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Lewis and Clark; The Expedition Returned 2017

I’m a H.O.G. member, but not the type of person who displays an undying passion for the patches and pins or for that matter in attending a lot of H.O.G. events.  Sure, I’ve participated in the occasional H.O.G. rally, got the t-shirt and then headed home. Riding is primarily a solo activity for me and it’s more about riding in the wind, not the rally destination.  
 
Although there was this one time in Hawaii where it was all about the food.  The Aloha State Chapter #44 (Maui H.O.G.) were in the middle of a rally.  I wasn’t riding a motorcycle on the islands, but they were most gracious and let me enjoy some excellent pulled pork at their Luau!  We also had the opportunity to meet Cristine Sommer-Simmons, the book author of ‘Patrick Wants To Ride‘ fame.

But I’ve digressed.

Lewis and Clark Expedition Swag

A riding buddy and I decided to register and took a couple weeks last month to ride along with the H.O.G. Lewis and Clark; The Expedition Returns posse.  There were 182 register bikes for the tour which basically followed most of the same Lewis and Clark routes from Seaside, Oregon to St. Charles, Missouri.  They deviated a bit on the eastern side of the Rocky Mountains which only added to the adventure.

 

Before I jump in and provide some insights about the ride, I want to say that H.O.G. is a class act.  Yes, there was a pricey registration fee, but the swag and goody bag we received for the expedition was detailed, high quality and exceeded my expectations.  The hotel registration process via the H.O.G. web site worked well and we had no issues in any location.  Big shout-out to Harley-Davidson, Team MKE, Paul Raap (H.O.G. Regional Mgr), Paul Blotske (H.O.G. Contractor) and the H.O.G. planners for making it simple and a great experience!

Lewis and Clark Expedition and Routes

 

Now keep in mind this wasn’t a “group ride” where 182 bikes departed simultaneous every day with a ride captain.  We were free to forge our own path (with some solid guidance) and ride with who we wanted and at our own pace.  H.O.G. provided a travelogue with approximate mileage and points of interest along the way for each day’s schedule.  In some cases they included passes for the various parks and/or sight seeing destinations.  This process worked well.

Ride Details:

Day 1, (Tuesday, July 11) — Had us traveling to the Oregon coast to visit the Fort Clatsop National Historic Park  where the Corps of Discovery wintered from 1805 to Spring 1806.  After 18 months of exploring the West, the Corps of Discovery built an encampment near the mouth of the Columbia River. They wintered at Fort Clatsop into 1806 before leaving the Pacific Ocean to return to Missouri and the route we were going to follow.

That evening Mike Durbin and Paradise Harley-Davidson (Tigard, OR) sponsored the gathering for dinner.


Highway 14 looking west at Mt. Hood

Day 2, — We were traveling east and heading to Lewiston, ID.  Along the route we could visit the Rock Fort Campsite which is a natural fortification located on the shore of the Columbia River, and where the Corps of Discovery set up camp on their journey home.  There is the Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center, the Sacajawea State Park Interpretive Center, and the Lewis and Clark Trail State Park

That evening we were at Hell’s Canyon Harley-Davidson for dinner. 

 
Unsolicited Comments About Portland Traffic:  It was common practice to ask other H.O.G. members where they came from, how far they rode etc., and when we mentioned being from Portland, people were compelled to tell us about their bad experiences riding around in Portland/metro traffic.  The H.O.G. HQ hotel for this event was the Jantzen Beach Red Lion and folks would drone on about the congestion, freeway crashes and the lengthy delays which were awful in the record Portland heat.  About all I could say was “True that, and apologize for the apocalyptic congestion.”  Then I’d add something about those new spiffy ODOT RealTime signs — you know, the big electronic signs that relay the obvious?!

Day 3, — Took us to Great Falls, MT.  There were multiple stops suggested to riders.  The first was the Nez Perce National Historical Park.  The 
New Perce were critical to the success of the Expedition by providing food and supplies. 

It was hot riding so, we left Lewiston early morning and as a result the park wasn’t open and we toured the exterior.  Lewis and Clark actually split up at what is called today Travelers’ Rest State Park.  Lewis went to the north.  On the north route, you could see the Lewis and Clark Pass, Museum of the Plains Indian, and Camp Disappointment   Clark went to the south, where you could see the Lost Trail PassCamp fortunate Overlook  the three forks of the Missouri River at the Missouri Headwaters State Park, and the Gates of the Mountains.

