In Search of a Lost Spirit

Story by Anna Frazer// Photos by Anna & Robert Frazer
April 25 2023

Mountains, rivers and scenic byways abound in the Pacific Northwest, making the area a rider’s paradise.

Oregon seems like a long way away, I think that I lost my motorcycle spirit, I am sorry to be a grump,” my husband, Robert, said unenthusiastically a few days before our two-week motorcycle trip to the United States in the summer of 2022. After the Covid pandemic, Robert seemed to have lost his passion to travel internationally. But with a little persuasion on my part, he agreed to tag along.

After crossing the Canada-U.S. border, we headed toward the North Cascades Highway 20, one of the most beautiful roads in the Pacific Northwest. The road starts gently curving along the Skagit River through green pastures, elk viewing areas and the small towns of Lyman, Hamilton, and Concrete.
East of Concrete, the road picks up the pace before it arrives at the foothills of the Cascade Mountains. There are many scenic pullouts along the route, and we chose the Gorge Creek Falls and Diablo Lake Vista points.

At Gorge Creek Falls, the pedestrian walkway leads to the bridge to view water cascading 74 metres down the mountain before entering Gorge Lake.
At the Diablo Lake Vista, the emerald water surrounded by mountain peaks creates a postcard view. The east side of the Cascades Range gave us endless twists and magnificent mountains.

The temperatures increase with the descent to the Methow Valley and the town of Winthrop. Winthrop was established in the late 1800s when gold was discovered in the area, but the Western theme in the form of wooden boardwalks and Old West design buildings was introduced in 1972 to attract tourists.

Finding a Home Base

After stopping in the lake town of Chelan (pronounced Shae-laan), named after the Native American tribe, we continued to The Dalles, Oregon, an excellent place for shamrock-style day trips to explore the Columbia River Gorge and the roads of Central and Eastern Oregon.

At an elevation of just over 2,120 metres, Blewett Pass on Hwy 97 made the ride cool and pleasant. The pass runs across the Wenatchee Mountains between the Wenatchee and the Yakima Rivers and eventually arrives at the greatly anticipated Canyon Road, Hwy 821, south of Ellensburg.

Canyon Road travels through the canyon created by the Yakima River; the river twists and turns and so does the road. The road plays a cat and mouse game with the river, chasing it along its banks, then climbing up and watching it from above, and then pouncing back down again and galloping level with it. The road encourages speeds over the posted 45 miles per hour, but speeding is not recommended unless one wants to test…


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