July Update – The Fires Are Back :(

I suppose we all knew it was coming. It has been a pretty dry spring and early summer in the PNW, so fire season was shaping up to be pretty bad. It seems like all of the activity started in a very short period of time and now there are several areas affected by fires again this year. Take it easy and don’t worry too much about whether a location is accessible right now – it will very likely be available in a few weeks.

Some numbers: of the 357 registered riders, 195 of you have visited at least one locations and 28 of you have reached finisher status. The most number visited by any rider is currently 24 of the 30 locations. I’m sure we will have someone hit all 30 sometime this month. It is a pretty impressive accomplishment when you consider how spread out the locations are. Definitely not a weekend ride to capture all of them. Note – for those that do collect all 30 locations, I have a special recognition item planned.

I love the pictures we get with people having fun out on the road. One stood out this past week.

Rider 114 was out on the road and had visits in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana.

US-12 along the Lochsa River is one of my favorite stretches of road 🙂

And finally, riders 237 and 238 get an ‘A’ for effort on their visit to North Fork! The destination list allows a picture without your bike at this location, but they made the extra effort to get the bikes included and we appreciate the effort. When I visited the last time, I was on a Goldwing and didn’t try the path they took. You can see that their picture includes the required elements. Even though it isn’t an exact match to the sample image, it does include enough of the object to verify their visit.

I am going to be headed out on my own road trip in mid-August to visit locations (and friends) in Idaho and Nevada. I hope our paths cross at some point.

June Is Here!

Lots of great rides happening as we approach the longest “day” of the year and the official start of summer. I think a few riders who put in some miles last week would argue that summer already arrived, but officially we have to wait a little longer.

We currently have 356 riders registered with flags. 169 of them have made at least 1 stop, and the group has now visited 656 destinations! We still have 2 locations without a visit (Dee Observatory in Oregon – still closed, and MT2 in Montana). We are up to 11 finishers as of this morning. Remember, you don’t have to collect all 30 to be a finisher in this rally. But you can keep going to get all 30! I am looking at the possibility of giving riders who finish all 30 destinations a little something extra for their effort. More to follow.

Congratulations to the following finishers:

  • 001 Tim Allen
  • 003 Tim Seawel
  • 007 Rod Barnes
  • 037 Kerri Miller
  • 081 Burl Smith
  • 128 Ken Tracy
  • 143 George Barnes
  • 144 Dave Sims
  • 145 Ellie Sims
  • 244 Glen Geiss
  • 271 Murray Langille

A couple of our riders had some unfortunate luck – one was involved in a hit and run in western Washington (he is recovering and should be fine) and another broke a rim in the middle of nowhere. We are glad that the rider who was hit will be OK, and I think this serves as an important reminder to all of us to stay safe and be prepared for anything out there. A couple of rider notes for all of us:

  • The road to WA-3 (Boggan’s Oasis) is a fun stretch of pavement with a few hazards we should be aware of. There are tar snakes most of the way down, so be careful in warmer weather. And the rugged terrain is prone to rock fall, so be aware of what lies in wait as you enter a corner. Also of note, the Oasis is open until 5pm, so if a meal or shake is on your mind, plan your rider accordingly.
  • The dirt road out to the alternate WA-8 location (Palouse Falls sign at the park entrance) is still in rough shape with plenty of washboard sections. The road crews typically grade it at some point soon, but please be careful. And remember, you don’t have to ride all the way out there. I gave you an alternate location at the highway intersection.
  • My experience riding throughout Western Montana is that there is a LOT of wildlife. Be especially careful when headed to MT-2 (Earthquake Lake). The last time I was in that area there were bison on or near the roadway.
  • The forestry service road that leads to ID-2 (North Fork) is paved, but the last time I was out there the markings were not in good shape (the surface was fine, the painted lines were in bad shape). Also, the area is prone to small rock fall on the road, so just take it easy and enjoy the scenery along the Salmon River! Note – read the destination guide for this one – your bike DOES NOT have to be in this picture. Also, whichever way your trip plans take you, make sure you include the ride over US-93 north of North Fork. It is a great stretch of road to even out the wear pattern on your tires 🙂

