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Early Fall Touring in the PNW

It's the new summer

As I write, it's 51 degrees outside at 5 a.m. in Seattle in the last half of October.

That means you could actually plant potted roses and other shrubs before winter sets in.

That also means that it wouldn't be bad camping weather.

With a high of 60 today and partly cloudy skies, that's not bad motorcycling weather, come to think of it.

Bend will wind up sunny and in the high 70s today. Bend is a great place to go touring, spend the nights in town and ride in a different direction each day, returning back to base in the afternoon. Pavement or dirt! We call this cloverleaf touring. If you've never tried it, it's a wonderful way to spend a week on the road.

McMinnville is another great spot to cloverleaf tour. Lows this week are in the mid 40s. Highs are in the 70s. No rain in sight.

Sound like late summer a decade ago? Welcome to the new ultimate touring time.

Bonus - Fall colors! Another bonus - fewer crowds and traffic.

Back in 2019 I enjoyed a crowd-less week touring Vancouver Island.

Imagine riding along US 101 and not getting trapped behind an RV or five for the next 25 miles!

If this is the new normal, there are a few adjustments that need to come along with it.

Campgrounds and resorts accustomed to shutting down at the end of the 'season' need to keep their doors open another month. But, to ensure it's financially feasible, some marketing strategies need to come into play. We really need these places to be open until November.

If you think switching your touring schedule to early fall makes sense, be sure to book out well in advance so they know there's business in the wind. And let them know you're coming in the fall because you don't like riding during the smoke season.

And while the idea of autumn sunshine is romantic, rain and leaves are inevitable during a few of those days no doubt, so bone up on your riding skills and take caution. A chill can set it, so pack extra layers just in case. Rain gear worn on a cold ride adds additional insulation as well.

So, as you map out your touring plans for the coming year, give early fall a try and get those potted shrubs in the ground during the smoke season.

PT/Fall 23


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