About the Volkswagen Haven
contemplating our vacation planning for 2007, we realized that
attending NWMF 2007 was just not a possibility. No matter how
much we enjoy visiting with the collection of people that end up at
the Molloy farm each August, that time frame was just not going to
work this time. We booked our vacation for the last week of
August & the first week of September. Originally, we were
planning a dual-sport trip on the KLR's. Alaska? B.C.
coast? We hadn't decided yet. On the 1st of August, Keith
crashed his Z1000 on the track at Race City Speedway. He and the
bike fared remarkably well (no broken bones on him; minor dents, a
bent bar & a broken rear set on the bike), but that ended
off-pavement riding for the duration of the 2007 season. Since
the thumping of the KLR was too much for the injured shoulder and
Keith had already tired of touring on the slightly cramped for him
Z1000, a 2007 Ducati ST3s joined our stable less than 2 weeks
later. Keith had been making his decision on another bike for
most of the summer, but had been intending to delay the purchase to
2008. An interesting side note is that the ST line was
discontinued for the 2008 Ducati line up, so he may not have been able
to get an ST3 in 2008! After a quick 1000km the bike went in for
its first servicing and came home again on the afternoon of Friday the
24th of August.
Day 1 - August 25th: Calgary, AB to Cranbrook, B.C.
~450km. We didn't get away from home until after noon, so
we put in a short day and spent the night in Cranbrook, B.C. We
didn't get any rain, but rain drops were threatening us through the
Day 2 - August 26th: Cranbrook, B.C. to Grangeville,
ID. ~620km. Having two weeks to travel with no fixed
destination at all was a bit new to us and took a few days to get used
to. So, in our motel room in the morning we flipped on the
weather channel to help decide which direction to head. Since
the forecast for all of southern B.C. for the next few days was rain,
we chose south! Another deciding factor in this decision was the
fact that spending two weeks in B.C. *completely ON PAVEMENT* seemed
like a bit of a challenge. We crossed into Idaho at
Kingsgate/Eastport and headed into a very windy region.
We tried our best to get onto lesser roads as much as possible and had
lunch at a so-so burger joint in St. Maries. The windy road out
of the canyon up to Grangeville was fun. After about 2000km the
Ducati was starting to feel pretty good and natural. It started
to show it's racing heritage. Trail braking and leaning into the
corners and accelerating through them was really feeling great...
right up until Keith's knees reminded him that it had been a long day
on a sport bike and the the heavily loaded panniers reminded him that
he was riding a loaded touring machine. Still, the bike was
starting to show it's true nature and hint of what would come.
We found a motel in Grangeville that night - a little on the expensive
side & OLD but clean. We were too tired to shop around &
there was a *great* Mexican restaurant across the street.
Day 3 - August 27th: Grangeville, ID to Arco,
ID. ~650km. We had breakfast at a really good little local
place called Oscar's & then headed out to find lots of good
twisties en route to lunch in Stanley. After lunch we headed
south on the 75.
We would have happily stopped at Hailey or Bellevue, but there was
forest fire activity in the region and it didn't seem like a good idea
to stop in an area that was on evacuation alert! We stopped
briefly at the Craters of the Moon National Monument.
What a desolate collection of lava garnished with a bit of
sagebrush! The visitor's center was closed for the day and we
had no interest in pitching our tent on the windy lava beds so we
pushed on to Arco where we found a very cheap, clean little motel with
Pickle's Palace across the street.
Odd as the place looked, it had cheap, tasty food and a really good
seasoning spice - we bought a bottle for our house-sitters!
The little park right beside our motel included parts of a submarine,
the lawn watering made for some tippy toeing around the place that
Day 4 - August 28th: Arco, ID to Wells, NV.
~580km. In many ways, we should have detoured into Atomic City
that morning, just to see it. Atomic city had the first
(experimental-functional) nuclear reactor for generating
electricity. It could power a 60W bulb!!! Along highway 26
near there we passed a semi with a radioactive sign on the back.
