Category Archives: Places

Photos and descriptions of places we have visited

Greenwater to I90 2nd motorcycle attempt on dirt

We have tried last week of June only to get stopped very early by snow. I needed to do a test run after doing valve adjustment on my BMW R1200 GS so we set with Michal for a 2nd try. On google maps it looked liked there are multiple ways around the snow roadblock – we were wrong.

We made it 0.5 miles further on FS 7036 only to find 5 feet of snow visible for couple miles. We tried the first way around. Only to run into a corps of something big – probably deer that reminded us we need to be careful – one mistake and we would join it in its afterlife…. All of the other ways we looked at were dead ends. So back to FS 7030 and trying via the other valley. The GPS shows we can connect on FS 7035 and while I am skeptical since this is very close to Tacoma watershed we are going to try it.

The road very quickly becomes overgrown and almost a single track. The first issue comes when we get to a washout. We push standing next to the big bikes in a gear and after 30 minutes are over. The next issue are fallen rocks – again 30 or so minutes later we have path.. The next block was above our ability with big bikes – basically washout with 3 places where we would have to get the bikes over and not enough time/energy to do it in the highly probable case of returning the same way. A group of rides with a shovel or on lighter bikes would have no issues. So we go back and negotiate  the washouts once more.

I noticed there are reports of people making it from 410 to I90 via FS 7037 but can’t find it on any map – anybody would be able point where it starts?

Full GPS map here

Motorcycle offroad traning and Mt. Rainier trip

On Sunday April 8th we met at 8:15 near HWy 18 in Hobart. The goal was to find and explore some new dirt routes before our 2PM motorcycle offroad training in Roy, WA. I have spent hours on Google Maps in street views trying to find which roads may not be blocked and lead us to some more rugged area. Unfortunately I have not expected signs like the first photo below – we agreed we are not going to push our luck if though on the map it seemed that road connected to a nice system of fire roads.
The next road was gated off because of the Tacoma watershed area – OK that one I understand. But all of the other DNR gates I don’t. Why can’t street legal motorcycles travel on dirt routes, when there is no active logging??!! The same goes for the Hancock managed land – there are so many roads that would be great to travel but all of them are off limits. So the only dirt road was 165 to Evan’s creek ORV area where we found Ford 150 stuck in snow/mud. Went back for help and left before the rescue was finished. Beautiful views form up there!
Next we went to Roy, WA for the Puget Sound Safety motorcycle offroad training. We started with their smaller Kawasaki KLX 250 bikes but quickly switched back to our big Vstrom 650 and my BMW R1200 GS for some of the exercises…

At the end we decided to try jumping the logs with big bikes – something we have not imagined would be possible even with the small once before the training – it worked! Just look at the videos below 🙂

great day, great ride!

Fast Tube by Casper

Fast Tube by Casper

BMW and Vstrom 650 off road in Nort Bend, WA

Today was another great day for riding – while it was raining so hard at most Eastside, the North Bend area based on the radar was dry – we even got to see sun through the clouds at some moments. As you can notice a week later compared to the last moto trip the snow line was much higher so we were able to find out why the road was closed – wash out from a stream.

Since this was Karel’s first real time off the pavement he pushed his bike and while I wasn’t sure about the strength of the mud I decided to ride – it was fine and it held the heavy BMW R1200 GS just fine.

Or course it looks so easy in the video:

Fast Tube by Casper

Climbing Mt. Fuji – solo in the winter


On 10/28/2005 at about 8:30 AM local time I set my foot on the top of the highest mountain in Japan – Mt Fuji 12388 feet high.

Since Tuesday it’s raining hard in Tokyo. My hopes are it will stop because rain and the possible strong winds the guides talk about are the only things that could stop my ascent. I am attempting the climb in post season when all of the huts are closed since September and some of the guide books about tents flying down the mountain with people in them… However during the open season the climb is like downtown on Friday afternoon – people in lines waiting to make the next step.

Even on Wednesday it continues to rain while I am leaving my hotel in Tokyo. Only after changing the trains in Otsuki sun shows its face and gives me some hope. At the last train station Kawaguchiko the sun is finally out but Mt. Fuji is hiding in the clouds. Last bus leaves at 1:30 PM and I am the only passenger. Therefore the driver can make some stops during the way so I don’t have take all the pictures from behind a window – better than taxi! After registering with the mountain patrol, where nobody speaks English and the only forecast I can get is “tomorrow OK” instead of wind speed and temperature for the night I am leaving towards the begging of the trail. Starts is slower than expected, mainly because the altitude makes it hard to breath for me and the backpack seems so much heavier compared to checks while packing it. Sun is very quickly hiding behind the mountain and it is getting cold very quickly. First stop for some snack is around 4 PM and you can see the shadow of Mt. Fuji on the photos. It gets also dark and even colder and I am crossing the 3000m mark (9842 feet).

I am getting hungry again so I stop and cook some soup and hot tea. Interestingly what takes 5 minutes while camping in Washington is not done even after 15 minutes of full flame due to the wind, cold and possibly altitude. Around 6:15 I fell better and set to continue going up again. It is dark so I am using a headlamp and carefully go over rocks with snow using the chains guarding the trail. The fatigue is coming back very fast so around 9 PM I am preparing my bivouac, changing into dry clothing and moving all the layer I got from the backpack on my body. However even though I have all the cloth and I am in a sleeping tired I can’t sleep. Occasional winds brings snow onto my face and my feet are getting very cold. I am getting out and trying some exercises but it does not help much. The only other idea to get me feet warm is to use my goratex pants and wrap them up around my feet. Finally around midnight I am falling asleep. Snow is bothering me again but I can see sun coming up so I am getting out to take some photos from about 11000 feet. After breakfast I am packing some nergy gels and chocolate and leaving the rest so I can go faster, Just below the top I am passing an American guy from California. He started the climb at 11PM and didn’t sleep at all. Finally I am reaching the top and looking into a crater that is much bigger that I expected. After taking some pictures and reaching the false summit the we are agreeing with the guy after looking at the map the real summit will be on the opposite side of the crater near the observatory. After we walk around and a short climb we can take pictures from the real summit of Mt. Fuji. I made it! At about 9:30 we are starting the descent together and I am picking up my stuff on the way down.

We made it back to the mountain patrol station around 2PM, just in time for some great bbq roasted pork and a quick beer. Then we have to run to catch the last bus down.

From the train station I am continuing by bus through the pass around Mt. Fuji to a city called Gotemba where I am staying in a hotel and next day visiting local hot springs to get my bones unfrozen. At the evening back on train to Tokyo and next day on a flight to Seattle.