PNW Grand Tour
A motorcycle tour of the beautiful Pacific Northwest.
Going to start posting up the update emails to eliminate duplicative work 🙂
I have finalized the design for the 2022 tee-shirt. Price will be $22 each (includes shipping). Use the link below the picture to visit the order form on the website and get yours!
Order by August 21st, please! I will submit the order and hope to mail them out to you all by the first week in September.
The tee-shirt is unisex, standard fit (not athletic cut). It is a 50/50 cotton/poly blend that should feel softer and hold up to washing better. I put the year on the front – my plan is a different shirt each year that matches the flag color for the most part. I had some requests for KTM Orange…maybe next year…LOL.
I hope to add a few more items over the next week or so. I have some special “holographic” stickers sitting around and have an idea for a coffee mug, too. Others have asked for things like patches, pins and different variations of the shirt (long-sleeve). A broken foot provides me time to tinker, so be patient 🙂
It’s been a good week. We had three more riders finish up all 30 locations, and another 3 riders reach finisher status.
Just a reminder, the tour ends September 30th. You need to have all of your pictures submitted by October 1st to allow me time to produce finisher certificates and the “All 30” awards.
Wow, it got hot! And I am sure that kept some of you away from longer rides. I know heat is near the top of my least favorite riding conditions. Even though it was a lot warmer last week, we still had some good activity.
Some not so great news to report – Kat Delavar was in a very serious motorcycle accident a little over a week ago. I won’t share details here, but she is in pretty bad shape with some major life changes coming as a result. Medical bills are going to be significant and a GoFundMe page has been set up. If you are able, I know her family would appreciate any help you can offer.
Here is a link to the GoFundMe page set up to help Kat and her family.
That’s it for this week.
There has been lots of activity over the past 2 weeks. Here’s a snapshot of what’s happening:
One group of riders is on a great run and I expect 2 of them to collect location number 30 very soon. It started as riders 293 and 102, but their little caravan soon collected other groupies and now include 293, 102, 327 and 118. They have been bouncing all over the PNW collecting stops in every state.
Lots of good weather out there over the past couple of weeks, and we all love that!
I wanted to touch base on something that is difficult to describe in words, much easier to illustrate in pictures. We have told you that the picture you submit doesn’t have to be an exact match to the sample provided (other rallies are not nearly as forgiving on this point). We require your flag, your bike and the object described in the location guide (supported by the sample images). So what if you find a more interesting perspective, or maybe the sun is behind the object and makes it difficult to capture? We are pretty lenient as long as the object shows up in the photo. Here are a few examples to illustrate the point.
I hope this example shows how we try to be lenient in our approach to scoring to keep it fun for everyone. Just remember – you have to capture enough of the object described in the guide and shown in the sample image to get credit. A few riders have had their picture rejected because they didn’t do that.
OK, that’s it for this week. Try to enjoy yourselves out there and stay cool!
I know it has been a while since the last update. I was entered in a rally, then had an accident and have been at home recovering and trying to find a comfortable position to sit long enough to write a quick note.
We have had 13 new finishers (total of 21) since the last update:
Great job to all of these new finishers!
I think the weather is finally improving and am hoping more of you find your way out and about to visit some of the locations. We have 138 riders with at least one visit (out of 267 registered).
One reminder for everyone – the GPS coordinates will get you very close to the required object at the location. Read the location guide for a description of what is required, and look at the sample picture to see exactly what we are looking for. All of the riders have done pretty well with this, but a few destinations have caused confusion.
Also, Steptoe Butte does have an alternate location at the bottom of the road to the top. The road up to the top is still in poor condition with potholes. The view is worth it if you just take it slow, but I understand there are people who are not comfortable riding on that road. That’s why the alternate location was added.
Some of you have been sending in additional pictures – we love it! Especially now since I won’t be riding again this year. Just remember to make the picture you are sending in for scoring the first attachment. Our scoring system does not recognize any extra pictures. I personally review each email we receive and DO see the extra pictures as well as the notes you add about your ride, so please don’t stop doing that 🙂
I guess in the grand scheme of things, I would rather have rain than days of 100+ temperatures. But it is getting harder to have that positive attitude about the weather. I now have to add not having to water the lawn to keep the HOA happy to the list – that should work for a few more weeks.
We still had more activity last week! 10 riders ventured out and collected their first visits and we had 3 new finishers (Rider 89 – Mike Mead, Rider 7 – Rod Barnes and Rider 185, Ben Ernst). Ben probably gets the record for our rally for longest distance to the first bonus (he hails from Texas), and the fact that he came up here twice to get the visits was very entertaining. Good stuff!
Update #1 – I updated the website for the new location and sample image for GT17 (formerly Aquarius Campground). The new location is a building in the town of Headquarters (at the end of ID-11). Headquarters is where you would turn left to head out to the campground. We will give credit for either location, but I encourage you to use the Headquarters location. Of note, one rider pointed out that planned construction on the NF road going out to the campground will have that road closed for several weeks later this summer.
