Love, Laughter, and Life

Adventures With a Book Lover


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Motorcycle Monday: First Ride of the Year

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For us, motorcycle adventures take place in two seasons: spring and fall.

Occasionally, like yesterday, the blue skies call us despite snow-laden hills and fields and cool temps. Technically, it is still winter. So we started early this year! Most years we can squeak in a ride in February as long as we are well covered with warm layers and roads are clear.

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We are kind of like Baby Bear in The Three Bears. We need the weather to be not too hot, not too cold, but just right. The best time for us to ride is spring – not too cold, not too hot. And fall – not too cold, not too hot. Winter? Snow, ice, frigid temps. Summer? Sun and sweltering heat.

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It could be perfectly fine outside for wearing shorts and tank tops. But we prefer to cover up when riding to protect our skin from bugs, sun burn, heat, road rash (if we crashed). Plus the helmet, oh the insulator of heat it is, keeps us nice and sweaty. Unless we are moving down the road and creating our own breeze, it is hot beneath the blazing sun. Stop lights are my least favorite!

In winter, it goes without saying. If four tires play slip and slide over mogul-like roads, imagine two tires. That’s a motorcycle recipe for disaster!

Yesterday we grabbed the perfect opportunity to take a short test run. Glorious blue skies, blinding white hills, brisk air. And quite a few others who succumbed to motorcycle fever! Just enough right to whet our motorcycle thirst for adventure.

Our trip was a short loop out Ahtanum Road, going right on Slavin, and then right on Cottonwood Canyon, which lead us back towards home. Lots of folk out cleaning up and enjoying sun and blue skies.

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Welcome spring!

How do you welcome spring? What are your favorite things to do in spring?


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Motorcycle Monday – 3 Washington Rides

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Glowing trees north of Roslyn

I am out of motorcycle shape! In spite of late afternoon heat and tired backsides, we managed to enjoy 3 different motorcycle rides over the long weekend.

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Heading south on the Yakama Indian Reservation

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Mt. Adams

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Wild horses

1. Friday night, we helmeted up and rode south on Highway 97, turned right on Lateral A, and continued out to White Swan. I’ve always love this ride, having spent nearly 30 years living in the lower valley. At White Swan, we followed Signal Peak Road up to the end of the public road. The round trip was nearly 100 miles and gorgeous. We saw wild horses, but only 10 or so, less than normal; plus wild horse rib cages and assorted bits. A bald eagle perched on a bluff (we suspect dead bodies for tasty snacks were somewhere close, per the nose turning odors), and when we stopped to stretch, we were nearly swarmed by huge black bees. They seemed hungry and ready for fresh meat. Maybe they were a type of wasp instead. Mt. Adams beamed white amidst blue skies and fluffy clouds and the entire valley was in full production – orchards, vineyards, planted fields, cattle, and much more.

2. Saturday we took a longer ride, almost 200 miles, spanning most of the day. We drove north through the Yakima River Canyon, one of our favorite drives. Bald eagles, deer, bighorn sheep, and hordes of those two-legged campers, fishers, and recreating humans gave us company for the ride. In Ellensburg, we stopped for coffee. Then we followed Highway 10 to Cle Elum, barely hanging on when we encountered bridge repairs! The first one had us riding air, but after that we were prepared. We continued through Cle Elum, Roslyn, and Ronald, until we reached the end of the road and Salmon la Sac. The Cle Elum River was noisy and rolling due to snow melt. That did not deter campers from wading! Brr. On our return home, we stopped for lunch at The Brick (Roslyn) and searched out a rose-flavored dark chocolate treat at the Roslyn Candy Company. We backtracked a bit, looped along the Thorp Highway, and returned to the Yakima Valley returned through the canyon.

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Highway 241

3. Monday we were up and out early, due to expected high temps later in the day. We took the slow road – Yakima Valley Highway – towards the lower valley. This is such a pretty drive through orchards, farms, and small communities. We went as far south as Sunnyside, then took Highway 241 over the top of the hills to Highway 24, which led us back to Yakima. Along the Yakima River, I saw several cranes and a block of whirling pelicans. A stalking coyote was circling a herd of black cows who were grazing way out in the middle of nowhere. Yikes! I shook my finger at him, but I don’t think it helped. Babies were everywhere – foals, calves, lambs, kids. This ride was shorter than the other days, but a great outing.

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Heading into the Yakima River Canyon

Let’s talk about smell-o-vision. This is a real thing on motorcycles. What you see, or don’t see, you will smell. The good, the bad, the ugly. Mint, flowers, freshly cut hay, hops, dust, horses, fast food restaurants. The list of good-to-smell is unending. The bad? Think cow poop, skunks, diesel exhaust, asphalt, smoke, garbage. The ugly? Dead stuff. I know they are ugly because I can smell them and it is not pretty! While some road kill is evident alongside the road, others lurk mysteriously out of sight. But not out of nose.

What’s the trade-off for the icky smells? Wonderful fresh air, the joy of wind blowing along your body, and rolling scenery. It’s worth every smell and bug splatter.

Where did your journeys take you this weekend?

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Just us, goofing around