We have survived our Columbia River Gorge Harley-Davidson motorcycle excursion. I feel as if I have been strung up between two wild horses pulling in opposite directions… The Harley Road King is a BIG bike – much bigger than I’m used to, so lifting, leaning, and every other maneuvering technique takes just that much more effort. The middle of my back and my wrists are where I feel it the most. Of course, I’ve never actually been on a bike for 12 hours before. Maybe I should practice more often.
I will say that riding this bike has been eye opening.
I did not realize that Harleys were so sophisticated. I thought they were just big, loud, shiny, expensive American-made motorcycles. However, the Road King we rode came with a sophisticated computer-controlled fuel injected [no choke on this hog] engine which ran as smooth as any Japanese bike would – except it came with that distinctive Harley rumble. It also came with an anti-theft system which would lock the bike down to prevent theft. The bike’s handling capabilities were astonishing – especially for low speed maneuvers. I was able to move the bike around easier even than my dad’s Honda Shadow Saber. All in all, it was a smooth, solid [yes, you could still feel the weight of the bike], fun ride – one I’m glad to have experienced.
We rode from Portland on I-84 and Hwy 30 [the historic highway] through the Columbia River Gorge for over 120 miles. The old road was very windey – at one point we had a minor steering miscalculation in a hairpin turn. Luckily, we were the only vehicle for miles. At some point on this trip, the terrain turns from lush Pacific Northwest rain forest to arid high desert. We stopped in Biggs to refuel only to find that the entire town, with its 4 gas stations, was suffering from a complete blackout. This meant no fuel. So, we crossed over to the Washington side where we patronized a small gas station whose proprietor was overwhelmed at the massive influx of customers to his lonely Texaco station. While there, we met another biker who recently purchased the bike I really want: a BMW K1200RS.
Once on the Washington side of the river, we headed back toward Portland/Vancouver on Hwy 14 – which is a very nice road. Attempting to stop at one winery, we were turned away because of a concert on their grounds. So, we stopped at another right down the road: Cascade Cliffs. We tasted a few wines, bought a couple of bottles, packed the saddle bags and headed back – we were gone much longer than we anticipated [which is probably why I feel like I’ve been used for pavement] and then we got back to Portland around 9:30pm for dinner.
Now: That’s a long day.