And finally, a few ideas for meals on your rides…

  • I am told by one of our riders that the burgers at CA-1 are pretty good.
  • In the Leavenworth, WA area? Try Heidleburger on the west side of town for great burgers, fries and milk shakes. It is a small building right on US-2.
  • The food at MT-1 (Tamarack Brewing) is very good.
  • In the Palouse region of eastern Washington? My favorite breakfast place in the entire world is located in Moscow, Idaho – The Breakfast Club. With a name like that, how could I be wrong?
  • Bend, Oregon? Make a stop by the Deschutes Brewery Public House for a good meal and beer (assuming your riding is done for the day).
  • Also in the Palouse region in Lewiston, Idaho – Season’s Bites and Burgers. More of a sit down place with very good food. They have a lot more than burgers. And the Lewiston/Clarkston area has a much better assortment of lodging choices than Moscow/Pullman.
  • Do you have any more places you really try to visit when out on the road? Send them my way! If I get enough, I might try to create a page to consolidate a list 🙂
It’s good to see a few more riders out on good weather days!
The location in McDermitt is a long haul for almost everyone registered 🙂
Rider 211 made his way north from the San Diego area and reports that the burgers were GOOD!

May 23rd Update

Well, we are up to 6 finishers at this point. Congratulations to the following riders:

  • 003 Tim Seawel
  • 007 Rod Barnes
  • 081 Burl Smith
  • 143 George Barnes
  • 144 Dave Sims
  • 145 Ellie Sims

Take a look at the rules to figure out what finisher means…it doesn’t mean they have visited all 30 locations – that would be impossible at this point since one of them still isn’t accessible due to snow closures. There are several riders who are close to finisher status. Don’t stop! Get all 30! So far, 152 riders have visited 530 destinations. Pretty cool!

We still have 3 destinations that haven’t enjoyed a visit, yet. As mentioned, 1 of them isn’t accessible at this time, but the other 2 are and I guess I am a little surprised no one has ventured out to Western Montana or eastern Idaho to grab them. I am sure their lonely status won’t last very much longer.

We all need a friend on the road, but the Zarings have it figured out perfectly with Yogi, their traveling companion. Cracks me up every time I see a picture of their fur baby on the back of the bike!

Yogi Zaring!

I made what I hope is an enhancement to the website. Take a look at the rally stats page and you can now click a destination code that will send you to the Google Drive folder where all the images submitted for that location are available to view. I usually go through the recent submissions every day or so and move them over, so don’t get too worried if yours doesn’t show up immediately. Maybe next year I will figure out how to automate the process.

Get out there and ride!

Our Second Finisher!

Burl Smith (Rider 081) is our second finisher!

Congratulations to Burl Smith for being our second finisher! He took a different approach by visiting 12 destinations in 5 of the 6 states. I’m sure he isn’t done, yet.

One thing to note in the above picture is that Burl doesn’t have a flag anymore…sad face. He lost it at a stop and now is using a placard supplied by me. I sent him the file and he printed it and had it laminated. If you lose your flag, this is how we will proceed. Just let me know via e-mail and I can get a placard to you. In the meantime, you can still get credit for visits without your lost flag if you include your smiling face in the picture you send to us (instead of your flag). Note – this only applies if you have lost your flag and asked me for a replacement placard. It DOES NOT apply if you just forgot your flag at home.

A very different look at Little Alps for Rider 128.

I think most of use remember the epic picture posted at the Little Alps location with a ton of snow around. I think this picture taken a few days later serves to remind us how quickly conditions can change this time of year!

A little helper!

This is perhaps my favorite picture of the year 🙂

We have had 139 riders collect 394 destinations so far this year. I am looking forward to even more awesome pictures as the year progresses. Keep them coming!

Week 3 Update – Our First Finisher!

Rod’s final Washington destination cemented his Finisher status!

Rod has done a lot of riding over the last week and finished Washington with a stop at Boggan’s Oasis. Great job, Rod!

So far we have 92 different riders with at least one visit and a total of 193 visits by all riders. Pretty good start to the year! Washington destinations lead the way with 193 stops so far. The only locations without a visit are in Nevada (Wild Horse Dam), Montana (Big Sky), Idaho (Driggs, Ketchum and Craters of the Moon) and Oregon (Little Alps and Dee Wright Observatory). I am sure some of those will fall soon.

Just a reminder for those who don’t use Facebook.

