Mt. Ranier Camping

I’m enjoying these Cascade Mountains and volcanoes. After doing a load of long overdue laundry in Ashford and stocking up on a few items for dinner at Suver’s General Store in Ashford, I made my way to Cougar Creek Campground in Mount Rainier National Park.
To be sure, I had no idea Mount Rainier was a national park. Happy to discover this alpine wonderland with its glacier peaks, incredible snowfields, wildflower filled meadows, I set up camp and planned for a day of hiking and riding.
My plan for an early start was hampered by my first mechanical and physical challenge of my journey around the world. You know the story. Going around the world on a motorcycle pits man against machine, man against himself and man against man. It’s got all the ingredients for a great story. But there are times you just don’t want to be that much of a story.
I pulled the bike up closer to the narrow road that loops through the campsites at Cougar Rock. Set her up on the Touratech center stand and dutifully lubed the chain and noticing a bit more slack than normal I adjusted the tension. Then I proceeded to load the bike.
My system has been honed nicely over the last several days. What once took nearly an hour has been whittled to less than half. Feeling good about the packing and smooth operation, I still have plans to tweak and lose even more weight. But the bike was looking good. I stretched my gloves over my hands, mounted my steed, fired her engine and pushed on the handlebars while throwing my 155lbs with forward motion.
The bike rocked and settled back on its center stand. I heaved forward. Again, the bike rocked and just sat on the center stand. This time I really threw my weight into it. Nothing. The bike stood rock solid. To be sure, the bike was sitting in gravelly dirt and on a very slight incline. This combined with the heavy load on the back tire pitted physics and circumstance against me.
I hopped off the bike and assessed the situation. Sure enough. The front tire was in the air and the rear rested softly on the gravel. Not exactly what a center stand is for. I hopped back on and tried again. Nothing. I scanned the neighboring campgrounds for signs of life. If only someone could give me a good push. Nobody around.
I got off the bike and decided to just let it down softly by myself standing proudly by its side. One. Two and three. I rocked it forward and it came easily off the center stand. And then easily it just fell away from me.
Crash and thud.
I know this drill. Cause it happened it Portland too. I had parked close to a curb on a hilly street. When I mounted the bike and pulled the clutch it glided backwards till the rear tire rested against the curb. But in bringing the bike straight up from its side stand a city trash can invaded the space where my Jesse bag wanted to go. So I sat there at a cockeyed angle unable to right the bike. The street was too steep at this point I couldn’t paddle the bike forward. I started it and tried to walk it forward but the weight of the bike was too much for me and fell toward me.
Unlike Portland, there was nobody nearby to help me pick the bike up, so I started to pull luggage off. But not enough. I finally spotted a guy brushing his teeth in a nearby campground and recruited him. We easily got the bike back up. But I noticed that unlike Portland, this time I did a little damage to the Jesse bag. the weight of the bike caused the front bracket rest to twist and push in on the bag. Plus it was resting a bit precariously close to the gas bladder.
But with the help of campground host Steve, the jack from his car, some wooden blocks and a hammer I was ready to go and take in more of Rainier’s beauty. But boy I felt dumb and a little helpless for a short time. Not even out of the country yet and I’m dropping the bike more times than Timothy Leary and the Merry Pranksters dropped… well, you get the idea.

1 reply
  1. Ashley in Australia
    Ashley in Australia says:

    Hi Allan,
    Great reading so far, keep it up and enjoy your adventure. A tip for next time you find the bike “stuck” on the centre stand, just ride it off. Whack it in gear and bump your bum down on the seat as you pop the clutch out. Works every time. Oh, and don’t ride a bike you can’t pick up on your own 😉


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