A car, a bike, 2 days and 500 miles

Or: 4 people, a big bike (Honda Valkyrie) and a small car (Miata) cover 500 miles of Washington roads, 4 campsites, and several Llama farms.

Big bike, small car

The bike has just about as much storage space as the car, enough for 2 sleeping bags, pads, a tent and some extra clothes. However, it’s a lot harder to eat when you have a full face helmet on.

Eating m&m's with a full face helmet. Amusing for the bystanders.

Our route took us up and over the North Cascade Highway, so we stopped to check out one of the power dams that provide power for Seattle. It looks like there’s enough water up there. No Llamas though. Apparently they’ve been moved due to cougar attacks.

The water side of the Diablo Canyon Dam.  It looks pretty full to me (within a couple of feet of the top).

We caught the tail end of a very leisurely motorcycle club heading up to the dam. We wasted quite a few corners at the posted yellow sign speed. While Miatas and Motorcycles are pretty well matched for touring, the car can take tight corners with more confidence.

The Motorchcle Touring club that was driving 40mph through some beautiful twisty roads.  There were about 20 of them up the road, including some Goldwings with more cargo volume than my car. (and bigger engines)

Liberty Bell guards the top of Washington Pass. It’s a quick run downhill from here to Winthrop for lunch. Winthrop was a little overrun with a bumper crop of summer tourists, lots of cars and motorcycles. (Evenly mixed between Harleys and Valkyries) That’s what you get for a weekend in August though.

Liberty Bell, the big mountain overlooking Washington pass.  There are a few two day rock climbing routes up it.

We noodled around for a while, filling up at Twisp where the Miata was outnumbered 6 to 1 by various motorcycles. A quick run to Chelan later and we’re dealing with the problem of finding a campsite on one of the major tourist weekends in August. We checked three campgrounds before being directed to a small National Forest campground 4 miles off the main road at 25 Mile Creek. I was stunned at the quality of the lawn at the full campsites, perfect golf course quality and neon green. You’d hardly know that there’s a drought on and we’re in the middle of a desert.

The road to the campsite was prefect twisty blacktop for three miles. Sorry, I don’t have pictures. I was Driving.

The people in the campsite next to us were amused when we pulled in, since they have a Harley and a red Miata.

Self portrait, on the road down from Stevens Pass.

A little zipping in the morning, and we are on a nearly empty road heading down to breakfast near Levenworth and then to go up over Beaver Pass. I’ve raced over this road in a bicycle race a couple of years ago, and I didn’t realize how much fun it could be. Empty, reasonably smooth, and squiggly yellow signs. Most were marked 30mph in a 55 zone. Perfect road to put a little distance on a motorcycle.

The view out the front. Beautiful road, I think it's called the "Old Country Road". It made the Miata feel really wide, sort of like driving down a bike path.

Finally, we pick up route 2 to go over Stevens pass, and catch the Old County Road on the way down. This road is a little wider than a bike path, and completely deserted. This is the one place that I have ever felt that my car was wide even when there was no oncoming traffic.

One by Rose, visible in the reflection of my glasses.

The last three pics were taken on that road.

The motorcycle had some advantages, better power above 4000 feet, more similar vehicles to wave to, and the general coolness factor of a flat 6 1500cc engine.

Cargo space was a wash, as was gas mileage. (Although the motorcycle has half the tank of the car).

The Miata had a cd player and a heater/ac system. They work well even though the top was down the whole time. It was easier to handle on twisty roads. Passing at 4000 feet was kind of dicey with the short passing lanes.

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