Featured A Short Ride In The Days Of Covid

Discussion in 'Rideouts, Trackdays, Touring & Spotted' started by Jet City, Oct 21, 2020.

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  1. Jet City

    Jet City Noble Member

    Sep 24, 2018
    493
    313
    Seattle, Washington USA
    Part One of Two

    Back in the day, I wrote ride reports now and then. It’s been awhile, but for the Triumph nation I will do my best. Here we go: Broken into two parts due to the 10,000 character rule.


    COVID has sent us all a little sideways unless you are one of those Trump rally people who refuse to acknowledge that it’s real. I would never find fault in denial as a way to cope with life—it’s one of my personal favorites—but it’s pretty clear that COVID is indeed real. Traveling has become difficult, despite the shitshow of the US’s approach to the pandemic (it’s a hoax!) many businesses are closed and restaurant food means takeout.

    And my buddy Flip went on an overnight trip in Northern California with a bunch of BMW guys and it seemed to go okay. That is, if you define “okay” as breaking numerous NorCal speed laws and not coming back with a fatal contagious disease.

    So… a couple of months ago I decided to take Friday off and ride from our home in Seattle down to the Columbia Gorge (east of Portland). I’ve always loved the scenery down there. I was considering a day trip but my beautiful wife suggested that I spend the night and pointed out that I’m not 30 anymore. Which is indeed true.

    My riding companion in this case was a 2019 Speed Twin. It’s a happy kitten of a bike if the kitten is an adolescent lion cub. With eighty footpounds of torque from 3,000 RPM to redline, it launches forward with authority in every single situation while making a delicious sound like an elf playing a tympani with sledgehammers.

    [​IMG]

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    The entirety of my luggage for the trip was a small (Triumph branded :)) backpack strapped to the seat with two RokStraps. Thus the bag could be taken off the bike in seconds and carried wherever it needed to go. Rather than bringing any warm clothing I wore an electric vest and called it good.



    Let’s get the bummer picture out of the way, so we can move on to the good stuff. I love me some Aprilia (and own a 2005 Tuono). Aprilia makes stonking motorcycles and even has a MotoGP team (!). Moto Guzzi does not have a MotoGP team, but as recently as 2018 had the California, the V7 III and the Griso in their lineup. These were arguably the best motorcycles in their segments.

    But mother company Piaggio is helpless when it comes to marketing these bikes and dealers have fallen by the wayside. First Moto International in Seattle, and now Portland’s dealer which was an excellent shop. I lay the blame directly on Piaggio Group, who have snatched failure from the jaws of victory again and again.


    [​IMG]

    If you look carefully you can see me in the shop window.

    Anyone who wonders about the calculating, sinister motives of corporations would do well to ponder the inept way that Piaggio markets their (excellent) products in this country. There’s no skill there, no cunning. Just because a corporation exists and its management and shareholders are making money doesn’t mean that it couldn’t be better operated by your hairdresser.



    Friday, after coffee, I rode around the Oregon and Washington hills in the sunshine. It was so beautiful that even a hack like me could take a nice pic or two.


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    Mount Adams from Glenwood

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    Columbia Gorge


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    A happy guy


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    Big mountain, twisty road, scenic canyon


    At this tunnel, by some odd quirk of physics, distances are not what one might think. The Washington State Department of Transportation is not an organization with a sense of humor, so this must have been a mistake. The signs going the other way are correct and 13 feet is more than 12 feet.

    [​IMG]


    And as always wherever you go, there is something to see. This drive to this house has its very own suspension bridge over the Klickitat River! I’d like to think that there is an alternative universe where my house has a suspension bridge.

    My bridge is of course less oxidized, grander, and paved for crying out loud. Because street tires.


    [​IMG]
     
    • Like Like x 18
  2. Jet City

    Jet City Noble Member

    Sep 24, 2018
    493
    313
    Seattle, Washington USA
    Part Two




    It is profoundly good for my psyche to get out in the world on two wheels. Day to day, I forget. With the cut and thrust of living daily life, the idea, the fact, that riding motorbikes around the country is as fabulous as it is slowly dies to an abstract thing.


    In the past I remember feeling like this when planning the ride from Seattle to World Superbikes at Laguna Seca. That’s as far as John O’Groats to Lands End for you Brits. It only happened once a year and the force of the memories would wane. Is it really worth days on end of riding, staying in luxurious hotels every night and eating delicious restaurant meals with my friends just so we can watch a bunch of guys clad in loud leather outfits ride really fast in a circle?