Highway 12 heading toward Lolo Pass

We were on Highway 12 headed over Lolo Pass for much of the morning. You’ve undoubtedly seen the photos of the sign that says “Curves next 99 miles…”  Yeah, that one and it’s named one of the best motorcycle roads in the country with lots of sweeping curves and several tight ones.  The elevation at the top is 5,233 feet in the northern Rocky Mountains and the temperatures were quite nice.  Road conditions in some areas were a bit dicey and unfortunately a female member of the H.O.G. group veered up against the guardrail and crashed.  She survived with a number of broken bones, but as I understand it, spent multiple days in the hospital. As we rode by the crash, her motorcycle freakishly went 75 yards up highway 12 and across both lanes of traffic and was sitting upright on the left side of the road, as if someone just parked it there on the kick stand.  Very strange.

That evening the group all got together for dinner at Big Sky Harley-Davidson.


Day 4, — (Friday, July 14,) — Took us to Billings, MT where we spent a couple of days.  There were a couple of stops planned.  The first was t
he Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Interpretive Center in Great Falls.  We also made sure to take time to see the Great Falls of the Missouri including Rainbow Falls before leaving the area.  

Great Falls, MT is actually situated on the northern Lewis return route, and Billings, MT is on Clark’s southern route.

Rainbow Falls

We took the more scenic route on Highway 89 south through the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest and then picked up Highway 12 east to Highway 3 south into Billings, MT.

That evening we had dinner at Beartooth Harley-Davidson, but to be candid we were getting a bit tired of the pork sliders or burgers and salad.


Day 5, — Was a “down day” from our ride schedule to allow riding in the Billings, MT., area.  Some jumped back on for full 400+ mile experience and rode to Livingston, MT., on I-90 then headed south on Highway 89 into Yellowstone National Park to see ‘Old Faithful.’  

Twin Lakes, along the Beartooth Highway

We decided to half that mileage and rode up Highway 212 to Red Lodge Montana and then over Beartooth Pass into Wyoming.  In Red Lodge, the annual Beartooth Rally was in full swing with a few thousand motorcyclists enjoying the area so, going over Beartooth Pass was slow riding, but we did enjoy the switchback curves.

It’s a great ride with some incredible vistas, but not for the faint of heart.

That evening we enjoyed a nice steak and ignored the gathering at Beartooth Harley-Davidson!


Day 6, — Had us traveling to Bismarck, ND., and it began early to avoid the sweltering heat. 

Across the NoDak Plains

We’d been riding in heat advisory’s across Montana for a few days and now the humidity was increasing!  One stop as we departed Billings was to tour Pompeys Pillar National Monument.  Pompeys Pillar was named by Clark and he and other members of the Corps of Discovery chiseled their names into the rock itself.  I believe this is the ONLY physical evidence that the Lewis and Clark Trail actually existed and took place. 

We rode on to Bismarck, ND.  There were additional stops along the way that included the Missouri-Yellowstone Confluence Interpretive Center and Fort Mandan.  I lived in Bismarck back in the day so, we ignored the extra miles and the point where Sacajawea and Toussaint Charbonneau joined the Corps. 

We enjoyed dinner at a local pub/restaurant while listening to some old Peter Frampton music on the jukebox! 


Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park

Day 7, — (Monday, July 17,) — The H.O.G. group headed west across the Missouri River from Bismarck and then we all rode south down Highway 1806 to Pierre, SD.  About 15 miles south of Bismarck we stopped at Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park & On-A-Slant Village and toured the area which provided a great example of Native American encampments Lewis and Clark would have encountered on their journey.

Missouri River riding south on Highway 1806

We rode along Highway 1806 south down the Missouri River pretty much to the North Dakota – South Dakota border while watching out for farm equipment on the roads.

From there, we had a couple of routes to follow into Pierre, SD., though most of the Missouri River between Bismarck and Pierre is covered by the Lake Oahe Reservoir and the road follows the east side of the lake all the way into Pierre.

Pierre, SD., City Park

We had dinner at Peterson Motors Harley-Davidson in Pierre, but actually moved over to a city park on the river and tried Bison Burgers for the first time!


Day 8, — (Tuesday, July 18,) — Due to other commitments we departed the Lewis and Clark H.O.G. group on this day and started our return trip back to Oregon.  We intended to spend a couple of days in Boise, ID., to take in the Pacific Northwest H.O.G. rally and meet up with some other riders there.  The next couple of days were about laying down some miles and we avoided the wandering of site seeing.  We rode from 
Pierre, SD to Rapid City, SD on I-90, and skirted the Black Hills National Forest.