  • Read the destination listing and take the picture described in the notes.
  • Just because a rider posts a picture on the Facebook Group page doesn’t mean it is a good picture or that they got credit for it.
  • Each rider is responsible for understanding the destination requirements as described in the notes of each location in the guide. Don’t have the guide? Go to the website, download it and read it. A good practice to make sure you don’t forget what was written when you are in one of several low cell signal areas – print out the guide and take a copy of the sample image with you.
  • The most common offender is the Ilwaco location. Read the note for that location – it says to “Take a picture of the runway from the east end …”. Each location describes what we want in the picture. Read the notes.
  • Finally, we DO NOT score anything posted on Facebook. If you want credit for a visit, send the picture to us using the e-mail as described on the website and in the handout I mailed in your package. No e-mail, no credit.
Here’s a great example of a picture that satisfies the notes from the WA-5 (Ilwaco) location (Submitted by Wayne Horner).
Chad found one of Washington’s great riding areas!

Week 2 Update

We have 334 riders signed up right now, and 63 of you have visited at least 1 destination so far. There have been a total of 107 visits sent in to us. For the most part, the pictures have been great! There have been a few misses.

Please read the description of the destination before taking your picture to make sure you capture the object described in the guide. As I have said before, your picture does not have to be an exact match to the sample provided, but it does have to at least include the object described in the guide. Also, if you are riding at night and plan to submit a nighttime picture, take a few practice pictures and make sure your flag is legible enough for us to be able to see it. Nighttime pictures are probably the most challenging that you will take during this rally.

We have seen visits to almost every destination so far. The only exceptions are either not currently available (Dee Wright Observatory, for example) or are very difficult to get to (Wild Horse Dam in Nevada, for example). The Stonehenge replica in Washington along the Columbia River has been the most popular so far with 18 visits.

Rider 293 has been the only visitor to OR6 so far.
Rider 003 has been the only visitor to WA2 so far.
A visit to the Lochsa Lodge along US-12 in Idaho is never a bad day!
A nighttime picture is challenging. Make sure we can read your flag number. We were able to give credit on this one. The rider’s flag is hanging on the sign.

We expect more activity this week as the weather is forecast to be excellent all the way through the weekend. I might even be able to get out for a day!

Good First Week!

It was a lot of fun seeing several riders get out and visit some of our destinations the first few days of April. Take a look at the Rally Stats page to see a full summary, and look at the Rider Stats page for individual results.

  • 37 Riders visited 52 sites.
  • WA-5 in Ilwaco was the most popular with 9 visits, followed closely by WA-7 in Maryhill and OR-4 in Days Creek with 7 each.
  • Rider 293 (Russell Studebaker) visited 4 destinations in Oregon and California.
  • Riders have visited destinations in every state already!

Rider 293 made the trip up to Trinity Dam in Northern California on a nice day for riding. This is a great example of a picture that was easy to score – bike and flag clearly visible, no question that he visited the correct location!

Rider 293 visited Trinity Dam in Northern California.

Rider 222 was the only person to visit a Montana destination, and he picked one of my favorite destination to grab a quick bite. He lives nearby and didn’t stop for lunch on this trip. This picture is another great example of a solid submission – bike and flag clearly visible, obvious he was at the correct location! Notice that his picture doesn’t exactly match the provided sample image? That’s OK, the sign is the same and let’s us know he found the right place.

Rider 222 at Tamarack Brewing Company in Lakeside, Montana.

Now here’s an example of a picture that could be improved. The issue with this picture is that the flag numbers cannot be read, even when zooming in. To ensure success, make sure your flag is clearly readable by the scoring team. It does look like this group had a good time yesterday!

Lots of flags, not too many of them were readable by the scoring team 🙁

We are looking forward to a great week of riding! The weather can only get better from here, right???

On Your Marks, Get Set, Go!

Despite all the concern about how slowly the calendar was moving through February and March, April 1st is indeed approaching. We now have 321 registered riders, and I am sure many of you are going to be out and about over the first few weeks of April visiting some of the destinations.

  • Be safe. There is no race to be the first one finished.
  • Read the rules and frequently asked questions one more time.
  • As a reminder, your picture must include your bike, your flag with the number easily readable, and the destination object. We need to know you were there!
  • The only way to get your picture scored is to email it to pnwgrandtour@gmail.com. We will not score anything from the Facebook page.
  • Please remember to include your rider number and the destination code in your e-mail, preferably in the subject line. It helps us score your pictures more efficiently.
  • The scoring team will be working through your pictures on a daily basis. Sometimes you might get a response nearly real time, sometimes not until the next morning. There is no promise of a quick turnaround, so please don’t wait around at the destination. Just make sure your picture has your bike, flag and the object visible 🙂

Remember, the object of this event is to have fun.

