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On my 2013 Honda CB500F …don’t tell me you can’t tour on this thing.

The set up: I love this bike. I love that I was able to do this trip, on the cheap. The bike, the fuel, the gear…are there better ways to do it? Maybe, but this worked for me. Waterproof duffel, $49. Saddle bags on clearance, $21. I fabricated up some saddle bag stays that mount under my pillion pegs out of scrap, and I had a friend powder coat them black, free. Small dome tent, $10. Cheap sleeping bag, $19. Compression sack, $10. Intex twin air mattress worked good for me, $11.

The plan: Seafair weekend was coming to Seattle. The Navy was in. The cruise ships were in. The weather was hot. My friend and I said, “Let’s get out of here.” We had quickly planned a weekend trip: cross Puget Sound on the ferry, ride around Washington State's Olympic Peninsula, and hit the coast where it was cooler.

Execute the plan: It’s early morning on the pier. There is a cool nip in the air. It’s busier than I expected, but what’s great is not only do you pay a reduced rate as a motorcyclist, but they give you your own lane and let you board and leave the ferry boat first. It is only about a half an hour sail time, but it’s enough to grab breakfast and coffee on the upper decks.

Climbing up the hill away from the water as the sun appears to provide a gentle touch of warmth, you smile from ear to ear loving the decision to get away. Tranquility, everything is right with the world until..,whoa, bam! A bird decides to commit suicide, slamming into my right shoulder and deflecting off of my helmet. My friend following sees the poof of feathers, and then dodges the tumbling ornithoid. Poor little guy. I can only hope that is the only wildlife that decides to jump out into my path on this trip.

Night 1 in Forks, WA. Night 2 in Illwaco, WA. We camped, supporting the state parks system.

What a great weekend as the small towns offered up Farmer’s Markets, Blueberry Parades, good cafes and friendly folks. It was neat to see people stop, look at the bikes (Honda sportbikes set up with gear strapped down) look at us (a couple of middle aged guys) look back at the bikes and say, “Looks like fun.” with jealousy in their eyes.

Change of plan: Midway through the second evening, and a few beers deep, we were like, “Let’s take a day off and head to the Oregon coast for a night. Yeah!” About an hour into the morning’s ride, reality set in for my friend. He needed to get home. In my mind, I’d already committed. I wasn’t going home yet. The weather for the week looks good, and I have time coming. I’m taking the week off and riding the coast!

Alone now, I camped and rode the rest of the Oregon coastline. And I kept riding. I found myself 100 miles into Cali-forn-i-a (I miss the Governator). The dense tall trees of the CA forest mixed with a cold misty fog gave a chill indeed. The remedy, of course, was a jacuzzi suite with a pizza and a king bed. I got it pretty cheap too, being a Wednesday and I think they felt really bad for me. I must have looked cold.

Eastbound, climbing and winding through the northern mountains on CA 299, I experienced climate change. A 50F cold, socked in coast to over 100F inland in just a few hours! It was weird to wish to be inland in the morning to warm up your chilled bones, only to wish you were back when you are sweating profusely.

On the northern swing, I was able to put another check-mark on the “places I’ve never been but always wanted to go” list. Crater Lake. Awesome. That whole area is just awesome. Westward out of the mountains and following the North Umpqua River, I experienced one of the best roads for bikes, OR 138. The river, the mountains, the trees, the TWISTIES! Yes! It was the final fun road before hitting the interstate.

1899.7 miles round trip. l averaged 63.25 mpg. Total fuel cost was just under $76. That’s under $0.04/mile for fuel! Over 7 nights, I camped 5 nights, stayed in a hotel after being wet and cold 1 night, and I stayed with family 1 night. Don’t tell me that you can’t tour on this thing.

Packed up for the maiden voyage!

On the Seattle-Bainbridge Ferry

This is how we roll.

Fort Columbia, Washington

US 101 overlooking Neahkahnie Beach, Oregon

Breakfast in Lincoln City, Oregon

Helinox chair on Beverly Beach, Oregon

Historic oldtown & marina in Newport, Oregon

Port Orford, Oregon

Fort Klamath, Oregon

East Rim Drive, Crater Lake, Oregon

I know it was long, but thanks for checking this out. I had a great time, and I'm pretty proud of the whole experience.
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