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Seattle to Tahoe to the coast and back

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Ride Stats:

  • Distance: 2022 miles / 3254.1 km
  • Ride Time: 1 week (5-7 days)
  • Approximate Fuel Costs: $153.67
  • States Visited: Washington, California, Oregon
Submitted by:

We started our trip to Lake Tahoe from the Seattle area. Being a couple of 55+ riders, we had grand ideas, but quickly adjusted our expectations! It was a gray, overcast day on June 17th, 2012, but wasn't particulary cold - mid 60's. I elected to put on a long-sleeved shirt, light jacket and rain suit and water-resistant gloves.We took WA-410 up over Cayuse pass, hitting just a few sprinkles and discovering that the snow was still very deep up high. We couldn't even see if Tipsoo Lake was still frozen over or not. Although the Rainier Park rangers had cleared both bathrooms for use. As soon as we topped the pass and started down to Yakima, the skies lightened up. We stopped in Naches and took off the rain gear, jacket and gloves. After a good coating of sunscreen, we were off again! We headed down US-97 towards Goldendale. It was early afternoon and our 'old man' butts were getting tired. There were no motel rooms in town, so we kept going, stopping at the Columbia River in Biggs Junction, OR. We spent the night in a nice place across from the truck stop, channel surfing drinking dark beer (me) and vodka tonics (my brother-in-law). Had a good night's sleep.Woke up around 7 and topped off the tanks, not knowing when the next pit stop would be. We continued down US-97, to Klamath Falls, OR. This was a route we'd taken many times. It's very nice, two lanes for the most part, not too many turns (or towns). The weather is usually warm and clear - wheat country.We made it to Bend, OR and kept right on going. We were thinking about stopping at Deschutes Brewery for a quick porter, but as it was still morning, kept on going. We stopped in La Pine for a short break. At this point, I should probably mention what we were riding. I was on a 2001 Honda Valkyrie Interstate, while my brother-in-law was on a 2001 Harley (don't know what kind, don't care). He had a travel bag and folding chair strapped on the sissy bar along with his rain gear and heavier jacket. I had travel back and chair as well, along with rain gear, extra tools, gloves, books, and other gear essential for long trips - like a corkscrew, spare highway peg (I broke one the trip before), repair manual, duct tape, etc.So, we stopped in La Pine, unshipped the chairs and sat and read for an hour. Filled up the tanks and took off again for Klamath Falls. As it was pretty warm, we quit early again. (I won't mention that our old bones were tired again - although we were getting tougher quickly). A quick dip in the pool and another hour alternately reading, swimming and drinking, stoked the appetites. We had a quick bite and settled down for the night.The next morning, it was time to make for Tahoe. We got on OR-139 south, stopping briefly at Eagle Lake to watch some antelope graze. At Susanville, we jumped on to US-395 to Reno. We stopped just outside the city and talked about whether or not we'd stop in town or not. Neither of us being big gamblers, we decided to skip town. We jumped on I-80 and almost immediately got off at a truck stop to rest, read and relieve ourselves. I put down my book to set up the chair and the wind caught the dust jacket and blew it off the book! After 10 minutes of chasing it all over, I retreived the piece of paper, put it back on the book and folded up the chair. It was just a wee bit too windy for a relaxing read. Instead, I went into the small casino/store and quickly donated $10 to the slots.We got back on the bikes and off we went towards Truckee, CA. Just before we made it to Truckee, we left I-80 and got on CA-267 to Kings Beach. We stopped at an older motel on the beach with thoughts of jumping into their hot tub to soak out the miles. Well, the tub was luke warm and about a foot too low in the water level. After getting assurances from the management they would correct these issues, it was back to the room to change out of our suits and hit a bar. We chatted with the locals and they recommended the 'Best Mexican restaurant in town'. It was so-so.Back to the room to check the hot tub level and heat - not much difference even after 3 hours and talking to management. The beach was so windy, it was like getting sand blasted. The air was in the