2006 Rose City 500 - Saturday, May 13

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Event organized by Rose City Motorcycle Club

Silver Beach Resort on WA Hwy 12

Saturday, May 13, 2006, Jackson Armory, Portland, OR.

As the week leading up to the event went by, the weather looked better and better. Saturday awoke to clear blue skies and the prospect of ideal riding conditions. 438 bikes took part. For a list of prizewinners, consult the Rose City Motorcycle Club website.

A stretch of superslab from Portland Airport to the Hwy 12 exit got everyone's engines warm for the curvier ways of the road to Yakima. Your heart had to go out to the unfortunate BMW rider seen pushing his machine south back into town across the Glenn Jackson bridge. Bummer !

Folks gassed up at a variety of stations on the way to Packwood. From there, it was a short hop over White Pass to the first official stop at Silver Beach resort. The brisk air and views of snowcapped mountains going over the pass were breathtaking. There was barely a face without a grin at the Resort where bikes filled the parking lot. Some owners were making what appeared to be fairly extensive roadside repairs, but it's a tribute to modern engineering that barely a breakdown was noted along the way.

From Silver Beach, the road dropped yet further and flattened into the Yakima Valley where a number of participants broke for lunch. After filling up on an excellent chili relleno and fajita, we made our way onto the empty stretch of Hwy 24 that takes you past the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. Here the road goes for long stretches clear out to the horizon, takes a turn to the left or right then repeats. Clear lines of sight and an opportunity to banish any lingering cobwebs in the engine !

Finally we arrived at the famed WA Hwy 14 at its far east end at Paterson. Desolate and devoid of gas for many miles, this leg also made for a good pace with little traffic to hinder progress. After some 60 miles we landed in Bingen for the final stop to catch our breath after a solid and very satisfying 440 miles. Will the weather be so kind next year ? We'll just have to see...

This year's Rose City 500 started out going north on I-205 and I-5 to Hwy 12, then east to Yakima, southeast on Hwy 24 to Hanford Reach, then south on Hwy 240 and 225 to Benton City. From Benton City about 10 miles of freeway on I-82 westbound to Prosser and Hwy 221 south to Paterson. From Paterson the home stretch was Hwy 14 through Bingen, Stevenson and back to Vancouver / Portland. Another great ride from Portland's oldest motorcycle club.

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© 2006 Open Road Rider: Photographs and Report. Other copyrights as acknowledged.