It took a little time before Sharon got past the truck which Keith had
already passed, and our radios could not find each other while we were
separated by the semi - despite flat land & a relatively short
distance separating us! Heavy lead encasement?!?! Along
the 37 south to Utah we saw signs of recent fires - scorched sagebrush
and watchful fire crews. They seemed to think the two crazies
heading through on motorcycles were rather out of place in the
area. There were few inhabitants or amenities in this
area. We crossed the border at Snowville and had a rather tasty
lunch. We had to do a 1km stretch from here on the I80 to get to
the #30 where we headed towards Nevada.
For all of the 149km that we spent in Utah we were unable to find any
signs to prove the fact!
At the Nevada border we took pictures at the "welcome to" signs for
both states. We purchased a Nevada map at Montello. Oasis
seems to have dried up! There was a rather large gas station
there once - it is now totally abandoned. We were once again
compelled to ride on an interstate, 27 miles on the I80 to
Wells. Sharon's KLR got its worst mileage ever. Reserve at
238km, which translated to 7.2 liters per 100km on that tank of
gas! Our cruising speed on that boring stretch of road was
130-140km/hr. The ST3 loves those speeds, the KLR not so much.
The ST3 only used 4.7 liters/100km on the same stretch of road.
We got a cheap room at the motel 6 in Wells and had another good
Mexican dinner, this one at the 4 Ways Cafe.
Day 5 - August 29th: Wells, NV to Parma, ID.
~540km. Heading north from Wells there were no real signs of
civilization until Jackpot on the border with Idaho (~108km).
The scenery was mildly interesting, but the road was rather
boring. Once we crossed the border into Idaho it all pretty much
flattened out all around us. In Twin Falls we found a Harley
store where Sharon bought a laced hair glove. Wonderful to keep
the braid from doing strange flapping maneuvers in the wind! One
odd thing we noticed, there were no Buells in the place. When we
stopped for lunch in Buhl we were stopped by an EMT who complimented
us on wearing full gear. He'd scooped up too many crashed
motorcyclists in that no helmet law state. Later in the
afternoon we accidentally ended up going through Nampa - shopping mall
A bit later we found an amazingly cheap, clean motel room in Parma, we
were the only guests that night. We spent a whole whopping $8.59
for our dinner.
Day 6 - August 30th: Parma, ID to Pendleton,
OR. ~485km. We had been directed the evening before to
have breakfast at Jakx cafe (& gas station) down the street -
owned by the same people as the motel/convenience/liquor store.
Then we headed north to Cambridge, Brownlee Dam & across the Snake
River into Oregon.
That 25mph speed limit on the road along the reservoir sure is a
challenge, but fun!
Just barely inside Oregon Keith had to make a panic stop when a Yellow
Jacket decided to enter one of his helmet vents. Luckily the
slightly dizzy critter was coaxed out before managing to sting
him. We went north on a road just after Oxbow to Joseph.
We made a side trip off of this road to the Hell's Canyon overlook.
Very scenic! We met a guy on a V-Strom from Michigan (we think,
it definitely started with an M) who was in the last couple weeks of a
3 month motorcycle journey. He'd been through Canada to the NWT
& Alaska and was now on his way home. Nice!
The road from Oxbow to Joseph had some great twisties mixed with a
poor road surface. Another great Mexican meal for lunch in
Joseph - $20 included food, beer & tip! From Weston to
Pendleton flattened out into plains again and was hotter than we had
experienced in Utah or Nevada, 100°F/38°C on a sign in Pendleton - we
got a room with good air conditioning there. Our somewhat
disheveled appearance caused some people in the pizza place where we
had dinner to ask if we were fire fighters! The evening was hot
& humid with lightning.
Day 7 - August 31st: Pendleton, OR to to Prineville,
OR. ~490km. We decided to set out on the windy road to
Heppner before breakfast.