We look forward to seeing your flags out there!

316 Registered Riders!

And I thought 50 would be a good number when this all started!

Reminder – the rally doesn’t start until April 1st…

For those of you signed up and waiting on a flag, FedEx tells me the box arrives Monday, so I should be able to get them mailed on Tuesday morning.

I know most of your are getting ready to kick off this year’s rally as soon as it opens up. I was just watching the news this morning and saw that we were getting a good amount of snow over our nearby passes (I-90 over Snoqualmie Pass, US-2 over Stevens Pass and US-12 over White Pass). I think someone needs to remind old man winter that Spring is finally here! It also serves as a good reminder to all of us – the weather can and will play a factor in your decisions about where to go and when to go there. Some of the destinations are at elevations that will cause weather problems early in the season. Please do your research and be safe! The responsibility for safely planning and executing your ride rests with you, the rider.

Rider Jeff Klar took this picture somewhere in Idaho/Montana yesterday! Yes, he was driving a car and not riding his bike

It was sunny elsewhere 🙂

Bruce Wood and Ken La Flam found plenty of sunshine while out practicing.
Beckie and Butch Dunlap found sunshine along the Oregon coast. What a nice pair of bikes 🙂

Guess what your biggest obstacle might be this time of year…wind. It happens on any rally with a flag. Think about ways to keep the flag in place when it is windy. You want us to be able to see the flag number to get credit, and you don’t want to be the person who is the subject of a YouTube video showing them running down the road in full gear chasing a blue rally flag…

So it is time for the weekly reminder about what we need to see to get you credit for a destination visit:

  • Your flag must be visible and readable.
  • Your bike must be visible. At least enough of the bike has to be visible to tell it was a motorcycle.
  • The object described by the destination listing must be visible. It doesn’t have to be an exact match to the sample picture I provided, but it should be obvious it is the same object.

Meet those criteria and we will be pretty lenient with our scoring. Miss the flag or the bike and you will be sad.

And one final reminder – we only score submissions submitted via e-mail to the address provided – pnwgrandtour@gmail.com. We will not score anything submitted on Facebook. We enjoy the pictures on Facebook, we might even like them or comment on them, but we will make zero effort to score them from Facebook.

Practice, practice, practice. Send something in to us and you will receive feedback. I have 5 people (including myself) scoring submissions this year. All 5 of us ride, too. Be patient – you will not receive real-time scoring in most cases. If we happen to be sitting at our computer when you send something in, you might get an immediate response, but there is no guarantee that will happen in the future. My promise to the riders is that we will work hard to score pictures every day, but if I am out riding, it may not happen until I stop in the evening.

One more planned update and the we are off and running!

Just a Few More Weeks :)

I think rider 066 is either lost or is trying to set himself up for the absolute longest ride possible at the start of our rally (which, by the way, is April 1st). LOL…I love it! Taking the flag to the Florida keys. We also have registered riders in Alaska, so if they post a picture of their flag near some iconic Alaskan object, we will be set!

Ben, you’re headed the wrong direction!

All flags have been mailed and most have been received. I only had 2 returned and they are now headed back to where they belong, too. We crossed a magic threshold of 300 riders this weekend. I ordered more flags and they should be here soon, so if you are signing up as rider 301 and above, be patient. Your flag will make it to you in time for the start of the rally (yes, still April 1st).

Quite a few great examples of good pictures have been submitted on the Facebook Group page. It is fun watching people get out there and practice. Next step, practice sending a few pictures to the required e-mail address. We will not score anything on Facebook. You have to submit the picture via e-mail to pnwgrandtour@gmail.com to get credit. Feel free to post your efforts on Facebook for others to cheer, but please know I will spend exactly zero seconds trying to score anything from the Facebook page. Also, please read the instructions for submitting your pictures. We need a rider number and destination code (WA1, for example) in the e-mail, preferably in the subject line (for example, your subject line be be “Rider 001 WA1” or something like that).

Sometime between now and the start of the rally (yes, still on April 1st), do yourselves a favor and come back to this web site and review the rules and the Frequently Asked Questions. It could save you from being sad later 🙁