We traveled along Highway 18 and then took a wrong turn at Lingle, SD and ended up a few miles from the  Nebraska border before having to backtrack, riding through Fort Laramie on Highway 26 and then on to I-25 and Casper, WY., where we overnighted.


Day 9, — Had us traveling to Idaho Falls, ID., and we departed early to avoid the afternoon heat.  We were riding toward the Grand Teton National Park and Jackson when about 30 miles west of Dubois, WY, we encountered a fatal head-on car accident. 

The Road Glide and Grand Teton’s

We arrived at the scene at 12:30pm and the road had been closed since 9:30am.  We had to endure a 3+ hour wait which put us behind and more importantly it put us riding in the hottest part of the day. 

The 50 miles from Jackson, WY to the border town of Alpine, WY was like walking a marathon with all the backed up traffic. 

We finally made it to Idaho Falls, ID on US26 by early evening.  

Day 10, — We continued our travel west to Boise, ID on the two-lane US 20/26.

There are views of high desert, Atomic labs and of course Craters of the Moon Monument with it’s vast ocean of lava flows and scattered islands of cinder cones and sagebrush.We stopped for some site seeing, but didn’t explore any trails.

We arrived in Boise, ID before 3pm and met up with some other riders who arrived from Portland.

Day 13, — (Sunday, July 23,) — After a couple days of enjoying the local rides and taking in the city life along with parts of the Pacific Northwest H.O.G. Rally (While at the rally in Meridian, ID., I had a chance to test ride a new 2017 CVO Street Glide with the new M-8 engine. I will do a post on that experience soon) we returned to Portland, OR via the most direct route on I-84.

We finally arrived back in Portland that evening after touring over 3,500 miles with a number of new stories from the adventure in retracing the Lewis and Clark Expedition.  In addition, we got to hang with a number of great H.O.G. members!

We could relate to Meriwether Lewis who wrote in September 1806:

Today Captain Clark will pen a letter to Governor Harrison and I shall pen one to President Jefferson informing them officially of our safe return and providing the details of our expedition. My hope, and that of Captain Clark, is that our work over the last two and a half years will accomplish this administration’s goals to expand the Republic westward and inspire future generations into even further exploration and adventure. — Meriwether Lewis 

Updated August 15, 2017:  Meriwether Lewis and William Clark left from St. Louis, Missouri with the Corps of Discovery and headed west in an effort to explore and document the new lands bought by the Louisiana Purchase.  To read more about Lewis and Clark, visit the National Geographic site dedicated to their journey or read their report of the expedition, originally published in 1814.  There are a number of period correct maps HERE.

Photos taken by author.

All Rights Reserved (C) Northwest Harley Blog

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HOG Lewis And Clark Touring Rally

Lewis And Clark Touring Rally

Harley Owners Group registration is now open!

It starts on July 10th in Portland, Oregon and ends July 21st in St. Charles, Missouri.

It’s a throw back to 2002 when HOG led a contingency of riders along the route made famous by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark during their 1804 – 1806 expedition.  I didn’t attend the original ride, but wrote about it in a post HERE.  I’m sure the box of commemorative “swag” from HOG only contributed to the adventure and road stories.

From the Pacific Ocean to the banks of the Mississippi River in Missouri, the touring rally will take Harley-Davidson riders to 9 cities along the famed route, numerous museums and interpretive centers, as well as some spectacular wind in the face riding.  It’s an especially great opportunity to ride the famous Bear Tooth Pass and explore Yellowstone National Park.  Here is a post with some photos from when I traveled this route back in 2013.

It’s not an inexpensive touring rally as registration on the members.hog.com website is $450.  It does include numerous meals, commemorative merchandise and special gatherings with fellow participants as part of the event package.

Notes from the website state: Maximum Capacity for the rally is 300. Full members may invite 1 guest on the tour.  The member must register the guest under his/her member number and purchase one of the above packages.  Cancellation: Prior to May 1, 2017 there is no cancellation fee. May 2, 2017 – July 3, 2017 a 50% fee will be imposed ($225).  If the Rally Package has been mailed to members they will need to return the rally package before a refund will be issued.  Cancelation deadline is July 4th, 2017.

Alert: You might not have this issue, but I was registering for the Pacific Northwest Rally earlier in the day and had numerous issues with the HOG website hanging.  I was using a MacBook with Safari browser, but couldn’t get the site to work. I called the HOG Support phone line and it was suggested that I use Google Chrome browser, which I did and it worked fine with that browser.

Photo courtesy of HOG website.

