light traffic and pretty scenery. This road will take us all the way to Republic. just before Republic we turn north on 21 and head for the border. I wanted to get into Canada tonight, since tomorrow I want to get into Revelstoke at a reasonable hour. As far as planning goes, you can google map all you want and no matter how many red and blue dots a town has, nothing is for sure until you get there. This is true of Grand Forks.
Crossing the border at Danville into BC
Grand Forks was supposed to be a built-up town that would be an easy stop for the night. maybe it was at one point in time but its pretty run down these days. there's one Ramada Inn that looked decent as you enter town, and the woman behind the desk was really trying to accommodate us, but she just didn't have anything where the three of us could stay. We wondered down to the Imperial which sounds too expensive but was a dive. The woman had mentioned a new bed and breakfast that had literally just opened and said they might be able to help us. Steve spotted it on our first pass through town so we headed back there to see what was available. Sure enough they had rooms available, I think all their room were available! It was funny little home that still has power tools and wood bits laying around. The owner's husband came out and greeted us with some home made wine and was very friendly, as was his wife and their young son who was naturally interested in the bikes. The funny little house had no parking to speak of, so they let us park in the front yard and what used to be the driveway, but its since been closed off.
We walked over to hotel that served Russian food that was recommended. On the walk over we passed a local park where there were a bunch of people playing bagpipes! How unusual, so we watched for a couple of minutes and continued to the hotel with the russian food. We found the hotel, but it looked questionable, so we went next door to the Chinese restaurant which was the only other diner around and settled in there. Dinner served its purpose, we were fed and tired. Headed back to our place and I was in bed and out cold before 9pm.