Monday, July 18, 2011

Going to the Sun - Day One

The Kat is out of the Bag

I guess it's no secret where Ron and I have been this past week. Out gadding about the countryside with fellow bloggers, Bobskoot from Wet Coast Scootin' and Dom of Redleg's Rides, and his family: Martha, Patrick, Miles and Richard, and Richard's friend from Norway, Jan. We will end up crossing off several things from our bucket list on this trip.

Bob knew that I wanted to ride Going to the Sun Highway, and since Ron now has a reliable bike to ride, he invited us to join him on a journey to Montana and Going to the Sun Highway, and to meet Dom and his family. Ron and I left Oregon on Sunday for a long day of riding. We'll put in over 400 miles before the day is through. Not a lot of mileage by most standards, but it's a record for us. We take the quick path up the I-5 freeway then cross over the Columbia River into Washington.
Windmills near Goldendale

This is only my second time driving the Washington side of the gorge. It's pretty in it's own way, and a fun road for a busy highway. We turn onto highway 97, the route to our first destination for the day: Yakima Canyon.
Kari riding through Yakima Canyon
 I first heard of this road on Bobskoot's blog. It was part of the route he and Sonja took to Bend last year, and I knew I had to go there someday. The weather was perfect, not too warm, and while there was some loose gravel in parts of the road, the ride was beautiful. One bucket list ride crossed off.

 After the canyon ride and a quick stop for lunch in Ellensburg, we head back to the freeway to slab it the rest of the way to our destination. One more stop recommended by Bobskoot, Wild Horse Monument. This is a viewpoint just off the I-90 near Vantage Washington with a stunning view and a wonderful sculpture. We had just ridden across the bridge pictured below. I'd heard of Wild Horse Monument, but couldn't find any information online as to it's location. I was pleased that Bob found it for us. If you're ambitious you can hike up to the sculptures. If you look close there are people walking around in the photo.
Vantage Bridge Viewpoint
Wild Horse Monument
We have a long, rather tiresome ride to our stop for the night. I forget how far it is across the eastern parts of Washington. We find Bobskoot waiting ever so patiently (like and hour and a half) for our arrival.
Home for the night
 We were happy to arrive in Ritzville, Washington for the evening. Must have been tired because we have no decent pics of our arrival in Ritzville.  Dinner was to be at Casuela's Mexican Restaurant.
Unfortunately we forgot to consider that small rural towns close up shop early on a slow Sunday evening. Dinner would be found at a diner down near the freeway. Our mexican meal would have to wait.
to be continued...


  1. Kari,
    It's been wonderful to see Bob's account of the trip and really looking forward to seeing it again through another set of eyes and another lens. You have no idea how much tales like this lift me in our winter!

  2. From the other posts it looks like you had a grand adventure.

    I haven't been on that side of Washington on a bike, but have in the car. There is a great monastery between Yakima and Goldendale that serves tasty Greek food. A hidden gem on top the mountain.

    Can't wait to hear the rest of the story from your point of view.

  3. Now we get your view of the story, that is great. Personally I like the Oregon side of the Columbia Gorge better as it offers more twisties and spectacular views. Yakima Canyon although rather short is a gem in the area. Kudos to you for doing 400 mls.

  4. Wonderful photos. I really like the windmill against the blue sky. And it sounded like you all had a wonderful trip. One of these years I'll get to Glacier Natl Park.

    Now we'll hear what really happened on this trip. Bob mentioned that "Kari screamed over the radio" or something like that....


  5. Very nice! Wild Horse Monument is now on my bucket list. :)

  6. Bluekat:

    It was a great week exploring new roads together (with Ron too). I came home with great memories wishing it wouldn't end.

    remember what happened in the cabin, "stays in the cabin" , something like that . . .

    Riding the Wet Coast

  7. Hi Geoff
    Well, I guess it's payback for your tales getting me through my winter! :)

  8. Hi Trobairitz
    It has been a big adventure. Ron and I have taken very few vacations of this duration, so it's been a treat. Thanks for the tip on the monastery. I'm anxious to revisit the area, so I'll have to look for it.

  9. Hi Sonja,
    Agreed. It's pretty hard to beat the Columbia Gorge and the old highway on the Oregon side. I've driven it many times, but still haven't done it on motorcycle. I'll have to rectify that soon! I have you and Bob to thank for Yakima Canyon. I've wanted to go since I read about your trip last year.

  10. Hi Richard,
    Thanks. Serendipity on the windmill photo, I got lucky with the deep blue sky. I highly recommend Glacier National Park. I plan to return again, and spend more time hiking and exploring. It's simply beautiful there.

  11. Thanks Ken,
    I recommend Wild Horse Monument. Catch it at the right time of day with nice light and the photo opps would be glorious.

  12. Hi Bob,
    Yes it was a great week! I hated for it to end too. Yes, just like Vegas ;-)

  13. Love the title of the post! :)

    The picture of the Wild Horse Monument is wonderful.

    Thanks for the share.

    PS-I hadn't even wondered about what went on inside the cabin until . . .

  14. Now that wild horse monument is on my list as well! Great pics!


    Redleg's Rides

    Colorado Motorcycle Travel Examiner

  15. Wow, I only went as far as MT. St. Helens, looks beautiful up north. I guess I will have to go up there again. I have been very busy, haven't read Bob's account. I will put wild horse monument on my list too.

  16. Hi Keith,
    lol - what happens in the cabin, stays in the cabin! Wildhorse monument was pretty cool. I don't think it's even mentioned on the sign...just listed a viewpoint.

  17. Thanks Dom,
    Like I mentioned to Keith, Wildhorse is just a little viewpoint off the freeway, I wouldn't have known it was there if Bobskoot hadn't mentioned it.

  18. Hi George
    Montana is beautiful. I think it's similar to Oregon/Washington with a distinct western/eastern climate. We didn't see much of the eastern part. Nice speed limits too. Oregon could learn from that!

  19. I've been trying not to peek at your posts in reverse order in my RSS reader. (Okay ,maybe i peeked a little) Getting myself situated here, getting ready to follow along on your journey :)

    Like Richard - I love that windmill pic too. That and the pic of the Vantage bridge below.

    Beautiful part of the world~

  20. Hi Fuzzy
    That's okay, I peek sometimes too! ;)