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Planning trip to NW

Discussion in 'New Users' started by freddyjoe, Mar 6, 2018.

  1. My wife and I are planning our Harley trip in mid-August through mid-September. We will be starting in Denver and then travel to Reno to Northern California, up through Oregon to Seattle Washington. We made many trips to the western US, and have logged over 500K miles. But e have not taken a motorcycle trip to Northern California, Oregon and Washington area. So we do not know what type of conditions we will encounter. We have heard that it always rains in Northern California, Oregon and Washington. So not sure if this area is a good choice. Any feedback on weather, and roads to take will be greatly appreciated.

  2. Forgot to mention that we will travel from Denver through Utah and stay in Reno NV for a couple o days. From Reno we will travel to California.

  3. I wouldn't worry much about rain in California, Oregon or Washington during that time of the year. Temperatures in California's Sacramento Valley are usually brutally-hot that time of year. An evaporative cooling vest can be a life-saver.

    There are numerous enjoyable passes back and forth in the Sierras, from the ridge, down to the valley, and then back up to the ridge, working your way north. There are several nice roads in the Coast Range between I-5 and the coast, and through the Trinity Alps in Northern California. Hwy. 36 between Red Bluff and Fortuna is one of the storied motorcycle roads in Northern California.
    parallax likes this.
  4. When you come up through Oregon, go either sr 101 or take 97 on the east side. Both are fantastic scenery, whereas i5 is kinda boring.

    You could then continue up 101 around the Washington coast into the central Puget sound, and take a ferry across into the Seattle area. I'd recommend timing your visit to be in Seattle on the weekend if possible, because traffic during the week will kill your clutch hand.
  5. for my two cents, You could spend a week in Oregon. Crater Lake is great. In middle Oregon the Sisters area made me want to stay. Not to mention the spectacular coastline on 101. Coming into Wa. The Ape caves and Saint Helens visitor center.. Our Olympic peninsula is one of two places in the U.S. with rainforest level rains only rivaled by the Amazon rain forest. Ruby Beach is stunning on a sunny day. The whole peninsula 101 route is about 350 around from Olympia. Easily doable in Aug. Have fun!
  6. thanks for your feedback everyone. I was thinking of either 101 or 97 in Oregon. 97 looks like a good option, as we plan on going to the German town of Leavenworth in the mountains. We could continue on 97 through Washington to get to Leavenworth. Once we leave Leavenworth we will have to work our way back to I-90 to get to Missoula Montana. We are torn because we love Seattle and 101 looks like a great scenic ride.
  7. Have not been to Oregon, so we plan on at least four days in that area. 97 out of California through Oregon looks like a great road. Still torn between 97 and 101. Trying to figure out how to do both without backtracking. We prefer mountains over the ocean since we live in Florida and see the ocean every day.
  8. Thanks for the feedback. What do you think about taking hwy 89 out of Reno through California and connecting to hwy 97? Looks like some great scenery.
  9. 97 looks like a great ride. Love Seattle, but you are right on about the traffic. We have been to Seattle many times and the traffic on I5 is a killer. Especially coming from Olympia and Tacoma to Seattle. Since we are working our way to Leavenworth, 97 probably a better option.
  10. See PM sent 3/11
  11. Most of 97 is "scenic", but pretty straight. If you want side-trips you can:

    see Crater Lake

    go on a loop from Biggs to Goldendale via Klickitat

    take the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway from Crescent to Bend

    take OR 218 and OR 293 from Willowdale to Shaniko via Antelope

    If you do take 97 to Shaniko from Madras and it's a clear day, be sure to stop at the Mountain Identifier a couple of miles SW of Shaniko. You will be able to see about a dozen volcanoes from one spot.

    You should stop in Crescent at the Mohawk for a soda at least. They have two pretty amazing collections: whiskey bottles and taxidermy. I think they should be on the National Historic Register.

    The Ding Ho in Madras has decent Chinese food. It's in an old root beer stand.

    In Washington near Yakima we always stop at one of the fruit stands for truly ripe local tomatoes and make tomato sandwiches.
  12. I strongly recommend getting the Butler map for Oregon.

    I’ve done almost every yellow ride in the state and many of the orange and reds.

    97 straight north is a nice ride and very functional if you just want to get through the state, but it’s relatively boring and trafficked compared to other rides. It improves north of madras.

    The many options on the Butler map east of 97 are stunning. Granted they may cause you to spend more time in Oregon than you have, so that’s obviously a consideration.