Update #2 – The PCT sign (GT14) is finally accessible. I watched riders move steadily closer through the week, and I am sure the rain will further improve the road. The final picture was taken by rider 42 and shows him right next to the sign. He does ride a trike, so maybe the snow isn’t all the way gone…
Finally, I am headed out for a rally in Cheyenne next weekend and my ability to stay in touch will be reduced. There are lots of volunteers in the background to keep it all running, but if you send an email, be patient with me 🙂
Another good week and business is picking up! But first, the business 🙂
Let’s talk about GT17 (Aquarius Campground). I went up there last week for the first time (I scouted it virtually for this year’s rally). One other rider had visited this year and provided me some feedback, so I really wanted to get up there and see it for myself. Bottom line – not what I would have picked if I had scouted it in advance. The roads out to the small “town” of Headquarters, Idaho are a lot of fun and worth the trip. The first section of the FS road from Headquarters to the campground is OK, but about 8 miles from the campground the road deteriorates and just becomes sucky. Add to that the widespread logging in the area and the scenery aspect is questionable, too. If you decide to go all the way to the campground, the Clearwater River flows nearby and that is pretty cool, but the ride out there is a slog.
So, what to do? I decided to update the bonus to a building in Headquarters. If you want to ride to the campground, you will get credit for it, but the building in Headquarters is also good enough. I will update the website in the next day or so. Sample images are also included below. We are making a solid effort to advance scout a lot more in preparation for next year. I really want the rides to be enjoyable, and crappy roads make that difficult.
We saw activity pick up in the last week as weather conditions improved. It is crazy to consider the amount of snow the Cascades have received this year. For example, Chinook Pass (up around Mt Rainier) still isn’t open. It is typically clear and ready to go by early June but WSDOT is saying a few more weeks. Late season snow has slowed efforts. I looked at historical opening dates and found that late-May/early-June is typical. It has opened as early as April 2nd (really an outlier) and as late as June 23rd in the past 10 years.
Personally, my favorite 2 rides so far have been out to Hells Canyon and out to Elk City. Hells Canyon is simply amazing with lots of twisty roads and good places to pull of for pictures. Elk City is a ride along a river that also has lots of twisty curves. Based on feedback in emails, others seem to agree. By the way, yes, I do try to read your comments on emailed pictures, so keep it coming!
10 more riders got out and collected their first visits this past week, and 2 riders achieved Finisher status (Ian Sibbald and Tim Seawel). Quite a few of you took advantage of a few days of good weather to go to spots in every state except Montana. Given the tenacious hold that winter has on us, I guess Montana isn’t too much of a surprise. I am betting the couple of riders who ventured down into California were surprised to encounter 100+ temperatures.
For the past week:
We tried to put together an informal ride-to-eat to coincide with the opening of Elk Lake Resort in Oregon’s Cascade Mountains, but mother nature got wind of the plan and the weather was just too cold, too wet for it to be enjoyable. We will try again since the resort is in a very nice area.
GT03 (Elk Lake Resort) should be available now. The resort opened for the summer on Friday, May 27th. I have been up there (the gate to the resort and sign was closed because they were not open, yet) and the roads are in good shape. There was a lot of roadside snow on the section between Bachelor Mountain Ski Resort and Elk Lake (from the west) – some clumps fell off onto the road, so take it easy through that area). The section of the highway coming from the south is virtually clear of roadside snow until approaching Elk Lake. Either direction offers some great scenery!
GT14 (PCT Sign) has been visited by one adventurous rider, so technically it is available, but with a warning. There are still several fallen trees across sections of the road north of Trout Lake, and the snow cover prevents motorcycle access to the actual sign. We will be lenient in scoring these picture (as we usually are), but there is no rush. My advice – hold off for a few more weeks, let the snow melt and give forestry crews time to clear the trees. Note – the section of road from the north is almost certainly still closed, and likely will be for several more weeks. It is dirt FS road and not really that much fun on a bike anyway.
GT28 (Big Hole National Battlefield) – I have no status and it has not been visited. This location is at a pretty good elevation and might have snow still. My experience in the past has been that the roads in this area are generally open and you just need to watch the weather, but this winter has been a bit odd, so who knows.
One final thing to discuss – lost flag. I am adding the ability to use a hand-made sign to replace your lost flag until we can get you a placard to replace it. You can see an example of this in the next image. Note – a flag left at home IS NOT a lost flag. Once you tell us your flag is lost, you cannot use it again…because it is lost.
The weather…it will get better! I was talking to friends that live just outside Denver and they shared that they had received something like 16 inches of snow from a storm last week. So I guess it could be worse? But seriously, it has been improving and we are starting to see the activity pick up.
Over the last two weeks:
Justin has been working behind the scenes to add some additional functionality to the scoring web page. Head over and take a look!
Just a reminder, please send your pictures to the scoring email address with the code as the first thing in the subject line (no spaces in the code, code is four characters long). I think it is going pretty well. The biggest issues we see are using the wrong email address or not formatting the code in the subject line correctly.
Finally, one note about Steptoe Butte. We have put out that the state plans road work up there this summer. As of today, there is still no indication that work is imminent and the road to the top remains open. From other rider’s reports, it is obvious the road is in poor shape (safe if taken slow), especially near the top. If you are not comfortable picking your way through the potholes, we did provide an alternate location for you to use at the entrance. The view from the top is excellent and worth the ride up, but not if you are miserable doing it!