Going home on a Goldwing

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We’re finally setting out from Portland and it’s just after 5 p.m. on Friday afternoon. The spirit has shifted on our Honda Goldwing tour now that we’re half done and heading towards home, instead of away from it. Both of us are expected to be in front of our computers and online at 9am Monday morning, leaving just 64 hours to fit in all the sights we want to see traveling back South on an inland route. We loosely intend to head through Shasta, hit highways 49 and 89 and ride through Yosemite on our way to Los Angeles. Clearly there’s still adventure to be had, but the end is in sight. And just like always, the trip back seems to be shorter than the trip there.

This is Part 3 of Ashlee and Sean’s Goldwing tour series. Read all of the articles here.

sean smith Leaving Portland at 5 pm in rush hour is actually a worst case scenario I’ve contemplated. And, here we are. The Goldwing is great at most things, but (as I already learned in San Francisco) there’s no way around the fact that it is a physically large machine. Couple that with the illegality of lane splitting in Oregon and what we have on our hands is the perfect recipe for a bad time. Solution? I crank up the music, ignore the law and do my best to make the bike fit between the slow moving Volvos and Subarus. Unlike in the cramped streets of San Francisco, wider interstate lanes coupled with a determination to make good time makes filtering much easier (and quite a bit of fun) this time around.

ashlee goodwin Illegal? Absolutely. Reckless? Hardly. Sean saves us at least an hour an half getting out of the congested city traffic (with the bonus of not getting rear-ended) and there’s hope we’ll make it to his Uncle’s place in Shasta at least before midnight. I smile in my helmet both because riding through traffic like you’re in a motorbike race scene from a sci-fi movie is always fun and now it’s also our own little pursuit of civil disobedience. Victory is sweet when you break a rule, break it well and come out ahead.

ssWhen I’m lane splitting, I see just about everything. If there are no cops, I move 10 to 25 miles per hour faster than traffic. It’s a high-stakes endurance race with a few special rules. Don’t be seen by the cops, don’t piss anybody off, don’t hit anything, never get angry and never, ever take anything personally. There are a few tricks to avoid being noticed. If I can see everything, I can anticipate what cars are going to do. And if I can do that, I can usually cruise along with the motor barely above idle.

ag I’ve driven the length of Interstate 5 through Oregon, both North and South, nearly every year of my life at least once. Riding it on a bike is different. What used to feel simply like a four hour string of taillights and milemarkers becomes much more interesting. Sitting higher than cars, with no roof or windshield to block my view, I admire the open landscape. Even though we’re headed in the wrong cardinal direction, it seems like we’re chasing the sunset, which lasts for at least two hours. We meet two backpackers at a gas station outside of Grants Pass and stand outside chatting while Sean humors one’s insistence of proclaiming one Harley Davidson fact after another. We share an unspoken bond with these passers-through who seem apart from everyone else — travelers on a long journey carrying only the necessities, outside and exposed to the elements, and existing on the fringes of society. Because you find that, yes, even when you’re on the most-fully featured luxury touring motorcycle, you are still a motorcyclist. And somehow, people who drive cars are oft shocked, some maybe even alarmed, that one would consider using a motorcycle as their only transportation.

ss At one point in my life, I was commuting 45 miles one way to build two stroke race engines at Thumper Racing. I rode a beat to shit Ninja 250 whose only modification was grip heaters. I didn’t do this exact commute for very long, but while I did, it was in the winter time, and coming home from work at night meant riding through a mountain pass that often saw temperatures drop as low as 28 degrees. Riding on the 5 between the Oregon border and Mount Shasta is the first time since those days that I’ve felt exactly the excruciating cold I felt during those long, freezing commutes.