All Rights Reserved (C) Northwest Harley Blog

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Expedition Supply Kit

Expedition Supply Kit

It’s throwback Thursday…

And nearly twelve years ago motorcyclists retraced the Lewis and Clark trail.

It was the summer of 2002 and in August about 500 Harley-Davidson riders completed a 2-week journey from St. Charles, Missouri to Seaside, OR while re-tracing the path of the historic Lewis and Clark Expedition.

The ride was hosted by HOG and on this trip it included events dealing with Lewis and Clark history as well as they handed out medallions along the way, echoing the gesture of the “peace medals” distributed by Lewis and Clark and their Corps of Discovery on the original expedition.

Travelogue Notepad

Travelogue Notepad

HOG provided riders an “Expedition Supply Kit,” a package of “swag” which included a canteen, a leather wallet and a travelogue notepad.  Riders visited sites in Kansas City, MO; Sioux City, Iowa; Pierre, SD; Bismarck, ND; Billings, MT and Lewiston, Idaho.

At the time, the Associated Press interviewed riders and reported, “…on a motorcycle you don’t just see it, you smell and feel it.”

I couldn’t agree more.  There is no substitute for seeing the countryside on a motorcycle.

Anyone out there participate on this ride?

Photo courtesy of H-D and HOG.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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Forty & Eight Club - Seaside, Oregon (circa: 1952)

 

“…it’s in Oregon; and Oregon like you know, nobody ever thinks about it.”

The above statement was made by Mohamed Osman Mohamud, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Somalia who planned to set off a car bomb during Portland’s Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Pioneer Courthouse Square last December.  Mr. Mohamud made the statement to arresting detectives.

Yet, the statement could very well explain the H.O.G. rally in the state of Oregon for 2011.  It’s M.I.A.!

I’ve been planning out my riding season and I’ve seen a number of zany things in my travels, but nothing as wild as the veterans in the above photo of the Forty & Eight Club.  So I went looking for event dates on the HOG members page and there is nothing listed on the site.  I re-reviewed the latest print edition of H.O.G. (Edition: OO9 2011) which has a pull-out section dedicated to H.O.G. events in the U.S. and indeed it ignores Oregon state.  Okay H.O.G. what’s the story?

Being impatient I decided to call the national HOG-800 number and ask the question.  After several minutes of press “#1-for-HD” and “#2-for-HOG” a nice lady put me on hold to check with her supervisor.  She returned to the phone and told me that there is nothing planned as yet for Oregon – explains the lack of any information as I explained to her!  More importantly I wanted to know if the state was being ignored because of my occasional less than flattering blog post on the motor company?   Was it a decision made by National H.O.G. or was this a lack of initiative and action at the local level?

I gave them an out on that last question and she stated that the local H.O.G. chapters had yet to provide any information to national.  Classic shift of blame, but it might be true?  Washington, Idaho and Nevada all have H.O.G. dates set!

So, what’s up: SalemCoos BaySunsetRose CitySouthern OregonPioneerCentral Oregon, and Twin Rivers H.O.G. chapters…???

Photo courtesy of H-D Museum.  Photo taken in Seaside, OR. Circa: 1952

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This past weekend I rode the OR HOG (Sage-Snow-Surf) Motorcycle Rally.  More than 300 motorcycles arrived in Pendleton, OR.  We started our day from Vancouver, WA and headed East on State Route 14, also called the Lewis and Clark Highway.    It winds its way through the Columbia River Gorge along the river then up over steep bluffs, forest and finally makes it way into grasslands.  It’s about 180 miles and two-lane road after you depart Camus, WA.  You end up at the junction of I-82/395 just across the state line from Umatilla, OR and about 40 miles from Pendleton.

We were most fortunate as the wind was behind us with blue sky and mid-80 temperatures.  We rode past the Stonehenge, the Maryhill winery and near Goldendale we got a great view of the aluminum smelter.  I made a mental note to do a bit of research on this plant as I recalled it belching smells in full production a few years ago, but on this day it looked abandon.  It turns out that Brett Wilcox purchased the plant in 1996 for $67M.  It needed to be temporarily close (as the workers were told) in 2003, however, the owner of the plant sold off the power it purchased from producing aluminum on the open market at a hefty profit that went directly into the pockets of executive management.  Everyone was laid off and retirement funds disappeared. (Source: HERE)

Finally we arrived at the Red Lion in Pendleton and picked up our HOG packet, signed the release forms and then headed downtown.  Pendleton is located in Umatilla County and is situated along I-84.  For reference it’s south of the tri-cities (Richland, Pasco, Kennewick) area of Washington.  Beside being labeled by the National Drug Intelligence Center (PDF) as a major distribution stop for many drug traffickers en route to the tri-cities from the Southwest Border it’s also home of the Blue Mountain Enforcement Narcotics Team (BENT) and home of the famous Pendleton Roundup.  