    Well, yes, actually it is.


    And speaking of luxurious hotels, I stayed in two delightfully quirky Oregon hotels: Thursday night at McMenamin’s Edgefield and Friday night at the Hood River Hotel. These are not five star establishments but they have more character than Steve Buscemi on a Brough Superior.



    https://flic.kr/p/2jgf76z][​IMG][/url]




    https://flic.kr/p/2jgi3Te][​IMG][/url]



    https://flic.kr/p/2jgjiRz][​IMG][/url]




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    https://flic.kr/p/2jgf72g][​IMG][/url]


    It’s the work of Satin!



    No trip to Hood River, Oregon is really complete without a stop at their Air and Auto Museum. It’s an amazing place that looks forgettably anonymous from the outside but encloses four acres of old planes, cars, and motorbikes. How about a 1938 Cord? Or a Sopwith Camel? Or a Whizzer?


    https://flic.kr/p/2jgjiHt][​IMG][/url]



    https://flic.kr/p/2jgf6Tf][​IMG][/url]



    https://flic.kr/p/2jgf6SD][​IMG][/url]



    https://flic.kr/p/2jgi3FL][​IMG][/url]

    The original V12 “Hot Rod Lincoln”!!!




    This is actually the art in my room at the Edgefield: A flying pickup camper!


    https://flic.kr/p/2jgf733][​IMG][/url]




    It’s a sign of positivity to me that in Hood River on Friday night, there was a Black Lives Matter rally. Could there be a whiter town in America? Hood River is as white as sour cream. But these people are pissed off like people all over the country are.


    And rightfully so. I’m not sure how we make it up to the brown people who have been marginalized and discriminated against in the US for so many years. Not killing them for driving while Black would be a good start though.


    https://flic.kr/p/2jgi3yX][​IMG][/url]


    My wife was right about taking an overnight. I’m getting old and riding all day is a lot more work than it was ten years ago. When we were in our thirties, Flip and I used to take day trips that lasted twelve or fourteen hours. I once rode a Moto Guzzi from Markleeville, California to Seattle in one day—933 miles. That effort is a non-starter now, though, if for no other reason than I can’t be arsed to do it.


    I remember when my buddy Mark sold his VFR, hung up his spurs and I wondered at the time why anyone would want to do that. Now I’m getting more of an understanding. Friday I rode about 200 miles. It was perfect. I was still tired at the end of the day but I enjoyed every single mile. Saturday was about 260 miles, with the first 50 being the sublime Washington 142 up to Goldendale.




    https://flic.kr/p/2jgjiv9][​IMG][/url]

    Yakima River Canyon






    COVID takeaways from this mini tour?


    1. It’s pretty easy to stay socially distanced on a motorbike. On the bike, you’re wearing a big hard mask with a built-in sneeze guard and it takes Rossi-like skill to get within six feet of someone else. Gas has been swipe and go for donkey's years, thus no human interaction is required. Off the bike, wear a mask and stay the fuck away from other people like they have some highly contagious fatal disease. That job's done.


    2. If you are otherwise responsible (mask, distancing), the most serious risk in terms of COVID exposure might be to get in an accident and have to go to the hospital. In the hospital, of course, are people with COVID—so best avoided if you can.


    3. A bunch of tourist stuff is closed. On the one hand, you can’t go see it. On the other hand, there are WAY less tourists everywhere.


    https://flic.kr/p/2jgi3PS][​IMG][/url]


    4. Both hotels were completely dialed in with sanitizer everywhere (although it seems very difficult to catch COVID from a surface) and face masks for all (an essential protection device that we should all be wearing). I felt COMPLETELY safe. Or at least, that anything that endangered my life was not COVID related. For instance, you might think twice about that green hot sauce at Kickstand in Hood River.





    Oh, and one more thing. My son-in-law gave me this book. The photography is ridiculous and I’ve learned a tremendous amount about vintage bikes. Recommended!


    https://flic.kr/p/2jgf6zz][​IMG][/url]
     
    • Like Like x 22
  3. Thripster

    Thripster Elite Member

    Feb 21, 2020
    1,061
    750
    Northampton, UK
    Great write up Jet City and cracking photos.
     
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  4. Octoberon

    Octoberon Crème de la Crème
    Subscriber

    Jul 2, 2020
    2,253
    1,000
    Peak District, Yorkshire
    Now that is how to start the day. Thanks JC.
     
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  5. Beerman

    Beerman Guest

    Wonderfully evocative writing, Jet City, and great pictures of a beautiful country. I am fortunate enough to have been to Seattle, but not on a bike - it looks like the way to go.