ag I’ve had the seat heater on nearly the whole trip just for kicks, but going through Shasta, with the time nearing midnight, my body is so devoid of heat that the seat feels like a torch. The localized warmth is nice, but it doesn’t do much to sway the fact that this is the coldest I’ve ever been. I close my eyes and meditate — mostly wondering how exactly freezing to death feels, and how close that feeling is to the bone chilling numbness I have. I’m wearing layer upon layer and all bundled into the exceedingly warm Scorpion Fury Jacket, but I’m pretty sure this kind of cold can only be tackled with gear that plugs into an outlet. I’m talking myself through, toughing it out —the exit is coming up. Or so I think. Sean blasts past what I thought was the exit for his uncle’s place, and apparently we still have 20 more miles to go. Finally we pull up outside, and I pretty much wordlessly take up residence in front of the wood burning stove.

ss Imagine if The Dude played the fiddle and looked like Ted Nuggent, and you have a pretty clear picture of my Uncle Mike, who lets us into the garage while laughing at our beet red, shivering faces. Mike calls us idiots for such a trek in cold conditions, even though he’ll spend the rest of the night and the next morning telling us tails of death and danger about his bicycling adventures across Cambodia, Vietnam, and Peru or desert racing in the ’70s on an XR100.

ag Sean’s Aunt Kathy sees him in his white silk scarf and ‘stich and says he looks like Errol Flynn. Usually when Sean gets a look-a-like comment, people tell him he looks like a hipster Billy Mays. I laugh and think her comparison to a flamboyant yet swashbuckling, mid-century actor (though I’ve never seen a photo of him that wasn’t clean shaven) is a step up from an over-dosing informercial host. The best part about Mike and Kathy’s? The round, neck deep Japanese soaking tub that Mike installed in their guest bathroom. He says it was to help his back after a long day of skiing or bicycling, but the energy healing poster displaying the seven different chakras and Jack Kerouac’s Dharma Bums as bathroom reading material suggest it may just be because they’re awesome hippies. Regardless, burying yourself in more than four feet of steaming water is amazing after a freezing ride over the Siskiyous.

ss Ashlee was interested in energy healing before we spent the night in Mt. Shasta, but now I think she might sell everything she owns and pursue it full time. Mike waxes nostalgic with tales of growing up in Whittier and racing his XR100 with AMA District 37. I race an XR100 too, so I’m intimately familiar with just how slow they are. Sure, mine was built in 2001 and his was a relic from the ’60s, but the bikes aren’t all that different. I’ve ridden on modern bikes where he used to race back in the day, and I can’t believe people raced bikes like that on that terrain. I spend some time looking at the huge printed maps of California in our guestroom and decide that if I had it all to do over again, I would not only spend more time looking at printed maps before leaving, I would have also taken some with me.

ag Google maps and GPS will get you where you need to go with minimal hassle, and a high degree of accuracy. But the large printed maps Sean and I pore over show roads that are often hidden on digital map applications, unless you zoom in to nearly unusable level which removes useful reference points.

ssWe take off from Shasta after breakfast, and I’ve never felt older in my whole fucking life than when I was riding from Northern California to Reno, Nevada, while wearing an Aerostitch RoadCrafter on a Honda Goldwing. The ride itself is the kind of thing you’d expect someone of such distinguishing characteristics would enjoy: picturesque scenery, but pretty much a straight highway. Not much challenge, and certainly not very sporty, but I maintain a high average speed.

ag I think about how these roads, and most of the 2,000 miles we’ve traveled in the days before, were built within my grandparents’ lifetime. I think about nearly 200,000 years of Homo sapiens. And then I think about well less than 100 years of human beings flying alongside these perfectly manicured yellow lines on a motorcycle, covering hundreds of miles a day, while the entire landmass of the world serves a scale model to conquer.

ss It’s that same time of day again when we keep picking hotels. We stop and eat something, finish eating, look up at the sky, and say, “Fuck, it’s getting dark.” Soon it will be cold, making it time to figure out just how far we’re going to make it today, and make sure there’s somewhere to sleep when we’re ready to stop. Sitting in a Trader Joe’s parking lot in Reno, we pick the Madderhorn Motel in South Lake Tahoe from the cheap 4-star Yelp listings. I’ve never been to Lake Tahoe before, and I’ve never really known much about Lake Tahoe. In my mind, Lake Tahoe is something like a much nicer Lake Arrowhead, which would mean ultra rich people, nice architecture, successful local small businesses catering to upscale clientel, and peace and quiet at night.

