San Francisco to Seattle photo scrapbook

Trip photos I never meant to publish
Published July 25, 2011

It’s been just over two years since I first set off for Seattle on my Ninja 250. In retrospect, it was a quaint, safe ride up the coast to see friends. At the time it felt like a leap of faith. I’d been told by no one in particular, just the motorcycling community consensus, that a Ninja 250 was fine for putting around the city but not long-distance travel. I almost believed them, but I’m not the type to really buy into something unless I’ve tested it myself. I get a kick from poking holes in accepted truths. That was half my motivation.

In recent months, I’ve developed a strong affinity for cell phone photographs. They’re terrible quality compared to the hulking digital SLR with which I usually shoot, but there’s an appeal to the immediacy and ever-readiness of these low-fi lenses. I never intended to publish the following snaps outside of a hidden Facebook photo folder, but looking back they captured some moments that the bulky Canon Rebel couldn’t touch. So I’m sharing them now. Two years’ trips worth of shabby shots. Hope you enjoy.

And in case you haven’t read the originals, be sure to check out the five-page-long ride reports: Seattle & back and Just Mighty & me.

June 17, 2009

Mighty dressed in touring drag for the first time. I’d never test run the saddle bags and had no idea if they’d hold tight. Ill-advised backpack is ill-advised.

Early stop on Highway 1 for this photo gave a slow parade of construction vehicles time to get ahead…and slow me down the next 20 miles.

June 18, 2009

Day 2 breakfast in Crescent City, California. Why take a chance on local grub? Denny’s is always goo…Denny’s is always Denny’s.

Leeching wifi at Brewed Awakenings in Bandon, Oregon. I’d had a smart phone for all of a week before the trip and already couldn’t imagine a world without Internet in my trousers. Not much Sprint 3G on the coast.

Second day of riding ended in Eugene, Oregon. It’s a bit of a beatnik town, odd for the decade. Wandering Goat cafe had top lattes, enough to forgive the hippy patronage.

June 19, 2009

Hadn’t yet discovered the Yelp mobile app, but somehow found these local Mexican digs.

There’s not much between Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington. Except a lifetime’s quantity of rain. My leather gloves soaked up a load and bled ink all over my shriveled palms.

Rode a motorcycle 1,000+ miles…to play video games. Hit up GameWorks arcade in Seattle, Washington with my buddy. This is the face I make when I find a Marvel vs. Capcom 2 cabinet in the wild.

June 20, 2009

For Jeff’s 30th we rode out to Mount St. Helens which, as it turns out, stopped spewing volcanic ash long ago. Instead, just rain fell from the sky. I think this is after we got back off the mountain, fueling up for the I-5 ride back into Seattle, Washington.

June 23, 2009

I don’t know what to say. It’s a dinosaur, somewhere in Oregon. I’d noticed it on the way north and taking a shot of it on the ride back down was some sort of motivation to keep riding when the joy of 2,000 miles motorcycling wore thin.

June 24, 2009

In Klamath, California the local Indian tribes apparently have club card discounts. Is that what Manifest Destiny was all about?

Spent the day on 101 through northern California, hot as hell through the mountains. As usual, San Francisco, California had no clue what was going on beyond its borders.

July 17, 2010

One year later, geared up for a second go–this time with a tank bag instead of a backpack (brilliant!) and a tent instead of hostel reservations. A proper adventure, save for the maps and familiarity and paved roads and cell phones and stuff.

If you went straight west from this location, you’d eventually hit Hawa…sorry, you would miss Hawaii completely. Still, cute sign.

Waiting in line to ride my bike through a large tree. Surely this is adventure.

July 18, 2010

Yes, the sign said the same thing the previous night when I rolled in anyway. “Sorry” is a bit harsh, the campground was quite nice.

I snapped this celebratory shot seconds before calling the better half to let her know I wasn’t dead. Priorities. Quite alive at the eastern end of Highway 36.

8,511 feet forward isn’t too far–less than a couple of miles, easily done most days. 8,511 feet straight up from the sea to the top of Mount Lassen National Park, California isn’t quite as easy on the lil’ Ninja.

July 19, 2010

A mobile phone shot of Crater Lake, Oregon is a bit insulting but it begged immediate sharing. Most thought it was a Photoshopped background. I was there and still not convinced.

Oh look how quaint is this ol’-timey filler pump in Detroit, Oregon. Should’ve paid more attention to my tank bag and camera equipment which I left behind.

July 20, 2010

Mighty’s head beneath Multnomah Falls, Oregon.

My head beneath Multnomah Falls, Oregon, illustrating the danger of unshowered helmet hair.

An ordinary, dumb packaged sandwich? Think again; this sandwich has three halves in Randle, Washington.

July 21, 2010

Beth’s Diner in Seattle, Washington after midnight. Third-grader-quality drawings on the walls were actually done by local university students, probably while drunk, after midnight.

How Beth’s Diner patrons park, probably while drunk, after midnight.

Fritz applies a bit of chain maintenance magic in a small shop by the docks. Lovely place in the U-district of Seattle, Washington.

July 22, 2010

Intended to revisit Brewed Awakenings in Bandon, Oregon but the town closed shop at the old-man hour of 6:00 pm. Oh well. Grabbed some upscale seafood with a view on my last night of the trip.