low 60's, so dipping a toe in Tahoe was out of the question.The next morning, we headed out towards the southwest and took the loop all the way around the lake. We stopped in South Tahoe for breakfast, but not much else was happening, so we continued around the lake and then got back on I-80 headed west. The plan was to go to the coast and back up to Washington.We went up through the mountains, getting off at CA-20. Our wives had relatives in Nevada City, CA, so we figured we'd drop in unannounced and say hi. The road was very pleasant. It was cool and sunny, probably in the upper 70's. We stopped in at their bicycle shop in Nevada City and said hi. We took a few pictures so our wives would believe we'd fulfilled the familial duty for that trip and got back on the bikes.We continued west on CA-20 to Yuba City, where we spent the night. The next morning, we backtracked a few miles and got back on I-70 north through Chico, CA to Red Bluff. We filled the tanks and got on to CA-36 west. This was the absolute best road of the trip! Right at the intersection of CA-99 and CA-36, there was a sign warning tractor trailer trucks and large RV's to stay off this road! Almost immediately, the road had many small hills and turns. It was a fantastic route! I can't say enough about this road. For about 100 miles, it's up, down, left and right. Hairpin turns, mountains, big redwoods, small campgrounds, ranches, etc. We stopped many times to admire the scenery, wildlife, and generally enjoyed ourselves.If you can, take this section of the road between Red Bluff and US-101. A truly spectacular route!When we hit US-101, we headed north, stopping for the night in Florence, CA. For some reason, this was my second time stopping here for a bike trip. We even stayed in the same motel. Nice place.The next morning, it was up the coast towards Astoria, OR. We stopped in Tillamook, OR and toured the Air museum there. Wonderful place, situated in an old Naval blimp hangar. Interesting movie of the history of the place and many old planes - including an F-14 Tomcat. After an hour or so in the museum it was back on the bikes. I put on the rain gear as things had become a little more damp while we were inside. I decided we HAD to stop at the Tillamook cheese factory. We went inside and I bought some cheese. We continued up the coast to Astoria, where we parked the bikes at a motel and I put the cheese in the small refigerator. We bought some vodka bottles to take home, had dinner at a seafood restaurant and bedded down for the night. The next morning, we watched TV for a weather report. Rain-rain-rain all the way home. So, we decided to skip the coast and beat feet for home the quickest way possible. We took US-30 east crossing the Columbia river at Longview, WA. Stopping at a Denny's, we peeled off the soaking gloves and boots ater the layer of rain gear. The rest of us was dry, but cold. I doubt it hit 60F that whole day. We had breakfast, warmed up with coffee and hot chocolate and after an hour, suited up again. There was another group of riders just starting out heading south. We recommended going east a bit first to get out of the rain. Who knows if they did or not.Anyway, it was back on the bikes, jump on I-5 north and race for home (within the speed limit of course). A couple of hours later, it'd parked the bike in the garage after moving the car out, peeled out of my riding gear, and was sitting in the hot tub at 104F letting all the cold leave my muscles.All-in-all, a good trip, with an absolutely wonderful 100 miles on CA-36!

This is a motorcycle ride in the states Washington, California, Oregon. This motorcycle route has 12 scenery characteristics and other road conditions to help you plan your road trip. This motorcycle map was created by mlduckwo in July. Click here to see other Motorcycle Roads by mlduckwo

Rider Photos:

  • Motorcycle Ride Picture 1 for Seattle to Tahoe to the coast and back
  • Motorcycle Ride Picture 2 for Seattle to Tahoe to the coast and back
  • Motorcycle Ride Picture 3 for Seattle to Tahoe to the coast and back
  • Motorcycle Ride Picture 4 for Seattle to Tahoe to the coast and back
  • Motorcycle Ride Picture 5 for Seattle to Tahoe to the coast and back

Ride Scenery:

Historic SitesBeachesOceanUrban/ResidentialLakesForestMountainsRuralRiverDesertFarm LandPlains

Best Time to Go


Road Characteristics:

Sweeping Curves RoadRolling HillsLight TrafficSmoothAdequate Gas StationsAdequate

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