Boyz in da Hood (Canal, that is).**

**The following ride report is loosely based on actual events. By loosely, I mean not really.

Ever been tasked with planning a ride? It's like planning a 5 year olds birthday party: you're wholly responsible for driving the fun bus, and if you get lost or fail to stop for peepee breaks, you'll soon have a whiny pack of fussbuckets with wet crotches to clean up after.

What I'm trying to say is that's a lot of responsibility in your hands. Riders show up, expecting that you've done your homework. And the PNW Crew up here...well...let's just say you don't want to disappoint a buncha prescription drug running, pie eating playa hata's.

That's why I took the easy way out.

The Sure thing.

Hood Canal with a couple of tire eating twisties.

Let's Play a Game of Don't Follow the Leader
It started out great. Everyone showed up at the meet spot on time.

The first sign of trouble. A blinking gate dangled in front of a band of FJR marauders?


Well, it's just asking for trouble.

The crew spent the ride across the sound getting good and hopped up on coffee:

Meanwhile, the shore loomed ahead, and the sun loomed...well, the sun loomed somewhere. You might've heard it rains a lot up here.


We got off the ferry in Bainbridge. This is where it started to go downhill. First rule of ride planning: make sure you know the route. I had been on various parts of the route over the past then years, but had never done the exact route.

I got us lost.

The forum shouts in unison: HOW LOST WERE YOU?

This lost:


And to top it off, the kids on the fun bus were getting hungry. So we stopped for some pizza pie, of course.

Obligatory shot of Niehart stuffing his face. He said it was the "diet salad." That must be the diet rootbeer too.

Properly fueled, watered, and pissed off at the leader, the crew got serious about riding, and the Hood Canal and Lake Cushman cooperated with incredible scenery:


The sights were so beautiful and the roads so perfect, the crew almost forgot about how clueless the ride leader was with directions.

Except Auburn. He holds grudges.

But the day was catching up with us, and due to the clueless ride leader's reliance on a GPS that wanted to send us riding up forest roads, we still had several hours to go. There was dissention in the group about whether to keep riding, or call it a night. Luckily for those of with responsibilities and spousal duties at home, Jay and Beamer Reemer's plan to camp out till morning was thwarted by a particularly effective and well placed sign.

But Niehart wanted to stay. Either that or he was just wondering if he had left the iron on.

The crew reached deep inside themselves and found enough reserve to blast through a 22 mile, twistie backroad stretch that rewarded with amazing views. We braved the bridge traffic and made it to the ferry just in time for 6:30 p.m. sailing.

Back on board the ferry, we took in the awesome views from the sound:

All in all, a great day, a great crew, and a great ride. If I do say so myself...

Route Overview (Click to view full-size map)

Hood Canal

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Sunday Run to the Border

**The following ride report is loosely based on actual events. By loosely, I mean not really.

Niehart and the Bandit

It started with a simple problem: my stash of 222's ran out, and with CFR around the corner, I needed to stock up. But bringing over-the-counter pain medication from Canada back to the states is frought with challenges: there is 1 bottle, 50 pill limit. I needed more, and I needed them Sunday.

What to do, what to do?

Good thing I was watching CMT; they were running a tv marathon that gave me an idea:

[Hint: the rest of the story works much better if you push play and listen to the soundtrack while reading]

A plan was hatched: make a dash to the border, get the stash, and make it back in time to enjoy drinks. But we needed a crew to run interference, and more important, we needed a chase bike. The route would be long and perilous, with mounties and smokies at every twisty. I went to bed hopeful but restless.

The next morning, Taff the Brit showed up with another delightful British couple. Could they be the Bandit?


We all know that Brits can't drive on the right side of the road. Too conspicuous. No dice. I'd have to wait to see who showed at the meetup:


One look at Achiu's multi-farkled heaviy laden Feejer and it was clear that he wasn't going to be the chase car. No, he'd be Snowman, responsible for getting the goods home safe.

And these guys weren't going to be of any help. Cheezus, who invited cruisers? (Oh wait, I did. I guess they would be useful in slowing down any pursuing Smokeys.)


What I needed was someone cool enough to not crack under pressure, but hooligan enough to run flat out if we got busted.

Then, the meetup place was rocked by a loud, molar-rattling rumble. We all strained our necks to see who was this Nike.

NIEHART!!! On a Ducati Monster. Hell Yeah!! Cletus, we gots us our Bandit!!


Taff handled logistics and made sure we had our story straight as we rode into Canada. If questioned about our purpose for visiting, we would all recite: "We are traveling into Canada to escape the socialist revolution being wrought by the great oppressor, Obama!"


We also practiced our "you lookin at me?" face in case the locals gave us any hassle. Crossing the border, we all made it in with no interrogations.


Then, things began to go awry. First, Niehart got confused about where the pharmacy was, and took to standing on the corner shouting out to passing motorists "Which way is the drugs?"


Dammit Niehart, focus! Eyes on the prize, Niehart, Eyes on the prize! Finally, we made it to the source of plentiful, over the counter tylenol with codeine, in super large size:


But we hadn't counted on how Canadian suburbanites would react to a gang of drug seeking motorcyclists. Things got uglier after we scored our first mega-bottle. When we got back to the parking lot, Achiu got this crazy look in eyes as he began to fully comprehend the possibilities inherent in a super size 222 stash:


Before I could stop him, he had pried off the child proof cap, made it through the cotton ball, and was chugging them painkillers like they was gummi bears:


[In best slow motion voice] : NOOOOHHHHHHHHHHHH.

We ran back into Costco and restocked with fresh loot, and made a mad dash through to the border.


Taff had the bright idea to come back into the States through the ferry. They'd be too busy looking for dark skinned guys with funny names to notice a few bikers flashing crazy gang signs:


Thanks to fancy drivin by Niehart, and quick thinking by Taff, we made it home and none of the stash was lost or spoiled. As the ferry pulled into the dock, I sat around looking at the guys, taking in the day's accomplishment, and thinking "We got us a pretty damn good crew."

Next time, 333's, double or nothing.


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