    But, if you’re on 97 and want to see some of this, a great option off 97 is prineville to Mitchell (turn off and go to painted hills just west of Mitchell) to 19 north through Fossil Beds national monument) to Kimberley then spray then service creek then north to fossil then west to shaniko, which will put you back on 97. Fantastic and gorgeous riding with very few cars. Many other great rides out there but you’ll be very happy with that route. fuel stops are an issue on this route so ping me if you’re interested and I’ll look at the gas options (I don’t remember them off the top of my head)

    Crater Lake was mentioned above. Do not miss it if you’re even considering going through that area.
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2018
  13. Thanks for your suggestions. I am ordering the butler map. Looks like some great riding. How is the weather and temperature in mid-August in Oregon? Do they get a lot of rain?
  14. Thanks for you feedback. I clicked on the links and looks like some cool places to visit. I need to start checking on trip advisor for lodging in those areas. Looks like we will be spending a lot of time in Oregon, so much to see.
  15. Aside from the coast, it almost never rains in Oregon in August. Independently, the reputation for constant rain in Oregon does not apply east of the Cascade mountains.

    The weather in the areas I've mentioned will be hot and dry in August.

    This is a good resource:, but I've found that some of the info may be out of date (e.g., gas options, etc.). Many of these rides are west of the Cascades.

    Numbers 1 and 2 are yellow on Butler. Number 2 is included the off of 97 and then back on 97 route I mentioned above (it's the last leg of that route back onto 97 -- Fossil to Shaniko).

    Number 1 is deservedly in that spot and would take you to Baker City, a very interesting old town. If you have time to learn about its history and are into this sort of thing, go to the Baker City museum. If it's in the budget, stay at the Geiser Grand hotel or at least walk into it and look around if it's not. Go to the great Barley Brown's brewery. And you'll be near the tiny, historic town of Haines (about 30 minutes from Baker) and one of my favorite places to eat, the Haines Steak House:

    If you really want to take time, from Baker, you could then do the Devil's Tail (Hell's Canyon, both the canyon itself (on Idaho side of the Snake River) and the scenic byway over to the Wallowa Lake area. Both great rides, and the ride from Baker City to Hells Canyon itself is amazing, but this collection may be too much of a time commitment.

    Sorry for blabbing so much, but this is one of my favorite areas in the state, among many options.
  16. An amazing trip through the best of Washington is up 97 to Leavenworth, Hy2 east, thy the Palesades/Moses Coulee/Grand Coulee/Grand coulee Dam(the largest dam in north america). Then southwest to the Palouse region, across the Lo Lo pass to Missoula Mt.
    Additionally the Flathead valley and lake (largest fresh water lake west of the Mississippi river), Glatier National Park, The wild Missouri river east of Great Falls and much more.
    I have traveled extensively to every corner of the west focusing on the amazing.
    Travel with intensity
  17. Leaving Reno head South a short distance and pick up US 50 West bound to Lake Tahoe. I think it crests about 8500 feet with a spectacular view of Lake Tahoe. When you get to lake level head North on 28 to Kings Beach. From there head North to Truckee. Good selection of restaurants, history and shopping.
    From Truckee I do recommend 89/70 North to Lassen Volcanic National Park. About 200 miles North, all 2 lane road through Forest Service land and Parks.
    Lassen NP is nice ride with changes in elevation, spectacular views, informative info center, and bubbling sulphur pots from the geothermal activity underneath.
    Leaving Lassen continue on 89 to Mt Shasta. From there it is only a short distance to 97 and on into Oregon.
    The best thing about this route is it keeps you up in the mountains, cooler, and off of I5 where the August temperatures tend to be in the low hundreds and are mind numbing in lack of scenery.
  18. Weather in Washington (I live in Wenatchee) in August and September is typically terrific. There is usually no rain on the eastern side of the Cascade mountains along Highway 97 from the Columbia River to the Canadian border, although it is hot in August. On the western side of the Cascades you’ll hit some rain, but not a lot.

    Eastern Oregon from Klamath Falls to Bend boasts gorgeous country, mostly wooded and high desert, and is dry. About 20 miles north of Bend, sage-desert and dry, hot weather prevails until near the Columbia River. At the Columbia River you can ride to Portland through the Gorge, and it is beautiful, worth riding, and mostly dry that time of year. Four years ago in September I rode 101 from Lincoln City, Oregon to Arcata, CA and experienced no rain, only spectacular views along the coast.

    I’ve ridden from Grant’s Pass Oregon to Redding, CA that time of year and experienced rain only in the Grant’s Pass area. I’ve also ridden from Weed, CA to Klamath Falls, Oregon in September and it was dry.

    In sum, in August and September you should experience mostly good weather.
  19. Thanks
    We are thinking of staying in Lake Tahoe for a couple of days and Reno for a day. Do you recommend staying in the Lake Tahoe area? Loos pretty cool. Yes, I want to stay way away from I-5. I do not like that highway, bring back memories getting stuck around Seattle. We normally take all back roads.
  20. Thanks for the information. We been to Leavenworth years ago and look forward to riding up there and also to mount st Helen.

    The trip through Lo Lo pass is very cool. My brother lives in Missoula, and we have been in that area many times. We were going to take I-90 to Missoula, but I like your idea going LO Lo pass to Missoula. Not a fan of I-90.