Gorgeous road with good pavement and plenty of well banked curves, too
bad the wind was so bloody strong. We had huge omelettes &
big cups of coffee in a little place in Heppner. We met 4 fairly
local motorcyclists that had also come there for breakfast. One
was drooling over the ST3s and they all felt our pair of touring
machines were rather a big mis-match. We headed south after that
& had an interesting chat with a personality on a Sportster at
Kimberly. At Dayville we managed to find some better maps of the
We encountered USFS#21 that afternoon. Awesome! The road
was paved, with about 1/2 of it being only one lane and all of it
really nice & twisty. The one lane section was signed with a
25mph maximum - you have *got* to be kidding!!! We never
actually managed to find a number for the road we then took west
through Paulina (one pedestrian & a few buildings), Post (a
general store) and eventually into Prineville. Between the wind
& the sun in our eyes we could have happily stopped about an hour
sooner, but the road was wonderfully twisty. You might as well
say we spent the whole day on twisty roads, 300 miles! We found
a good little Italian restaurant around the corner from the Econo
Lodge and shared a very nice bottle of wine.
Day 8 - September 1st: Prineville, OR to Sheridan,
OR. ~410km. We managed to find a mediocre breakfast at
what appeared to be the only open place in town, and then headed west
to Bend & Sisters. We wanted to take the #242 over McKenzie
Pass, but the road was closed due to smoke. We stopped for lunch
in Corvallis at the Fox & Furkin. Given that it was now the
Saturday of the long weekend, we chose not to head any closer to the
coast just yet. We rode north to Amity and then west to
Sheridan. We found Jim Molloy puttering in his yard, he
recognized Sharon's KLR and deduced that it was Keith on the very
pretty red Ducati in his yard. Jim invited us in and gave us
Daniel's room for the night and we had a good visit with him and also
Emilie when she got back from her day at the beach.
Day 9 - September 2nd: Waldersee Farm, Sheridan,
OR. ~0km. Jim & Emilie already had plans to go to the
state fair, so we hung out, did laundry, and borrowed the 404 fire
truck for a drive through the obstacle course and the river.
We had a nice relaxing day picking hands full of blackberries, taking
pictures of Daniel's dog Laika, and helping Jim with a few bits around
the barnyard. We shared pizza & good company that evening
and slept under a tree in our tent. A very nice quiet day!
We adhered the "I drove to NWMF" stickers to our bikes and all
wondered if Eric Messersmith might drive in 2 weeks late as well,
sadly he did not.
Day 10 - September 3rd: Sheridan, OR to Long Beach,
WA. ~370km. We pulled away from Jim & Emilie's near
noon after re-packing the bikes and visiting a bit more with each of
them. The 22 to Hebo is a good, twisty path to get closer to the
Then we went south to Pacific City and had more Mexican food for
lunch. We rode north to Netarts then inland to Tillamook.
There was a lot of traffic headed to Portland from the beach, but NONE
on the beautiful twisty road north through Timber &
Vernonia. We crossed into Washington on the Cathlamet ferry and
bridges. There was really nowhere apparent to stop for the night
there, so we headed west again into the darkness.
We finally found a motel on Long Beach with an attached restaurant.
We enjoyed some good seafood and a nice bottle of Oregon Pinot
Noir. They even let us park our bikes under the awning to stay
out of the rain.
Day 11 - September 4th: Long Beach, WA to Port
Townsend, WA. ~390km. We rode about 60km to breakfast that
morning, exploring to the end of the peninsula. There had been
rain overnight, and we got "heavy mist" off & on through the day,
but did not get rained on. We headed east & north across the
Olympic Peninsula and then north on the 101 into Port Townsend.
Just before we got to the port, the sky cleared and was a beautiful
blue. For some reason, the weather *always* seems to clear for
us when we get to Port Townsend!
We spent the night in a cabin at the Swan Inn in Port Townsend.
Our most expensive room of the trip, but it was a beautiful little
cabin with a Jacuzzi (also a fireplace, had the temperatures warranted
We wandered about the main drag for a bit before deciding on Mexican
Then we wandered the docks for a bit & took some pictures before
heading in for the night.
Day 12 - September 5th: Port Townsend, WA to Twisp,
WA. ~360km. This day had less mileage than most, but a
fair chunk of it had a LOT of traffic.
