My tweets here are
about travel, motorcycling, tent camping,
bicycling (mostly as a commuter), and things I
find amusing. I tweet maybe up to half a dozen
times a day, on a really good day - usually much
International trips by motorcycle
and Herzegovina, Bulgaria,
England & Scotland, France,
(the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia), Montenegro,
Trips riding my own motorcycle California
Coast" and gold
(Glacier NP), Nevada,
(Alberta and British Columbia, Jasper, Banff &
|| Trolling around on the Internet lead to
the discovery of the SoundRider!
Rally in the Gorge - the Columbia River Gorge,
July 30 - Aug. 5. It promotes itself as four rallies - for
sport bikes, for sport touring bikes, for dual sports, and
for maxi-scoot (scooters) - combined into one.
We decided to give it a go - we really love talking with
other motorcyclists, particularly those that travel by
such, at least a bit (as opposed to just day rides around
Because of work, we couldn't be at the rally until
Thursday evening - after the rally had already been going
for two days.
Some things we really liked about the rally:
- The test rides. I never get
to test ride motorcycles, because the motorcycles
are always too tall. This time, however, a guy from
a Triumph dealership brought two Zero electric
bikes, and one was low enough for me! That ride was
the highlight of the entire rally. There's no
klutch, no gears, and no sound - and that motorcycle
is super zippy! CRAZY. Stefan had the biggest grin
on his face I've ever seen when he came back from
his ride. Huge shoutout to Joel Walson of Cycle
Barn for being, by far, the friendliest, most
helpful sales associate we've ever encountered.
Stefan also got to test ride a BMW 1200 GS and a BMW
800 GS - the first time he has ever ridden a BMW
(can you believe it?! Don't all Germans grow up
riding BMWs?). The BMW folks were also super nice.
- The route maps. We know this area
fairly well - it's our favorite local place to ride
- and the group ride on Friday was through and to
places we had been before. But the Rally makes all
of its suggested rides in the area available, on
both paper and via GPS. They even have two off-road
routes they classify as "easy" that we're excited to
give a try later this year. We really appreciate
having these routes all mapped out, with lots of
commentary from previous riders, that we can do any
time, not just during the rally.
- Access to Maryhill
Loops Road. It's a private, super-winding, short
dead-end road with about 9 sharp turns near the Stonehenge
monument. The Rally rents it out for an entire day, and for
one afternoon, all attendees get access to it for as many
trips up and down it as they like. I went just once -
I'm a slow poke, and I knew I'd just hold everyone up.
Stefan went up and down twice. He would have done more, but
it was too hot.
- The facilities at
County Fairgrounds in Stevenson, Washington. Plenty of
well-maintained bathrooms and showers - at least for the
women (because there's always less women at these kinds of
events than men).
- Breakfast and supper Saturday being included in the price.
And the food was decent both times. AND the meals were in an
Those things, and the location in general,
with its gorgeous views of the Columbia River Gorge, made the
rally worth going to. We're glad we went. We're really
looking forward to trying some of the routes that seem so
well-described and mapped out.
- Some of the other attendees. Through a lot
of walking around and greeting different people, we finally
found a few who were friendly and happy to talk (took a lot
of effort on our part, however).
If you aren't from the area, or you don't know the area well,
from a motorcycle riding perspective, then the rally is worth
going to, if nothing else than for the gorgeous scenery and
I want to say that up front before I list the things we
didn't like, enough that we don't think we'll go again:
- The "outsider" feeling. SoundRider is,
basically, a club, and if you aren't a part of that club,
you may never feel like a part of the event. There was never
a "welcome to the rally!" moment - at least not for people
like us, that arrived Thursday evening or later. We were
frequently asked to show our wristbands, sometimes by the
same person, and a couple of guys seemed disappointed when
we were able to show that, yes, we're supposed to be here.
We often felt like maybe we weren't supposed to be
- The programs/presentations/workshops, both
in terms of content and timing. In the evening, for
instance, when all the riders are supposed to come together,
the announcers never opened with "Welcome to the Rally! My
name is ______, and this is ________. If you've never been
here before - a big welcome to you!" Instead, two guys would
get on stage and just start rambling - no introduction - and
with all sorts of inside jokes that you had to be a frequent
attendee or a member of SoundRider! to understand. They also
always seemed lost - what are we supposed to be doing now?
We never knew if the evening program was something that was
going to have any information of any value for us, and often
ended up giving up and going back to our tent or to walk
around the grounds. What few presentations were available in
the mornings we were there didn't appeal to us at all - most
of the daytime presentations happen on Wednesday and
Thursday - you miss those days, you miss 75% of the
- The changing rules. Our first night
(Thursday), we were in the closed beer garden (it closes at
10), getting to know some other riders and having a really
nice first few minutes at the rally. A rally organizer came
over as 11 neared and told us that it was quiet time, we had
to stop. That's fine. But then the next night, the evening
program went on... and on... and on... until midnight, at
least. Apparently, when the rider organizers want to sleep,
they enforce quiet hours, but when they want to stay up,
EVERYONE stays up.
My husband designs and
sells aluminum top boxes and
side panniers. They are tough, light-weight, and affordable.
They are German-designed and made in the USA!
small version of the top box is 20 liter
400 x 250 x 200 mm
(15 3?4" x 9 3?4"
x 7 3?4")
1.6 mm (1?16") thick aluminum
- completely welded, not glued or riveted
- lid with four loops to fasten additional luggage
- lid completely removable, which makes loading and
unloading much easier
- two tie down hooks, which can be locked with a small
- gasket in the lid makes the aluminum box completely
- all attachment parts (loops, tie down hooks, and screws)
are made of stainless steel
- all corners and bends are rounded
- light weight, only 2.3 kg (5 pounds)
- spare parts available
in custom sizes.