3 Pass Bla$t 2003

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Ride West Insurance 3 PASS BLA$T 2003

Endurance rally event returns with a new route and new twists in store

Ever since last October I’ve been getting inquiries if there will be a 3 Pass Blast this year. I’m pleased to tell you the answer is yes!

Last year’s 3 Pass Blast drew just under 200 participants. For those of you unaware of the concept or in need of a refresher, here goes. The basis is that you ride through 3 mountain passes on any day between June and September. Your goal is to complete the route in the "absolute time" which is based on the distance, the legal speed limit, meal, photo and gas stops.

Last year was our first year putting on this event, but endurance rallies like this have been popular in Puget Sound ever since the Seattle Motorcycle Club put on an event to Mt. Rainier’s Paradise area in 1910. We learned a lot last year so we’ve tweaked a few things about this year’s event.

CLICK HERE to register for the 3 Pass Blast


It wouldn’t be fun if we sent you around on the same route this year so we’ve come up with a new one. Personally, I tire of the same rides every year and I’m finding it’s best to alternate longer day rides every other year.

This year’s route leaves from Enumclaw and takes you over the Cayuse, Chinook and White passes. It’s about the same distance as last year’s route, can be ridden in a day and is a lot of fun. All along the way you’re treated to panoramic views of Mount Rainier, you get to enjoy the serenity of the Federation Forest and there’s a distinct climate change when you cross over Chinook heading down the east side of the Cascades along 410. The more I talk with people about this year’s route, the more I learn that not a lot of riders have ever done this ride!

The twist this year…the ride finishes in Buckley via Mud Mountain Road. Don’t worry, it’s all paved.

I got a little beat up last year by the iron butt guys who teased me that a few hundred miles is what they eat for breakfast. Knowing the other 99% of us think a few hundred miles is plenty for a day, I stayed away from a bun burner.

While pre-riding the route in May there was quite a bit of snow in Chinook Pass, but the road is open and well maintained. Watch the video with Windows Media Player 9 if you’d like a glimpse. As usual, the parts of SR410 and SR123 that run through Mount Rainier National Park sport their usual lumpy surface courtesy of the mother nature and a lack of funds in the park system. Adjust your rear shocks accordingly.

My two favorite lunch spots along the way are Whistlin’ Jack Lodge and Trout Lodge. Good food at both, so I’ve picked them as two of the photo stops too. The third photo stop is the Greenwater General Store, a favorite gathering place for motorcyclists.


This was not an easy route to deal with when it came to fuel stops. As it was last year, you will need to submit three gas receipts, but we are allowing for four gas stops. The distance between the fuel stops in Clifdell and Buckley is such, a Harley Sportster would dry up somewhere about Crystal Mountain. So if you’ve got less than 150 mile range on your tank, take advantage of the extra fuel stop in Tieton, Rimrock, or White Pass where there are filling stations that are sometimes open, and sometimes not. The White Pass station is open until 5pm on the weekdays and 6pm on the weekends. If you run into a crunch, ride the extra 7 miles to Packwood and back and get your go juice at the 24 hour station there.

Midnight Ride

I almost dumped this category this year, but it’s so daring and it’s always cool to ride through the mountains on a full moon. I can just imagine the view of Rainier from Chinook Pass on a full moon - that would be something money can’t buy. You’re disqualified if you wind up doing the deer strike thing so keep your eyes peeled, they’re up there. The clincher is that Jerry’s Cheveron, the starting point in Enumclaw, closes at 10 p.m., so if you plan to participate in this category this year, don’t show up in Enumclaw looking for gas 15 minutes before midnight. And remember, in order to qualify for the midnight category, you must be on the route at midnight, which the last time I checked was at exactly 12 a.m. (Ted!).


As it was last year, there will be three bonus photos worth 50 points. In each photo we need to see your bike, the sign of the place where you are and your lovely mug, without a helmet on. The new rule this year is that you can’t alter your photos in anyway. Inclusions of Elvis’, Sasquatches and flying saucers will automatically disqualify your photos from your entry (Lance!), as will any other modifications. Oh yes, that reminds me, some of you people have atrocious photo skills, so read the primer on better motorcycle photography at http://www.soundrider.com/archive/tips/go-photo.htm.


I don’t know about the rest of you but I got a little tired of watching Jerry Party making off with all those awards last year. Just cause he tied for first in the overall, was an older gentleman, and gets his motorcycling in on weekdays shouldn’t mean he gets to walk away with all the booty! Right? We’re going to spread the bounty around in the sub-categories this year.

While everyone competes for Best Overall, you can only compete in one sub-category outside of the "Best Club Average." In other words, if you’re on Social Security, riding a 1947 Harley trike on Tuesday at midnight, you have to choose which one of those five categories (in this case Senior, Midnight, Three Wheel, Vintage or Weekday) you would like to compete in. You can only choose one. And by the way, if you know someone that’s on Social Security, owns a vintage trike and rides at Midnight on weekdays, we’d like to meet him or her.

Thanks to Liz Calurie at Café Veloce, who will once again host our awards ceremony Saturday, October 11th at 3 p.m.


It takes a lot of time to put this event together. We have to do the routing, create the entry forms, distribute them, get the website put together and track all the entries throughout the four month period, then put together the awards ceremony. It wouldn’t all be possible with the support of the sponsors who have all returned this year. I’m talking about Ride West Insurance, Nikwax, Café Veloce and Gerbing’s Heated Clothing. Thanks to the sponsors.

Remember that the fun is to ride the route in the "absolute time" based on distance, stops and the legal speed limit. How you accomplish that is entirely up to you. Whatever your strategy is to win the 3 Pass Blast, I wish you a safe ride and look forward to talking to you at the awards ceremony in October. I might even be handing you a big fat check.

TM/June 03

CLICK HERE to register for the 3 Pass Blast

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