Pendleton got its start as Goodwin Station in 1865 as a stop on the Oregon Trail.  The town’s name was changed to Pendleton in honor of Ohio senator, George Hunt Pendleton.  The Rainbow is Pendleton’s oldest continuously open and operated bar and restaurant and the oldest doing business at the same location.  Many know that that the Chinese came to the area to work the gold mines and many were employed by the railroad.  As the area grew, they soon became an integral and somewhat hidden, part of the local economy.  The Chinese operated laundries and underground opium dens and were relegated to Pendleton’s seedier side. But I digress.  Back to the OR HOG Rally…

We parked the bikes on main street near Hamley’s Steak House for a little grub and some refreshments.  I introduced myself to Larry (HD head tattoo above), met JT (regional HOG director) and took in some county music in the courtyard.  We headed to the restaurant and order up some fresh Salmon (yeah, go figure!) in this truly amazing steakhouse.  Most notable besides the Western stylized décor are the nude photo’s of famous Western outlaw wives!  We received a Pendleton hat for drinking some and Linda/Lynette of the Kiwanis introduced us to the “save-the-date” for the 2009 Bikers in the Blues motorcycle rally.

Up early Friday and headed South on US 395.  I like to think of this route as Oregon’s “mother road”.  US 395 is a 1400-mile stretch which runs from the Canadian border in Washington state to San Diego, CA.  We rode out through Pilot Rock then in the middle of one of the small gorges there is a junction to OR74 which enters Morrow county and then Heppner Hwy.  Heppner has upgraded from years ago when I passed through on Eastern OR hunting trips.  With the Willow Creek dam you’d think it was a major water recreational resort.

We separated from the “official” OR HOG Rally route which veered off to Condon then on to Welches, OR for an overnight in the “snow”.  Instead we headed directly to the “surf” part of the trip, arriving in Seaside in time for a well deserved happy hour and to meet some friends who rode directly to the coast.

On Saturday we were treated to a one-in-a-million type day on the OR coast.  Mid-70’s, blue sky and NO wind.  Did I say there was NO wind.  Incredible!  It was a rare t-shirt riding day and Santiago invited everyone over to his Manzanita “Villa” for breakfast…there we were…perched high on the sand dune above the valley in the hills we were treated like royalty at the Hotel Piccolo Mondo in Acquappesa, on the Calabrian coast in Italy.  Very Tuscany!

For now I’ll reserve another post/rant about the “Goin’ Coastal” aka the Seaside Biker Fest.  Suffice to say it was most lame.  Sure there was a tattoo artist, bike builder and a couple t-shirt vendors…but, I’ve seen more activity at Taco Wednesday’s than in Seaside.   We manage to have a lot of fun even without vendor booths to spend our money.

Here is what I’ve learned on the OR HOG Rally.

  1. It’s HOT in Pendleton and cold in Seaside.
  2. The smell of wheat fields and ocean air isn’t something you get in a car
  3. Harley riders cannot be stereotyped.  There is the rich and famous to trailer trash and all in-between!
  4. Harley riders are some of the nicest people you’ll ever want to meet.

The event was well planned out and Cindy (HOG Director) Wayne Schumacher and the HOG Rally Committee deserves a shout-out.  The rides were long, scenic and PERFECT weather.  There’s no pleasing everyone and I say get out and ride, whether your doing a poker run, rally or just on your own this is the time of year to get into the Northwest riding zone.

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It’s a bit early for planning the 2008 riding season, but sometimes you have to make a hotel reservation early otherwise you’ll be tent camping in the rain!  Such is the case for the Seaside Bikefest. 

For years Seaside OR has hosted a number of marquee events ranging from Volleyball tournaments to Biker events.  This year the Bikefest is set for July 11-13th.  There will be music entertainment, vendor booths, poker runs and a number of custom bikes on display.  Much of the action is in and around the Seaside Convention Center, but for the serious biker there are hundreds of miles of coastline to weave your suspension through while enjoying the views. 

Here is the Seaside Civic and Convention Center  URL and the address is: 415 First Ave., Seaside, OR.  97138.   Also the Yakima HOG chapter had a few photo’s posted of last years event HERE 

See you there.

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