RideAbout65.4 – Day 20 – Renton, WA to Salem, OR via Mt St. Helen’s


Total distance: 351.88 mi
Download file: Day-20a.gpx


Today’s Mileage: 352 miles

Total Trip Mileage so far: 3957 miles

My first stop this morning would be to visit my old friend Roger Hagie and his wife Joan about and hour south of Renton.  I met Roger and John Walsh on the same day back in 1978 when I visited a meeting of a motorcycle industry group that I later joined.  Roger was working at Kawasaki at that time and John at Suzuki.  Now they have both retired to the Seattle area, coincidence or plan?  No, they both had family in the area and initially did not know the other was making the move.  At any rate, my trusty(?) GPS takes me right to his house in a slightly rural and relaxing area.

We do some catching up, drink some coffee, eat some banana bread, catch up a bit more, more coffee, etc.  Then, of course, out to the new (still under construction) shop to survey the progress and look at bikes.  Then back to the house for more coffee and trip planning.  Roger was always the go-to guy for ride route planning as was his Dad as well – we did several epic rides that I seem to remember his Dad planning many, most, or all the segments.  I want to visit Mt. St. Helens and that is a no-brainer for Roger.  A great back-roads route is laid in for my ride down to St. Helens.  Finally it is time go and once again I ride away from an old friend.

I stop for gas on the way and have a nice conversation (actually I have had no bad conversations…) with a young couple on a Harley out for a Sunday ride.  Then we go our separate ways only to meet up multiple times during the day – even in the visitors center at St. Helens.

The road into St. Helens has light traffic and lots of curves and elevation changes – our favorite style.  We smile all the way to the mountain.  On the way in we pass a huge statue of Sasquatch – forgot this was his country.

We were living in California in 1980 when St. Helens erupted – at that time there was no 24 hour news like today so it was a while before we got much information about it.  It is hard to realize the full magnitude of the power, force, and subsequent destruction the eruption produced until you see the actual mountain and realize how much of it was blown away.  The area is still healing from that event and will continue to do so for hundreds, if not, thousands of years.

Exhibits read, conversations had,  and photos taken I head back out the great road I just came in on.  This time I take it on out to I-5 – I want to get down to Salem in time to have dinner with Tim Sullivan, father of Rory, and son of Patty (had breakfast with her yesterday).  I have been breaking down and using segments of interstate every once in a while when it suits my purpose although the so-called “rules” of RideAbout say no interstates.  Sometimes the effort to stay off of them exceeds the effort just to use them and to make up time or get some where at a certain time – it is often the only way.  We have now officially modified the “rules”.

I get to Salem just in time to head over to Tim’s house.  We inspect all the cool bikes he has including his Ducati, a clean and perfect 2009 Hyperstrada, the ultimate around town weapon.  Just seeing the Ducati in his garage confirms my opinion that we have a lot in common.  I really enjoy poking around and examining the neat, professionally executed modifications he has made to his bikes.  We head off to dinner and during dinner we discuss his boys, life, and a subject near and dear to me…vintage motorcycles.  Tim has just sold most of his huge collection of vintage bikes – mostly, I think, vintage race bikes.  It sounds like he had a copy of  almost every bike I ever owned in his collection.  He still has a few but they are in storage where it would be hard look at them.  Another time, I think…

It is comfortable talking to Tim, even though we had not actually met prior to tonight, it is like sitting down with an old friend from way back.  It is easy to see where Rory gets his personality and engaging manner.  Dinner done we head back to his house where I collect my bike and make my way to the hotel.

Tomorrow I will head west once again, and turn left at the Pacific ocean.









Tom Carter
Franklin, Tennessee

Mechanical Engineering Consultant

Motorcycle Rider/ Racer/ Tester

Husband/ Dad/ Grandfather/ Great-Grandfather

Planet Earth Arrival 1947

First rode a motorcycle around 1958

Still riding today…