ag I’m sure parts of Lake Tahoe are like Sean’s fantasy. South Lake Tahoe is not. Cram the seedier slices of old Vegas lakeside, add motels full of migrant workers in town for tree pruning, and double the number of sex shops all about, and you have a picturesque view of the evening we roll into town. But there’s a comfortable enough bed, a warm shower, and Yosemite on the horizon for tomorrow.

ss Leaving Tahoe to go to Yosemite is not quite what I thought it would be. We see every Harley Davidson within a 100 mile radius, and there are a lot of them. We also see a lot of sportbikes. Everyone looks happy because the weather has produced one of those kind of days where there’s nothing better to do than ride a motorcycle. Even though the road is cold, it’s totally smooth and grip is still amazing. I do some of my fastest riding the entire trip during this leg.

agHeaded for Yosemite, I take more pictures than I can count from the back of the bike—obsessed with golden yellows and bright blues, the curves of road switchbacking down the mountain and into the valley, and the ever-changing slant of the horizon line as we make our way through the curves quickly on a motorcycle. We head through the gates into Yosemite and I feel like I remember feeling as a kid going to places like Diseyland — you know you’re going somewhere special, but you’ve never been there so you’re not really sure why. I’ve been a little bit worried all day that by the time we got to Yosemite, there won’t be much daylight left to enjoy it, but I’m wrong. Not 15 minutes into the park, I’m ready to set up camp next to a burbling stream and stay there for the rest of forever, but Sean drags me off to see the rest of amazing vistas that he remembers. We make our way from the East side all the way across and out the West side during the best hours of the day.

ss I’ve been to Yosemite before and backpacked much of the park, but it was always a very planned and constructed kind of experience. Places to go, things to see. In that type of situation it’s very hard to actually appreciate nature and natural beauty. Going with parents, family and/or large hiking groups just isn’t the same. Being with Ashlee on a motorcycle is different. There’s no arguing about where we’ll stop, what we’ll look at or where we need to get to. I ride the bike and we stop to look at interesting things. Simple as that.

ag It’s nearly dark when we get to the view of Yosemite Valley from outside the tunnel, and we head off towards Los Angeles with a starry sky above us. We’re so close to home, driving through Bakersfield, when we pull up alongside a shiny tanker truck for a moment. I see our reflection when moving for the first time during the trip and realize that, as I’d been sitting back here worrying about being pulled over by cops, we’ve been riding around looking like cops. Or something damn close. Turns out we look pretty official in head-to-toe black weather gear on this black motorbike. And even if the two-up riding and lack of lights and police livery tipped one off that we weren’t police, we just look like two respectable sunset seeking retirees, speed or not. And now, even though we know the Goldwing far surpasses its limiting stereotypes, I’m thankful for the Honda-bego stigma that’s made us invisible as we sped through the Western states for days on end.

  • Deltablues

    More stories like this. We Ride, we don’t Drive. Very Updike; made even the mundane Goldwing come alive.

    • Sean Smith

      Nothing mundane about the Goldwing. It’s a purpose built vehicle that flawlessly executes it’s intended mission. ;)

      • Deltablues

        Perhaps ‘Ubiquitous’ would be a better word. Goldwings really are nice. I have seen a few on the section of Highway 7 north of Hot Springs AR ridden by guys who treated them like big ole sportbikes…sparks, no chicken strips, and huge smiles. And then they can chill on the way home while my ass whimpers because my Daytona 675 keeps pushing that 2×4 of a seat where the Sun won’t shine.

        • Ratlanta

          Two words… gel seat.

        • nick2ny

          I think you don’t know what mundane or ubiquitous mean.

          • JVictor75

            Inconceivable!

  • paul redican

    Nice write up.nice bike nice pictures. Thanks.

    • smoke4ndmears

      exactly!

