Motorcycling After COVID-19

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Easing back into it

Alternatives to the obvious

You've done it. You've come though a world-wide pandemic like few ever experience in their lifetime. And it won't be long before we can go out in public and not worry. Or should we?

Viruses like COVID-19 can go on for months or years, until a suitable vaccine is found. In comparison, it took 45 years before a vaccine for Ebola was approved by the FDA (December 2019).

But, with the extent that C-19 impacted the world population, it's going to be around for a while. While the self-isolation measures will be lifted, it's in people's interest not to jump into heavily-populated situations where they could still pick up the virus.

As a motorcyclist in the Pacific Northwest, you may want to give consideration to this idea as well. We want to break out, enjoy some two-wheel freedom as spring warms up the region. But … would a ride to Leavenworth be advisable? Stop into the Bavarian mecca for lunch, shop for trinkets, lederhosen, and accordions on the populated downtown streets before making tracks back to the Puget Sound. We think that's not a great idea.

But that doesn't mean you need to stay in. And with that we offer 10 ride ideas that are far safer than stacking yourself into a high human traffic situation.

Before we talk about those ideas though, consider packing a picnic and enjoying lunch outdoors, away from the crowds. Here we go.

Western Washington Alternatives

Wild Horse Wind Farm - This wind farm located east of Ellensberg offers grand views of the Cascades range. There are even picnic benches outside. This isn't likely to be the first place people flock to when the coast is clear, but it's a great trip.

Yakima Loop - Seek out every backroad possible to ride to and from Yakima from wherever you are. There's a lot more available than I-90 and I-82. For many Puget Sounders, it'll be a bonus if SR 410 over Cayuse Pass is open.

Olympic Peninsula Loop - Most riders don't even need to sandwich themselves onto a ferry to achieve this route. It's an all-dayer or split it into two days if accommodations are available in Port Angeles, on Lake Crescent, or in the less-visited Aberdeen.

Buffalo Run - It may be a while until SR 20 is open across the Cascades since work was halted during the shelter-in-place mandate. But you can slip in a fun out-and-back-up to Marblemount.

Western Oregon Alternatives

Skyline Loop - From wherever you are in the Portland/Vancouver metro area, create a loop route up to Skyline drive with stops in Vernonia and Forest Grove in search of the perfect picnic location and refueling.

Mary's Peak - If ever there was a perfect picnic location... Another unlikely first go-to location for the general public, this stunning overlook at 4,000 feet will make that homemade grinder taste like a million bucks. There's even a way to get here using a dual sport route via Burnt Woods to the northwest.

Silver Falls Overlook - Directly east across the Willamette Valley lies Silverton and if you ride east out of town, you'll pass through Silver Falls and south to a stunning overlook. Another perfect picnic location. While you're at it, slip in a few covered bridges that lie just to the south.

Central Oregon Alternative

Prineville Loop - Riders in the Bend/Redmond area can enjoy a loop ride to Prineville, then have a picnic at one of a dozen pullouts along the Crooked River, returning to town via Reservoir Road. No crowds here, but keep your eyes peeled for that shoe tree.

Idaho Alternatives

Lake Coeur D'Alene Loop - With traffic still moderately low and the tourist season having yet to kick in, a complete loop of the lake is a good choice. There are plenty of services along the way when you need fuel and snacks.

McCall Loop - If you're a Boise rider, no better way to stretch the bike out than a rip up SR 95 to McCall and a ride back on US 95.

The list could go on and on. The point is, grab a good atlas, map out your ride, go light, and stay safe.

SR/April 2020


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