16 Hours on a DR350SE
We started at Greenwater, WA (about 20 miles east of Enumclaw, WA on highway 410). We unloaded the bikes from the trailer, geared up and were riding by about 10:00 AM Saturday July 28th.
Our plan was to ride over the Naches Jeep trail and have lunch at Whistlin' Jacks (a local eatery, gas stop and store located near the Little Naches Recreation Area in Eastern WA, west of Yakima) then explore some roads/trails on the east side of the mountains and then return. We arrived for lunch at about 1:00pm. We ate and then decided to check out some Jeep roads.
We left Whistlin' Jack's by way of the dirt road across the highway from Whistlin Jacks. We had a good time on the Jeep roads, most of which I have ridden before, then dropped down off the hill and ended up somewhere near Buck Meadows, then took a trail. We started on the Shoestring Lake trail, then one of the guys said "I know where this trail goes" so we took a right turn at the fork. I thought we should have continued up the Shoestring Lake trail because I knew it would eventually take us back to the top and tie in with the Jeep roads near the Naches area. We continued up the other trail and eventually found our way to the top of Quartz Mountain and then hopped on the Manastash ridge trail.
I had been riding on these trails before and knew how to get back to the Naches area. We headed down the trail and then stopped at a junction for a few minutes. I think we should have turned left here and dropped down the hill, but we continued straight and as it turned out, I think we were heading across Peaches Ridge instead - this was fatal mistake #2 of the day. Had the first mistake not been made at the Shoestring Lake trail, we would never have been on Peaches Ridge (or whatever ridge it was - we didn't know because we didn't have a map - another mistake was not having a map!!)
It was now 5:30pm. We eventually found our way to a road and decided to try and stick to the roads....we went left and by my GPS I could tell the road wasn't going to take us where we needed to go, so we turned around. Eventually we found what looked like a Jeep road, but it fizzled out to a single track trail which took us to Windy Pass. It was about 7:30 now. We continued down the trail and popped out of the woods right where we had already been over an hour ago when we decided to try the road, so we ended up riding in a big circle and wasting about an hour and a half of precious daylight.)
We went up the road again and continued on it for 8-10 miles and stayed on the "most traveled" sections when we came to a fork. This eventually dead ended so we turned around and went back. By this time it was getting dark, about 8:45 pm, and we were still way too far north (we were towards Cle Elum). Obviously we could tell that none of the roads where we were would get us back over the two ridges to the Naches area in a timely manner, so we decided to head towards Cle Elum.
We headed down the road and saw that mile marker signs were descending so we knew were headed in the right direction. We arrived in Cle Elum about 10pm and gassed up our bikes. We had covered about 130 miles now, after about 12 hours from the time we left the truck. We stopped at a local eatery and had coffee, hot chocolate etc. to warm up and discuss our options. We choose to ride I-90 to Ellensburg, then hit I-82 to Yakima, catch Highway 12, then Highway 410 and ride up over Chinook Pass and Cayuse Pass to get back to where we had parked the truck.
We left Cle Elum about 10:45. We arrived in Yakima about midnight, then continued down the highway after a short break to warm up. We arrived at Whistlin Jack's (along Highway 410) at 1:00am. We stopped for a few minutes to warm up, then crested Chinook Pass about a half hour later, it was foggy at the top of the pass and the road was tore up due to road construction, so it was hard to see were the %$^#@ we were going. We continued on and got back to our trucks at 2am, this was 16 hours and 280 miles after we had started the ride.
Check out the photos below:
Riding along Forest Road 19. This is a paved road
|Rob and Rich posing at Whistlin' Jacks, the
lunch stop when we ride over to the Little Naches Rec area.
|This is a single track trail that connects
the forest service road
across the highway from Whistlin' Jacks to the network of Jeep roads.
|This is a sign identifying 4 wheel drive
road 630, it also has symbols indicating what type of vehicles
the trail is open to. Starting at the top is a Jeep, then a motorcycle, then a motorcycle going down a
straight vertical hill, and another motorcycle upside down, I refer to this position as "rubber side up"
The last symbol shows a jeep going down a straight vertical hill. Remember that when you go riding,
always try to keep the "rubber side down" (in other words, keep the wheels and tires pointing down,
not up!! If the rubber side is up, then this also means you are probably laying on the ground with bike on top of you!)
|Rich absorbing the breathtaking view,
my DR 350 in the foreground.
This is at Quartz Mountain. It is now about 5pm.
Rob called his wife from his cell phone and said
"I think we are going to be home a little later than originally planned."
|Rob on the Manastash Ridge trail. We
are at a junction.
I think we should have taken a left turn here to get back down into the Naches rec area.
|Walking the bike around a switchback.
|Rob on a rock outcropping.
|Rob and Rich in Ellensburg.
|By the time we got to Yakima, we needed to
stop for another break to warm up for a while.
Coincidentally, we turned off the street into a motorcycle dealer.
The time stamp on the photo is wrong, it was here that I discovered the clock on
my camera was about 1 hour and 15 minutes slow. Actual time was midnight.
|Here we are at Whistlin' Jacks on Sunday
morning at about 1am - 12 hours later
than when we had stopped here for lunch.
|Me, my DR350, Rob and Rich's 650L.
|Actual time was about 1:30 AM. This is
at the summit of Chinook Pass, in the fog.
A section about 5 miles long had no pavement, the road surface was just gravel, and the lane markings
consisted of orange traffic cones and orange construction barrels with reflective tape and flashing
orange lights. If you look closely, you can see the row of barrels at the extreme right side of this photo.
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