  • Matt

    New year comes in two weeks, with a fresh allottment of vacation days. I need to plan something like this now.

    • noone1569

      This. Seriously.

      I think I have more motorcycle trips planned than I have vacation days =(

  • Kevin

    You guys going to do a compare with the K1600? I sat on one at the IMS. Niiiiiice…

  • valen

    Enjoyed the entire feature series, but please get a copy editor or have a set of fresh eyes read through these before posting.

  • Pat

    Really enjoyed this journey. You need to take and write about one of these about once a month.

    • The other Joe

      +1

  • http://mansgottado.tumblr.com/ Andy Gregory

    Just great writing by both of you throughout this story, very personal and evocative. There’s nothing like touring on a motorcycle. The view, the elements, the physicality, the interactions with people, wide-eyed looks (especially from little kids who think you look like a superhero astronaut). I honestly almost feel bad for people who have never toured on a motorcycle. Not in a “we’re better than you” kind of way but in a sincere “you don’t want to miss this” sort of way. It’s a hard thing to accurately describe, the feeling, and you two come pretty close to it in this series. Bravo.

    I liked your points about physical maps too. I still bring a few (or one depending on where I’m going and how good it is) on every trip I take.

    • http://rider49er.blogspot.com Mark D

      +1 on the maps. There is something special about spreading a huge map out over a table that phones, bless their little transistor souls, seem to be lacking.

      • Kevin

        Hear hear. I cut pages out of my California road atlas, those maps are the best.

  • Drew Shannon

    Great series! Even though Goldwings don’t interest me much, reading about your experience was fascinating and fun.

    • Gene

      +100. FYI, best road maps I’ve found were in the local university library. 3ftx5ft is a hell of a lot of detail.

      Edit: and the pics are awesome. I’ve never seen the double double-yellow sorta-not-really median thing.

      • JVictor75

        I guess I was somewhat spoiled growing up… Dad was a photo interpreter in the Navy during ‘Nam, then a cartographer, then he was a photogrammetry technician and engineer. (Photogrammetry is, at it’s barest essence, taking pictures using a specialized camera from an airplane and then a cartographer makes maps out of the pictures.)

        I will agree about having actual maps. GPS is great if you are trying to “make time” but if you know the area and/or wish to take your time and enjoy the scenery an honest to God map can’t be beat.

        Plus, if you’ve got the room and access to a lamination machine (or a Kinkos) it’s just too easy to have a map in the tankbag (or saddlebag) as part of your EDC.

        A great place to start: http://store.usgs.gov/b2c_usgs/b2c/display/%28xcm=r3standardpitrex_prd&layout=6_1_61_50_2&uiarea=2&ctype=areaDetails&carea=0000000009%29/.do

        • Gene

          Ugh, the user interface on standalone GPS units is shit.

          One of the prompts on my TomTom is something like “Do you not want to ignore toll roads?” Yes! I mean No! What??

          And Garmin still doesn’t have the area around my subdivision on its latest maps, even though it’s been around since 1986.

          So yes, I have an atlas or at least printouts from Google Maps, plus hand written instructions as a bare minimum backup.

          Every time I go to a different town, I stop at a book shop for maps. I used to laugh at Jacksonville being too illiterate to have a bookstore in a major mall until Orlando joined that club last year.

          • JVictor75

            Amen. For daily distance riding (Point A to B) I would use a 1:1,000,000 or 1:500,000 map scale.

            If you are doing trail riding or “boonie bouncing”, use a 1:20,000 map scale WITH contour lines that was created by USGS within the last 5 years. The best maps like this are the ones used by the Forest Fire service. It can be a life saver to know where you are and the quickest route out to help (or for help to get to you).

            Bonus points if you know how to use a map, protractor, and compass.

            GPS devices are nice but batteries die and cloud cover can be… inconvenient.

            Speaking of fun to have with maps, everybody needs to go to Google Maps and search for walking directions from “The Shire” to “Mordor”. Pay attention to the caution statement.

