Common Tread

Pacific Rim: A photo essay

Dec 08, 2014

This is what it looks like when almost 300 pounds of American males ride almost 2,000 pounds of American motorcycles for 3,000 miles.

In June, my good friend, Sammy, and I set out for Washington state to experience Dirt Quake USA. We rode a Victory Cross Country and a Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Ultra Limited.

I've made this trip many times, but never on something that... behaved in this manner. Spending this kind of time on Harley's biggest and (almost) baddest bagger really opened my eyes to the allure of this kind of motorcycle and the beauty of our country.

Sometimes a picture really is worth a lot of words. I'll let them do the rest of the story-telling. I recommend viewing the pics full size in gallery mode.

Big Sur bound. Photo by Sean MacDonald taken in Big Sur, Calif.

Riding Bixby Bridge. Photo by Samson Hatae taken in Big Sur, Calif.

Photo by Samson Hatae taken in Big Sur, Calif.

Mountain View Cemetery with San Francisco in the background. Photo by Samson Hatae taken in Oakland.

Each stop meant gas for the bikes, beef jerky for our bellies, and getting to share the last two hours worth of ideas we’d had about the next leg of the route. Photo by Samson Hatae in Mendocino, Calif.

Land of the Giants. Photo by Sean MacDonald taken in the Humboldt Redwoods State Park, California.

Land of the Giants. Photo by Samson Hatae taken in the Humboldt Redwoods State Park, California.

Unsuccessfully trying to rule over the animals of the forest. Photo by Samson Hatae in the Humboldt Redwoods State Park, California.

Always ready for more. Photo by Samson Hatae in the Humboldt Redwoods State Park, California.

Paul and Babe were unimpressed by our hogs. Photo by Samson Hatae taken in the Redwoods National Park, California.

Some days, the only thing that seems to change is the light and type of trees we pass. Photo by Samson Hatae near Eureka, Calif.

We told her I was David Beckham. Photo by Samson Hatae at the Jedidiah Smith Redwoods Park, California.

Old guys ride old guy bikes and take full air mattresses. I can’t wait to be an old guy. Photo by Samson Hatae taken at the Jedidiah Smith Redwoods Park, California.

Base camp. Or, as most people have seen it, Endor (yes, from Star Wars). Photo by Samson Hatae taken in the Jedidiah Smith Redwoods Park, California.

My favorite TV show. Photo by Samson Hatae taken in the Jedidiah Smith Redwoods Park, California.

Early morning rituals. Photo by Sean MacDonald in the Jedidiah Smith Redwoods Park, California.

For miles and miles and miles. Photo by Samson Hatae at the Oregon border.

Looking west. Photo by Samson Hatae at Cape Sebastian State Park, Oregon.

Looking east. Photo by Samson Hatae at Cape Sebastian State Park, Oregon.

Portland! Photo by Sean MacDonald in Portland, Ore.

We made it to Dirt Quake! Photo by Samson Hatae in Castle Rock, Wash.

As mentioned, the primary purpose of this trip was to attend Dirt Quake USA. If you haven't heard about it or read about my experience there, I highly recommend it. After a few days camping in Washington, we spent our final night in Portland before it was time to head home. While we came north along the coast, we took a more eastern route for the trek home.

Taking in the last few minutes of Portland. Photo by Samson Hatae in Portland, Ore.

Central Oregon is stunning. No cars, no people, just this. I’m a fan. Photo by Samson Hatae in central Oregon.

Photo by Samson Hatae in central Oregon.

My favorite thing is watching the trees change every hundred miles or so. Photo by Samson Hatae.

We heard there may be a little snow still at Crater Lake. Photo by Samson Hatae.

As happy as a guy without a sled can be. Photo by Samson Hatae in Crater Lake, Oregon.

Today's scenery has been weird and wonderful. The Earth is such a beautiful place. Photo by Samson Hatae in Crater Lake, Oregon.

Crater Lake, Oregon. Photo by Sean MacDonald.

The beginning of one of the most beautiful evenings of my life. The Earth is really, really cool. Photo by Samson Hatae.

We Photoshopped the rider out, I promise, Mom. Photo by Samson Hatae.

Sometimes it’s too hard to take in the scenery and enjoy the road. Pull over. Photo by Samson Hatae in southern Oregon.

My “I want to see what’s next” face. Photo by Samson Hatae.

What camping looks like when you see a crazy storm heading at you and motel signs offer $39 rates. I’ve never seen so much lightning in my life. Photo by Samson Hatae in Klamath Falls, Ore.

Many bugs were sacrificed to the adventure gods and we thank them for their willing and enthusiastic sacrifice. Photo by Samson Hatae.

Samson really wanted “artisan coffee” instead of Starbucks. Photo by Samson Hatae in Klamath Falls, Ore.

The biggest little city in the world. Photo by Samson Hatae in Reno, Nev.

I really wanted “Reno’s best burger.” Photo by Sean MacDonald in Reno, Nev.

Awful big, awful good, and awful happy. Photo by Samson Hatae at the Nugget in Reno, Nev.

Riding south. Photo by Samson Hatae.

Just when I thought I’d gotten through the trip without having to ride a 1,000-pound motorcycle in the dirt… Photo by Samson Hatae in Mono Lake, Calif.

Luckily, we got to take this one on foot. Photo by Samson Hatae in Mono Lake, Calif.

Mono Lake Tufa Pinnacles. Photo by Samson Hatae in Mono Lake, Calif.

Sammy doing tourist things. Photo by Sean MacDonald in Mono Lake, Calif.

This picture doesn't come close to capturing the mountain we were riding up, the lake in the background, or the perfect farm in the valley over the cliff. The expression on my face does. Photo by Samson Hatae.

Overwhelmed. Photo by Samson Hatae in Mammoth Lakes, Calif.

By far the best way to end a long day of riding a motorcycle. Photo by Sean MacDonald in Mammoth Lakes, Calif.

Just a couple of dudes enjoying a nice bath. Photo by Samson Hatae in Mammoth Lakes, Calif.

We spent the rest of our evening listening to stories about mining for gold and how the local police were corrupt. Photo by Samson Hatae in Mammoth Lakes, Calif.

The only thing that got our two visitors to shut up for a second. Photo by Samson Hatae in Mammoth Lakes, Calif.

Taking the long way home. Photo by Samson Hatae.

Coffee time. Photo by Samson Hatae in Yosemite National Park.

Everyone needs to visit this place once. Photo by Samson Hatae in Yosemite National Park.

Finally, home. Photo by Samson Hatae in Los Angeles.