We crossed on the ferry to Whidby Island & then chose to head
south to Clinton & take the ferry there to Mukilteo on the
mainland. The 6 or 7 km that we had to do on the I5 north were
frightful. In the *rest* of Washington state, if there was even
a bump in the road, there was a "MOTORCYCLISTS USE EXTREME CAUTION"
sign. By the same set of standards, this chunk of road should
have sported signs reading "MOTORCYCLISTS WILL DIE IF THEY RIDE ON
THIS ROAD". There were random patches of the most horrendous
grooved pavement we have ever encountered, with the grooves oriented
in random directions! We got off of the Interstate as soon as
possible, as we don't care for them. The roads around there were
still heavily trafficked with lots of lights though. Once we got
to the 530 at Arlington the road was a lot better, though the traffic
was still heavy at times. We headed to the 20, which we're
already familiar with as a great road to ride/drive on. A couple
of metal deck bridges gave a moment's mental pause, but went well (a
bad experience on a very worn metal decked bridge with knobbies has
made Keith very wary, but these bridges were OK). Diablo Dam was
very windy, as expected. Rainy Pass may have had a few
raindrops, but not enough to be certain we were getting rained
on. When we got to Winthrop, the hotel was full. There was
a place with cabins down the road with vacancies, but the restaurant
was closed - so that wouldn't work! Twisp had several motels,
but most of the restaurants were closed - most looked to be
permanently closed - so we chose the one just across a bridge from the
local micro-brew pub. Good food. Good Beer!
Day 13 - September 6th: Twisp, WA to Lillooet,
BC. ~530km. We decided to put on a few miles before
breakfast. There was *one* spot in Twisp that looked like it
might be serving breakfast, but we decided not to try it. We
came across a soda-fountain like place (very retro) in Okanogan that
had very tasty large breakfasts that we both enjoyed. We fueled
up with cheap US fuel for the last time in Oroville before crossing
the border into Osoyoos. The border crossing was
uneventful. The only oddity was that the border guard wanted us
to come up to the gate separately. He didn't even request us to
remove our helmets (weird). Despite an *excellent* tour in the
US, we did enjoy getting back into Canada where we didn't have to
convert miles into kilometers anymore... the fuel prices were a bit of
a shock though. We rode into Princeton, then on to Merritt &
Spence's Bridge where we identified the Inn where the planned STn
meeting was to be on the next day. However, we decided to travel
about 100km further that night and headed to Lillooet just to look at
the raod. We got a room at the Mile 0 which was about $2 more
than the 4 Pines, but well worth it due to the availability of a
ground-floor, non-smoking room! Our room was next to a guy from
California traveling on a V-Strom on his way home from Alaska.
He didn't seem to be enjoying his trip and was planning on being back
home the next day! Maybe he needs to learn to rush a bit
less. We had dinner at the local Greek place which had great
pizza & cheap (for Canada...) Greek wine. Alcohol prices is
the other thing you really notice when you cross the border. The
Corona's cost twice as much in Canada as in the States & a cheap
bottle of wine costs what a "pretty good" bottle cost in the US.
The #12 north was a nice twisty road, though there was a lot of rock
in a number of the corners. We noticed that the "end road
construction" movement doesn't seem to be catching on as well as we'd
like. There was only *one* picketer at the end of each
construction section and they stood very still. Still enough to
almost seem post-like...
Day 14 - September 7th: Lillooet, BC to Penticton,
BC. ~445 km. We had breakfast at a local hotel & then
set out to the north on the #12. It was a fun twisty road with
bad pavement until about Pavilion, where we encountered new
pavement! Still fun & twisty after that... We stopped
at the intersection with Hat Creek Road to change to our rain pants
& put rain covers over our tank bags. Shortly thereafter we
had a short yet drenching cloudburst & then encountered
intermittent showers up to Cache Creek. We headed to Spence's
Bridge where we met Nitro (Rocky) & got coffee to await the
arrival of Dante's Dame (Colleen) who got there shortly
thereafter. The 4 of us had lunch & then Rocketjock (Doug)
arrived a bit late & also grabbed a bite to eat.
The group headed to Merrit where Nitro had to leave us, then on to
Princeton & Keremeos.
The Apex Mountain Road was wonderful & twisty, we rode around Apex
for a bit without ever finding the Double Diamond Hostel and then
headed back down into Penticton. "Joe from Idaho" (Traveler) had
arrived in the area earlier and already checked into the local roach
motel. Dinner at the local White Spot was tasty but somewhat
pricey. Hey, we'd gotten used to U.S. pricing!
