Cuttin loose in the Palouse: Motorcycle touring in Eastern Washington

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Yamaha Motorcycles Street Event - Enumclaw Powersports


Cuttin' Loose in the Palouse

Above: The Lyons Ferry Bridge on SR 261

Have you enjoyed the adrenaline high of the Starbuck Highway? Experienced the pleasure of the overlook at Palouse Falls or dug into the twisties near Dusty?

Fall is on the way and seasoned Northwest travelers know the area in Eastern Washington retains a dryer profile than the west come this time of year. With cooler days ahead and less traffic on the road, a trip into Eastern Washington's Palouse region is just what the doctor ordered. Make it a weekend trip, or add a few more days and discover this fantastic riding area from end to end.

So fire up a pot of coffee, grab a good atlas and let's look at the wonders this region has to offer.

The Starbuck Highway is a must when you come into this area. Also known as SR 261, it serpentines from the western reaches of the Palouse over to US 12 and dishes out some of the tastiest corners in the state. It's one of those roads where you don't plan to ride it just one direction – you plan to ride it back and forth until you run out of time! In Starbuck you'll find Hue's Café, formerly known as the Starbuck Café. If Waitsburg is on your list, use Kellogg Hollow Road and McKay/Alto to get there rather than US 12.

Above: Enjoying the Starbuck Highway.

Dual Sporters can find some fun places to play as well. With a good atlas like Benchmark's Washington Road & Recreation atlas , the options are endless.

Are Are you a WSU fan? Plan to make a field trip out of it and grab a game during your stay. Then spend Sunday exploring the back roads and getting back home.

The world-famous Yahoo! Yodeler, Wylie Gustafson is a resident of Dusty. While you probably will not see him during your visit, the roads to and from Dusty are a blast on a motorcycle.

Steptoe Butte. The spiral highway up and down is loaded with tight twisties and you're rewarded with a stunning 360 degree panoramic view of the wheat fields below.

You could spend all of one morning or afternoon enjoying the back roads, both paved and not paved, below Bryan and Lower Granite lakes on the Snake River - and why not!?

Above: Sunsets can be stunning in the Palouse during the early fall months.

As long as you're this close, head to Clarkston and pick up the Old Spiral Highway. Work on that one for several revolutions at least.

BoomBoomerang aficionado? Didn't think so, but a trip to the Boomerang Museum in the town of Palouse can be sweetened with a nearby coffee drink and giant cookie from the gift shop in town.

There are numerous dam crossings over the Snake River, many with roads, but don't expect them to be open when you get there. Despite what old information abounds, the Army Corp of Engineers recently began allowing traffic across some and that is when they are at work – take that to mean Monday through Friday. Do your homework online ahead of time so you don't bump into a locked gate.

Above: The view from Step Toe Butte

Beware, with cooler days come cooler nights. It may be the end of summer, but the Palouse can provide some pretty cold mornings, especially if you're camping.

For For more information visit the Whitman County visitors website.

SR!/Summer '10

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