  • Miles Prower [690 Duke, MTS 1200]

    Any chance the two of you can take a months-long tour and write about it? This 3-parter has been my favorite reading on HFL.

    • Kevin

      Agreed. These are becoming classics of the genre.

    • The other Joe

      That would be awesome! Sort of like a modern, motorcycle version of “Travels with Charley” by John Steinbeck. If you’re not familiar with it, you should definitely check it out.

      • Kevin

        One modern equivalent are Neil Peart’s books on the subject. Great reading, makes me want to get out and ride.

  • Thomas

    Aahh the Matterhorn! We’ve been there a few years ago on our first “westcoast”-trip and needed a motel on the cheap. And as europeans we laughed while reading “The Matterhorn” because there is absolutely nothing around Lake Tahoe which looks like “our” Matterhorn. But it worked and we stayed a night at this motel.. Thanks for this memory and very well written story.
    Keep up riding and writing through your country!

  • Thom

    Well written and interesting , but I have to tell you the whole ‘ Civil Disobedience ‘ ( which you’ve taken completely out of context ) as well as the ‘ Lane Splitting ‘ schtick really gets up my nose

    Get an F***ing clue ! When you split lanes in traffic where it is not legal YOU ARE BEING AN ASS ! Not some Robin Hood anti hero , not a ” I’ll stand up to the man for a genuine cause ” man of action, but a plain and simple ASS

    There’s nothing ‘ admirable ‘ about your behavior . 90 minutes of YOUR’s or anyone else’s time is not worth the stupidity of your actions ( believe me mate , you really are not that important and no one would give a damn if you arrived 90 minutes later )

    In all honesty , were some ‘ Redneck ‘ in a P/U or a Semi to have clipped you and taken you out of action due to your asinine behavior I wouldn’t have a moments sympathy for you .

    Not to mention , for an Online Magazine thats so desperate to revive the Motorcycle Industry as well as the scene , you’ve just managed to turn off I’ll guess at least another 200 people during your little fit of egotistic self indulgence , convincing them more than ever what a bunch of irresponsible ASSes most motorcyclists are

    You want to lay your life on the line on Track ? Have at it . You want to take risks for a genuine cause ? I’ll be right by your side . You want to commit genuine ‘ Civil Disobedience ‘ for the greater good . Hell I’ll even help finance it .

    But if all you’re doing is to feed your pretentious ego , while placing those around you at risk ? Well don’t look for any sympathy or support from me when the consequences rain down on you . Hell I might even be the one throwing a couple of buckets on you myself

    Damn !!! Why’d you have to F*** up such a great story with this crap ?

    ( Civil Disobedience my ass ! For those of us that have been tear gassed , chased by billy club armed cops intent on bodily harm , etc etc for a genuine Greater Good , you even using the term in this context is a plain and simple INSULT)

    • Miles Prower [690 Duke, MTS 1200]

      I split lanes when I conclude through intelligent risk assessment that doing so is safer for me than riding directly behind and directly in front of vehicles that are much larger and less maneuvarable than mine — and are driven by people less focused and more distracted than me. Call it civil disobedience or call it hedging my bets — I’d rather explain to an officer why I believe that the law is inappropriate than be rear ended.

      BTW, the only accident I’ve ever suffered is being rear ended (while riding my brand new Duke home from the dealer) in traffic. Since then, I choose to break the law when I feel the law is hurting my chances of survival.

    • gaudette

      Please tell me I’m not the the only one who hits CTRl + F and types in thom in hopes of a good laugh.

    • Gene

      Well 1) people drive 10mph under the limit in the left lane here, and 2) two people just got rearended and killed here in the last week.

      So arrr, I’ll be lanesplittin, ye mateys!

      (Actually, I don’t lanesplit that much, but I do cut people the fuck off if I get a millimeter of room, which is probably a lot worse as it extra pisses people off)

      (And I hit a girl lanesplitting on my FJR a month ago, gashing up her car and bending my rear brake lever to hell, and told the cop I had ABS brake problems… she was all “ooh I’m so glad you’re ok!” so I felt really really bad)

    • 2ndderivative

      Thom, I’m sure a man of the world such as yourself appreciates the difference between “legal” and “right”. Do you believe that lane splitting is right on one side of the border of California and not right on the other?

