You guys and gals will remember our good buddy Washington Joe, who rode with us on the Baja ride last March. He’s a hell of a nice guy and he’s into adventure riding big time. Joe retired from the computer biz at a young age, he bought a motorhome and an RX3, and he is living large. I recently received a great note from Joe detailing his latest adventure, and we’re sharing it with you here on the CSC blog!
Hey Joe and CSC crew,
It’s Joe, the other Joe from the Pacific Northwest, and I wanted to drop you a note on my adventures with the RX3. To date I have 9838.7 miles on the odometer since the bike arrived last Sept 24th. It’s been a blast to own and I haven’t had a single mechanical issue. I’ve sent you notes on many of my other adventures like the Mojave Desert and Death Valley and we have our shared fun in Baja along with many other short rides to build up my skills for adventure riding. My first true test of being an adventure motorcyclist came this week. A friend of mine and myself headed out for a 3 day fully unsupported adventure to ride the first 3 sections of the Washington Back-Country Discovery Route (http://ridebdr.com/WABDR). The WABDR starts at the Bridge of the Gods in Oregon and traverses up the Cascade mountain range on primarily forest service roads and just a bit of pavement to come out in Nighthawk in Canada. The route goes from smooth dirt on rolling terrain to some fear inspiring loose rocky climbs and descents with exposure. The views along the way are spectacular. Our trip started out by taking some freeway and forest roads from the Seattle area down to Hood River, OR.
Mt. St. Helens from NF-25 on the way to Hood River
The next morning, we headed to Cascade Locks and the Bridge of the Gods to start the route. We went up the highway a bit and then turned into dirt for a 122-mile trek on Section 1.
Takhlakh Lake and Mt. Adams
Guler Ice Caves (formations are taller than me)
We rolled into the small town of Packwood, WA for fuel and some food and it was early enough in the day that we started out on Section 2. This is a 121 mile section that contains two advanced areas. Both have bypass options available. We decided to take the hard route for Bethel ridge but took the bypass for Umtanum as we’d heard it was H, E, double hockey sticks level hard and just not worth the effort.
We worked our way up to Bethel Ridge which was pretty technical for me but the views from the lookout were amazing.
Bethel Ridge Lookout
Viewpoint from Bethel Ridge
The descent from Bethel ridge was fairly terrifying for me with very steep downhill grades covered in baseball and football sized rocks that just rolled around under the bike. Just had to let it roll and hold on! We eventually came to the small town of Nile but it’s so small there aren’t any services so we kept rolling and climbed up and up on dirt until it started to get late and we pulled off and made camp for the night.
RX3 resting for the evening
The next morning, we wrapped up section 2 and rolled into Ellensburg, WA for gas, water and snacks. It was about noon so we jumped into section 3 which is about 75 miles long due to a re-route required since a large section of trail is washed out. Section 3 had some great riding through an old burned out forest.
Narrow and winding paved road in burned out forest which turned into fun dirt
We were a bit bummed at first to have to re-route from the main WABDR route due to the slide but as we were in the hills above Leavenworth, WA we found some golden photo opportunities in this case, a narrow-gauge railroad line and tunnel with ornate doors used by a gold mining operation.
100ft tunnel with ornate wood doors on both ends
Narrow Gauge Railway
After we dropped into the Bavarian themed town of Leavenworth, WA we hit Highway 2 for the 2-hour ride home but had to stop at the candy store for a soda and some famous fudge.
The Alps Fudge/Candy Store
After having desert, we decided to get some real food so we stopped for a burger. A bit of a story on this. The 59’er diner was an amazing 50’s themed restaurant off rural Hwy 2 but it burned down last year. So, while they are getting things together to rebuild they setup a food truck to keep this little slice of heaven operating and the employees employed.
59’er Diner Food Truck
After this stop we headed home to scrape off 3 days of dust and sweat and plan the next adventure.
That next adventure for me will be joining up with a bunch of other Pacific Northwest RX3 and TT250 owners and riding sections 4, 5 and 6 of the WABDR so I can proudly put this sticker on my RX3.
Washington Backcountry Discovery Route. Check out http://ridebdr.com/ for information on the various routes, upcoming routes and to get involved.
As always Joe and Crew, take care and we’ll talk to you all very soon!
Joe…The other one!
Joe, that is easily one of the best ride reports we’ve ever received. The writing and the photography are superb! Thanks so much for sending it to us and allowing us to share it with our readers. Please let us know the next time you’re down this way. We need to get together for fish tacos and a Tecate!