Title- A Motorcycle Trip to Oregon

The Wenatchee River a few miles above Leavenworth, WA.



It was decided that Lope and I would ride to Oregon to visit our former squadron mate, Bill. The three of us had flown A-3 Skywarriors together, and it was occasionally necessary to get together to swap sea stories. From our Pacific Northwest homes, we would ride Hwy 2 from Everett, over Steven's Pass, to Leavenworth, WA, and then pick up Hwy 97 through Wenatchee, Ellensburg, Yakima and on down into Oregon, to Redmond, where Bill lives. We would stay the first night in southern Washington in the town of Goldendale.

The forecast called for rain showers the first day, and indeed the showers were more like steady rain as were slowed at the several towns on Hwy 2 that rise into the foothills of the Cascades. As we left the towns behind and climbed the steeper ascent to Steven's Pass, we still had rain until nearly at the highway summit. As we rode by the Steven's Pass Ski Resort, we got into the rain shadow, and the descent was on dry roads. The highway becomes wonderfully curvy as one approaches Leavenworth, so a dry road made for a fun ride.

Leavenworth is reknown for its German theme, and already tourists were massing in the little town to enjoy German food and to take advantage of various alpine sports available. It was lunch time, so we found a basement German restaurant and Lope enjoyed a burger, while I had a very satisfactory Ruben sandwich, with home-made kraut and spicy Dijon mustard.


Lope in Levenworth

In Leavenworth, Lope secures the bike before we set out to find some good German food.


Farmers Market

We continued south from Leavenworth on Hwy 2, taking twisty roads over mountain ranges and then going through flat, agricultural land, much of it displaying Washington's famous apple and fruit orchards. South of Ellensburg we took a rest stop at a fruit market. Lope pointed out that my helmet liner was coming apart, and I had been waving an eight inch strip of foam from my helmet. The cashier kindly loaned me some clear packing tape to make the necessary repairs. The damage to my ego was left unresolved.


Ponderosa Motel in Goldendale

We had been riding into a 30 mile per hour crosswind since leaving the high mountains, so, about 4:30, when we got to Goldendale, we were quite ready to call it quits for day one. The family running this motel was friendly, and the next morning I had perhaps the finest complimentary breakfast I've seen at a motel.


Old trucks

After sitting astraddle all day, I went out for a walk. Immediately behind the motel, a business left a historical record of its truck usage over many years. Goldendale has a population of 3,000, and most of the residents live in somewhat planned communities away from downtown, which is only two or three blocks wide.


Goldendale land.

I have a history with Goldendale. In 1970, having just finished flight school, I felt that it was fashionable for a young man to own property. I shrewdly took the view that if one buys very cheap land, it can double in value more easily. I found an add for a realty that sold cheap land in southern Washington. So, I made an appointment with the realtor, and one weekend drove six hours from Whidbey Island to Goldendale. The realtor indeed represented cheap land, and after looking at several parcels, I bought sixty-three acres pictured above. While there were more picturesque pieces, this had water and electricity to the land and the realtor assured me that it was the best investment. I paid less than $200/ acre for the land.


Goldendale land 2

The land was nicely wooded and bordered a Weyerhaeuser tree farm. After ten years I sold it for four times what I paid for it, which helped us to buy a house. I never saw the land after 1970 until this motorcycle trip. Twelve acres were subdivided and there are now two houses on the property.


Columbia River

Just thirteen miles south of Goldendale flows the Columbia River. The Columbia serves as the border between Oregon and Washington. Lewis and Clark famously paddled down the Columbia in their final push for the Pacific Ocean. This part of Washington and Oregon consists of high plateaus and one is continually winding higher or lower to the next flat stretch of road.


Columbia River 2

Another look at the Colombia. This Colombia River Gorge is famous for its strong afternoon winds. Wind River, OR, about fifty miles west, is the wind surfing capital of the world.


Highway 97 construction

This was a highway maintenance stop on Hwy 97. . It is mostly a two lane road, and until one gets to Madras and Redmond, there is very little traffic. Most of the road was in very good repair.


Desert landscape near Redmond, OR

Redmond and the surrounding towns sit at 3000', on high desert, east of the Cascade Mountains. Without irrigation, weathered Juniper trees, scrub pine and other desert plants take up the landscape.


Smith Rock, OR

A popular climbing rock, Smith Rock, stands prominently just north of Redmond, OR. It was an obvious landmark for us, as Bill's home is just a few miles south of this rock and he enjoys it as part of his view..


Smith Rock with Bill and Marty

Bill and Marty pose in front of the climbing wall.