We chatted around the 5 bikes for a bit before agreeing to meet around
8am the next morning.
Day 15 - September 8th: Penticton, BC to Castlegar,
We awoke around 6:30am, knowing we couldn't sleep anymore. Doug
headed off to find a car wash, & the rest of us contemplated
coffee. The motel was supposed to supply free coffee in the
office in the morning, but it was still closed! Several of our
collective tires received a bit of air from the compressor we carry on
the KLR and then the group headed out soon after 8am. We headed
through Osoyoos to Rock Creek for fuel, then on to Beaverdell for a
rather tasty brunch. Just outside of Kelowna we came across the
scene of what must have been a motorcycle accident. There was a
patient being strapped to a spine board in the road with no evidence
of a mangled vehicle, but a cruiser was parked off to the side, it was
a sobering site. Rocketjock parted ways with us at Kelowna for a
while due to carburetor issues. In Vernon we were joined by
FastStage1 (Chris) who joined us for the ride across the 6 to
Needles. Chris is a very speedy rider! Sharon didn't have
a hope of keeping up with the rest of the riders, but also enjoyed the
ride on the nice twisty #6 just the same. We crossed on the
ferry at Needles to Nakusp. From Nakusp to New Denver & then
across the 31A to Kaslo Colleen & Joe rode at their own pace
separate from the two of us for most of the time. The very fresh
pavement on the 31A road was a delight! Half way to Kaslo we
found Joe & Colleen stopped at a rest stop due to a frustrating
bout with traffic, so Keith was able to spend some time pacing along
with them, and then stop and wait for Sharon (who gets faster every
time she rides this road) at the entrance to Kaslo.
Heading into Nelson we had no idea where to find the Hume, but a
closed Visitor Info center had a map outside which helped us on our
way. Nelson hotels were all booked up for a car show, the few
rooms left *started* at $229/night, no thanks! Joe decided to
carry on and find a room, the two of us, together with Colleen,
decided that dinner was our priority. A few minutes after we
placed our order, Doug reappeared. Bubba Zanetti (Jim) had meant
to join us for dinner in Nelson, but didn't make it. We finally
managed to get a hold of him by phone after dinner - though admittedly
we were going to head for his place anyway! After about 1/2
hour's ride in the dark Colleen found Bubba's house. Jim, Karina
and Arija were wonderful hosts! They welcomed 4 weary
motorcyclists and gave us all places to sleep. Their house was
one of the best rooms of our whole trip!!!
Day 16 - September 9th: Castlegar, BC to Calgary,
AB. ~690km. We awoke at Bubba's house to some good coffee
and a great visit. The four of us then headed East to Salmo to
meet Kootenanny (Geoff) and then ride over the Salmo-Creston
pass. The pace was somewhat lower than most would have done the
road due to people warning us to slow down at the beginning of the
pass - we never saw a speed trap, or wildlife, or anything - but the
result was a lower group pace. This was actually great for
Sharon, who was able to keep up with the group through the somewhat
speedy (100~120km/hr) twists and turns of this road. The 5 of us
enjoyed a good brunch in Creston and then Kootenanny had to go his own
way. The 4 of us took the 3 & 95 to Cranbrook & Kimberly
where we showed Colleen & Doug the entrance of the road to Gray
Creek Pass. We set off for Radium as two separate
twosomes. Along the way we saw what HAD to have been another
motorcycle accident scene. We saw fire trucks, a pickup parked
on the wrong shoulder, and a pair of shoes on the road?! DD
& RJ were ahead of us at this point and had seen an air ambulance
lifting off. We actually arrived in Radium ahead of the other
two, as they had stopped for some photo ops along the way. We
said our goodbyes there as they were headed into Banff and we had to
get home that night. The climb out of Radium is always a good
place to work on high speed curves. Getting ahead of ALL of the
slow tourists on four wheels before the passing lane ends was a
challenge that was met! The whole stretch went quite quickly and
well. A bit chilly through the parks, we had a good ride along
the 1A and arrived home around 8:30. According to the odometer
on the KLR, we put on 7660km in 16 days away from home - 15 of those
actually in the saddle since the bikes didn't move for one day while
we bummed around at Jim & Emilie's.