      PS. I filter in downtown Toronto – Queen St. becomes a breeze. I’ve done it in front of cops and never any hassle.

      • Brad W.

        “Those damn kids on those damn motorcycles. Get off my lawn.” -Thom

    • Sean Smith

      Lane splitting through traffic is safer. Given your inexperience with it, I don’t see how you’re qualified to say anything about it one way or another.

      Knowingly breaking the law is technically civil disobedience. Including it as a major part of a story that thousands of people will read makes it count that much more.

      Also, I find it hilarious that you tell me to get a clue while blindly respecting the rule of law. Next time someone cuts you off in traffic, changes lanes into you, or rear-ends you, remember that I told you so.

    • Steven

      thom: stop posting

      • Sean Smith

        Shh, he’s fun to have around, even if he is crazy.

    • filly-fuzz

      Mate riding stop start for an hour in peak hour on a motorcycle is simply ridiculous!
      motorcycles were NOT designed to ride half a meter, stop and repeat till the radiator fluid boils and your balls get char-grilled by radiating heat.

      You fuckin preach about the death of Motorcycling, how we need to get youngin’s (I’m assuming that’s what you call them) on bikes and how we need to use them as transport not two wheeled ego cradles but when it comes down to using them effectively in heavily congested environments you have a self righteous shit fit!

      BTW no one wants your fucking sympathy if they happen to die tragically riding, so enjoy riding your BMW R1200C on perfect sunny spring mornings at the indicated speed limit with all ya buddies for twenty minutes before your ass starts to get sore and put the bike back in the van and drive home.

      Oh and while I’m onna good rant;
      Dear asian woman that ran a red light yesterday and almost killed me, go fuck yourself

      Thank you and goodnight.

    • MotoRandom

      Oh sweet!!! Another delightful diatribe from KC’s cranky old guido. It’s always so thoughtful of you to take time out from yelling at kids on your lawn and shaking your fist at passing hooligans to come on to HFL and piss on everyone’s cornflakes. I find myself hoping that everyone you meet, upon finding out that you ride a motorcycle, holds you personally responsible for any rider who lane splits, pops wheelies and puts loud pipes on their Harley. It seems like it would be good Karmic retribution.

    • http://www.postpixel.com.au mugget

      Forget that – slow moving or stopped traffic is a joke that I don’t want to be part of, so you can bet I won’t be sticking around for the punch line!

  • Chris

    This was a great read, glad to finally get part 3. It read like a journal, and having perspective from both of you was rad.

    I think the civil disobedience line was funny, because taken in the context of this being a road journal, it read like a small personal triumph with a dash of humor. It’s not like Wes & Ashlee compared themselves to MLK for lane splitting?!?!

    I’d love to read more stories like this, really really cool.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Grant Ray

      Hm, that would be Sean and Ashlee. Careful with Freudian slips, there. ;)

      • Chris

        good catch. mental note – no more posting before coffee

  • John

    Jack Kerouac

    • Kevin

      Hey Jack Kerouac.

      • Steven

        Crack Jeruoac

  • John

    The lane splitting thing detracts from an otherwise amusing, albeit short, ride report.
    Maybe I’m just old, but it makes you seem immature not only for endangering your own safety, but your girlfriends. Lane splitting where it’s not legal intensifies animosity towards motorcyclists.

    • Adrian_B

      Agreed.
      In some locations we are a despised species and such acts would not help our cause.
      I must be getting old.

  • Prof. Mudflap

    To lane split or not to lane split, that is the question.
    Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
    The slings and arrows of innatentive drivers,
    Or to take arms against the sea of Internet trolls
    And by opposing end them. To wait, to creep (through RH traffic)-No more-

    Hamlet hoons an Aprilia

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Grant Ray

      I totally just nerded out. Well done, sir. Well done.