    You make interesting points about Moto Guzzi - lovely bikes, limited distribution and service points. Somewhere, deep in Piaggio's cupboard full of past board presentations, there must be one which seeks to describe this as a credible strategy - I'd love to see it.

    Beerman
     
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  6. Vulpes

    Vulpes Confused Member
    Subscriber

    Mar 14, 2018
    14,305
    1,000
    Netherlands
    Great write-up and photo's, I enjoyed that, thanks!
     
    • Agree Agree x 5
  7. Kenbro

    Kenbro Noble Member

    Jul 9, 2019
    828
    443
    Manchester, UK
    #7 Kenbro, Oct 21, 2020
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2020
    Very enjoyable look & read, Jet City.
    What camera? and don’t say ‘Cell phone’ ;)
    Thanks,Ken.
     
    • Funny Funny x 3
  8. Pegscraper

    Pegscraper Elite Member

    Jun 12, 2020
    2,151
    800
    Yorkshire
    So, here we are in South Yorkshire, just moved to tier 3 which means the pubs are shut, essential journeys only, no travelling outside the area, a member of the household has just tested positive so I can't even leave the house for 2 weeks! Give me some rope..........
     
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  9. JtC

    JtC Elite Member

    Apr 20, 2020
    2,720
    750
    New Mexico
    "unless you are one of those Trump rally people who refuse to acknowledge that it’s real"

    Spoken like a modern "journalist". :rolleyes:
     
    • Like Like x 2
  10. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
    Subscriber

    Dec 3, 2018
    19,207
    1,000
    Tucson Arizona
    Brilliant ride report, @Jet City! I thoroughly enjoyed your write-up and the great photos. :) I've lived in the West (currently AZ formerly CA) for many years but still haven't been to Seattle and the areas about which you reported. I'm thinking it's high time that changes. ;) Thanks for taking the time and energy and thought to put together a terrific thread. It was a really fun read and, as @Octoberon said, "Now that is how to start the day". :grinning:

    image.png
     
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  11. Don the Don

    Don the Don Bigger Than The Average Bear

    Nov 5, 2019
    2,946
    800
    MORAY UK
    Thanks for sharing those pic's and the write up @Jet City I did enjoy the scenery and agree on the Piaggio stance
     
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  12. Hippo-Drones

    Hippo-Drones Noble Member

    Mar 4, 2018
    785
    443
    West Sussex
    Fantastic write up @Jet City :) the pictures painted a thousand words too! :)
     
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  13. Adie P

    Adie P Crème de la Crème

    Jul 7, 2018
    3,454
    1,000
    MID DEVON
    I'd much rather offer you hope than rope. Pretty sure most on here would want you (and yours) in it for the long ride, Pegscraper!

    Good luck.
     
    • Agree Agree x 6
  14. Mark the Moose

    Mark the Moose New Member

    Oct 23, 2020
    23
    3
    Colorado
    Loved the photos! I'm a former PNW guy and recognized many of these scenes.
     
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  15. Dawsy

    Dawsy Cumbrian half-wit
    Subscriber

    Aug 24, 2018
    3,009
    800
    Cumbria
    @Jet City
    What a great write up and brilliant pictures to brighten a miserable wet British day!
    Thanks very muchly
     
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  16. MTBskier

    MTBskier Well-Known Member

    Mar 12, 2019
    241
    93
    Las Vegas, NV
    Something wrong with being a Trump supporter?? #Trump2020
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  17. Hippo-Drones

    Hippo-Drones Noble Member

    Mar 4, 2018
    785
    443
    West Sussex
    This is a bike forum, not a political forum... please leave politics at the door. I ride bikes to escape from all that stuff ta!
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  18. MTBskier

    MTBskier Well-Known Member

    Mar 12, 2019
    241
    93
    Las Vegas, NV
    I agree, it was in no way relevant to the story or should have even mentioned. But since he felt the need to push his agenda/opinions onto others, there’s going to be push back. Ok, now that that’s over, let’s ride bikes!!!
     
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  19. JtC

    JtC Elite Member

    Apr 20, 2020
    2,720
    750
    New Mexico
    Meant for the OP, I'm sure . . .
     
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  20. Stramasher

    Stramasher Senior Member

    Jun 10, 2020
    459
    113
    ex-0141
    Dunno how i missed this...

    Brilliant. Helped me remember what blue skies are like and why I ride bikes. (Dour, dank and dark here)

    Nice one.
     
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