Saturday, July 28, 2012

Hamburgering across the wild north west

G’day from the big bad United States of America. The Canadian oil is flowing down here thick and fast and I can tell they love it by their frantic dancing in the streets at the festival we attended last night in Portland. It’s been another great chunk of time since the last update, taking us through the spectacularly scenic northwest corner of USA. It’s basically been like taking a bag full of twisty mountain roads, smearing it with rivers, lakes and wildlife, and repeatedly smashing it in our faces until there really is nothing at all to complain about. Our sauntering pace continues to reward us with hidden gems, like the free hunters camp on Bear Creek Road just north of Libby Montana, where we got some much needed pyromania out of our system and dispelled the much discussed myth that supermarket beer has less alcohol in it that liquor store beer in America.

Mad fire jumping skills going on right here
Waterfall number 47

People are generally rather interested in our journey, and we never fail to attract longing, yearning looks from middle aged men. This is not the demographic we generally enjoy being inspected by, white whiskers poking around under our hood , but we’ve nonetheless grown accustomed to the fact that 63% of middle aged men want to Get Into Dual Sporting. It’s a phrase we like to throw around and an ongoing statistic that we keep track of with a series of spread sheets and hand calculations.

Catching some prairie action in eastern Washington

I really should get into Dual Sporting...

Gravity works differently with lanky man
Our first border crossing with the bikes was enjoyably smooth and painless. Atley was not taken into a special room and examined internally, like I’d hinted, which goes to show we do still have unused storage space. The reward of our windy drive through the Pincher Creek area was much appreciated when we cruised the Going-To-The-Sun-Road in Glacier National Park in Montana. As far as spectacular mountain passes go, this one has to be one of the most breathtaking, as you cross from one enormous valley to another pretty much at the top of a mountain. The road is edged with hand built stone walls from the 1920s, reminding you that this was once used by horse and carts when the world was still in black and white.
Part and parcel of our pursuit for free camping leaves us with days between shower access, so bathing in rivers and lakes is pleasantly becoming the norm. I can announce quite confidently that there is nothing more refreshing that washing motorcycle-induced sweat from your bearded face in glacier fresh mountain water. It’s just one of those things that feels right. Beards and mountain rivers..... together at last! And it’s these kind of quality observations that really seal the deal on being Unemployed Guy Looking At Stuff.  I can see why the wise old men yearn.

Level 1 logwalking

Figure it out

Wanna chuck some rocks mate?
Spending every morning, noon, afternoon, evening and night with the same person, over, and over, and over and over again... is a beautiful experience, however mark and i decided that we’d give our blossoming relationship some breathing room and part ways in Montana and meet up in Portland. It was a great decision, as there is something very special about solo motorbike travel. Mark headed west to go check out the bright lights of Seattle and I took the scenic route and headed to volcano country.

The dormant volcano of Mount Adams waits for you

Goddam high school kids done gone and painted them rocks again

Mt Rainier is the tallest mountain in western USA at 14,410 feet and it is one massive, glacier covered, volcanic beast! Significantly taller than the mountains immediately around it, I caught my first glimpse of it when I was still 100km away and it made me yelp. It drew me like a magnet, so I camped at the White River campground where climbers begin their 3 day summit attempts. On the recommendation from Chris the awesome park ranger, I rolled out of my tent at 5am and hit the trail that’s used to get to the epic peak. I walked myself up past the first camp used by climbers and watched the first sun rays of the day light up Mt Rainier in a thrilling explosion of pink mountain awesomeness. One day I will be back to climb you Rainier, you glorious beast you.

Mt Rainier rules the land

Mount Rainier rules the sunrise

Mount Rainier makes it very squinty

The next day I continued my volcano tour and spent the afternoon inspecting Mt Saint Helens, the gal who spewed her black smouldering lunch in 1980 for the world to see. And what a freaking meal it was! Basically the top 500 feet of the mountain blew off and scattered 20 kilometres around, killing some scientists and SMASHING some epic forest into nothingness.  It taught the world not to mess with volcanoes when they’re expanding at 5 feet a day.... who knew....

Mt St Helens. Using high tech CGI animation I've drawn in the old shape the mountain, and the volcanic spewtum in mid air for you viewing pleasure
Meanwhile in the big smoke, Atley was learning that hostels, whilst being a great source of low cost accommodation themselves, are also a rich gold veined, ruby encrusted diamond mine of FREE accommodation down the road. Enter AJ the Awesome Argentinean. You see the low cost traveller must always have the next nights dwellings in mind and it is not beneath us to offer our company in the newly met friends house, when next we are rolling through their town. Bueno! A bed in Buenos Aires! Thanks AJ! 
Keen to drink deep the customs of the local peoples, Atley meandered down to Safeco Stadium to drink deep the beer, whilst watching men hit balls with sticks. This grew tiring in the hot sun and a nap was in order.

Hostel zombies
So now we sit in the relative comfort of the NW hostel of downtown Portland, enjoying the pleasant conversations of various internationals. Contemplating the tough choices, South or East? Refreshing coastal breezes or crisp mountain air? Stay tuned for the next exciting episode....

Stitching up a hole in me pants

Log walking level 2

Another thong is lost to the swirling waters of Glacier

Another lush rainforest moment proudly brought to you by Kawasaki

The highway. It calls us like a lonely whale song in the night.

OK guy.
and the video as always...


  1. Pretty tough to live vicariously through you clowns if you don't post updates more often. I MUST FEED ON YOUR EXPERIENCE!

  2. Sorry unknown observer. We're baking a fresh batch right now.

  3. Enjoy. Carolyn Barker what a fantastic trip. XX