      • JVictor75

        HFL T-shirt? Logo on the front, quote on the back?

        • The other Joe

          +1, Love it!

    • The other Joe

      When you recite that in a Shakespearean style (somewhat overdone like Monty Python would), it reaches a whole new level of humor (humour?).

  • walter

    Scheimpflug.

  • Roman

    Damn, you’ve basically convinced me that I wanna do this for this for the honeymoon. Just need to figure out a way to get a bike without getting forking over a couple grand to some rental company. Anybody need their luxurious touring rig transported from LA to Portland (or vice-versa)next May?

  • http://greatjoballweek.blogspot.com/ Case

    I read this and didn’t think anything of the lane splitting part. Who gives a shit? Get over yourselves. Sean and Ashlee are adults making adult decisions, experienced riders, and fully covered in protective gear (except for Ashlee’s boots – those are cute but they don’t rate, protectionwise).

    When you go motorcycling, you manage risk. If you trust them to ride to Oregon from Los Angeles but not to navigate traffic successfully on the way out of Portland you’re a moron. Shut up already.

    The shit Sean pulls in the canyons with Wes is more illegal and probably less dangerous than all those inattentive idiots behind the wheel of their Prius’s and FUVs. If I were him I would take one look at the ocean of cars and said, fuck this, motorcycles are for riding, peace out. Not getting run over > ‘generating animosity’.

  • Brad

    Great story. And for the lane-splitting part: Who cares? They did it, they passed a shit-ton of cars, and they got away with it. Are you going to cry if it turns out they put their own fuel in the bike (also illegal in OR)?

    • ursus

      I am all for the early adopter, pre-legal, lane splitting. Oregon has some astounding underachieving in rush-hours driving and it would not hurt it to get a taste of what civilization can be (next up is parking on the sidewalks and sharing the bike boxes).
      It is definitely a more efficient and progressive use of road and time resources – and if we cant text while we wait in line on the highway we might as well get where we are going.

    • Campisi

      I rode to Portland from Seattle about a month ago or so. Pulling in to some random gas station downtown, some scruffy (albeit nice) kid in a hoodie walks up and grabs the gas pump.

      “Oh yeah, this is Oregon.”

      “Yeah.”

      We chuckle awkwardly for a second, spend a few more in silence, then he hands me the gas pump handle and walks off. Good times.

  • Brad W.

    Awesome story. Keep them coming. Ride safe!

  • http://rider49er.blogspot.com Mark D

    Also; has anybody mentioned that Sean and Ashlee are just THE CUTEST ::teenage girl squeal::

    • filly-fuzz

      omg,omg,omg,omg,omg,omg,omg,omfg

    • Kevin

      tly 4 rlz

  • Keith

    Great story Sean and Ashlee!
    +1 on the paper maps too. I have tried all kinds of mapping software but an old school paper map is still King.

    I watch with amusement at how certain people make a career out of latching on to something (like lane splitting) and creating a diatribe.
    Must have a boring life and just need to rain on others.
    Whatever…..

  • Steven

    The upside to Oregon’s ridiculously slow drivers is that the are absolutely serious about slower traffic keeping right and using turnouts.

  • Mr.Paynter

    I wanna do this with a side-car rig!

    As soon as I own and can ride a side-car rig. Also, lane-splitting that will be quite an accomplishment.

    Thom makes me laugh. A lot.

    • http://twitter.com/metabomber Jesse

      + Patrol, so one can go around, not through traffic.

  • Kit

    I think I was born an old man. I turned 18 and graduated from my KZ1000 to a CBR1100XX Blackbird and the first thing I wanted to do was slap a tall windscreen and hard luggage on it. Now I’m 25 and while all my pals are buying GSXR1000s and 1098s I’m clearing out space in the garage for a ‘Wing. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had my Givi and Laminar Lip-adorned Blackbird at track days and I look forward to tearing up Laguna Seca on my ‘Wing too!

  • http://www.postpixel.com.au mugget

    This has been a really cool series, anything else where Sean and Ashlee can write a duo article would have to be a good thing!